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Thriller 03 - 00 - FCSynopsis: Issue 3 opens with an SNN News account of the odd events leading to the death of Dan’s father, correspondent Gardner Grove. Grove perished, the report says, while reporting from a combat zone in the “war-torn country of Quintana Roo”, losing his life to save some children. Dan and Crackerjack are watching this at the Trinity Building when suddenly, Salvo stumbles in, assisted by Satin. His hands are injured, and as Satin tends to his wounds, Scabbard appears on TV, interrupting the broadcast to announce that he has Marietta Salvotini on a train full of passengers, and he will trade his hostages for U.S. President William Martin. Scabbard has placed an explosive device on Mrs. Salvotini, which is connected to a triggering device implanted in the terrorist’s palm, in order to secure the Seven Seconds’ cooperation. He states that he will wait one hour for media representative Dan Grove, which makes the reason for his recruitment by Angie obvious to Tony, and he tells him so in no uncertain terms. Dan, however, is reluctant and afraid, and after a hostile exchange with Salvo, is startled to see the bandages unwind themselves from Tony’s Thriller 03 - 09suddenly healed hands, and form the outlines of Angie’s face. She says simply and forcefully: “You WILL help us to save our mother.”

Thriller 03 - 10Dan responds by fainting dead away.

When he comes to, he is in Data’s Rolls. Data gives him a one-way train ticket to L.A. and drops him off at the Church of St. Jude, where Beaker Parish meets him at the door and invites him to confess. Angie’s face forms in a stained glass window as she watches them go inside.

Meanwhile, the other Seconds put their plan in motion, Proxy arrives, made up as the engineer of the train. Satin and Salvo pair off, as well as Data and Crackerjack, who leave in the Rolls. When Proxy arrives at the train station and is taken inside, he is surprised to see Malocchia, who doesn’t recognize him.

Thriller 03 - 27Back at St. Jude’s, Beaker hears Dan’s confession, and instructs him to step out of the booth; when he does, he is amazed to discover that he has been transported somehow to Quintana Roo, just in time to witness his father’s last news report, acting as his cameraman, Beaker urges Dan to retrace his father’s actions as if he was reporting on them, and makes a sobering discovery about the circumstances of his death.

The issue ends with a solemn Dan boarding the train, with the memory of Scabbard’s laughter after killing his brother ringing in his ears. Satin and Salvo fly over the train in the Seconds’ helicopter, and the latter steps out of the copter in a reprise of his stunt at the beginning of issue #2, setting the stage for the climactic issue #4.

Comments: The whole “Dan witnesses his Dad’s death” scene is a little difficult to explain, other than attributing it to Angie’s still-not-really-defined powers. I suspect that she just caused Dan to “see” all this in his mind and that they never left the building.

The “off-screen” battle between Salvo and Scabbard mentioned at the beginning came a little out of left field- at the end of #2, it was implied that Tony had been knocked cold by the flying manhole cover…but now we find out that he had apparently revived, tried to stop Scabbard from abducting his mother, and got the crap kicked out of him, because when he rolls into the Trinity he is a mess (especially his hands, which seem to be burned- don’t know how this happened). Unfortunately, this sort of thing is a textbook example of how this series threw people in the early stages, contributing to its eventual failure.

Thriller 03 - 20We’re also given a scene between Crackerjack and Data, in which the latter hides a Tootsie Pop in his pocket and lets CJ (a pickpocket, if you recall) fish it out. Some remarked that this scene had possible homosexual/pedophilic overtones…I prefer not to speculate, but that is, I suppose, one way of looking at it, intentional or not. Draw your own conclusion. At any rate, this uncomfortable scenario was never really taken any further. There was a definite bond between the two, though…as the scene in #5 in which Data thinks CJ has been shot.

TVE has some really nice moments in this issue, including the scene in which Dan realizes his father died (spoilers here, I’d imagine) because he obeyed a traffic sign; the Escher swipe of Angie appearing to Dan through Salvo’s bandages was also clever and memorable.


Anthony Salvotini, nicknamed “Salvo”, is the son of Peter and Marietta Salvotini, as well as brother to Angeline Salvotini Thriller. He is a weapons expert and phenomenally good marksman.

When Tony was a young boy, he started a fire in his house which resulted in the death of his father and the blinding of his mother. Later, when he was in the military in a Rapid Deployment Force stationed in the Middle East, three men took an ambassador hostage, and Tony was ordered to shoot the three kidnappers from a rooftop three blocks away. He shot and killed three men, but because of the distance involved he couldn’t distinguish their features, and he accidentally shot the man he was sent to save. Because of the political furor that resulted, the government was forced to give him a dishonorable discharge. This made him decide to become such a good shot that he wouldn’t need to kill- not out of pacifistic urges, but because killing could be so “inconvenient”. He soon adopted the motto “Only flesh wounds…only outpatients! I won’t kill a fly, so don’t ask me!”

Salvo is romantically involved with Janet Valentine, aka White Satin.

Tony is also one of a select few people who Angie can merge with to manifest herself, due to their similar genetic structure. She and Salvo often converse as Angie makes her face appear in his palm. His sister also helps him perform difficult stunts such as leaping from a skyscraper rooftop and landing on a moving vehicle, as in issue #2.

Synopsis: Issue 2 opens with Salvo and Angie preventing a bank robbery by one “Mr. Mollusk” and an associate. Angie, of course, saw that it was going to happen and had Tony staking out the building. Unfortunately, as Angie’s voiceover narration tells us, she couldn’t intervene because the Mollusk crew had flame throwers, and this is where we discover her fear of fire…foreshadowing revelations later on. As a result of her inability to see what’s happening, a man dies. As soon as they leave the building, though, Tony snaps into action- he shoots out a fire hydrant in front of the fleeing robbers’ van, causing them to divert down a narrow street in the direction of the bank they just left… then he leaps off the building, his momentum halted via a series of flagpoles which Angie causes to appear beneath him. It’s also implied that she’s controlling the wind currents, and by extension controlling Tony’s downward momentum. As he closes in on the van, he shoots a circle of bullet holes in the roof and crashes through, causing them to drive into the side of the bank, where he shoots the trigger finger off the flamethrower guy, and turns them over to the police.

Tony and Angie merge to fool Ma.

We are then introduced to their sightless mother- Marietta Salvotini, who, despite her handicap, owns and operates an Italian restaurant called “Home”. Mom is still unaware of what has happened to her daughter. When she and Tony decide to visit her, Angie uses her abilities to merge with Tony and reshapes his face to look like hers, which deceives their mother. Thinking she’s feeding two “thin children”, she serves up a double portion of pasta, which causes Tony no end of discomfort.

Meanwhile, at the Trinity Building, we check back in with Dan Grove as he horses around with Crackerjack, and in the scuffle they wake up Edward and Angie’s infant son, Scotty. Resigned to going in to change the crying child, they are interrupted by Scotty’s nanny, introduced as Molly Lusk- who Dan immediately recognizes from the fateful night when his brother was killed- she is actually Scabbard’s mate Malocchia! When he confronts her, she hypnotizes him into thinking that they’ve never met.

Back at “Home”, Tony, stuffed and miserable, says goodbye and goes outside to keep watch on his mother…seems Angie has foreseen some kind of trouble involving her. Janet (White Satin) Valentine joins him. It’s here that Tony reveals the events that led to his mother’s blinding and his father’s death due to a house fire when he and his sister were children.

The scene shifts back to the Trinty, as Dan and Edward have a question-and-answer session in which Angie’s husband reveals how the two came to be merged due to a lab experiment with alien DNA that went awry…Ed serving as body, and Angie as soul. The two can now never be in the same place at the same time. Finally, back at “Home”, Salvo hears a noise coming from a manhole cover in the street. As he bends over to get a closer look, the cover suddenly flies up and strikes him, rendering him unconscious. Scabbard then emerges, and the last panel shows the neon “Home” sign reflected on his face.

Skipping the elevator made easy.

Comments: Lots of comic book physics in this issue, to be sure…I can buy Salvo’s rooftop plunge simply because Angie has the power to affect wind currents, but the whole “creation of flagpole-like projections out of the side of the building” thing gave me pause. It had been established that Angie could merge with organic material like Tony, but we had not been shown that she could also merge with inanimate objects or materials, so while I suppose it’s not exactly playing fair with the reader, this ability is portrayed consistently in future issues so it gets a pass as well. Also, there’s the whole nature of the experiment which Ed conducts with his colleague Moses Lusk (notice a theme here?)…he’s discovered a “rogue cell” in some alien DNA (where this alien originated from is one of many unsolved Thriller mysteries, and alas I never thought to ask RLF) which he hopes to use to cure cancer (depressing that 50 years in the future cancer is still undefeated). It’s not really clear how and why the resulting conflagration, explosion and merger takes place…but we are talking alien DNA 50 years from now, so who knows. We’re supposed to just roll with it , I guess.

Speaking of Lusk, he gets at least one cameo in this issue (I’m not sure that the cocky bank robber in the opening scene wasn’t he), first of several mentions in subsequent issues…Bill DuBay went on to establish him as the prime motivator in the whole scheme of all things Thriller, but if memory serves, RLF told me that while he did have a bigger role in mind for the character down the road, DuBay took him in a different direction than he intended, so as far as I’m concerned Lusk will an enigma remain.

Another first- the romance between Satin and Salvo. It was hinted at in #1, rather obliquely, but here it’s made plain. There were complications later, as we’ll see, but this relationship was an integral part of the Thriller mosaic.

There’s an attempt to parallel the Salvotini house fire and the lab accident that resulted in Ed and Angie’s merger…but it wasn’t made particularly clear, was inferred more than anything- par for the Thriller course. I think the colorist may have to share some blame, but the sequence as presented was pretty difficult to do by 1983’s standards, I’ll bet. This did help to establish why Angie’s so averse to fire; her fear is rooted in this traumatic event, which cost the Salvotini kids their circus acrobat father (this is where Tony picked up many of his high-wire-like stunt abilities). Salvo’s poignant revelation at the end was a complete surprise to me, and was one of the many signals (another- the amusing, if discomforting- imagine being forced to eat multiple plates of ziti!- diner scene early on) that here were characters that behaved like family and friends in a naturalistic manner, as opposed to typical comic book style.

Trying to draw parallels between the house fire and the lab accident.

Not so good, though, was the scene at the end of the big bank robbery…a police officer comes up to thank Tony for stopping the thieves, and Salvo responds by curtly smarting off to him. Perhaps this was intended to demonstrate his distrust of authority figures (to be discussed more later on), or maybe it was meant to make him seem badass…but here he comes across as a real jerk, unfortunately. Fleming went on to atone for this; his first post-Thriller series was the 1985 Ernie Colon-illustrated NYPD Blue-style miniseries Underworld.

We also meet bank teller Marjorie Collins. She will soon embark on a difficult career path.


Script: Robert Loren Fleming
Art: Trevor Von Eeden
Color- Tom Ziuko
Lettering- Phil Felix
Editor- Dick Giordano 

A great image is worth using twice!

Born Angeline Marietta Salvotini to parents Marietta and Peter Salvotini, Angie married scientist Edward Thriller. She is Tony (Salvo) Salvotini’s sister. The couple has one child, Scotty.

As a result of one of her husband’s genetic experiments gone awry, Angie became merged with Edward, becoming “spirit” to his “flesh”. She gained the ability to see glimpses of possible future events, and she can become part of any inanimate object. The only living beings she can merge with and manifest herself through are her brother, due to their similar genetic structures, and Beaker Parish, due to his being an artificially created life form. When she appears, Edward disappears, a situation which Fleming had only begun to explore the ramifications of before he left the series.

Paging M.C. Escher! From #3.

She is the de facto leader of the Seven Seconds, due to her godlike nature and her precognitive glimpses that set events into motion. In the text pages that appeared in various DC books at about the time issue 4 came out, Fleming describes her as “An omnipotent, ethereal female who performs the godlike function of manipulating and coordinating Earthly events…sort of a cross between Jesus Christ and my mom”.

Angie manifests in broken glass, issue #5. Dick Giordano inks.