Friday, November 1, 2013

Dakota North #2 (August 1986)

Title: Pet Tricks
Cover: Tony Salmons
Script: Martha Thomases
Art: Tony Salmons
Colors: Christie Scheele
Letters: Phil Felix
Editor: Larry Hama
Editor-in-Chief: Jim Shooter
Cover Price: $0.75
Cover Date: August 1986
Release Date: April 1986
Synopsis: Dakota trades her signature black leather pants for a short black cocktail dress and heads with her brother Ricky to dinner at the Rainbow Room to meet her father and a man who claims to be her husband. While walking through Rockefeller Center, Dakota is narrowly missed by a bolt from a crossbow fired by an assailant from a nearby rooftop. Unable to locate the source of the attack, Dakota and Rick continue to the restaurant where they meet their father and his former colleague from the CIA, Major George C. Cooper.

Major Cooper has written a book about his time at the CIA and he is apparently embroiled in some sort of danger, so he wants to hire Dakota as his bodyguard. Dakota gets into an argument with her father over the potential assignment and the ruse by which she was lured to dinner, but a handsome man named Timas interrupts and asks Dakota to dance. He whisks her away to the dance floor, where they engage in light banter, but Dakota is clearly suspicious of this perfect stranger with perfect timing who happens to know her name.

Back at the dinner table, Major Cooper starts to panic when he realizes that he cannot get in contact with his security detail. He randomly breaks out a deck of cards and starts playing poker with Ricky, deliberately racking up a steep loss of $200 and offering his solid gold fountain pen as collateral until he can reach his bank to get cash.  Ricky takes the pen and heads for home, passing a pair of serious looking thugs that are flanking the door. Having returned from the dance floor with Timas, Dakota tells Major Cooper that she’ll take his case. She also accuses Timas of being responsible for the crossbow attack...

Dakota, her father and Major Cooper leave the Rainbow Room and are attacked by the thugs that were watching them in the restaurant. Dakota fights them off and the thugs escape in a waiting limousine. The next day, Dakota is supposed to accompany Major Cooper on a series of interviews to promote his book, but his car is blown up by a bomb. Elsewhere, one of the thugs spots Ricky with Major Cooper’s gold pen and starts to follow the boy. Riding the subway to his next interview, Major Cooper reveals to Dakota that the villains are after him because he has an experimental nerve gas that he stole from the CIA in order to prevent his superior from selling it to terrorists. 

Major Cooper tells Dakota that the nerve gas is hidden in the pen that he gave to Ricky, which means that the boy is in danger!  Apparently nonplussed by the risk to her brother, Dakota continues to escort Major Cooper on his interview circuit, cutting through Central Park where she is once again attacked by Timas.  Threatening her with a knife, he tries to warn her off the case, but the assassin is too infatuated with Dakota to do her any harm. At the offices of Rycom, we learn that Cleo Vanderlip is involved in the plot and aware that Timas and his Russian employers are wasting their time chasing Major Cooper because they know Ricky has the pen.

Cleo dispatches a 16 year-old model named Daisy to find Ricky and bring him to their headquarters, saying that this assignment represents a chance for the girl to prove herself to their secret organization. Daisy has no trouble finding Ricky or ensorceling him and the unlikely pair are soon on their way to Paris on the Concorde.  Later in the day, Dakota and Major Cooper are attacked once more by Timas, who is intent on crushing them with a monster truck. Dakota deftly avoids near death and races through Rockefeller Center in her convertible, turning away from a barrier at the last minute and causing Timas to crash and nearly perish.

The next morning, Major Cooper stops by Dakota’s offices to collect his pen from Ricky and they learn that the boy never came home the previous night. Dakota is furious with Major Cooper and her father for placing Ricky in danger.  The issue ends with Ricky and Daisy touring Paris and visiting the Eiffel tower.  Blissfully ignorant of the danger he’s in, Ricky couldn't be happier to be by Daisy’s side in the City of Lights. Will Dakota  find Ricky? Will He want to be found? Will the pen write underwater? You won’t be able to live with yourself if you miss the next issue! To be continued in Active Tense!

Source: Kraalo Archives, Marvel Comics

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