STORM SHADOW 4
Publisher: Devil's Due
Issue Date: August 2007
Series: Storm Shadow
Issue Number: 4
Storm Shadow and Pale Peony fight in New York City, Tiffany is revealed to be a freelance covert operative on a mission to get near the Client and Zartan shows up to steal the Morning Light which he helped create. And all is resolved.
Notes of Interest
Professor Onihashi is actually the xxiii of his family to be swordsmiths.
Storm Shadow's friends: Tiffany (Latifa Chang-Rasmussen), Margarita Shiro aka Pale Peony, Pale Peony's nephew Masa
Former Cobra: Zartan (Jilf Sgrobe/Cap Bulgokov), Night Creeper Leader
Additional Characters: the Client(Oligarch), Onihashi xxiii (in flashback), Koyla, Olga, Katya
WWritten by: Larry Hama, Drawn by Mark A. Robinson, Colors by Renato Faccini, Lettered by Brian J. Crowley, Edited by Mike O'Sullivan, Design by Sean K. Dove, Cover by Sean Murphy & Stephane Peru
Pale Peony arrives at Storm Shadow's old water tower training spot in New York City with the intention of stealing the Morning Light sword. Storm Shadow confronts her. A sword battle begins that proves that Storm Shadow is easily the better fighter, which forces Pale Peony to use her wrist rockets that blow up half the water tower and still miss Storm Shadow.
At a Museum in New York City, Tiffany, Jilf Sgrobe and the Client are looking at a heavily guarded replica of the Morning Light. This replica was made by Onihashi XXIII, he is the same swordsmith, with Zartan as the apprentice, that made Snake-Eyes' sword which he received when he became a full member of the Arashikage clan. Masa, Pale Peony's nephew approaches them with an offer.
After a taxi ride, Tiffany is leading Masa, Sgrobe and the Client to Storm Shadow's water tower. They take an elevator ride to the top floor. During the ride, Jilf Sgrobe begins to glow and then instantly changes appearance into Capt. Bulgokov. This change is attributed to the new camouflage techniques of the Russian secret security service. After it stops, Sgrobe who is carrying a large bag climbs out of the top hatch of the elevator, Masa follows. Tiffany and the Client remain in the elevator.
Inside the half destroyed water tower, Pale Peony is fighting a losing battle against Storm Shadow and his sword the Morning Light. When Bulgokov/Sgrobe and Masa enter the roof to they interrupt the fight. Bulgokov/Sgrobe immediately calls Pale Peony off the fight and unpacks his bag. As he pulls out a very famous compound bow Bulgokov/Sgrobe begins to glow again and this time transforms into Zartan.
Back in the elevator, Tiffany has set up a link through a laptop and connects to the Night Creeper Leader who then watches Tiffany do several acrobatic fighting moves that catch the Client off guard and then she just begins to punching him directly in the face. All it does Night Creeper Leader is completely confused him.
Back on the roof, Zartan fires several arrows at Storm Shadow. He deflects them all. But Zartan says" You're better then the Hard Master." And Storm Shadow's response is "It makes a difference to see them coming."
Back in the elevator, Tiffany now has a knife to the Client's throat. She removes her wig and reveals that she is actually Latifa Chang-Rasmussen (age 27 and a little person), a freelance covert operative who has been masquerading as the 12 year old niece of Storm Shadow. She also reveals that Storm Shadow has been working for her the entire time.
Back on the roof, Zartan makes the observation that Storm Shadow is actually fighting with the Morning Light replica, the one he helped make with his master Onihashi XXIII, just by how it cut through the arrows. Storm Shadow admits that he snuck into the museum and replaced the replica with the original. Then Zartan asks "everything since Chicago has been about setting up the Oligarch for assassination?" Storm Shadow's response "Not quite"
Back in the elevator, Latifa has brought up a split screen in front of the Client. One is the very confused Night Creeper Leader and the other side is her employer, Kolya a rival Russian oil tycoon. Koyla has hired Latifa, for a fee of 5 million which Storm Shadow gets 20%, to get close enough to the Client to kill him, but she won't be killing him, today. All Koyla wants is the Client to lose interest in his control of a new oil pipeline. The Client agrees.
On the roof, as Zartan and Storm Shadow square off Storm Shadow says " I thought you had changed your life around. That was the reason for putting my vengeance on hold. Does Zartan walk on the dark side again?" His response "I run evasively through a grey zone and keep trying to put things right." He begins to talk about the forging of the Morning Light replica.
When his master Onihashi XXIII was commissioned with creating a duplicate of the Morning Light by the Arashikage family he was so moved that he vowed to match the creation stroke for stroke. The original blade had a marking on it that could only be seen by the human breath. And the breath would reveal the character for "truth", the duplicate bares the character for "forgiveness". These breath mark characters were secrets that the Arashikage clan didn't even know. Zartan was so touched by his master's work that he secretly switched the swords. Storm Shadow reveals to Zartan that the breath mark character wasn't a secret and he pulls up his sword to breathe on it revealing the "forgiveness" character. Then he does the unexpected and offers the handle of the Morning Light replica to Zartan saying "The original is safe. The copy should go to the last apprentice of the Onihashi smiths." Zartan stands in silence.
Masa, who was sent by his grandfather to get the Morning Light, pulls a gun and begins to shoot Storm Shadow. But before he can pull the trigger, Pale Peony disables the gun and unloads it. With the sword in Zartan's hand, Storm Shadow offers to buy Masa and Pale Peony a bowl of noodles and they leave Zartan just as the cops arrive.
At the noodle restaurant, Storm Shadow makes a proposal to them. Pale Peony and Masa will take over control of their clan with the help from Storm Shadow's aunt and spread the word that the real Morning Light is now in the hands of Zartan. A deal is made.
Back in Moscow the next day, The Client is getting out of his car with two girls, Olga and Katya. He turns to them a promptly fires them, he has no need for there services he has just hired a new head of security, Latifa Chang-Rasmussen.
Summary by Josh Eggebeen