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|“||Chuckles has successfully infiltrated Cobra... but that was the easy part. As he's drawn deeper and deeper into the horror and darkness of their world, both his life and his sanity teeter on the brink... and he's about to meet a woman who could send him plunging over the edge.||”|
—The description as originally solicited by IDW Publishing.
In a dance club somewhere in the Balkans, Chuckles meets up with Jinx who pretended to be one of the club’s dancers. They rent a room to exchange information. Despite the amount of time Chuckles spent with Cobra, he is still unable to get a bigger picture of the organization’s reaches. The only information he could share is that there is a sizeable armed force and a larger secret office connected to the boardroom.
Later, Chuckles leaves the club with Semyon, one of the organization’s footmen. The next few days find the pair taking on various assignments from Mr. X. Some involve dirty deals that reveal too little of what Chuckles needs to know, others involve cleaning up after dirty assignments.
Before Chuckles ever took the undercover assignment, he was given a Skull Resonance Receiver (SRR), a means to communicate back and forth with Joe HQ without being detected by electronic countermeasures. The toll of being undercover and stress of reporting back is making him tired and feel sloppy. On one assignment with Skelton, the man who recruited Chuckles, they were ambushed by a gang who are unhappy with Mr. X. Skelton is killed while Chuckles manages to turn the tables on their attackers and escape.
Upon returning to Mr. X, it turns out the ambush was a test for both Skelton and Chuckles. X wanted to see if Skelton deserved to keep his job whereas Chuckles’ was to see if he is deserving of becoming X’s lieutenant.
Later that night, Chuckles is sent to join the dinner party at X’s mansion as part of his etiquette test. The party is attended by wealthy people. Among them is Erika Le Tene, a woman that Semyon says to be X’s girlfriend. Dinner involves ortolan, a meal that Chuckles finds difficulty to stomach. He heads to the kitchen when he could puke out his guts where he is found by Erika. The two make conversation and find some connection. Before Chuckles could fish more information from her, X has him sent on an assignment to destroy 2.1 billion worth of bank notes in a federal reserve.
Chuckles does as he is told with little trouble as Semtec is already lined around the reserve’s building. He fights against his conscience about the people in the building and to just fulfill his mission. Afterwards, he heads back to the mansion where he finds Erika playing in the rain. She was waiting for him and the two kiss in the rain.
(Numbers indicate order of appearance.)
"All due respect, sir, it was clear Skelton had little combat experience. And those attackers were just jacked-up locals with no real chance of laying a hand on me."
"Yes, well, if it had been an etiquette test, it might have gone differently, mightn't it?"
- --Chuckles suspects Mr. X had already decided whom he wanted to pass the test.
"Very glad you had made it, my friend. Skelton is very the sarcastic."
"Yes, very. Thank god you get me instead."
- --Oh, Semyon, you really don't know Chuckles very well, do you?
- No errors known.
Items of note
- First appearance: Erika Le Tene
- Death of Skelton.
- Savile Row is the London locale famous for its custom tailors; Sloan Street is still highly fashionable, but more off-the-rack. Basically, Mr. X isn't just a snob, he's a pretentious snob.
- The Ortolan is a real bird, and the hideous way of eating it is every bit as real. Yes, even the deal with the napkin.
- The title of each issue in this series is the second half of a phrase that typically begins with the word "snake." This issue would be "snake in the grass."
Footnotes and References