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|“||Using her feminine wiles and deadly styles, the Baroness plans to steal a centuries-old valuable from a billionaire oil sheik. Wild nightlife mixes with dangerous wild life on the Italian Riviera as Cobra's deadliest female attempts the heist of the century in this action-wracked tale that leads right into this summer's movie!||”|
—The description as originally solicited by IDW Publishing.
Sheik Mommar al Rhazidh sits at a roulette table at the San Remo Casino on the Italian Riviera, and places a €1 million bet on black. As the croupier and floorman check his bet with the house, a beautiful woman in a black dress strolls up and convinces him to change his bet to red. He does, and the ball lands in his favor, doubling his winnings. Thanking his benefactor profusely, he asks her name - Baroness Anastasia DeCobray - and invites her to his home.
The Sheik escorts his guest past the security guards, and gives her a brief tour of the house - one that ends in the bedroom. He pours them both a drink, but the Baroness declines, instead commenting on the room's artwork. Not wanting waste such expensive brandy, the Sheik downs her glass, and in moments is passed out on the floor: the Baroness drugged the drink while he wasn't looking.
Baroness steps over the sheik and opens her luggage, changing into her traditional black leather outfit. She moves silently through the halls, avoiding guards and using a wrist-mounted light to temporarily knock out the security cameras. The guards watching the monitors dismiss the outages as a result of poor wiring, but the head of security, Ryerstad, realizes there's an intruder. He declines to sound the alert, though, reasoning that "Gustav will take care of [the stranger]."
In a secret passageway, the floor gives way beneath the Baroness' feet, and she finds herself in a pen with a white tiger - the sheik's favorite pet.
Ryerstad barges into the sheik's room and finds him asleep on the floor. He tells the other guards to lift the sheik and move him onto the bed, complaining that clients never listen to his advice. Sheik Mommar slurs something about the Baroness looking lovely, and Ryerstad realizes the missing woman is the intruder, sending guards to check on the menagerie.
Down in the cage, Baroness uses her wrist light to blind the big cat, and grabs a whip from off the wall. As the security personnel arrive, they find the Baroness has opened the cage and released Gustav, swinging up onto a pipe to get out of the tiger's way. She uses the whip to climb back up to the secret passageway, and continues on to her destination.
In his bed, the sheik complains that his head hurts. He opens his eyes and is shocked to see the white tiger climbing onto the bed. Ryerstad shoots Gustav twice with tranq darts, and orders his men to capture the woman alive.
Meanwhile, in the dining room, the Baroness admires a mural depicting an ancient Roman feast. She pulls a device out of her pocket, and begins scanning the entire painting, moving slowly down the room. The data is still processing when gunfire shatters the scanner and she's forced to hide at the far end of the table. The guards, who have just entered, order her to surrender, but she dispatches them with the whip and runs for the window, crashing through and falling to the grass outside. As the Baroness gets to her feet, she turns around and is shot three times in the chest, dropping her where she stands.
The guards rush the courtyard and order the man who killed the Baroness to freeze, but he holds up his Interpol i.d., and Ryerstad orders them to stand down - he recognizes Agent Kruger from his days with the U.S. Customs Department. Kruger explains that his men are spread throughout the Riviera looking for the Baroness, and that she was too dangerous to be left alive. The sheik's guards load her dead body into Kruger's car.
As he drives away, the Baroness sits up and asks whether the transmission went through. He assures her that it did, and as they drive through a shadow, "Agent Kruger" is revealed to really be Zartan, Baroness' planned extraction. As the car speeds along the coast, she calls M.A.R.S. Industries to find out whether the night was worth it. The mural had been painted over a map from 1516, which revealed the location of a gold reserve under a cathedral in Parma. Baroness celebrates in the back of the car, pleased at stealing so much money without anyone even knowing.
(Numbers indicate order of appearance.)
Featured Vehicles & Equipment
"I've never ruined a man in my life. Not in a financial sense, in any case."
- --Oh Baroness, you saucy minx!
"The coffers of M.A.R.S. increased by millions. No pursuit. And no one was harmed... not in a financial sense, in any case."
- --Baroness enjoys some parallel structure.
- The security guard watching the cameras says that monitor nine is back on, but the screen is still showing static.
- On page 12, Ryerstad is leading his team down a corridor, but the speech balloon identifies him as Vitelli. Considering there's also a "radio" balloon, signifying the communication in his earpiece, it seems likely that the dialogue visually attributed to the man in the scene was meant to be Vitelli checking in over the radio, while the line "any visual on the woman?" was meant to be Ryerstad speaking in that panel, and that the letterer just got the two confused.
- The Sheik is only too happy to drink the Baroness' brandy. However, Muslims don't use alcohol.
- Of course, gambling and womanizing are prohibited, as well, so maybe the sheik isn't the overly devout sort, you think?
Items of note
- An alternate photo cover exists, which features a publicity photo of actress Sienna Miller against a plain white background. The covers were shipped in a 50/50 ratio.
- The story takes place prior to events in G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra.
- The Baroness can be seen moving through the crowd of gamblers before her official introduction to the story.
- The guards carrying Baroness' luggage are visibly struggling, suggesting the amount of gear and weaponry she's carrying inside.
- Writer Chuck Dixon was in charge of DC Comics' Catwoman book for several years. This story, featuring high-stakes burglary, a rare large cat, a bullwhip and a woman in a tight leather suit, has a very similar feeling to those stories.
- The Borgias, to whom the Sheik's villa once belonged were a real family of nobles during the Renaissance. The Borgias were known for poisoning their enemies, so Baroness spiking al Rhazidh's drink was right in keeping with the home's history.
- Botticelli is a famous painter, whose most well-known work is The Birth of Venus.
- Portable infared lights were also used to knock out security cameras in the 2006 crime drama Inside Man.
Footnotes and References
- ↑ It's unclear whether the figure talking to Baroness at the end of the issue is Destro or one of the M.A.R.S. Troopers (who all wear similar masks).