- "What I have done is contemptable beyond any realm of forgiveness known to Damien, or to my country, whose darkest secret I now betray."
- ―Doctor David Manguy
|"The Prodigal Son"|
|American Freak: A Tale of the Un-Men|
|Title:||"The Prodigal Son"|
|Cover date:||May, 1994|
|Executive editor:||Karen Berger|
|Cover artists:||Gaz; Richard Bruning|
|Cover inker:||Richard Bruning|
|Cover colorist:||Richard Bruning|
|Colorists:||Chris Chuckry; Digital Chameleon|
|Assistant editors:||Shelly Roeberg|
|Editors:||Karen Berger; Alisa Kwitney|
|Previous:||American Freak #3|
|Next:||American Freak #5|
"The Prodigal Son" is the story title to the fourth issue of the comic book limited series American Freak: A Tale of the Un-Men, which was published by DC Comics under their Vertigo imprint. The story was written by Dave Louapre with interior artwork by Vince Locke, who also inked the series. The cover illustration was composed by photographer Gaz with design elements created by Richard Bruning. The issue was colored by Chris Chuckry of Digital Chameleon and lettered by Clem Robins. It was edited by Karen Berger and Alisa Kwitney with Shelly Roeberg as assistant editor. This issue shipped with a May, 1994 cover date and carried a cover price of $1.95 per copy (US).
At Lafayette Air Base, Doctor David Manguy drowns away his guilt with a bottle of whiskey. He writes a letter in care of the Washington Post confessing to his involvement with the Un-Men experiments. He hopes that public exposure might help to not only protect Damien, but also to grant him a sense of absolution.
In Romania, Alexiev Gogol hosts another of his infamous parties. The wealthy jet set of Transylvania marvel at his menagerie of freaks held captive and on display inside his ballroom. Intoxicated, the revelers pay particular attention to Damien Kane, whose body hangs suspended from shackles bolted to the wall. They begin kissing and groping at his body but Damien tries to ignore the sensations.
Gogol then brings Scylla into the room, and tells his guests that their next spectacle will involve watching two Un-Men fornicate. Scylla gives Damien a silent signal letting him know that it is "time", and with a burst of strength, he snaps the shackles off the wall. The first to bar his path is Gogol's overseer Lupo. Damien grabs his head and effortlessly tears it from his body. The sight of such violence invigorates the other Un-Men, and they abandon their pedestals to attack the party guests. Many patrons, including Gogol, are killed in the fight. Damien takes two drunken socialites as hostages and goes outside with a small group of Un-Men. They take one of the limousines and drive it to an airfield where they hijack an airplane. Crassus orders the pilots to fly them to Louisiana.
Back at Lafayette Air Base, Doctor Manguy's story becomes front page news at the Washington Post. Before the story breaks, the government contractors in Washington revoke Manguy's grant and schedule him to return to Washington to answer possible charges of treason.
While packing up his office, Manguy receives a telephone call from Damien. Damien tells him that his friends and he are about 20,000 feet in the air and will be landing in Louisiana soon. Manguy tells him that he went to the papers with the story, and warns him that the military is going to be keeping an eye out for him. To cover up any embarrassment, they have been ordered to destroy Damien on sight.
The plane lands, and the Un-Men take their two Romanian hostages and meet with Doctor Manguy. Manguy tells them that he will do everything in his power to help them out. Damien, Manguy, the Un-Men and the hostages take shelter in an abandoned house deep in the swamp. After making sure that everyone is temporarily safe, Manguy returns to the base to suffer the consequences of his actions
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