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Danger Trail 5
"Rendezvous in Peril"

COVER IMAGE NOT FOUND March-April 1951, 12 pages
Script: Robert Kanigher Pencils and Inks: Frank Giacoia

Johnny Peril thought he'd had enough of being a two fisted reporter for Wide World News but once it's in your blood...

Gallagher, the publisher of World Wide News, happened to be in the Rio de Janeiro office when Johnny was turning in his resignation. Johnny was tired of "dodging bullets in Berlin, rocks in Rumania, and scimitars in the Sahara" but Publisher Gallagher just scoffed. "You've got printer's ink in your blood, copy in your fingers, and a nose for news! You're a born correspondent... Take a vacation." Peril wouldn't hear of it, kissed a dame and made a beeline to get as far away from a deadline as possible.

Walking through the crowds he was relieved to be through with "...assassinations, stolen formulae, kidnapped scientists. No more excitement, mystery, or intrigue." Yeah, right!

In a scene Jimmy Olsen would later be famous for, Johnny spied a beautiful blonde jumping from an apartment balcony to escape a fire. Disregarding all laws of physics Johnny catches her flatfooted without a problem. All of a sudden a news photographer pops out of nowhere to snap a picture for to go along with the story he'll submit to Gallagher.

Peril vows he's still through with Gallagher's newspapers, magazines, wire services, and pictures (a modern day Rupert Murdoch), takes the hand of his rescued hubba-hubba and decides to head for the Cafe Calle, a haunt for newspapermen that just happened to be beyond a dark deserted alley when a gunsel threatens to cut him down and "make him a candidate for elevator shoes" (?). A right cross easily knocks out the thug and they make their way to the cafe. Editor Gallagher's there and he's evidentially forgotten he told Johnny he should take a vacation and starts ranting he'll be all washed up in the business unless he comes back.

Telling his other pals he's quit the newspaper business, Johnny ditches the blonde, goes outside the cafe, and runs into General Hernandez, one of his old hunting sidekicks. "South America's a powder keg. Keep your eye on Oro Ciudad", the City of Gold!, and they part ways as the General drives off.

Johnny leaves Gallagher in the dust by commandeering a car driven by a beautiful redhead and tells her to try to catch up to the General. As they approach the General's car shots are fired, Johnny LEAPS into the other vehicle and stops it in time to hear the General's dying statement about being wary of the City of Gold.

Peril and Carlota drive on to the next closest town to gather their thoughts when the ambush car starts shooting at them then pulls up next to them on the winding mountain trail. Johnny suddenly turns the wheel but the pursuers lose control and they go over the cliff in a smoking crash. The only item salvaged from the wreckage was a souvenir coin stamped ORO CIUDAD!

Carlota sticks with Johnny and the next day she invites him to see her friend Dr. Kurai, the champion abacus manipulator who has an exhibition against an operator of an adding machine. Maybe the Doctor will be able to figure out what or where Oro Ciudad is. One thing for sure, he knows it's LOADED WITH T.N.T.!

The contest begins and Dr. Kurai's fingers on the abacus are moving at a blurring speed. He seems to actually be going faster than the adding machine when disaster strikes! Don't you just hate watching a close contest when a feathered poisoned dart is fired from backstage killing the Doctor. But not before Kurai was able to leave a coded message on the abacus spelling out ORO CIUDAD if you match the letter of the alphabet with the beads. Is there nothing this ex-reporter can't figure out?

Carlota and Johnny leave the exhibition hall and wander through the side streets of the waterfront when another feathered dart whizzes just past them and strikes a sign advertising ORO Ciudad, a carnival taking place in the town of La Dena. Finally, a clue!

Approaching La Dena Johnny notices the passengers in the car next to him. Norton! Duval! Kingsbury! Weston! The car is filled with the military brains of the Brazil government, though I never thought so many Brazilian military personnel would have Anglo names. He quickly deduces they must be having a secret conference, lets the car pass and then follows them into the town for the carnival.

Johnny and Carlota decide to mingle into the carnival and went to the dart throwing booth. Johnny recognizes the darts as the ones that killed Dr. Kurai. The barker realizes the jig is up and draws a gun on the couple. Peril kicks the gun out of the guy's hand only to have his accomplice come out from the rear of the tent drawing another gun on Peril. But the bad guy was sloppy and Johnny raised both hands at once knocking out the other guy, too. Just by coincidence the two crooks slumped near "an automatic oxygen pumping outfit with an air hose attached to it! And it's working!"

Peril follows the hose and leaps into the canal where there's a diver at the other end of the air hose. Somehow the diver HEARS (?) Johnny coming and pulls a knife but Peril avoids the slash and opens the air valve on the diver's suit. The rush of air overinflates the suit and sends him up topside like a cork. Carlota calls some guards and the gang is arrested.

In a classic one panel explanation Carlota tells Johnny he must have broken up a dangerous spy ring planning to kill the local government military staff (?) and General Hernandez and Dr. Kurai were counter-intelligence agents on the trail of the gang when they were murdered.

Instinctively Johnny borrows an office and typewriter, always available at Brazilian carnivals I guess, and pounds out his story. He goes back to see his editor Gallagher for his old job back and is told once again he's a born foreign correspondent with printer's ink in his blood, copy in his fingernails and a nose for news.

Best of all, he has a new secretary - CARLOTA!

Whew, this story had a lot of action in it. I had to read it a couple of times to make sure I understood what was going on. I'm just glad it wasn't a six pager :-)

In the immortal words from Pee Wee's Big Adventure:

ACTION PACKED, PEE-WEE!