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The Sad, Sad Song of Widow Johnson, Part Four is a comic book episode of Sparks Nevada, Marshal on Mars.

Purchase

Purchase at Simon and Schuster.

Cast

Plot

In the continuation of the USSA Academy story, Sparks and Mercy have evacuated everyone else off their starcraft, and are preparing to be rammed by the enemy starcraft when Mercy is preparing to confess something to Sparks. It's then revealed that the plug was pulled on the entire simulation. Stacy and Caiaphas attempt to comfort Sparks before Sparks and Caiaphas fight about whether or not Sparks will ever retake the test. Sparks insists he won't, because he was sure he was going to win and Caiaphas didn't trust him.

In the present-day story, the town is filled with USSA troops, who are ordering the townsfolk around and have imprisoned Mr. Johnson in the Marshal Station jail. Sparks insists he deserves the benefit of the doubt, but Caiaphas beams himself, Sparks and Stacy up to the Indomitable's War Room, against Sparks' objections. Sparks insists that Orna Peganu manipulated the USSA into believing Mr. Johnson is dangerous, despite the elder Nevadas showing Sparks a holo of Mr. Johnson's true form.

They then beam back down to the marshal station, where Croach is displeased at the use of teleport technology. Stacy and Caiaphas continue to insist Mr. Johnson is dangerous as Wendy Johnson arrives. Croach detects that Mr. Johnson indeed has an energy signature that is extremely not human. This causes Mr. Johnson to then remember who he really is, and change form to a qualifradraxian, a four-eyed, horned alien who is large enough that humans come up his knees.

The being formerly known as Mr. Johnson then begins attacking the USSA troops, and Stacy activates the code phrase "Playful Penguins Prancing". She tells Sparks they have to evacuate the planet, as the USSA is about to blow up Mars to kill the qualifradraxian. Caiaphas explains that they don't have a choice, a qualifradraxian has limited reality-shifting capabilities and can wipe out an entire solar system with a thought. Mrs. Johnson is stunned, even as the qualifradraxian insists he's still a human as he's fighting the USSA agents, the Nevadas and Croach.

Felton arrives, panicking at current events. Sparks insists that the USSA will not blow up the planet, and that the Nevadas and Croach can use the mecha-suit to defeat Mr. Johnson. Stacy and Caiaphas are skeptical, which reopens the old wound that Caiaphas does not believe in him, as seen in the USSA Academy simulation. Caiaphas then reveals that Stacy shut off the simulation because she couldn't bear to see the death off Sparks' hope, while Caiaphas wanted to see the scenario play out and would have been proud of Sparks even as he would have learned a lesson about failure. Caiaphas is then annoyed to see that Sparks isn't mad at Stacy, though his son resented him for years for something he did not do.

Sparks reiterates that in this current no-win scenario that he can win, and tells Croach to follow him and back him up, which Croach readily agrees to. Sparks then tries to convince the qualifradraxian that a part of him still is Mr. Johnson. Wendy also does the same, and the qualifradraxian reverts back to his human form, apologizing for the mess he's caused.

Mr. Johnson then touches Wendy's head and restores her memories. She sees herself and Felton, romantically watching shooting stars near a lemon farm. Mr. Johnson in qualifradraxian form arrives, mind-controlling the farmer to give him his lemon farm. He sees Felton and Wendy, overhearing their conversation, where she is about to reveal Felton is going to be something. Instead, the qualifradraxian mind controls Wendy to be in love with him, and Felton to be afraid. Out of the flashback, Mr. Johnson confesses he didn't expect to likewise fall in love with Wendy, but he did.

Felton begins to also remember his previous relationship with Wendy, though Mr. Johnson wishes to continue to stay a human and remain married to Wendy. Stacy and Caiaphas debate executing Mr. Johnson now or taking the chance on taking him in to be tried for his crimes. Mr. Johnson insists the only person who matters here is himself, when he is shot.

It's revealed that Wendy shot Mr. Johnson for altering people's memories and killing others. Stacy and Caiaphas call off the destruction of Mars, while Sparks is upset they didn't do so sooner.

With the human body dead, the qualifradraxian's power leaks out of the body, mind-affecting all those present to forget about the qualifradraxian, and implanting memories that a beloved Mr. Johnson sacrificed himself to kill the qualifradraxian. Wendy insists that she will not forget her love for Felton, but the implanted memories quickly take over.

Struggling to hold onto his memories, Sparks uses Caiaphas' badge to have the Indomitable's telportman beam Mr. Johnson's body into the burnt-out qualifradraxian sun. Caiaphas tells Sparks he's proud of him, just before the last of their memories of the day's events are overwritten. The elder Nevadas leave, Stacy giving her son a warm goodbye with a kiss on the cheek, while Caiaphas' farewell is much cooler.

Croach kisses Sparks on the cheek as well, to thank him for saving the planet. While grossed out by the kiss, Sparks is touched by Croach's offer to stay by his side in order to work off the planet-saving onus, and promises to give Croach a fair shake. They argue about onus.

Wendy and Felton both express to each other that they're unsure why, but they both feel like they can never love again.

Notes

  • This is the first time Sparks' parents meet Croach the Tracker. Stacy and Croach meet again in Crisis on Infinite Marses, Part 1 (TAH #196).
  • It's probable that during the flashback, Wendy was going to tell Felton that he's going to be a father, making Felton the true father of The Baby Johnson.
  • Croach's displeasure at teleportation technology can be traced back to the M Bar episode Terror in 2001 Feet, though this is the first mention of it in current canon.
  • The mecha-suit was also used offscreen later in canon-time, earlier in real-time in the episode Do the Fight Thing (TAH #57).
  • Felton and Wendy do eventually reignite their romantic connection (Sheriff on Mars), though their current romantic status is unknown.

Continuity

Production

  • Writers: Ben Acker and Ben Blacker
  • Illustrations & Cover: J. Bone
  • Color Art: Omi Remalante
  • Letter Art: Marshall Dillon
  • Sparks Nevada: Marshal on Mars Logo: Chris Eliopoulos
  • Packaging & Editing: Nate Cosby
  • Book Design: Nate Cosby & Vincent Kukua
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