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Quote1 I knew I had betrayed him. Just as Merzah said I would. Only thing was, Merzah never said I wouldn't have a choice. Maybe to the others Frank Cortez looked like some kind of avenging angel that day. Like some kind of mystical god, or somethin'. All I could see was a man with all the hope sucked from his soul, because of what I did. I knew that very day he was going to die. An' when he did, it was going to be my betrayal that sent him to his grave. Quote2
-- Slo-Mo Jones

Appearing in "Dulce et Decorum est..."

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  • Nazis (Only in flashback)

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Synopsis for "Dulce et Decorum est..."

As the unit prepared to attack a retreating German army in France in July of 1944, Merzah asked to have a word with Slo-Mo Jones. Merzah reveals that he knows about Slo-Mo having witnessed certain moments between Cortez and the American Ace. He warns Slo-Mo that a time would be coming soon when he would be tempted to reveal Cortez's secret to the rest of the group, but he urges him not to once the time came. Slo-Mo was constantly tempted to reveal Frank's secret because, as a black man, he was the lowest person in the social hierarchy of the unit. If he revealed Frank's secret, that would all change as Cortez would become the unit's outcast, however, Slo-Mo did do his best to keep his word to Merzah.

In the present day, Captain America (Steven Rogers) is urgently summoned to the Dept. of Defence's headquarters in Huntsville, Alabama. Here he learns about the secret nature of Operation Firefly, a project which holds a level fourteen security classification. Operation Firefly was a secret project of the United States Army Corps of Engineers and was run concurrently with a number of other projects which were aimed at a singular goal. One of these other projects, which Captain America is familiar with, was an intelligence directive known as Project Alberta. In July of 1944 the Captain had travelled to Wendover Army Airfield in Utah to meet with a Colonel Ledford to discuss the transfer of Taxi Taylor from the Crazy SUE's. Captain America felt that Taxi and his T-Mech were imperative to the continued success of the SUES' operations in Northern France. The Colonel divulges that the SUES' operations in Europe and the Pacific are merely training grounds and that they are being groomed for a much bigger operation. He reveals that in 1940 the government began a very important and expensive project that will eventually turn the tide of the war. The Crazy SUES are an important part of a highly classified operation known as Project Alberta. Taylor has been reassigned to an intelligence gathering under the direct command of Ledford. The rest of the SUES are ordered to continue with their mission, with a particular emphasis on the progress of Captain Flame. Ledford gives the Captain a set of instructions to follow for Cortez's development, stating that "you're going to have to push him to his absolute limit."

Slo-Mo Jones continues to relate the history of the Crazy SUES to Alyssa, claiming that she, as the Young Avenger's granddaughter, is the only person he would trust with this information. In late August of 1944 the unit liberated Paris despite harsh resistance from the Nazis. The men decided to go chasing some girls during a little downtime after Paris had been liberated. When Captain Strong invited American Ace along he refused, stating that he was a happily married man. This comment greatly upset Cortez, who stormed off amidst the confused stares of the rest of the unit. Soon after the unit continued to move across the French countryside, a much more dangerous task without the services of Taxi Taylor and T-Mech. The unit acted as reconnaissance for the 101st airborne. The unit was ambushed in a small French village, with Moon Man being shot in the throat. The unit was pinned down under heavy fire while Slo-Mo and Cortez watched from a position nearby. Slo-Mo recognized that the SUES would have little chance if they did not do something to save them, watching as the Invisible Man was also shot, though not fatally. Despite Slo-Mo's pleading, Cortez said that he wasn't able to do it anymore, that he just couldn't go out there. Running out of options and wanting to save his friends, Slo-Mo threatens Cortez by saying that unless he goes out there he will tell the rest of the unit about his relationship with American Ace and that he is a homosexual. Slo-Mo recognized that he had betrayed Frank, just as Merzah said he would, but he hadn't seen any other way to save everyone else. He knew at that moment that Frank was going to die and that it was his betrayal that caused it.

Slo-Mo ends his recounting of events here and reminds Alyssa that she made him a promise. He then hands her a list of names and addresses, telling her to visit them in order to understand the rest. Alyssa then leaves, saying that she will come back tomorrow. When she gets outside of Slo-Mo's house, however, she is met by two government agents claiming that she needs to go with them. They take her phone and shove her inside of a waiting limousine where she comes face-to-face with none other than Captain America and Nick Fury.

Notes

  • "Dulce et Decorum Est" was a poem written by Wilfred Owen during World War I known for its horrific imagery.[1]
  • Though originally solicited as an eight issue mini-series, this proved to be the final issue, with the rest of the issues canceled due to the series' poor sales, leaving the plot unresolved.[2]

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