Firsts and Lasts
Miss DeCobray, if you're nasty.
|"Firsts and Lasts"|
|First published||February 3, 2010|
|Cover date||February 2010|
|Written by||Marc Andreyko|
|Art by||Ben Templesmith|
|Letters by||Robbie Robbins|
|Assistant editor||Carlos Guzman|
When the leader of the terrorist Red Hand is captured, the Baroness confronts her past and the path that brought her to Cobra.
As the Baroness silently laments the "fools" she is surrounded by from an apartment in Capetown, she notices a news report on the television, declaring that Umberto Gaspare — terrorist leader of the Red Hand, and a man she is familiar with — has been captured in the Netherlands. One of the Baroness's co-conspirators turns to ask her thoughts, but she has already left out of the window. On the flight to the Netherlands, she is recognised by a man who asks for the seat next to her; she threatens him into silence, wanting to be left alone with her thoughts.
Years ago, a young Anastasia DeCobray is pulled from her bedroom by her mother to attend a party their family is holding, though she has no interest in being there nor meeting the guests. On arrival, Anastasia is introduced by her father to Lord Alberti, but the young woman's confusion turns to horrified anger when she realises that her father intends an arranged marriage between the two. When Anastasia angrily protests, her father declares that she should have died instead of her brother, which is the last straw for Anastasia; despite her mother's assurances that her father will forgive her, Anastasia packs her things and leaves her family's mansion, intending to never see them again.
While on her way to class in Rome, Anastasia is intrigued by the words of the revolutionary agitator Umberto Gaspare, who is calling for uprising against the corrupt aristocracy in the streets. When she goes up to speak with him, Umberto is enamored with her wit and passion, and invites her to a meeting of the Red Hand that night; and, after she offers the group pieces of jewelry from her former, aristocratic life, the two begin sleeping together. Anastasia wishes to be taught everything that Umberto knows about violent revolution, as she has plans of her own — plans to execute dozens of aristocrats, of whom she was once a member...
Returning to the DeCobray estate, Anastasia is spotted by a maid, who alerts her presents to her presence. Though they assume that Anastasia has returned to them, she curses them as idle rich, born into opulence and privilege and knowing nothing beyond it. Leaving once more, she is met by Umberto, and — with his encouragement — detonates the explosives she had planted, killing her family and their guests — though she cannot stop a tear from falling from her eye.
In Morocco, Anastasia meets with Umberto, who has a gift for her: fake identification papers, cash, and the address of a safe-house... but not another mission. Things have become too dangerous, and they must separate... something that Anastasia seems to accept. Instead, however, she continues her revolutionary crusade alone; from Syria to Moscow to Athens, she deals with terrorist groups and performs assassinations in her one-woman war. In Berlin, she notices two men tailing her; when she turns on them, one flees while the other cracks a poison capsule in his tooth, and dies. She follows the escaping man back to his lair, where she is met by a group of armed terrorists... and single-handedly takes them down, as none are willing to fire thanks to their stashes of live ammunition. In the aftermath, she asks if she has passed the "test", and a man steps out of the shadows to congratulate her on behalf of his masters: Cobra.
After checking into the Hotel Europa in disguise, the Baroness breaks into the prison in the Hague where Umberto is being held, killing the guards and blowing her way past the security. In Gaspare's cell, he is overjoyed to see his "snowflake" once more, and makes to escape with her... but the Baroness is not there on a rescue mission. Despite Umberto's protests, she executes him in his cell before leaving... with a single tear of blood running down her face.
(Numbers indicate order of appearance.)
"Hello, little girl. Are you lost?"
"Neither a little girl nor lost."
"Ohohoho! You have fire in your belly, eh?"
"And not much else, unfortunately."
- —Sparks fly between Umberto Gaspare and Anastasia DeCobray
G.I. Joe references
- "Anastasia DeCobray" was given as the Baroness's name in the Marvel A Real American Hero series... but there, it was an alias concocted by Major Bludd to disguise her identity while at a plastic surgery clinic. Her real name in the Marvel comics was "Anastasia Cisarovna".
- The Baroness being an aristocrat who was brought into terrorist conspiracies by student radicalism comes from her original filecard.
- Cover A: The Baroness does a sexy pose, by Tom Feister.
- Cover B: Wraparound cover of the Baroness, by Ben Templesmith.
- Cover RI: The Baroness, by Ben Templesmith.
- Astro-Zombies exclusive cover: The Baroness (again), by Ben Templesmith.