TO: UNIT 3 Chicago
SUBJECT: Specimen Retrieval
TARGET: Shadowy hunter-killer teams, ID'ed via signature kills worldwide. Identifiable only by skull-spine removal from victims. No witnesses, no forensics, no particular race targeted. On rare occasions, scraps of what appear to be playing cards found at murder sites.
OBJECTIVE: Locate and capture any member of such teams. MUST be taken alive for study and observation.
AUTHORIZATION APPROVED FOR USE OF OUTSIDE CONTRACTOR: Individual ID'ed only as "Cross" and his team. A pure mercenary outfit, well known throughout criminal underworld--no inside informants available. Ruthless, undeterred by risk, rumored never to fail, but UNDER NO CIRCUMSTANCES to be trusted. No known political or social objective, but has proven treacherous when retained by government in the past.
UPDATE: Cross and his team claim to have identified a pattern to the signature-kills, and believe they can predict a forthcoming strike. They are prepared to personally confront-and-capture, but financial arrangement alone not sufficient. What you describe as a "Get Out of Jail Free" card is hereby APPROVED.
Having appeared in short stories and comics, Cross, the ultra-pragmatic man-for-hire, makes his full-length fiction debut in this lively cartoon in prose from Anthony Award finalist Vachss (Batman: The Ultimate Evil). Cross and his unusual crew (Buddha, Ace, Princess, and Rhino) operate from a Chicago subterranean poolroom known as Red 71. Another group of similarly unusual characters (Percy, Tiger, Tracker, Wanda, and the blond man ) want to hire Cross to find a live specimen of a creature that removes the spinal cords of its victims as trophies. Such a creature, described as a blotchy mass or shadowy blob, flows down the sides of an abandoned gas station in one chilling scene. The devastating climax comes at one creature s chosen killing field a federal prison divided among hostile groups of whites, blacks, and Latinos. Vachss effectively channels Predator and Rambo in this heated blend of fantasy and machismo in the urban jungle.