The 52 Gang

52GangIn 1962, the 52 Gang was a global criminal organization with member code names based on playing cards.  Led by the Ace of Spades who was later revealed to be the criminal Little Notting, the 52 Gang’s leadership was called the Royal Flush and consisted of the Ace, King, Queen, Jack and ten of Spades, because Spades were trump.  Gang member identity and appearance was kept secret, with all members wearing a form-fitting black mask and shirt at all times.  The shirts were adorned with a card patch, identifying each individual.

Shortly after Diet Smith revealed the brand new Space Coupe to Dick Tracy, three members of the 52 Gang, including the King of Spades kidnapped the Coupe’s main engineer Dyne O’Matick at knife-point and forced him to fly the vehicle for them.  With Dyne flying, the gang first picks up the head of the World Law Enforcement group, Orner Jamison and jettison him into orbit.  Next, gambling tsar Jimmy Gander was killed and hung from the top of the steeple at Northdale Union Station and finally a Bolivian editor named Gomets was picked up in the United Stations and dropped to his death on the steps of his office in Bolivia.  This cinched it for Tracy, he knew the Space Coupe had been stolen to move the body so quickly.

Following the period of high activity, the entire gang gathers on a mesa plateau where to celebrate and relax.  A small two-man prop plane flew over the plateau and a look out, Six of Diamonds fired his handgun on the plane.  This stupid display endangers the gang and together they throw Six over the edge to the coyotes below.  The two men flying the plane were taking scenic pictures and report the shooting to police.  When their pictures are reviewed the Space Coupe is seen in one. Dick Tracy is called in and parachutes down to the mesa plateau in the dead of night, killing Ten of Spades (also known as Simmy Colon) and putting on his black shirt and mask, using it to go undercover.  While posing as Ten, he is approached by the Queen of Spades who has a relationship with the Ten of Spades.  Tracy feigns the loss of his voice due to partying and waits for an opportunity to retake the Space Coupe.

Attending a Royal Flush meeting, he learns the gang intends to use the Space Coupe to expand their organization world-wide and the Ace and King plan to take the Space Coupe to Hong Kong to check up on an import business.  By this point the Queen of Spades has become suspicious of Tracy, who is not acting like the Ten of Spades.  She listens at his door and overhears his report back to headquarters.  Dick however notices her shadow at the door and pulls her inside and renders her unconscious.  Tracy stows away on the Space Coupe, still flown by Dyne O’Matick with the Ace and King.  In flight he tries to arrest and ends in a fis fight with the pair.  The King of Spades is jettisoned into orbit while the Ace is taken prisoner and returned to headquarters with the Space Coupe.  The Ace of Spades is revealed to be the criminal Little Notting.

Tracy and his team return to the mesa in a helicopter, shoot up the gang’s helicopters with a tommy gun and demand the criminals surrender.  The Queen of Spades refuses and fires on the helicopter, which drops napalm in response, setting the plateau ablaze.  The Queen continues to fire on the helicopter and her own men when they attempt to surrender with a white flag.  Everyone on the plateau either jumps to their death to avoid the flames, is shot or burns to death on the rock.  The Queen of Spades herself finally leaps over the edge, still firing her machine gun.  The 52 Gang was totally wiped out, with all but the Ace of Spades (who is in custody) reportedly killed.

One Response to The 52 Gang

  1. Shawn says:

    Great Dick Tracy adventure! Tracy parachuteson an isolated mesa and kills a gang leader by throwing him over a cliff. Tracy takes over his identity and infiltrates the gang. This is an exciting sequence and it takes place during the real life drama of the Cuban Missile Crisis in 1962. This was the pre miranda rights in early 1960s America. Tracy and the cops napalmed the crooks and they all burned to death . The Queen of Spades went out in a blaze of glory and machined gun to death those who tried to surrender. This more violent than the comic books and TV shows of the times. I’m sure boys who read this story in a few years slogged thru the rice paddies in Vietnam and used napalm against the enemy.

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