A Cold Day in Hell
|A Cold Day in Hell|
|Comic Strip Info|
|Released:||April 2, 2014|
|Number of pages:||75|
|Artist:||Heather "makani" Campbell|
Maren "rennerei" Marmulla (cover)
|Writer:||Jay Pinkerton & Erik Wolpaw|
A Cold Day in Hell (also known as Team Fortress Comics #3) is a comic released on April 2, 2014. It is the third part of a seven-part comic series, picking up where Unhappy Returns left off. Originally, the series was supposed to be released bi-monthly, but after the publishing of the second issue Unhappy Returns (also known as Team Fortress Comics #2), the series has had much longer periods between releases.
The comic begins with an old woman sharing what she knows about the Heavy with the Soldier. She warns him not to follow Heavy due to the bitter cold, a suggestion the Soldier protests defiantly. Realizing she cannot stop the Soldier or his friends from searching for Heavy, she offers them famous American label, second economy coats for their journey, but illiterate Soldier believes the coats to be communist-made, so he rejects them, stating his "American-made" Mann Co. coat (actually made in China) is far better. Soldier's coat promptly rips into shreds, but he still refuses to take the Russian coats, much to Scout's disappointment (as he was still wearing his RED T-shirt). The trio of Soldier, Scout, and Pyro set off for the mountains of Siberia, where Heavy is known to be.
The scene switches to the estate of Charles Darling, the nemesis of Saxton Hale, where Hale's old girlfriend has led him. Hale is furious and becomes increasingly explicit, previously unaware that Darling was Maggie's employer. She attempts to explain, but Darling cuts her off, claiming it 'couldn't be simpler'. Darling asks if Hale approves of the mountings on his wall, and the latter expresses disbelief that Darling has been fighting animals. Darling reveals the animals mounted on his wall are not dead, but merely standing on boxes behind the wall and poking their heads through. He claims the animals, including a Himalayan wildebeest and a snow leopard, are the last of their kind and he wishes to make them immortal using Australium. Darling offers to help Hale re-obtain Mann Co. if Australium is given to him. Hale claims it will be easy, declaring he has a vault full of it. However, Darling explains to him that the vault had been emptied and that the Administrator, Helen, had something to do with it. Hale reveals he knows nearly nothing of her activities, so Darling explains that she had been stockpiling Australium for one hundred and fifty years, and raises the question "Why?"
The setting switches back to Siberia, where the Soldier (now sporting a ragged beard) is supposedly talking to "Christopher the Communist Mountain", who is merely a figment of Soldier's imagination. "Christopher" tells the Soldier that he is no closer to reaching the mountain. The mountain also claims there is food aplenty nearby, citing the wildlife (seen by the delirious Soldier as whole pot roasts), the Soldier's own hands (seen as colossal sandwiches), and even the Scout (seen as a giant hot dog) as potential meals. Soldier calmly tells the Scout that he will eat him. It is revealed that the hot dog was not imagined, but an actual costume, found on a crashed plane (supposedly piloted by Amelia Earhart). Scout explains that he put on the costume to escape the cold, and Pyro continues rummaging through the plane. Soldier inquires whether there are more costumes, which there are not, and Scout tells the Soldier that the latter will likely die.
Suddenly, the sound of bears nearby interrupts them. Soldier claims that the bears must have been attracted by something, citing the two potential attracters as honey or menstruating women. He berates the Pyro, at first humorously implying the Pyro is a menstruating woman, but promptly explains that he just needs the Pyro to stop blocking the plane's door. He realizes there are several crates of honey on the plane, which must have interested the bears. Soldier forms a plan to eat all the honey, thus losing the bears' interest, but that plan goes awry and they all get sick to their stomachs with a huge quantity of honey left. They come up with a Plan B - fix the plane - but the bears arrive before they can attempt to do so. A bear swipes at the Scout, causing a shower of bones everywhere, but the Scout is revealed to be fine, claiming those were the bones of Earhart that were stuck in the costume. The bear attacks again and the Scout swings a leg bone at it. The bear is defeated, but the bone snaps, and two more bears soon approach. Soldier decides to strip nude and cover himself in honey, planning to grapple the bears. Soldier snaps the neck of the second bear. The third bear, seen by Pyro as a friendly camp guide who claims 'fire is nobody's friend', is viciously ripped to shreds with the Fire Axe. The trio celebrates the defeat of the bears, and they soon catch Heavy's attention.
Heavy states the bears were babies. Scout expresses disbelief, claiming the Heavy calls everyone a baby, but Heavy reveals he was being serious and that they had angered the mother of the bears. Heavy prepares to fight the bear as the Scout begins bleeding out from an injury incurred during the encounter with the first bear, and the Soldier and Pyro eagerly look on.
A voice states 'the bear killed every last one of them', and it is revealed to belong to the clueless mayor of Teufort, but it is revealed that he was not talking about the mercs' predicament, but the origin of Teufort. According to him, the founder survived a bear mauling by hiding under his wife's corpse, and started a town called Hugginsville on top of where her body lay. Two rowdy teenage bullies forced him to rename it Two Farts, and out of fear, the founder never fully changed the name back, hence the name Teufort. The mayor concludes reading the story, asking the librarian if all the books are about Teufort. The librarian replies no, and the mayor tells him any books not about Teufort must now be burned. Gray Mann enters, asking the mayor for the genealogy records from the 1850's, but the mayor tells him they were all burned by a mysterious woman, and Gray becomes agitated, grasping the burnt tatters of Helen's genealogy certificate.
The comic returns to a close-up of the bear, who, upon a zoom-out, is revealed to be dead and on the dinner table of Heavy and his family. Soldier sits at the table (still naked), where the Heavy's mother stands polite and attentive, asking if he needs anything. Heavy is heard in the background, telling Soldier he needs to put some pants on. Soldier is then offered soup, and is suddenly greeted by the ghost of George Washington, ordering him to resist the soup's temptation. Another ghost, this one of Benedict Arnold, appears, telling Soldier that the greatest crime he had committed before dying was not eating soup, which Washington confirms. Arnold urges him to eat the soup, but Washington objects, leaving the Soldier torn at this moral decision. A ghost of the Scout's hot dog costume appears and interrupts the other ghosts, claiming that it was never eaten but that eating the soup could save its soul. The Heavy's mother turns to her son, incredulous, stating the Soldier had been screaming for five minutes over a simple bowl of soup. Scout's scream is heard then, revealing that he survived. Heavy's mother says that a woman named Zhanna (later revealed as one of Heavy's three younger sisters) is ministering to him, to which the Heavy expresses his objection.
Scout awakes from a nightmare, exclaiming that in the dream, the Spy was his dad. He panics, but soon realizes that it was merely a dream and relaxes, questioning where he is. He is greeted by Zhanna, who tells him she has not seen a man in twenty years. She expresses a desire for intercourse with Scout, which he promptly agrees to, but as he undresses, he hears the voice of Miss Pauling in his head, asking if Scout had forgotten about her. Scout objects, saying that in the six years that he knew her, they hadn't even gone on a date, but Pauling says that she would find it 'sexier than anything' if he waited patiently for her to change her mind. Scout agrees with her point, and begins to reject Zhanna with a lengthy explanation, but Zhanna leaves out of sheer boredom from Scout's talkativeness. She then picks up the Soldier, and it is implied that the pair make love.
Heavy's two other younger sisters, Yana and Bronislava, return from hunting, and Heavy greets them, saying they have company. The sisters begin picturing over-romanticized versions of Sniper and Spy. However, they are let down when they find the Scout, who loudly proclaims that he is "taken", the Pyro burning a napkin, and the Soldier, wearing a frilly pink dress and claiming he "has a girlfriend now". Scout begs for the Heavy to return, but he refuses, saying he must protect his family from danger, but Bronislava claims she's sick of the cabin and tells him the family can fend for itself now. Heavy doubts that, worried that the family would be taken to a gulag once more, but Yana tells him that an attempt was made to send them to one but they killed the men sent to do it. Heavy is shocked, realizing his sisters no longer need him and that they have grown up. Heavy turns back to Scout, asking if the mission was dangerous, if it paid well, and if they would get to destroy evil men. When Scout replies yes to all three (albeit unsure that they will be paid since he did not ask Miss Pauling), Heavy happily agrees to rejoin the mercs, to the jubilation of everyone present.
Everyone decides to leave together, with Zhanna and Soldier agreeing to return to America after the job is finished. Bronislava wants to visit Paris, and Yana expresses the desire to see New York. Heavy's mother wishes them good-bye, giving them a sack of bear meat for the trip, but Heavy decides his mother will come with them. Mother and son embrace each other happily.
The focus shifts once more, to Gray Mann and the under-renovation Mann Co. (being renamed Gray Mann Co.) Gray is talking to an unseen man, claiming that he had failed to deliver on his promise of finding the mercs. The man is then seen, revealed as the Heavy from Team Fortress Classic, and he asserts that he has already found the mercs and knows where they are going next. Gray questions why they haven't attacked, but is cut off as the TFC Heavy assembles his entire team, save for the TFC Medic. TFC Heavy questions where the 'new guy' is, and it is revealed that the Medic from Team Fortress 2 has replaced the TFC Medic. Medic questions their decision to leave so soon, saying he had yet to finish implanting baboon uteruses into the team. TFC Heavy grows angry and expresses his fury at this experiment, and Medic simply points to the TFC Demoman, apparently named Greg, and says he implanted three into him and Greg hadn't complained. Greg panics, unaware that the Medic was doing anything but filling a cavity. Medic asks TFC Heavy where they are going, to which the reply is hunting Medic's team. Medic, rather than objecting, sees this as a chance to pit his new experiments against his old ones, and claims it 'won't be a problem at all'.
The plot returns to Hale and Darling, with the latter confirming he had arranged travel for Hale and Maggie. The action switches to Scout on the phone with Miss Pauling (traveling with Demoman and Spy), confirming they had recruited Heavy. Pauling is pleased, telling them to get back across the border and report to the plane she had chartered in Kotzebue. Scout questions whether she thinks the Sniper is there in Australia, to which she confirms that it is certain. She expresses her hope that Sniper is happy to see them. The comic ends with the Sniper's iconic scope overlay aimed directly at Miss Pauling.
Pages (no text)
- On page 5, the Soldier is seen with a torn right sleeve, but on page 6 it is fixed. It returns to being ripped again on page 12.
- Throughout the comic, the Soldier's beard disappears and reappears twice.
- Page 11
- Charles Darling states that the Administrator has been "filling entire coal mines with bodies", a reference to Meet the Director.
- Pages 41-42
- The mayor reads about Claude Huggins founding The City of Teufort.
- An old woman in the library is reading a dictionary under the letter P, with a concerned look on her face. In the previous comic, she stated that she was going to find out what the word pedophile meant.
- Page 53
- The character on baby Scout's shirt is a cartoonized Francis the Talking France.
- There is also a doll of Poopy Joe visible in the bottom left corner.
- The baby Scout has blonde hair, suggesting it changed to brown from aging, or he uses dye.
- Pages 60-62
- The Heavy's backstory was first alluded to on page 4 of Meet the Director.
- Page 68
- The original mercenaries from Team Fortress Classic appear for the first time in the TF2 universe, although much older, and missing their original Medic, who is replaced by the modern Medic.
- Page 70
- Medic's plan to attach baboon uteri to the Classic mercs is a reference to Meet the Medic, where the Medic replaces Heavy's heart with a "Mega baboon" heart.
- Page 3
- The Soviet Union was the first of the Communist surveillance states, using listening devices to routinely monitor citizens and spy on foreign visitors.
- Page 4
- In 1972, the time-frame of the Comic, Sears was the largest American retailer and the label that Soldier cannot read is similar to Sears’ clothing label at that time.
- The MANN CO. "MADE IN CHINA" label Soldier is also unable to read denies Soldier's claim about the "American coat".
- Early "Made in China" products were known for their poor qualities, ironically similar to the products of Mann Co.
- Chinese mainland in real history hadn't opened its market before 1978, whereupon large US companies displaced entire manufacturing sectors to China.
- Page 13
- Christopher the Communist Mountain is a reference to Ismoil Somoni Peak (пик Коммуни́зма), which was called Communism Peak from 1962 to 1998.
- Page 18
- The fate of Amelia Earhart is a romantic mystery of the 1930s.
- Earhart's lost flight was last known to be following an early radio navigation beacon bearing on a course passing through Howland Island (her intended destination) and Nikumaroro (Gardner Island).
- It is not known for certain if Earhart was "on the beam" southeast or northwest of Howland Island; if she was northwest of Howland Island, she would have been heading to Siberia.
- Landfall of the northwest Nikumaroro-Howland Island navigation beam would have been the northern Dzhugdzhur Mountains.
- Page 22
- The Soldier stating that menstruating women can attract bears is a reference to Anchorman: the Legend of Ron Burgundy, in which Brick Tamland states that a woman's menstruation blood can attract bears.
- The implication of the Pyro being a menstruating woman in itself is a reference to the fact that the Pyro's gender is unknown.
- Page 29
- The line "Of all the bones in all the hot dog costumes in Siberia, I gotta get one made outta egg shells" spoken by the Scout is a reference to Humphrey Bogart's line in the 1942 movie Casablanca, in which he says: "Of all the gin joints in all the towns in all the world, she walks into mine."
- Page 32
- The bear on page 32, Smoulders, is a reference to Smokey Bear, a well-known fire prevention mascot.
- Pages 47 to 52
- The Soldier is visited by three spirits: Benedict Arnold's dialog references Jacob Marley's warning to Scrooge in A Christmas Carol.
- Page 55
- Scout argues he has known Miss Pauling for six years; 6 years, 5 months, and 23 days had passed between the release of the game Team Fortress 2 and the comic A Cold Day in Hell.
- Expedition Amelia, Nat Geo Channel, 2019.
- “To the north, the first landfall is Siberia,” says Gillespie. , "Amelia Earhart case leaps to life in diary", Los Angeles Time, APRIL 1, 2007.
- Charles Dickens, A Christmas Carol, "I must wander through the world and I wear the chains because I was so stingy in life. I only cared about business but not about the people around me. Now, I am here to warn you. You still have a chance, Ebenezer. Three spirits will come to you. Expect the first tomorrow, when the bell tolls one."