Original Release Date: February 24, 2009
All right, there's a lot going on here.
First, as far as I know, there is no Steele Center in San Francisco. It was just a building I made up to host the charity ball. In hindsight, I feel as though I should have spelled Center "Centre" so that both it and Steele ended with an E. Also, I'm not entirely certain, but I have a feeling I got the name Steele from Steele Mansion in Hartville, Missouri, a historic landmark my wife introduced me to shortly after we started dating.
Also on this page, we see the power core for Pratt's Death Ray. I have an odd fascination with power cores and main reactors and warp cores and other pulsing, centrally located energy sources. I believe it comes from having to blow up a lot of them in video games, especially Bionic Commando, where blowing up reactors at the end of each level was essential to progressing through the game. Then there's Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi, both of which involve blowing up a power generator and a main reactor, respectively. And we can't forget Star Trek, where the warp core and keeping it up and running is always a big deal. All three volumes of Mike and the Ninja involve a big machine like this. It wasn't by design; I just think I like them a lot, so they coincidentally showed up in each volume. The three volumes have a lot of parallels in them. I guess that's not necessarily bad, but I could see it getting criticized.
Lastly, Pratt goes full supervillain here by throughly explaining his plans to the heroes he assumes will be dead shortly. Also, notice how he explicitly asks Tiffany and Gary to leave Mike and Renee unattended? That's a little jab at every villain in history who has left the heroes to die, only to be thwarted thereafter. Come on, bad guys. By now, you should know not to do this.