PLANET OF VAMPIRES #2

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“Quest for Blood!”
Writer: John Albano
Artist: Pat Broderick

The story finds Captain Gallant and his wife captive of a gang outside the dome. The man they helped rescue has challenged the leader to fight for the leadership. He wins and Gallant is able to persuade him to unite the warring gangs against the vampires of the dome. Joined by their astronaut compatriots another couple, Gallant manages to destroy pursuing vampire floaters when they set a trap by detonating the atomic reactor on their captured floater. This convinces the other tribes that they can band together but are too late. The Domies attack in force and their superior firepower wins the day. The two female astronauts are captured to mate with the vampire leader. The husbands vow to destroy the vampires.

The second book continues to set up the vampire world. I love the plans of Gallant. He wants the gangs to salvage parts from airports and build fighter jets. Real ambitious for street gangs. Also the cover is a bit misleading. It has the vampires as Dracula when in fact the vampires are normal humans. Humans that need blood but do not in any way look like Dracula. A really interesting concept for a comic book.

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KA-ZAR #2

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“Sightless in a Savage Land!”
Writer & Artist: not listed.

Matt Murdock aka Daredevil is heartbroken that the woman he loves doesn’t love him. So he decides to take a long cruise. While on the cruise his ship is attacked by the Plunderer. The Plunderer takes him prisoner and Daredevil finds himself in the Savage Land. The Plunderer is looking for Ka-zar and is not disappointed. Ka-zar and Zabu attack the Plunderer setting off his supply of explosives. In the fight Daredevil loses his radar sense and is truly blind. Ka-zar manages to rescue Daredevil and leaves him with Zabu as he goes to find the juice of the Ju-Ju berry that will heal Daredevil. The plant that it comes from proves more than a match for Ka-zar as the story ends with Ka-zar entangled in the plants vines. Zabu comes to the rescue leaving the blinded Daredevil to face Maa-gor an ape man.

“From the Sky….Winged Wrath!”
Writer: Jerry Siegal
Artist: George Tuska

Warren Worthington III aka the Angel lives a normal life of a teenager when not stopping bank robberies. As the winged mutant X-man he has to hide his wings from everyone he knows even his family. While out on a date the Dazzler a leader of a criminal organization (Not the be confused with the blonde mutant character.) sends out hit men to kill Angel’s father. When he hears about it on the radio he goes off on a quest for vengeance against his fathers killers.

“The Secret of Ka-zar’s Origin!”
Writer: Stan Lee
Artist: Jack Kirby and John Romita

Daredevil is saved from Maa-gor by the arrival of the Plunder and his gang. Zabu manages to save Ka-zar from the Ju-Ju plant. When Ka-zar returns he and Zabu are captured by the Plunder. The Plunder is revealed to be Ka-zar’s long lost brother. He needed the other half of his medallion. The medallion will unlock the room where a rare metal that has destructive powers in locked up. Luckily the Ju-Ju berries that Ka-zar got heals Daredevils sight and he is able to free Ka-zar and stop the Plunder.

The two stories are reprints from Daredevil’s comics. They actually take place before the story printed in the first issue. Don’t know why it was printed out of order unless for space reasons. I found this story an interesting read even with the hokey way that Ka-zar talks. The Angel back up feature was ok. A good story that I found just a little too short.

SCOUT #2

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“Little Red Rooster”
Writer & Artist: Timothy Truman

We open with Scout hiding out in the hills from a cobra gunship. He manages to bring it down and heads toward Houston with Missy a seventeen year old girl that he rescued from the Owl man. His next stop is an Agcorp in New Mexico run by Secretary of Agriculture Waltz. Waltz is also the Buffalo man one of the four monsters. He’s the most powerful but not a very good shot which allows Scout to toss him into an automatic threshing machine. Two monster out of the way as Scout and Missy head to Houston. On their trail are two of Scout’s old ranger comrades Sgt. Raymond Vaughn and Rosanna Winters.

“A Different Kind of Tension”
Writer: John K. Synder III & Chris Fauver
Artist: John K. Snyder III

Doctor Cruel and his henchwoman Roxanne are taunting Frances Knight and the girls of Fashion In Action with their failure to protect Johnny Mars. F.I.A. is facing financial ruin and it looks as if Dr. Cruel has a personal vendetta against F.I.A. The story ends with Dr. Cruel launching an attack on the F.I.A.’s base at the Statue of Liberty from his dirigible.

The second Scout story just rolls along with plenty of action and monsters from Apache folklore. I love how Truman is able to integrate the Apache myths into the storyline. He has a real love and knowledge of their culture. He also has very accurate detail in his art. Including realistic helicopters and guns. He get a glimpse of the main opposition in President Grail and the former comrades that will be sent to stop Scout.

The Fashion in Action story is just not interesting me. Not much happens and I just don’t seem to be getting into the story.

THE WARLORD #1

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“This Savage World”
Writer & Artist: Mike Grell

After escaping from Thera, Tara finds time to teach Morgan how to fight with a sword. Morgan’s a quick study and Tara teaches one more valuable lesson. Always expect the unexpected as she throws him to the ground unexpectedly. The two set out to reach Tara’s home of Shamballah. Along the way the two have to battle dinosaurs and a satyr. A party of slave raiders manages to ambush them. Morgan is able to saw through Tara’s collar with his dog tags but is discovered before the two are ready. A fight results in Morgan putting Tara on a horse so she can escape but at the cost of Morgan’s freedom. For costing the slave master a good horse and woman Morgan is tied to a tree to die.

The first in the new series introduces us to the savage world of Skartaris. It’s is a veritable garden of Eden but has many dangers. Grell has beautiful artwork and a fast paced plot. It also ends with a cliffhanger and shows a world that will have elements of fantasy and adventure.

THE RAMPAGING HULK #2

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“And then…..The X-men!”
Writer: Doug Moench
Artists: Walt Simonson & Alfredo Alcala

The story finds the Hulk angry as usual and leaving the city of Rome. His long jumps take him to France where he is attacked by a giant creature. A creature that is a mutation created by the Krylorians. This mutation like ones before it proves unstable and disappears. At this time the X-men have come to Paris to investigate the reports of giant mutant creatures that have been attacking the city. The Hulk comes to Paris and at the Eiffel Tower battles the X-men until the arrival of the latest Krylorian latest mutant. Hulk and the X-men combine forces and defeat the Krylorians in Paris.

“X-men X-posed!” by Ralph Macchio
An article on the X-men. It gives a good history on how and why the comic group was formed. A brief dossier on each of the key members and an overview on the storyline for the X-men up to the present with was 1977 when this article was written.

“Scream, The Strike!”
Writer: John Warner
Artists: Bob Brown & Rudy Nebres

Bloodstone goes to his island with Brad and Samantha. It is there that he finds Goram there looking for more pieces of the Bloodstone. At this time Killer Shrike is also there. He is an agent for the Conspiracy and is eager to find out the third party behind Goram. Shrike tries to lure Goram off the island to follow him back to his master. During this he gets into a fight with Bloodstone. Bloodstone manages to defeat Shrike while his partner Brad follows the departing Goram. Brad ends up captured by Goram’s master who is not revealed in this story.

The second in the series is another fun read. The early X-men guest star and another plan by the Krylorians is defeated. I enjoy this retro look for the Hulk. He is still a savage angry beast in the early days. The Hulk that I originally grew up with.

The article was an interesting filler I was quite informative about the X-men.

The Bloodstone backup story is also going strong. We get to see Bloodstones island which is very futuristic. It sets up a plot that scientists are mysteriously being kidnapped and a cliffhanger that keeps a main villain a mystery.

PLANET OF VAMPIRES #1

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“The Long Road Home!”
Writer: Larry Hama
Artist: Pat Broderick

It is the far future of 2010 and the Ares VII mission is returning from its five year mission to Mars. Getting no answer from Earth the crew splash down off Coney Island in New York. There the crew is attacked by savages and one of their number killed but the other four are saved by a floater from the domed city. The ‘Domies’ as the inhabitants of a futuristic domed city in Manhattan are called take the survivors inside. At first the crew is relieved that there is still civilization after a nuclear war destroyed the planet.

But there is a sinister side to the city. The crew finds that the Domies are taking the savages and bleeding them dry in a mechanized assembly line. The savages outside have developed immunities to the diseases while the Domies are not immune. Thus they use the savages blood to drink and are in effect vampires. The crew free the captives and in a gun battle escape the domed city. But a hostile gang of savages awaits them outside.

The first in a short lived series from Atlas comics. Atlas was a company formed by a disgruntled former founder of Marvel who was unhappy his son was fired from Marvel so decided to form a rival company. Well history shows that Marvel clearly came out on top. This series is a fascinating idea. God am I old. I remember when 2010 was a long way into the future. A future that envisioned a mission to Mars and black men that still wore Afros and talked jive. Amusing how it turned out. The story is a blend of “Planet of the Apes”, “Omega Man” and a Hammer horror film. Surprised that this title was never revived.

KA-ZAR #1

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“The Coming of Ka-zar”
Writer: Stan Lee
Artist: Jack Kirby

The X-men are watching TV when a report of an Antarctic expedition is attacked by a man in a loincloth and a saber-toothed tiger. The group heads down to Antarctica and finds a hidden land. A land that still has dinosaurs and savage men. The X-men are attacked by the swamp people and they capture Jean Grey. Luckily Ka-zar and Zabu his saber-toothed tiger helps in the rescue. This is a story from the X-men and was the first story that introduced Ka-zar.

“In his Footsteps…The Huntsman of Zeus.”
Writer: Allyn Brodsky
Artists: Frank Springer and Dick Ayers

Hercules the son of Zeus is trouble with his father. Getting bored with Olympus he decides to take off and head back to the world of mortals. This infuriates Zeus who decides to send his feared Huntsman after his disobedient son. A nice little filler story between the main stories.

“The Mystery of the Midnight Stalker.”
Writer: Stan Lee and Gene Colan
Artist: Frank Giacola

Daredevil has just completed a mission in a small European country. While passing through England he reads in the newspaper that his old friend Ka-zar is in trouble. Reports are coming in that Ka-zar and his saber-toothed pal Zabu are terrorizing the countryside. Now Ka-zar is holed up in his family castile while the militia is called out to bring him to justice. Daredevil goes to Castle Plunder and with Ka-zar’s help discovers that his brother the Plunderer is behind framing Ka-zar so he could inherit the family estate. A reprint of a story from Daredevil.

The first special Ka-zar book does a good job of reprinting the early guest appearances of the Tarzan inspired Ka-zar. I always enjoyed the Savage Land that exists in the Antarctic filled with dinosaurs and savage tribes. I guess I’m a sucker for dinosaurs. The Hercules story was an appropriate backup to fill space. I do notice that these early stories do seem to be a bit verbose. Still there is a nostalgia for the simple charm of these old stories.

SCOUT #1

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Writer and Artist: Timothy Truman

It is 1999 and America is an economic and ecological basket case. Out of the desert comes Emmanuel Santana an Apache trained by the army and on a mission. He is to stop the four monsters from Apache legend and their leader the President of the United States. He’s guided by the Gahn a spirit that comes in the form of various animals like a grasshopper and a squirrel. The first monster is a pornographer who is the Giant Owl Man. The Giant Owl Man in legend had sought to love a human woman. But he was too large and the woman died. In frustration he cut off the part and then realized that was a big mistake. He then takes his frustration out by killing women. Scout makes short work of the Giant Owl Man. One down and three to go.

“Fashion In Action part I.”
Writer: John Snyder III and Chris Fauver
Artist: John Snyder III

It is New Years Eve 2086 and Johnny Mars is hosting the New Years Eve bash in New York. He has hired Fashion in Action the highest priced and best dressed celebrity protection agency. Lead by the eye patched beauty Frances Knight FIA has a reputation of success. Now that reputation in is jeopardy when Doctor Cruel succeeds in kidnapping Johnny Mars.

The first in the Scout series starts out strong. I loved the dystopian future world that he inhabits. You don’t know if Scout is crazy or their really are monsters. The story lets the reader make up his own mind on that question.

The Fashion In Action back up is ok. I didn’t really get into it but I do love the concept and the name. Maybe it will grow on me.

1ST ISSUE SPECIAL #8 THE WARLORD

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“Land of Fear”
Writer and Artist: Mike Grell

1969 Lt. Colonel Travis Morgan is flying a mission over Siberia in an SR-71 spy plane. The mission is to get photographs of a secret military base. A missile launch opens up the fuel tank and forces Morgan to fly a route over the North Pole to make it back to Alaska. Just when he thinks he’s done for land is sighted. Parachuting out he lands in a tropical jungle. A jungle without a horizon and filled with dinosaurs.

Morgan has landed in Skartaris a world inside our Earth. Soon he saves a beautiful woman from a dinosaur and then gets captured by soldiers and taken to Thera. There his pistol awes the inhabitants and he is looked upon as a god and at the same time earns the enmity of Deimos the high priest. An assassination attempt forces Morgan and the girl Tara to flee.

The 1st Issue Specials were a short lived series that were to showcase potential new series. Only the Warlord went on to its own series. This is my favorite comic book series. Obviously inspired by Burroughs Pellucidar series the world of Skartaris is full of savage men, lost cities, dinosaurs and strange technology. It struck the right balance of action and wonder that kept me enthralled as a kid and still does as an adult.

THE RAMPAGING HULK #1

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“The Krylorian Conspiracy!”
Writer: Doug Moench
Artists: Walt Simonson & Alfredo Alcala

It is 1963 and it is one year since the accident that transformed Bruce Banner into the Hulk. Deciding to leave America Bruce and Rick Jones decide to go to Rome and check out the reports of flying saucers. The flying saucers are part of an invasion force of the Krylorians. The Krylorians are a race of shapeshifters that have a secret base under the Tyrrhenian Sea. While landing in Rome Bruce gets upset and Hulks out. At this time Rick meets up with Bereet a renegade from Krylor and pursued by her fellow aliens. She is also a techno artist with a bag that she can pull out any number of gadgets and a mask that can transform into a ship. The Hulk has his first run in with the Krylorians and they find out the meaning of “Hulk Smash.”

“Trail of the Starstone!”
Writer: John Warner
Artists: John Buscema and Rudy Nebres

Ulysses Bloodstone is an immortal that has lived 10,000 years. He has been searching for fragments of the Bloodstone a gem that holds the key to the mysteries of the universe. 10,000 years ago it shattered and a piece lodged in the chest of Bloodstone, giving him his immortality. He is racing a mysterious Conspiracy for the fragments. On a cruise ship from Rio De Janiero Bloodstone and his sidekick Brad Carter and an investigative report Samantha Eden battle mysterious agents and a giant monster called Goram that are after a fragment. All of this is watched from afar by a mysterious creature with tentacles on his face called Ulluxy’l.

Back in the seventies the large black and white magazines were very popular and Marvel decided to jump on the bandwagon. After their successful Conan magazine they decided to roll out a mag with a popular Marvel character and thus the “Rampaging Hulk” was born. They decided to set the story back at the beginning in 1963 and the story starts out strong introducing the basic premise and characters.

The Bloodstone back up story also starts out strong. It sets up an intriguing character and I think an excellent choice for a back up feature.