SCOUT #5

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“Killin’ Floor!”
Writer & Artist: Timothy Truman

Scout and Missy are able to sneak into the Astrodome to try and rescue Doody. Doody is being tortured by a Vietnamese guy while hung on a cross. At the same time Deluxe is able to meet with the Presidents right-hand man Bill Loper the head of a media empire. Deluxe and Loper were friends once but Loper is not able to help Deluxe free Doody. While leaving he runs into Scout and Missy and decides to come along to rescue Doody. Deluxe is killed in the attempt while Scout manages to rescue Doody. Scout at the end contemplates suicide but his spirit guide chipmunk Gahn talks him out of it.

“Broken English”
Writers: John K. Snyder III & Chris Fauver
Artist: John K. Snyder III
The F.I.A team are still looking for Frances Knight and have to stop the plan to turn celebrities into apes. Frances is set to fight Roxanne to the death in a gladiatorial style knife fight.

Well the Scout story is starting to get to a climax. A character dies. We get a glimpse of President Grail. A guy who sits in a dark chamber in a mechanical chair and bunny slippers. It sounds like he was picked to be President by people who wanted to control him but he ended up in charge. A very interesting story that has to still be told about him. Scout still comes off a bit whacko but a character you can sympathize with. The ending hints that there is a whole new sage that will begin in the next issue.

The Fashion in Action story is crawling along at an ameobic pace. Hardly anything happens in the story.

THE WARLORD #4

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“Duel of the Titans”
Writer & Artist: Mike Grell

Morgan’s army has arrived at Thera. True to his word Morgan has given this army of former gladiators and slaves all the modern weaponry of the medieval age. Crossbows, catapults to throw flaming death and siege towers. What he couldn’t have foreseen is Deimos and his Scrolls of Blood. Deimos concocts a huge demon out of thin air that proceeds to destroy the siege towers. But Deimos didn’t count on the Warlord. With his .44 Automag he is able to destroy the device that conjured up the demon. Then using the self-destruct device from his SR-71 which is full of plastic explosive he blows the gates. Morgan and Deimos meet and fight to the finish with Morgan victorious.

A really great story. Grell doesn’t drag out the final confrontation but gets to it right away in the fourth issue. Morgan’s legend of the Warlord is cemented in Skartarian history and we get to see how savage Morgan can become. Deimos is a major opponent for Morgan whose death will not mean we hear the last of him. And the story ends with another hint of advanced technology in Skartaris. Something that will be revealed in the next issue.

THE RAMPAGING HULK #5

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“Lo, The Sub-Mariner Strikes!”
Writer: Doug Moench
Artists: Keith Pollard & Alfredo Alcala

The Krylorians are testing a new mutation that they have created. The aquatic leviathan attacks Atlantis and Namor the king of Atlantis follows it back. He comes upon the Krylorians in their human form and hears them talking about their command in Rome. He thinks the surface dwellers are responsible for the attack and heads off to Rome. Meanwhile the Hulk and his two friends Rick Jones and the renegade Krylorian Bereet also decide to go back to Rome and take on the Krylorians. It is here that Namor and Hulk battle one another destroying a museum until the intervention of the Italian army distracts Hulk. Namor manages to kidnap Bereet and take her back to Atlantis.

“Suitefear!”
Writer: John Warner
Artists: Val Mayerik & Bob Wiacek

Ulysses Bloodstone checks into an upscale suite in Manhattan for a planned meeting at the UN. He finds out that the Conspiracy has set a trap for him. They have set up his suite with deadly traps to destroy Bloodstone. Meanwhile Samantha Eden is still held captive by Domino and a robot called the Modular Man breaks out the Killer Shrike from the hospital he’s at.

The story moves back to fighting the Krylorian invasion and a guest appearance by the Sub-Mariner. Another fun story. The Bloodstone storyline is also continuing the be interesting and introducing new threats and villains.

GROO VS. CONAN #1

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“Groo vs. Conan part 1”
Writer: Sergio Aragones and Mark Evanier
Artist: Sergio Aragones and Thomas Yeates

Sergio and Mark Evanier are walking to the local comic book store. Mark has a great idea to have a Groo/Conan crossover. Sergio doesn’t think that’s a good idea. First page Groo slays Conan end of story. Well at the comic store there is a big protest. A local financier Spencer Spade wants to tear down the store to build a strip mall. Soon enough the cops come to break up the protest. A riot starts when the protesters start throwing comic books at the police and one of them conks Sergio on the head requiring hospitalization.

At the hospital he is constantly being drugged up with stimulants and sedatives. Sergio starts to have delusions that he is Conan and the Groo artwork he finds puts him to sleep where he dreams. Groo is wandering and comes to a village where the people are protesting a kings decision to close a popular bakery to build his palace. Groo being the dummy he is goes to the king and offers his services after single handedly defeating his army in a fray. The king convinces Groo that the people are standing in the way of progress and gets Groo to terrorize the populace. The townspeople have heard of a great hero in a faraway and strange land. They journey there to enlist the big shouldered hero named Conan to save them.

Wow. A Conan/Groo crossover. I never thought that would happen. I love both characters and get a real kick out of seeing these two famous barbarians meet. Sergio has started a story with his typical humor and satire. He even inserts himself in the story. The artwork of Yeates is beautiful and gives Conan his distinct look in the world of Groo. My dad was a Groo fanatic. He loved the comics and was always excited when I bought a new Groo book. He was also a fan of Conan and I’m sure he would have loved this series. Its sad that he didn’t live to see it. So the review of this series is dedicated to him.

ASTONISHING TALES #1 KA-ZAR AND DR. DOOM

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

Kraven the hunter is looking through a magazine and reads an article on the Savage Land. He decides to hunt Ka-zar’s best friend and brother the sabre-tooth tiger Zabu. So he goes off to Antarctica. There he successfully sets a trap and uses a stun ray to knock out both Zabu and Ka-zar. He takes Zabu away but didn’t count on the strength of Ka-zar. He recovers and swims out to Kraven’s ship and single handedly kicks the crews butt. In spite of Kraven’s boasts Ka-zar easily kicks his ass. Kraven resorts to knock out gas to win and tosses Ka-zar overboard. Ka-zar makes his way to New York to track down Kraven.

“Unto you is Born … The Doomsman!”
Writer: Roy Thomas
Artist: Wally Wood

The mission to the moon finds a sphere. When they bring it back it is revealed to be a communication device from Dr. Doom who teleported it to the Moon. He had to demonstrate his superiority to the Americans. Doom is already working on a plan to conquer the world. He has build the Doomsman a mummy that is super powered and has the brain of Doom. While this is going on Prince Rudolfo the rightful heir to the throne of Latveria plots to overthrow Doom. He infiltrates a woman that has the looks of his long lost love. The plan fails but during the fight the Doomsman is activated and wanders off. A potential threat to Doom.

So Ka-zar gets his own book. He has to share it with Dr. Doom. Kind of a strange idea to make a story with the villain as the main character. Still Roy Thomas is an excellent writer and deliverers an interesting story with a lot of potential. And of course the Ka-zar story which is why I got this book is shaping up to be what I was looking for in a Ka-zar story.

SCOUT #4

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“I Ain’t Superstitious”
Writer & Artist: Timothy Truman

Scout is preparing himself for the final round with a sweat lodge ceremony and some peyote. Now his new found friends think he’s crazy with his talk of monsters and killing the President. Next on the list is Vince Eagre the Presidents energy advisor. He’s also the Eagle monster. High in his Zeppelin he starts off the national program for the Presidents New America rally. Below is millions of gallons of oil to be released to provide all the comforts that Americans expect.

This in when Scout strikes and blows up the oil tanks causing a fire that will burn down Houston. Eagre goes after Scout in a vintage P-40 Mustang. Scout is able to crash his motorcycle into the plane killing the Eagle monster. Three monsters down. The story ends with Sgt. Vaughn kidnapping Scouts friend Doody.

“Give ‘Em Enough Rope”
Writer: John K. Snyder & Chris Fauver
Artist: John K. Snyder

Frances Knight is still captive of the evil Dr. Cruel in Siberia. It is here she learns that Dr. Cruel has substituted the real Johnny Mars with a robot. The robot has a chemical that turns people into gorilla which he will use at a celebrity wedding.

The Scout story is getting real interesting. We find out that the President was a professional wrestler before going into politics. With one actually winning a governorship that doesn’t sound as far fetched as it used to. Scout does have some serious issues that make the reader doubt his mental stability. There is no doubt thought that Scout is fighting evil. A really good dystopian story that portrays a dark future.

The Fashion in Action story is short and still seems to be pointless. Just not into it.

THE WARLORD #3

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“War Gods of Skartaris”
Writer & Artist: Mike Grell

Morgan’s army of liberation continues to grow with each victory against the Therans. On a ride away from his army Morgan is captured by lizard-men. He is taken to the ruins of a city and tied up on his old SR-71. The plane had crashed into the lizard-men’s temple and now they worship it. Before he can be sacrificed the old god in the form of a giant cobra arrives. The timely intervention of his friend Machiste frees him from his bounds. Morgan is able to eject the spare seat in the plane sending it through the giant snakes head and killing it. The two friends briefly explore the old ruins never finding the advanced computer in the next room.

This story continues to establish the world of Skartaris. We get a glimpse into Morgan’s true motives in leading the rebellion. He loves the excitement and danger. It makes him feel alive. As he says over the field of dead, “God help me…I love this.” There is also hints of an advanced civilization that once inhabited Skartaris and there’s cool lizard-men and an giant snake.

Now I do have some issues that stretch credibility. Morgan’s SR-71 crashing relatively intact. A plane speeding along at Mach 3 would most likely disintegrate on impact and not be so well preserved. Morgan also retrieves from his plane a .44 automatic pistol and 400 rounds of ammo. Now why would someone carry that on a flight? Would the Air Force let him? Still the end results make this a minor quibble. I mean I couldn’t see Morgan without his .44 automag which becomes a part of him throughout the series. I’m happy to suspend disbelief for an excellent story.

THE RAMPAGING HULK# 4

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“The Other Side of Night!”
Writers: Jim Starlin & John Warner
Artists: Jim Starlin & Alex Nino

On a mysterious world far across the galaxy a powerful mage named Chen K’an searches for an ally. He finds what he is looking for and transports Dr. Banner to his world. He needs the strength of the Hulk but leaves the intelligence of Banner in the Hulk’s body. Chen’s world has been taken over by dark forces that have turned it from a peaceful paradise into a garbage strewn wasteland inhabited by cannibalistic demons and monsters. He needs the star of Catalax to put his world out of its misery. With the Hulk he assaults the fortress of Lyissa and her demon army. They manage to retrieve the star and Chen sends the Hulk back before he uses it to destroy his world.

“Gallery of Villains”
Writer: David Kraft
Artist: Keith Giffin

A collection of villain profiles. Includes their origin, first appearance and history. The villains in this gallery are Gargoyle, Toad Men, Ringmaster, Tyrannus, and the Metal Master.

“Return from Oblivion!”
Writer: John Warner
Artists: Val Mayerik & Sonny Trinidad

Bloodstone and his companions head back to Bloodstone Island after defeating Centurius. While meditating Bloodstone has visions from the Exo-mind the ego in the Bloodstone. It tells of the Bloodstone’s creation by elders in a universe of chaos. They mean to invade our universe. Meanwhile Samantha Eden returns home and is captured by a mysterious man called Domino who wants information on Ulysses Bloodstone.

This book has a real interesting storyline for the Hulk. We get a Hulk that can speak intelligently but yet still has the attitude and bluster of the savage Hulk. The otherworldly magical world he was transported to is a welcome change from the adventures he was having on Earth.

The Bloodstone story lets our characters take a break and gives us some insight into the Bloodstone while introducing a new villain. This story is also coming along nicely and like the main Hulk storyline something that makes you want to read the next comic.

MARVEL PREMIERE #28 THE LEGION OF MONSTERS

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“There’s a Mountain on Sunset Boulevard!”
Writer: Bill Mantlo
Artist: Frank Robbins

It starts off as a typical day in Los Angeles when suddenly an earthquake strikes. The next thing you know a mountain is standing smack dab in the middle of Sunset Boulevard. The mountain draws four monsters to it. The Ghost Rider, Morbius the Living Vampire, Werewolf by Night and the Man-Thing. The monsters come face to face with The Starseed, a being that shimmers with a golden glow on a steed. He claims to be from thousands of years in the past. Aliens picked up the mountain and took it into space. The people on the mountain were able to rebel and use the aliens technology to return home. The Starseed is the only survivor.

The monsters are of course a bit rambunctious and start fighting among themselves and the Starseed. The Starseed is mortally wounded. He shows them that he had the power to cure the monsters and return them to normal humans. But he’s dying and the monsters are still cursed being monsters. The monsters leave the mountain dejected that they must continue their lives as monsters.

Marvel Premiere was a title that would sort of test out possible series ideas. The Legion of Monsters took four minor known characters in the Marvel universe and teamed them up. It was a fascinating idea and the story was full of genuine pathos and tragedy. But I couldn’t see this being a continuing series and apparently no one else could either. So we have a interesting stand alone story with some cool monsters and a compelling story.

PLANET OF VAMPIRES #3

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“The Blood Plague!”
Writer: John Albano
Artist: Russ Heath

The domies are starting to mutate into actual vampires with fangs as our two astronaut heroes assault the dome to rescue their wives. They manage to get an old air force jet and crash it into the dome. Parachuting out armed with pistols, grenades and a bazooka they start killing the vampires by the truckload. The astronaut Craig is too late and finds his wife already drained. Captain Ballard manages to rescue his wife and kill the leader. Craig is despondent and stays behind as Ballard and Elissa fly off in a captured aircraft. The two wind up in Los Angeles and are attacked by giant bloodsucking spiders. Apparently all life on the planet has been mutating into vampire like creatures. Elissa dies leaving a despondent Ballard to wallow in grief.

And so ends this brief series. Atlas comics the fly by night operation went out of business before a fourth issue entitled “The Secret Project!” could be released. So we’re left to wonder about the fate of this vampire planet that Earth has become in the far future of 2010. I enjoyed this series. It had a great and unique premises that I would have liked to seen explored further. Surprised it wasn’t picked up by another company later on. A good series with potential that was unfortunately destined for obscurity.