ASTONISHING TALES #8 KA-ZAR & DR. DOOM

comic

“The Battle of New Britannia!”
Writers: Roy Thomas & Gary Freidrich
Artist: Herb Trimpe

A small Cessna comes to the savage land carrying a man and woman. The plane is attacked by a pterodactyl. The woman lands in an inland sea and his attacked by Germans riding dinosaurs. She is rescued by other English men riding giant birds. She is taken to an island inhabited by survivors of a WWII destroyer. They have been fighting the survivors of the U-boat that sunk them for over thirty years.

Meanwhile the woman’s husband is rescued by Ka-zar and Zabu from the lizards that walk like men. Later they have to fight off man-apes and get caught up in the Englishmen’s scheme to destroy the Germans.

“This Badge Bedeviled!”
Writer: Len Wein
Artist: George Tuska

Damian Link is a policeman who is responding to a break in at a research lab. One of the crooks is his own brother. The two get in a fight and fall into an experimental chamber and nearly killed. Later it is discovered that Damian is still alive and named his brother as the attacker. The brother’s fellow hoods decide that he’s a liability and decide to dispose of him. The brother projects his spirit into Damian and gives him powers that help rescue him.

“…Though Some Call It Magic!”
Writer: Gerry Conway
Artist: Gene Colan

Dr. Doom every midsummer eve performs a ceremony. Using dark arts he summons Satan to battle for the soul of his mother a gypsy witch. Satan this year creates Kagrok a stone demon to battle Doom. Doom is almost defeated but manages to hold his own. Still he doesn’t win so Satan keeps his mother’s soul. He looks forward to the battle next year.

So this was a giant-size issue. The Ka-zar story was a fascinating idea to have these two tribes from WWII that have been fighting the war in the Savage Land. This issue had a real feel of a primitive land filled with dinosaurs and strange creatures. These are the kind of stories that I loved Ka-zar for and the series is really starting to find it’s footing. Which is good because starting next issue of Astonishing Tales Ka-zar will be the solo act.

The second story was also an interesting idea. It sounds like it was written as a possible ongoing series. I don’t know if it ever succeeded with future stories but I am intrigued enough to read them if they were written.

Finally the Dr. Doom story was probably the best in this series. A strange one that shows Dr. Doom does have knowledge of the arcane arts as well as science. This was also the last appearance of Doom’s stories in this comic. I liked the stories but I can see where they might have trouble maintaining it with interesting ideas for long. Doom is a villain and stories work best when the hero is the protagonist. I also got this comic for Ka-zar so its great that he finally gets room to expand his stories.

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