THE HULK! #12

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“The Color of Hate!”
Writer: Doug Moench
Artists: Ron Wilson & Ernie Chan

The Hulk ends up on the south side of Chicago and chases off some cops hassling some kids. He then changes back to Banner and is taken in by a kindly old janitor. This is lucky for Banner since being white in the south side of Chicago can be dangerous for ones health. He tries to get him out at night but is discovered by some youths on a street corner. When they start pushing around the old man Banner Hulks out and then goes on a rampage.

Meanwhile the strongman from the carnival in the last story gets a job testing a new exo-skeleton that enhances his strength. His real purpose for the exo-skeleton is to get revenge on the Hulk. The Hulk bitch slapped him and he really holds a grudge. Hearing about the Hulk he confronts him in Soldier Field but while the exo-skeleton make him strong he’s still no match for the Hulk.

“Green Muscles!”

An interview with Lou Ferrigno the man who plays the Hulk on the TV series. We get background on his life. How he started in acting. Insights on his character and how the Hulk is created.

“Embassy of Fear!”
Writer: Doug Moench
Artists Keith Pollard, Frank Giacola & Mike Esposito

Moonknight arrives in time to save his girlfriend from getting shot by the museum curator that originally stole the Horus statuette from the museum. The only clue to who has the statuette leads Moonknight to Alponse Lecroix, the Chilean ambassador to the UN. Posing as his real persona of millionaire Steven Grant, Moonknight makes a deal to buy the statuette.

Another enjoyable issue in the new Marvel Color format. Once again the storyline deals with more down to Earth topics like racial tension. Something still relevant today. The Lou Ferrigno interview was interesting and informative. The Moonknight story is getting more interesting. This ambassador is a shady guy using his diplomatic immunity to shield him from his criminal enterprises. A growing mystery that hints at terrorist involvement. I eagerly await the next installment.

TRAGG AND THE SKY GODS #5

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“Attack of the Man-Apes”
Writer: Don Glut
Artist: Dan Spiegle

Tragg and Lorn enter the territory of the Man-apes. Tragg rescues a man-ape from a triceratops. No good deed goes unpunished as the fight manages to close a flaming fissure in the ground. This fissure was the source of fire for the man-apes and they worshipped it as a god. This and the fact they hate no-hairs the man-apes chase the two into a crevasse in the ground. The crevasse is home to a dinosaur that is trapped and very hungry. Tragg manages to lure the beast into the oil pool and set it on fire. The new source of fire distracts the man-apes long enough for the two to escape.

Another chapter in the quest of Tragg and Lorn to free their people from the Sky Gods. The Sky Gods are not very prominent in this story. Keera is found out to have saved Tragg from Sabre-Fang and is imprisoned as a traitor by her douche bag fiancée Zorak. Otherwise a pretty standard story. Tragg does gain a friend in the man-ape White Top. Perhaps that friendship will come in handy in the future.

ASTONISHING TALES #9 KA-ZAR

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“The Legend of the Lizard Men!”
Writer: Stan Lee
Artist: John Buscema

Ka-zar and Zabu come upon a beautiful woman lounging around in the swamp. Ka-zar is searching for the inhabitants of a village. An old man left behind claims that the women were kidnapped by lizard men when the men went away. The woman that Ka-zar finds is Iranda and she is the queen of the lizard men. At first she claims that it wasn’t her people that kidnapped the village. But later at her castle Ka-zar finds one of the women as Iranda’s mesmerized handmaidens. Iranda has mind control powers and turns Zabu against him. But Ka-zar is resourceful and steals Iranda’s crown. When the sun rises without the crown she turns into a lizard woman and her lizard men turn back into the men from the village.

“Tom-Toms of Danger!”
Writer & Artist: Unknown

Lorna the jungle girl and her boyfriend Greg Knight hear the drums of the Gabu. The drums sound has a mesmerizing effect on the tribe and the renegade who is beating the drums plans to use the Gabu to conquer the jungle. After Lorna and Greg are captured the story shifts to two Communists. One of the Communists is a Russian painted black to disguise himself as a native. They have a powerful green opal which conveniently turns against the commies.

A problem has delayed the continuation of the storyline from last issue so they presented this new story. I thought that it was an excellent story written and drawn by legends in the field. This is also Ka-zar’s debut as the sole headliner for Astonishing Tales. I think that the change will allow the Ka-zar story to grow.

The back up story seemed to be edited all wrong. An old strip from the fifties it starts out as one story and then suddenly transitions to a whole new story. Very confusing. Luckily they get their act together for the next issue.

SCOUT #11

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“Come Back Baby”
Writer & Artist: Timothy Truman

Scout is in the desert when he is attacked by army rangers. He kills a bunch of them but then comes up against a giant robot. The robot a gift from the Israelis is driven by Sgt. Rosa Winters. She has a proposition for Scout. A clean record and all he has to do is kill someone for his country. Meanwhile Loper’s operatives manage to take over a missile base with nuclear missiles and give it to Doody and his cult. The New Disciples of Soul come to Las Vegas for a gig.

“La Veau”
Writer: Timothy Truman
Artist: Flint Henry

A Vietnam vet suffering post-traumatic stress disorder is having a nightmare in a run down hovel. He dreams of his buddies from Nam and dreams they die a horrible death. In the real world his buddies are being assassinated one by one. One of his buddies the enigmatic Monday the Eliminator shows up and thinks that La Veau know who is killing the old squad.

This new story is a great set up for the new plot line. All the major characters are introduced. Project Fire Mountain is already implemented and Scout looks like he’s getting drawn into it. Plus there’s a giant robot and giant robots are always cool. A great introduction to what will be an exciting new story.

The back up Monday the Eliminator is also excellent. Finally a back up story worthy of this book. Written by Truman it will eventually tie in with the main Scout storyline. This story introduces a mystery that I can’t wait to find out in the next book. Monday is also a real cool badass.

THE WARLORD #11

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“Flashback”
Writer & Artist: Mike Grell

Morgan, Mariah and Machiste are forced to take shelter in a cave from a rampaging triceratops. Machiste and Mariah fall asleep and Morgan decides its a good time to let them get some rest. While sitting in front of the fire he thinks back to what brought him to Skartaris.

The issue is a reprint of First Issue Special. Its a great story but is a reprint. Just too soon for a reprint. That’s what happens when the writer doesn’t have time to complete a story. You do get two pages of new art and story which shows that there was a little effort to this. The cover was also top quality. Next week back to original art and story.

THE HULK! #11

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“Hurry! Hurry! Step Right Up & See: The Boy Who Cried Hulk!”
Writer: Doug Moench
Artists: Ron Wilson & Fran Matera

The Hulk wanders into a carnival and accidentally starts a fire. Unfortunately a little boy followed him and is found at the fire. The carnival workers blame him and don’t believe his claims of a monster that did it. The boys father is a drunk that gets violent and beats the boy in punishment. Next day Banner wakes up in human form and finds the boy crying and with a black eye. He feels that its his fault an agrees to take the boy to the carnival. He then goes and gets a job at the carnival to pay for it.

Of course the carnival owner discovers that Banner brought the kid and gets angry. After Banner stops him from hitting the kid he naturally gets angry himself and Hulks out. The Hulk then proceeds to tear apart the carnival and in the end scares the boy’s father into getting therapy.

“Graven Image of Death”
Writer: Doug Moench
Artists: Gene Colan & Tony Dezuniga

Moonknight a crime fighting superhero is out at night to stop a murder that he heard about. He’s too late but disguised as a cabbie he picks up the murder fleeing the scene and takes him to a mansion. After subduing the murdered he confronts the man who hired him. In the fight the man is killed by an old antique blackpower gun. The clues point to a Horus statuette that rival collectors are after. Moonknight goes back to the mansion where he had his associate Marlene sent to look for clues. It ends with her about to be shot by the man behind the killings.

The second color magazine is starting to establish what the theme will be. Its much more in line with the TV series at the time. There are no super villains or fantastic settings. The setting is a carnival with ordinary people and deals with domestic violence. An interesting story and I love the bright color look for the magazine. Hulk looks better in color than black and white.

The backup Moonknight story is a great choice for this magazine. Moonknight is a mysterious figure with a sidekick named Frenchie who flies him around in a helicopter. The story is intriguing mystery that I really got into and can’t wait to read the next installment. The Moonknight character has no superpowers but relies on his strength, agility and gadgets much like Batman.

TRAGG AND THE SKY GODS #4

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“Project: Sabre-fang”
Writer: Don Glut
Artist: Dan Spiegle

Zorek the commander of the Sky Gods has come up with a plan to eliminate Tragg and Lorn. Using the Yargonian advanced science he combines the caveman Gorth with a saber-toothed tiger. The new creature named Sabre-fang is sent out to hunt down the fugitive couple. Keera is not happy with this since she is still obsessively in love with Tragg. So she sneaks away and stops Sabre-fang from killing Tragg in the nick of time. Instead she has Sabre-fang go after her archrival Lorn.

Tragg after recovering from the attack still rejects Keera and goes after Lorn and the Sabre-fang. He manages to save his mate and at a tar pit manages to defeat Sabre-fang. The two then continue to look for help in freeing their people from slavery.

This is the issue that I got as a kid. I was captivated by the world that was portrayed in this comic. Years later as an adult I managed to track down and get all the other issues. It must be tough to be Tragg. Has a beautiful mate and another hot alien chick pursuing him. I feel kind of sorry for Keera. She’s engaged to a total tool and seems quite lonely. So the prehistoric soap opera will continue.

ASTONISHING TALES #8 KA-ZAR & DR. DOOM

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“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.

SCOUT# 10

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“Bad to the Bone, Part II.. Got to Move”
Writer & Artist: Timothy Truman

La Duke goes to the local Hells Angel gang to help him fight off Colonel Pate and his Salvation Army goons from taking his cattle. It does cost him 15 cows, one breeding bull and play three Mantovani cuts a day on his radio station. The last one seems to be the hardest for him to accept. Well La Duke and the gang put up a good fight but are on the verge of surrender. Luckily Scout comes in the nick of time with proof that Pate is not after the cows but the minerals under the land. To avoid a costly court fight Pate and La Duke come to an agreement.

Meanwhile Rosa and President Carver meet in a parking garage with Mossad agent Glanzman. They discuss what to do with VP Lopers plan to use the cult of Doody to take over a missile base. The only way is to find someone that can’t be linked to the administration and the likely candidate is Scout.

“Scout: QXB Portfolio”
Writer: Timothy Truman

A collection of character portfolios by artist that were old school buddies of Truman.
The Four Monsters by S.R. Bissette
Sgt. Major Rosanna Winter by Jan Duursema
The Gahn by Tom Mondrake
Sgt. Major Raymond Vaughn by Ron Randall
Guitar Man and the New Disciples by John Totleben
Doody by Rick Veitch
Scout by Tom Yeates
Missy by John K. Snyder 3

The issue concludes the battle with Colonel Pate. I didn’t really understand why it was easier to steal La Duke’s cattle than his land. I guess the legal system is really messed up in this dystopian alternate reality. The story is a set up for a major plot that will involve the shadowy governments attempt to portray America as weak by having Doody’s cult following take over Norad. An enjoyable action packed issue with some really great portfolios by many leading artists.

THE WARLORD #10

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“Tower of Fear”
Writer & Artist: Mike Grell

Morgan, Machiste and Mariah are on horseback heading toward Shamballah. They come upon some hooded men burning a young woman alive tied to a cross. Naturally Morgan intervenes and singlehandedly wipes out the hooded men. The young girl named Alysha seems to believe that she should be sacrificed. Her people have lost the Mask of Life and her sacrifice was the only way to get it back.

Morgan agrees to get the mask for her from the Tower of Fear, an evil looking black tower. He gets in an argument with Mariah when he tries to make her stay behind. A bet is formed on who can reach to top first. Morgan cheats by locking the door after he enters. The two men climb up and must battle a large gelatinous creature and a portal that disgorges hordes of hellish demons. The two make it to the top and are surprised to finds Mariah waiting for them. She used anti-gravity disks at the base of the tower to ascend and wins the bet.

The tenth issue is a light hearted little romp the trio has on its journey. The story is straightforward and uses lots of large full page drawings to tell the story. The beautiful artwork and the humorous way that Morgan’s chauvinism is put in its place make the issue a leisurely fun and enjoyable read.

The main development is with the character Alysha and the Mask of Life. As before Grell likes to use the theme that appearances are deceptive. Alysha is really an old hag witch that uses magic to give the illusion of beauty. She is also a follower of Deimos and uses the mask to bring the Warlords old arch enemy back to life. An irony that the Warlord will soon regret.