SCOUT #15

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“Uncle Sam Blues”
Writer: Timothy Truman
Artist: Rick Veitch

Scout is locked up in the Worromontogus Veteran’s hospital in Maine. The doctors keep him pumped full of Xanax and locked in a padded room. It his here that Scout has visions. He talks to the Ghan, Mr. Deluxe and his dead mother and father. They encourage him to escape and find the man who is a shadow. Scout manages to throw up the Xanax and make a break for it. It ends with the mysterious man in a locked cell reaching out and grabbing Scout in a headlock threatening to break his neck if he doesn’t unlock the door. The man is Monday the Eliminator.

“Mean Red Spider”
Writer: Timothy Truman
Artist: Ben “Mangazine” Dunn

A truck is leaving the recently closed down Mt Fire. A mercenary group called the Swords of Texas ambush the truck and steal its cargo of guns and rations. They then go and sell the stuff to a shady Mexican revolutionary named Ortega. Ortega double-crosses the Swords and almost kills the leaders best friend. In reality it was a setup to steal a red box with a nuclear warhead inside.

This Scout story is a real psychedelic treat. The story is one dark disturbing place. The art shows all the ugliness of the people and place that this poorly run V.A. hospital is. Scout himself looks horrible as the drugged out drooling man that falls into his own excrement. Very interesting if somewhat depressing story. Also it sets up the team-up of Scout and Monday.

The Swords of Texas are introduced and they are an interesting group of people. They will play a much more important part in the story including the theft of the nuclear warhead.

THE WARLORD # 16

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“Visions In a Crimson Eye”
Writer & Artist: Mike Grell

Morgan is brooding about losing his son to Deimos. Luckily Tara has her act together and a plan to start searching for her son. So the two with a dog named Shadow go off to see Saaba the Witch. Saaba demands payment of the Eye of Shakakhan as payment for locating their son. The eye is in the possession of the tree people. After being ambushed by the tree people Morgan and Shadow are left for dead while Tara is taken to be a sacrifice for Shakakhan. Morgan and Shadow are able to rescue Tara and beat the tree people. The eye located in a giant wooden statue comes alive when its removed but luckily fire takes care of Shakakhan. The eye reveals that Deimos is in a land of perpetual twilight and plans to raise the son to kill Morgan.

So begins the quest for Morgan’s son Joshua. It starts off with a fun adventure filled with action, savages and a giant wooden tree god. I like that Tara is shown as the strong one. While Morgan wallows in self-pity that life isn’t fair she gets things going. Morgan does have his character flaws which makes him more believable and someone you can sympathize with. He does get into the quest and at the end destroys the eye to keep Saaba from gaining power showing he still cares about right and wrong. A very good start to a new storyline.

THE HULK! #16

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“Masks”
Writer: Doug Moench
Artists: Mike Zeck & John Tartaglione

Banner is wandering the streets of New Orleans after Mardi Gras when a knife with a message gets thrown at him. The message says to meet at the airport and holds out a possible cure. Arriving he finds two people in a seaplane ready to take him to a guy named Drago in the Florida Everglades. They purposely crash the plane to confirm that Banner is really the Hulk. Later at Drago’s he finds out that Drago wants to use the Hulk to recover sunken Spanish treasure. In reality he wanted a sample of his blood for his own shady research. Now he plans to kill Banner with explosives and his giant mutant octopus.

“Marvel’s Live-Action Heroes”
Writer: Tom Rogers

An article on the attempts to bring Marvel heroes as live action shows. The first is the forties serial of Captain America. Then goes into the Reb Brown attempt. Talks about the successful Hulk TV series and the Spider-man series that followed. It ended with a pilot for Doctor Strange.

“A Hulk/Nebres Portfolio
Writer: Rich Marschall
Artist: Rudy Nebres

A portfolio by inker Rudy Nebres and his pictures of the Hulk with witty commentary by Rich Marschall.

This Hulk story was a very well done story. It was a mystery set in exotic locations like New Orleans and the Everglades. Yes it was another mad scientist but it was more believable than before and a fine balance between story and action. All the characters were believable and I think one of the finest to date for the new format.

The article on live-action shows was very interesting. I especially enjoyed hearing about the old ’40s serial. I vaguely remember watching it on TV Saturday afternoons and found it quite enjoyable. Of course the Reb Brown movies were horrible. Still I have an nostalgic feeling for the old early attempts at bringing Marvel heroes to live action shows. Who would have guessed they’d be raking in billions thirty years later.

THE WARLORD #15

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“Holocaust”
Writer & Artist: Mike Grell

Morgan has finally arrived at Shamballah. Yet there is obviously something up when a laser shot almost takes out Morgan as he was scouting the area in the trees. A group of refugees confirm that some demon from underground has killed the king and driven the populace out. They also tell Morgan that Tara is waiting for him in the palace. Quickly he runs to the palace and finds Tara who is somewhat angry feeling that Morgan abandoned her. A fight breaks out between Mariah and Tara which Morgan quickly puts an end to. Mariah is heartbroken and flees with Machiste following her.

Morgan has little time to reconcile with his friends as laser blasts start coming from the floor. Morgan and Tara seek shelter and Morgan is introduced to his newborn son. Leaving the baby in the care of trusted retainers Morgan and Tara seek out the cause of the attacks. They find a huge underground computer center left over from the Atlanteans. The computer after being neglected for centuries has gone insane. The two manage to divert an underground river and destroy the computer. Making their way back they are too late to stop the demon priest Deimos from kidnapping baby Joshua.

Finally the quest for Shamballah comes to an end and what an end. Mariah love for Morgan is revealed and Machiste’s love for Mariah. A newborn son. Crazy giant computer and the kidnapping of son by the resurrected Deimos. A lot happens in this extra length special issue and it moves along at a rapid fire pace. A lot of surprises that made this a very satisfactory conclusion to Morgan’s quest. It also starts rolling another quest that’s bound to be exciting.

THE HULK! #15

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“The Top Secret”
Writer: Doug Moench
Artists: Ron Wilson & Alfredo Alcala

Banner has come back to the American Southwest after his failure in Switzerland. He comes to the cave where he was working on a cure when he first became the Hulk. Working day and night he builds a machine to cure him. But the cure doesn’t work and actually turns him into the Hulk. The Hulk goes off and attacks a group of soldiers conducting a test in the desert. The soldiers manage to use gas to knock out the Hulk and take him to a secret government research base. He changes back into Banner and finds out the base is conducting experiments in robots called Cybertrons. The Hulk manages to tear up the place.

“An Eclipse, Waning”
Writer: Doug Moench
Artists: Bill Sienkiewicz & Bob McLeod

Marc Spector the Moon Knight is invited to a friends place in the country to view a lunar eclipse. While there he notices three thugs that are going to break into the place. He slips away and dons the Moon Knight costume. He finds one of the thugs running in terror from a monster. After subduing him the eclipse becomes total and he is knocked out by a large figure in the dark.

“An Eclipse, Waxing”
Writer: Doug Moench
Artists: Bill Sienkiewicz & Bob McLeod

Bruce Banner is in the countryside at night. He comes upon three thugs planning to break into a house. The thugs see him and chase after him. The chase brings out the Hulk who knocks out two of the thugs. He goes chasing after the third and knocks out a figure during the lunar eclipse.

This Hulk story was ok but for some reason didn’t appeal to me. It seems like a hackneyed old evil government doing military experiments. The real interesting stories were the two backup stories. They both fit together and were very atmospheric in the artwork. The lunar eclipse was a good idea to bring Moon Knight and Hulk together without them ever knowing that they had actually ever met.

TRAGG AND THE SKY GODS #8

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“Master of the Living Bones”
Writer: Don Glut
Artist: Dan Spiegle

Tragg’s tribe must now find a new home and decide on the caves by the ocean. After killing the cave bear they settle in with a celebration. Meanwhile a mysterious meteorite lands and Keera decides to see if it is more Yargonians. Instead it is an alien sorcerer named Ostellion. Ostellion was assassinated by his people and shot out into space. The mysterious Dark Gods have brought him to Earth and resurrected him. They need him to kill Tragg so that future descendants will not be a threat to them. The Dark Gods give Ostellion the power to re-animate skeletons.

Keera goes to Tragg and warns him but already Ostellion strikes by animating skeletons. Keera has enough power in her gun to save Tragg. Tragg then goes after Ostellion and has to fight a re-animated T-Rex skeleton. Tragg lures it over the cliff and whacks Ostellion with his stone ax.

“Tragg and the Jaws of Death”
Tragg and Lorn are coming back from a hunt when they come across a sabretooth fighting two wolves to protect their cub. Tragg kills the sabretooth and nurses the surviving she-wolf and cub back to health.

So Tragg now has a new threat. The Dark Gods those beings that once ruled Earth and thrive on evil. There is also another alien, this one of magic and not science. The prehistoric Earth is getting more interesting and I like the new villains that Tragg will have to deal with. Keera is now a friend of Tragg which is great since I liked Keera.

The short story was ok. Kind of simplistic but I like that they made an effort in these old Gold Key comics to inject some flavor with a short written story.

ASTONISHING TALES #12 KA-ZAR

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“Terror Stalks the Everglades!”
Writer: Roy Thomas
Artist: John Buscema

Ka-zar and Zabu have accompanied Drs. Barbara Morse and Paul Allen back to civilization specifically Florida. After a brief run in with the local authorities the four board a helicopter and take off to a secret installation in the Everglades. Ka-zar finally finds out why they need him. Their colleague Ted Sallis has disappeared and he is needed to complete a super soldier formula that the government is developing. At the same time agents of AIM(Advanced Idea Mechanics) are also stalking the swamps looking for him. AIM soldiers manage to shoot down the helicopter and Ka-zar must battle alligators. Later he tracks down the AIM goons who have captured the Man-Thing in a pit. The fight forces Ka-zar into the pit and he must face the Man-Thing.

“Man-Thing!”
Writer: Len Wein
Artist: Neal Adams

Ted Sallis has been changed into the grotesque Man-Thing while evading AIM agents after his super soldier formula.
Now he wanders the swamps. He follows a colleague Dr. Wilma Carver. She in turn along with his other friends are besieged in the compound by locals stirred up by an AIM agent that Carver is a witch. The Man-Thing arrives in time to take care of the mob but can’t save Dr. Carver as the AIM agent shoots her.

This issue is a wild ride. Roy Thomas always an excellent writer gives us a fast paced story with plenty of action. I found it enjoyable that Ka-zar is back in civilization and up against the sinister AIM organization. The Man-Thing story sandwiched in between gave us important background on what is going on. We have a great beginning of a new storyline with monsters, super evil organizations bent on world conquest and a mystery.

SCOUT #14

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“Nobody Loves Me But My Mother( And She Could Be Jivin’ Me, Too)
Writer & Artist: Timothy Truman

Scout has been seriously injured with two arrows to the back. Doody uses his mystical powers to heal him. Soon after Rosa and her Rangers arrive and drive Doody’s followers back to the missile silos. Doody climbs up and gets in the nose cone. Once again his mystical powers come into play and the missile is launched. It gets destroyed by a Soviet defense satellite. Scout is taken prisoner and sent to a hospital back east.

“The Gold Of Nam”
Writer: Timothy Truman
Artist: Flint Henry

Monday tracks the general to Vietnam and an old temple. The general back in the war found a letter from a marine that was writing home about discovering a temple filled with gold. The general only knew the squad the letter came from so that is why he was killing all of Monday’s squad. He failed to kill the people who knew and the Legion of Man was using the general so they could get the gold for themselves. Monday and his friends take care of the general.

“La Duke’s Tips For Real Men”
Writer: Beau Smith
Artist: Tim Harkins

Lesson one. La Duke has written a book on how to be a real man. He has Scout with him.
Tip#1 Wear Jackets that will cover your manly accessories like guns and knives.
Tip#2 Wear your hair short.
Don’t wear hair long or have a skirt or ever wear makeup. He is pointed this out on Scout who gets visibly angry and pulls his pistol.
Final Tip Know when to say bye.

So another chapter in the Scout saga comes to a close. Doody ends up blowing himself up in an explosion in orbit. VP Loper has succeeded in showing the public the dangers of being weak and Scout finds himself a captive. The short Monday storyline also ties up nicely. Both characters will come together in the next storyline. Everything tied up nicely and sets the stage for an exciting new plot.

The La Duke tips was hilarious. A frivolous one page feature. Some great comedy relief in a very serious comic.

THE WARLORD #14

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“All Men Are Mine”
Writer & Artist: Mike Grell

Morgan is seriously injured from his ordeal with Stryker. He finds his spirit has gone over to the afterlife and the Spirit of Death is their to greet him. Death is a beautiful brunette woman in a gold bikini and very excited to have such a champion to her cause. Morgan is not ready to die yet and fights her tooth and nail. Death pits Morgan’s spirit against the monsters of Hell and when that doesn’t break his spirit she puts him on the rack. The love of Tara still drive Morgan to resist and Death decides to allow Morgan to live. She knows that in the end she will have Morgan’s soul.

An interesting filler story. Grell tells a story with the minimum of dialogue and full page drawings make this a visual treat. Now I never pictured Death as a hot chick in a gold bikini but I wouldn’t be upset if that’s what greets me when I die. The story is just killing time until the big extra length issue that’s coming next. We get to see what motivates Morgan and a hint of Mariah’s feeling for him. A good issue that leads up to the big reunion next issue.