SHEENA QUEEN OF THE JUNGLE #4

comics

“Sheena Queen of the Jungle”
Writers: Steven E. De Souza & Robert Rodi
Artist: Matt Merhoff

Sheena and Kellerman have crashed the car they were escaping in into a tree. Kellerman wakes up to find a hired mercenary of Laura Jeffries waiting for him. Sheena and her animal friends have escaped into the jungle with the wounded Sheena. She meets up with Sky Father who is some old hippie that looks like he raised Sheena. He inspires her to go on and prepare to fight. Meanwhile Laura arrives with other mercenaries but most of them get taken out by Sheena. At the end Sheena decides that fighting them will get her nowhere so surrenders and mimics a socialite that she saw on TV. Kellerman intervenes and announces that Sheena is Cardwell’s long lost granddaughter and anyone who shoots her will be in serious trouble. It ends with the mercenary gunsights on Sheena.

Well this was a strange story. Jumps around a bit with flashbacks to Sheena’s childhood and the story with Jeffries hired thug a disgraced army captain. It seems that Sheena was raised by some kind of old hippie living in the jungle. When we meet him we don’t know if he’s real or a figment of Sheena’s imagination. Still it will be interesting to see how this all plays out in the next issue.

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ASTONISHING TALES#19 KA-ZAR

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“….And Men Shall Name Him….Victorius!”
Writer: Mike Friedrich
Artist: Dan Adkins

The AIM scientist who took the super soldier serum now calls himself Victorius and has taken control of AIM. He kidnaps agent Bobbi Morse and takes her to an AIM castle in upstate New York. Ka-zar enlists the aid of Nick Fury to find the location of the castle and get a jet ride to the location. Fury also gives Ka-zar their own super soldier serum to use in defeating Victorius. Now Ka-zar doesn’t like the idea of the serum and decides to throw it away and rely on his own formidable strength.

This proves a wise move since Ka-zar easily beats up the guards and his brother the Plunderer. Then he smacks down Gemini and finally the big man himself Victorius. He frees agent Morse who runs out to recover the discarded serum. Ka-zar seems confident that its over but Victorius is shown as far from being done.

The Ka-zar New York/AIM adventure is coming to a close. The next issue hints at an action packed conclusion. An enjoyable story. Ka-zar is his blustery self who shows off his “mightier than the mastodon. Swifter than the Cheetah.” The romance between Ka-zar and Bobbi Morse seems to be ending. There is a strong attraction but the differences are too great. Ka-zar hates the city and Bobbi is a city girl. Looking forward to the conclusion.

SCOUT #21

comics

“I’m On Fire”
Writer & Artist: Timothy Truman

Las Vegas has been nuked. Thousands killed and many more of the residents are now refugees. But this is the beginning of a sinister plan. Communist Mexican troops that have been massing at the border cross over in a police action. The U.S. government is not responding to this aggression. Only Senator Creek and Monday’s people stand in the way. Lt. Rosa Winters shows up to arrest Creek with a division of Rangers. Seeing the invading army she decides to defy orders to pull back and join Creek in fighting the Mexicans.

“I Cross My Heart”
Writer: Timothy Truman
Artist: Flint Henry

The official government news paints a very positive picture of the Las Vegas blast. Few casualties because “there weren’t that many people in the area.” The fallout is harmlessly falling into the Pacific Ocean and all the survivors are happy and well cared for. This broadcast is interrupted by La Duke’s pirate broadcast that sets the record straight. His broadcast brings government agents who are promptly ambushed and disarmed. The agents get left tied to a cactus with the leader tied under a cow.

The story is entering an exciting phase. Las Vegas nuked and the Mexican army is invading. What’s more this was all planned by people in the government. Some sinister plan by the Legion of Man. Scout and Rosa are now working together. The next issue is going to be a real battle.

The second story was a nice bit of comic relief after such a serious main story. I just love La Duke’s way of saying things. “There’s two kinds of people in this world pal– those that hold guns up to the heads of wise-mouthed college educated east-coast neo-fascists in business suits, and those that wet their pants. You’ll notice that I have the gun.”

THE WARLORD# 22

comics

“The Beast In The Tower”
Writer & Artist: Mike Grell

Morgan has stopped at a small outpost town at the border of the terminator. Drinking at the local tavern he meets an old man offering to tell his fortune. Morgan is not in the mood but the old man sees some destiny in store for Morgan. Later as he leaves the tavern he is set upon by some men looking for an easy mark to rob. Morgan proves more than a drunk easy mark and cuts up the would be robbers. One that he missed is stopped by a beautiful woman with a crossbow. A crossbow that shoots silver bolts. She runs away and Morgan follows. Later he comes upon her being taken into a tower by armed men. He breaks into the tower and its one weird place. Bigger on the inside and has stairs going all over the place. Defeating a giant snake he comes to the room at the top. Entering he is confronted by a werewolf. He uses the silver crossbolt to kill the beast and it transforms into the beautiful woman. The old beggar from the tavern comes and thanks Morgan for releasing his daughter from the curse.

So this is Morgan’s quest to come to terms with the loss of his son. He’s obviously depressed and no longer the man searching for adventure. Indeed he complains after killing the snake that everything in this crazy world is trying to eat everything else. The shine of Skartaris has worn off. Now Morgan must find a purpose to his life and of course will have some fantastic adventures along the way.

THE HULK! #22

comics

“The Failure of Hydropolis”
“Writer: Doug Moench
Artists: Ron Wilson & Alfredo Alcala

Banner and Dr. Sheila Marks are off on vacation in Bermuda. They hope to continue Dr. Marks attempts to isolate the Hulk personality. Their working vacation is cut short by a massive tsunami that was caused by an underwater nuclear explosion. The survivors are scooped up by a submarine with a giant mouth and taken to an underwater city. The city called Hydropolis was created by a mad scientist named Rypel. Rypel plans to set off nuclear explosions on both coasts of America and effectively sink the continent. This will start World War III and effectively destroy the world. He then plans to turn people into a hydrid aquatic gill people. He has already turned his brother into one. Unfortunately Rypel didn’t count on the Hulk to foil his scheme.

“Ghoul of My Dreams”
Writer: Denny O’Neil
Artist: Howard Chaykin

Dominic Fortune is arrested at an illegal casino in 1937. He gets out of jail with the intervention of the police commissioner. He needs Dominic’s services to save a friend Zelda Pinkley. She is involved with a mobster named Louie Kelt. He finds out that Kelt uses zombies as his enforcers. While rescuing Zelda he defeats the zombie mobsters and finds out Kelt is himself one of the undead.

“Of Chrysanthemums & Fireworks”
By Jeff Mundo

A column on special effects and how they work. Not a bad article and quite information on the history and mechanics of some popular special effects like matte paintings.

This Hulk story is a pretty good story. It gets into actual comic book type stuff. Sort of a James Bond feel to it what with an evil madman bent on destroying the world and remaking it. I think that this title needed more of these types of story.

The Dominic Fortune story is ok. I mean I really like the idea of a zombie mobster in 1937 New York. But the actual result is just not interesting me. Neither the story or art just does it for me. A poor substitute for the Moon Knight backups.

SHEENA QUEEN OF THE JUNGLE #3

comics

“Sheena Queen of the Jungle”
Writers: Steven E De Souza & Robert Rodi
Artist: Matt Merhoff

Sheena and Kellerman manage to escape from the hospital and make it to his apartment. They don’t have much time because helicopters are approaching and the two take off in his car. Sheena won’t leave without her friends Yagua the jaguar and Chim the monkey. Her animal friends are held captive at Cardwell R&D. When they get there Sheena isn’t very subtle and barges right in. She takes care of the guards and the jaguar Yagua breaks free of her cage to help. As they are all driving away Sheena collapses due to a gunshot in the back.

So now the Sheena comic actually has the character Sheena in most of it. She’s intelligent but a bit na├»ve in the ways of the modern world. The issue also gives some background into Kellerman. He’s your typical treehugger who’s high on himself. Still he has potential and the story is coming along nicely. It ends on a cliffhanger note and a mysterious man with a spider tattoo kills the doctor who has Sheena’s blood sample and takes her bracelet.

ASTONISHING TALES #18 KA-ZAR

comics

“Gog Cometh!”
Writer: Mike Friedrich
Artist: Dan Adkins

Ka-zar is now confronted by his brother and the giant alien Gog. While he is able to smack down Gemini, Gog is just too powerful for him. Bobbie Morse arrives and tries to negotiate with the Plunderer to buy back the super-soldier serum. He decides to decline and has Gog use his alien technology to teleport them to an AIM base in England. But Gog decides to rebel. He transports them instead to the Statue Of Liberty. After tearing off the statue’s arm Gog then teleports to the top of the World Trade Center and then disappears probably returning to his home world. Ka-zar is able to beat up Gemini and the Plunder and take back the super-serum. Meanwhile in England at the AIM base a Shield agent attempts to steal their super-soldier serum. He fails and the lab blows up. The scientist takes the serum to survive and now has special powers.

Well this was a fun and fast paced adventure. Ka-zar manages to foil the plot of his brother and Gemini. The two villains didn’t like each other and had plans to betray each other. The alien Gog desertion was what threw a monkey wrench into the whole plan. This was kind of too easy a plot device so I just give this story an OK instead of an excellent. It ends with the AIM scientist now a super-soldier who will more than likely cause problems in the next issue.

SCOUT #20

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“Black Cat Bone”
Writer & Artist: Timothy Truman

Senator Craig Creek is getting ready for a national broadcast. He wants to expose the government and is setting up a pirate broadcast. He hired both the Swords of Texas and Beau La Duke to collect crucial equipment on a chartered plane in Las Vegas. So Scout, La Duke and Banner of the Swords of Texas head out. When they reach the plane it has been hijacked by Ortega. Ortega has the stolen nuke and plans to frame Senator Creek with it exploding. A fight on the plane results in the nuke falling out and detonating over Las Vegas.

“Poison In My Coffee”
Writer: Timothy Truman
Artist: Bill Jaska

Rosa Winters a newly promoted lieutenant is back from OTS to meet with President Carver. She is accompanied by Mossad agent Glanzman. The meeting with President Carver and VP Loper discusses the growing threat to the south. Communist Mexican forces are gathering for an invasion. The government needs Isreali arms and training. Also Winters still has to find the missing nuke from Mount Fire. At the end it is revealed that VP Loper is in league with the Legion of Man and their grand scheme.

Well the story is now basically bringing together all the main characters in the Scout universe. Scout, La Duke, the Swords of Texas, The Disciples of Soul, Rosa Winters, President Carver, VP Loper, and Monday. Armies are gathering for a final confrontation and a nuclear explosion destroys Las Vegas. It really makes the reader anxious to find out what happens next.

THE WARLORD #21

comics

“Terminator”
Writer & Artist: Mike Grell

Morgan faces his son now brought to adulthood by Deimos. Deimos had wanted to raise the child to hate the father but settles for the next best thing. He takes over Joshua’s mind and has him battle the Warlord. Morgan doesn’t have it in him to fight his son and stays on the defensive. At the last moment Joshua disarms Morgan and has him at his mercy. A reflex of Morgan has him shoot Joshua with his pistol. Morgan after such a devastating loss goes at Deimos with the intention of chopping him into little pieces. Deimos turns into a dragon.

Just then Tara, Machiste and Mariah enter after evading the demons of Deimos and finding a secret passage into the castle. Tara through her grief used the hellfire stone to turn Deimos back into a man. Their dog Shadow then attacks Deimos and hurdles them both into the stake filled mote that surrounds the castle. Morgan devastated by the loss of his son goes off on his own. An epilogue has the witch Alysha taking the real Joshua to live with a peasant family. The Joshua killed was a clone created by Deimos. Definitely not the end.

So the quest comes to a conclusion in a very tragic and unexpected ending. Morgan kills his son. Yet unknown to him his son is still alive. Grell has really set up a wealth of future storylines. There are very extremes of emotion in this story. Hate, sadness, anger all on display. Morgan’s attitude is one of a somewhat immature man. He retreats into self pity that the world didn’t work out for him and leaves his mate and friends when they need him the most. That’s what I love about this series. The characters have believable flaws which makes them real.

THE HULK! #21

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“Into The Myth Realm”
Writer: Doug Moench
Artist: Bob McLeod

Bruce Banner it transported to another dimension. The dimension is called the Myth-Realm and all our myths are real here. Banner initially is confronted by a gnome fighting a dragon. The gnome named Nimbli who speaks in rhymes tosses the sword to Banner who then kills the dragon. The two hop on a pair of centaurs and escape flying demons. They arrive at a castle on a boat. The castle belongs to the wizard Saragon. He brought Banner to the realm to rescue the princess Morgaina from the evil sorcerer Darkshorn. The spell around the castle can only be entered by monsters and they need the Hulk.

So Banner goes off with Nimbli and fights a variety of mythical monsters. When he reaches the castle he takes a potion that changes him into the Hulk. He rescues the princess and defeats the evil Darkshorn. At the end it is revealed that this was a dream. Banner was put under hypnosis by a psychologist to help him come to terms with his dark side.

“Marvel’s Changeling Heroes”
By Tom Rogers

An article on the changeling heroes of the Marvel universe. This includes the Hulk, Ghost Rider, The Man-Wolf, The Impossible Man, Snowbird, Nova, Starhawk, The Thing, Thor, The Cat/Tigress, and Werewolf by Night.

“The Movies Critics Don’t See”
By Jeff Mundo

A column on the dreck movies that are made. How some like Halloween and Texas Chain-saw Massacre gain respectability by being successful and how some great directors got their start on cheap B movies.

“All In Color For A Crime!”
Writer: Denny O’Neil
Artist: Howard Chaykin

Dominic Fortune is a flamboyant adventurer in 1937. He is involved in rescuing a fourteen year old boy from a comic book company that’s keeping him prisoner. The company is a front for the Nazis who are using comics for propaganda. Dominic rescues the boy and shuts down the insidious Nazis plan.

This Hulk story was a weird one. It starts right out with Banner being transported to this magical realm. I have to admit that I liked it. It was offbeat and made you want to find out what the hell is going on. The ending made sense and still left the reader wondering if it really was a dream or real.

The articles were OK. Nothing real special but not horrible either.

The new backup feature Dominic Fortune I really didn’t care for. While the concept sounds intriguing it just doesn’t click with me. I do miss Moon Knight.