Writers: John Ostrander & Kim Yale
Artist: Gary Kwapisz
Rosa Winters is about to assassinate President Loper in Houston when she is stopped by Avner and his men. Israel does not feel that killing Loper now is in anyone’s interest since he is the only thing holding the country together. They are interested in replacing him with Rosa. For now though they have an assignment for Rosa. The Japanese are about to buy the Baja. Rosa with the Israeli team go down to start a rebellion and quash the deal. They recruit a rebellious former Soviet agent who now rallies for a union and Father Galvez the brother of a slain revolutionary. A rally sees Father Galvez killed by a sniper bullet which galvanizes a large scale uprising and results in Rosa losing her hand to a sword welding ninja.
The first book in this Scout mini-series is the start to a real interesting story. The rebellion started in the Swords of Texas comes to head in this series. An interesting idea for the Japanese to buy Baja. A very ’80s thing with the Japanese out to conquer the world. Its shown that both sides in this transaction have ulterior motives. The Communist Mexicans hope to get cheap weapons which they will later turn on the Japanese. The Japanese plan to own all of Mexico. We also get the general storyline for this series. The Israeli’s will be using Rosa has she gets into a lot of political intrigue in this alternate history. There is some cynicism as its shown the Israelis assassinated Father Galvez to start the revolution.
“Wings Over Shamballah”
Writer & Artist: Mike Grell
Morgan is approaching Shamballah when he is attacked by a pack of wild dogs. The dogs drive him to the top of a pyramid in ancient ruins. He manages to kill all the attackers and then trips a door that drops him into the pyramid. The pyramid is full of gold and other treasure. The inscription says that the wizard kings sealed this pyramid to protect their gold from the Evil One. Only blood drenching the steps will break the spell. Morgan obviously broke it with all the dog blood on the steps. He decides to take a shield with a black bird on it. This awakens two mummified trolls who can’t be stopped with either sword or .44 magnum slugs. But luckily sunlight dissolves them. After leaving the pyramid the black bird on the shield comes alive and carries Morgan off. Over the ocean a bolt of lightning destroys the bird and Morgan goes into the sea. He washes up on shore with menacing giant feet standing astride him.
I think that the title has taken a turn with this issue. Morgan mentions that he is finally thinking of the future since his son dies. The gloom from that incident seems to be fading and the spirit of adventure and exploration are coming back. Grell decides that its still not time to reunite Morgan with Tara and instead plop Morgan far away. This title is at its best when Morgan is struggling through unknown and dangerous parts of Skartaris. Also while not really noticeable now, the Evil One and that temple will play a big part in a future storyline.
“Dominic Fortune: The Power Broker Resolution!”
Writer: Len Wein
Artist: Howard Chaykin
Dominic Fortune is a hard gambling man who is constantly losing his money. He lives on a gambling ship called the Mississippi Queen anchored offshore from Los Angeles in 1938. One day his landlady brings him an assignment so he can pay off his rent. A woman wants Dominic to kidnap her husband. The man owes $250,000 in alimony but he stays in a coastal mansion surrounded by a minefield. She needs him brought to court to get her money. So when Dominic sneaks into the compound he finds it guarded by Japanese soldiers. The husband is making a deal with the Japanese. He will give them plans to American military bases in exchange for getting Texas and Mexico to rule over. Now Dom has to get the traitor and foil his plans.
“Dominic Fortune: The Messiah in the Saddle Resolution”
Writer & Artist: Howard Chaykin
Dominic is hired to stop one Noble Flagg. Flagg was a cowboy star of silent westerns. He now has started a cult that attacks all the vices of southern California including the movie industry. He also has a device that causes earthquakes. He is using it to help the east coast mob take over California.
Writer: Tony Isabella
Artists: George Perez and Rico Rival
In the future a general has built a robot with independent thought. He hopes to replace losing men in battle with these robots. But the general staff wants nothing to do with this and derisively called it a “War Toy.” So the general gets assigned to an out of the way place with his robot. Then aliens invade and occupy Australia. The general is with the UN forces that are sent there to liberate the country. He is killed but the robot performs a heroic act that wins the war. The robot is then discharged and forced to look for a job in the civilian sector. It eventually gets depressed and commits suicide.
See Marvel Preview #1
“Of Heroes and the Bizarre”
By Roger Stern
A short article on heroes and how this issue came about.
A collection of bizarre stories that served as a filler when they scrapped a Spiderman story. This title will eventually morph into Bizarre Adventures. I think the idea is great because I like Bizarre stories and these stories were Bizarre. I know I have been critical of the Dominic Fortune stories in the Hulk. I will say that I really enjoyed these stories. I guess the right writer does make a difference and if these two write more I would be very interested in Dominic Fortune. Too bad they didn’t do that for the Hulk backups.
The two science fiction stories were also enjoyable. War Toy was a sad and fascinating story. I suppose it was a commentary on the treatment of veterans which is very relevant these days. The second was a reprint I had already read and you can see that in Marvel Preview #1. A surprising good issue.
“Return of the Jaguar Men Part Three”
Writers: David De Souza & Paul D. Storrie
Artist: Shawn McCauley
Sheena fights the jaguarmen on the roof of her mansion. Her loyal jaguar Yagua jumps in to save her but gets thrown off the roof and captured by Colonel Pinto’s men. He wants Yagua as a bargaining chip in getting the location to an emerald mine. From here things move pretty fast. A female student in the archeology team has dreams that lead to a secret opening in the temple and a treasure room. Sheena her friends Ransome and Kellerman are there when Colonel Pinto’s men come. Just then a student and his brothers are revealed to be the jaguar men. He found the herb that can transform men into jaguarmen. Fortunately while the jaguar men are formidable they are not immune to bullets or well placed knives. Then they have to fight a group of revenge minded poachers but the result is the same. Oh and Yagua escapes so he can’t be used so everything ends well for Sheena.
The final issue in the series comes to an exciting conclusion. It goes fast but has a lot of action with the fights with the jaguar men. It ends with two epilogues. One was the young woman who is going north because of visions. The other is a doctor who is behind the jaguarmen getting a tablet that was successfully taken from the temple. So there is a strong possibility of future Sheena issues in the future. This was from 2014 so I am hopeful. I love the world that was created for Sheena in the fictional country of Val Verde. And I think I have fallen in love with Sheena. A great series.
“Revenge of the River Gods!”
Writer: Gerry Conway
Artist: John Buscema
Ka-zar, Zabu and Kem Horkus come to Thandar Kaa. A city that is comprised of floating barges on a river. Ka-zar and his companions jump into the river and go out to the barge of Ghakar the man who betrayed Bar Horkus. Initially Ka-zar plows into Ghakar’s men but is knocked unconscious from behind. Zabu is speared while still in the river and is assumed dead. Later Jira the cousin of Kem Horkus attempts to help them escape but they are captured once again. Ka-zar and Kem are tied to a boat and sent to crash in the rapids for their blasphemy. Ka-zar manages to escape and comes back and kills Thandar. He then searches for Zabu’s body and finds that he is still alive and wandered off into the jungle.
Another fun issue of Ka-zar. We get to see a new strange people in the river dwelling people. People who left the land after an earthquake to live on the relative safety of the river. Ka-zar is a bit impetuous and arrogant with his mighthy Ka-zar lord of the jungle attitude. It gets him captured multiply times and almost kills Zabu. Still he manages to come out on top. I really like the new direction of this series. We are getting to explore new areas of the Savage Land.
“Race With the Devil”
Writer: Charles Dixon
Artist: Ben Dunn
Baja, Mexico. The Socialist People of Mexico’s Industrial Re-Education Camp #11. The Swords of Texas lead the assault against this internment camp. They are successful and with the rebels help are gaining the upper hand in freeing the captive peons. But the government has turned to its contingency plan. They have a neutron bomb at the camp that houses the workers families. If the rebels don’t surrender they will detonate the bomb. The rebels start to surrender and the Legion of Man representative orders Governor Omo to then execute all the rebels and they will start importing new workers from other parts of Mexico. Omo has enough and rebels by destroying the command center. This allows the rebels victory. Banner and the Swords of Texas head back home with plenty of captured weapons to sell.
“Punch Out His Lights… The Party’s Over!!”
Writer: Beau Smith
Artist: Flint Henry
The epic conclusion to Beau La Duke and his family’s fight to save the amusement park. Colonel Pate and his government goons prove to be no match for the La Duke clan. They are soundly defeated and the amusement park is safe. Beau finds love with the widow Smith.
So concludes the first Scout mini-series and it was enjoyable. We get to see what’s going on in Communist Mexico. It was a touching ending that Governor Omo did the right thing and sacrificed his life. Throughout the series it was clear he was an honorable man troubled by the actions of his superiors. So once again the Legion’s plans are foiled. A great action story with plenty of explosions, gunfights and giant robots.
The conclusion to the Dogs of War backup was also satisfactory if not totally predictable. It was a fun satirical story that had no pretenses to being serious. My favorite part was where the La Duke brothers commented that their foes seemed to have too much teeth and they should do something about it. A great backup for this series.
Writer & Artist: Mike Grell
Morgan is on the border between Shamballah and Thera when he hears the sound of metal against metal. Getting into a tree he observes the Theran army on the march. They look like they are staging a full scale invasion of Shamballah. Morgan has to warn Shamballah. But first he has to take care of the leopard that chooses to attack him. Later his horse runs off and a short cut through the swamp almost gets him eaten by a saurian. He eventually gets ahead of the army and runs into a woodcutter. The two go to warn settlements up ahead with Morgan promising to help get the woodcutter’s family to safety. After warning the settlement Morgan holds off the army at a footbridge so the woodcutter can evacuate his family. He never finds out that the woodcutter’s son is his own son Joshua who he thinks is dead.
A good solid action story for the Warlord. The Theran invasion promises more future battles ahead. I enjoyed the one scene after the saurian swallows Morgan. He then cuts through the stomach and swims off. The caption says “Morgan is not a man who takes kindly to being eaten.” Just loved that. The story also shows us what happened to Morgan’s son and skillfully has Morgan never meet the woodcutter’s family so he never discovers his son. But you know that will still be part of a future storyline.
“The Hound of the Baskervilles Part II: The Demon-Hound from Hell”
Writer: Doug Moench
Artists: Val Mayerick & Tony Dezuniga
Sherlock Holmes decides to send Dr. Watson to look after the new heir to the Baskervilles. They reach Dartmoor and get introduced to the cast of suspects. There is the butler and his wife. There is a neighbor Stapleton and his sister Beryl. The sister gives Watson a warning when they are alone to leave because he’s in danger. There is also an escaped convict roaming the moors. Watson faithfully reports back to Holmes with written reports. Later Holmes is revealed to have been conducting an investigation in secret. It all comes to an exciting conclusion.
The final adaptation to The Hound of the Baskervilles was an interesting read from start to finish. I never read the book but it seems like a faithful adaptation. It had a real Victorian feel to it. There were some interesting turns in the story which I won’t reveal if anyone has an interest in reading the original story. This comic has interested me in exploring the works of Arthur Conan Doyle. I think there was plans for more adaptations but they never materialized.
“Return of the Jaguar Men Part II”
Writers: David De Souza & Paul D. Storrie
Artist: Shawn McCauley
The video of Yagua being the man eating attacker has leaked out. Now everyone is coming out to hunt Sheena’s jaguar friend down. Colonel Pinto the head of the secret police is leading the hunt. The archeology team manages to enter the temple and find that the old jaguar cult practiced human sacrifice. Sheena also finds that Yagua was attacked by something with claws and is being nursed back to health. At the same time Colonel Pinto arrives at Sheena’s compound with his men seeking treatment from a gunshot wound. It is then that she hears a noise from the roof and when she investigates finds real life anthropomorphic jaguar men.
Another fun story with an interesting story. We get to see Sheena in her Rachel Cardwell persona and balance the dumb act with her natural intelligence. It also ends with a cliffhanger in the appearance of the jaguar men. Very interested in finding out more about them and what happens.
“Waters of Darkness, River of Doom!”
Writer: Gerry Conway
Artist: John Buscema
Ka-zar and Zabu rescue a young teenage boy from two pterodactyls. The boy Kem Horkus is with his brother on an expedition to kill the behemoth. The behemoth is a large saurian creature that crippled his brother. Now the brother is obsessed with vengeance. Bar Horkus the brother is truly obsessed with his revenge. Ka-zar agrees to help and they come upon the behemoth. The giant crossbow on Bar Horkus’s raft missed and his second in command treacherously abandons him. Ka-zar and Zabu manage to rescue Kem Horkus and Ka-zar kills the behemoth but not before it kills Bar Horkus. He agrees to help Kem go after the treacherous second in command.
A new writer and artist and its a breath of fresh air for this series. Its getting back to showing a mysterious and savage land inhabited by dangerous dinosaurs and even more dangerous men. The Captain Ahab inspired storyline is adequate for a new direction. So now Ka-zar is involved with Kem Horkus and his people. Looking forward to seeing a new people and land that inhabit the Savage Land.