G.I. JOE VS. THE SIX MILLION DOLLAR MAN #2

“Untitled”
Writer: Ryan Ferrier
Artist: SL Gallant

Oscar Goldman is with the military at the Pentagon debating the current crisis. The military want to destroy Steve Austin but Oscar is convinced that he is under some kind of mind control. Sgt. Mainframe suggests implementing Protocol: Powerplay. Meanwhile at the downed Air Force One the Joes are under siege by the Baroness with Steve and Cobra soldiers. A team lead by Scarlett and Snake Eyes head off to hi-jack a Cobra jet and fly to Switzerland. General Abernathy distracts Cobra by challenging Steve to a one on one fight. Steve agrees and proceeds to kick the general’s ass. This allows the other Joes to get the world leaders to safety. The other Joes arrive in Switzerland and start to assault the Infinity Tower and find Cobra Commander already waiting for them. At the end Goldman is introduced to Powerplay. It is another bionic man named Mike Power The Atomic Man.

Well this is a typical action filled G.I. Joe comic. The guys and girls don’t let a little thing like being outnumbered slow them down. Steve does seem to be completely under the control of Cobra. The big surprise for me at the end was the reveal of Mike Power. This is a classic action figure when G.I. Joe action figures were a lot bigger. I had a Mike Power figure. He was an obvious rip off of The Six Million Dollar Man. He had clear bionic legs and a bionic arm. Came with his own helicopter blade that could spin with his bionic arm. Had a bionic eye you could look through. They have him here in his trademark brown Bermuda shorts and flower pattern shirt. They should have more retro characters from the seventies. I would love a series based on those old toys. I think it would sell.

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THE WARLORD #110

“The Secret of Skyra III”
Writer: Michael Fleisher
Artist: Ron Randall

Morgan and Shakira are cutting their way through a swamp when they come on some crocodile-men attacking a blond woman. Morgan comes to the rescue and takes out the evil crocodile-men. The woman Asmara is very grateful. She comes from Skyra III and was on a quest to save her father. She needs some crucial ingredients and offers Morgan the use of their flying belts if he helps. Morgan need these for his quest so agrees. First he has to battle a bear for some lichen. Then a flying giant insect for a flower. Pterosaurs come from the city and take then up.

So in the city Morgan and Shakira find out that Asmara’s father is fine. The whole thing was a scavenger hunt. The inhabitants of Skyra III have grown decadent from being waited on by robots. They decide to kill Morgan and Shakira which is a big mistake. Morgan fights his way to the engine room and disables the anti-grav generator. The two grab some flying belts and leave as the city sinks to the ground. In the subplot Mariah and Machiste are rescued by a passing fishing boat. They find out about N’dosma’s tyrany. Machiste has the boat drop them off outside Kiro so they can sneak in through the drain. Only the entrance is guarded by men loyal to D’dosma.

This was a fun issue. Fleisher gives us a good solid nostalgia for the Grell years. We get another Skyra but this one is inhabited by douchbags instead of a cannibalistic cyborg. Once again Morgan jumps to conclusions and rescues a beautiful woman who is not the good guy. Another popular Grell story element. Good mix of modern futuristic tech and primitive men and creatures. The subplot with Machiste and Mariah is also progressing nicely. The only complain is that Mariah is a bit of a whiner and still obsesses about Morgan. Also nice to see some concern from Morgan about how slow the quest is going. This quest is dragging a bit and needs to get moving. Otherwise a good solid issue.

UNKNOWN WORLDS OF SCIENCE FICTION #2

“The Shape of Things That Came”
By Roy Thomas

An editorial on how the stories came about. Roy had an image of a robot in the raising of the flag at Iwo Jima and so a story was commissioned for it. Also the Harlan Ellison story was delayed because the artist had family matters he had to attend to.

“Through a Glass Slowly”
Writer: Tony Isabella
Artists: Frank Brunner and Klaus Johnson

Sandson Tyme of Slow Glass is visiting a client. The man named Lawrence Wilder bought slow glass to preserve his wife. He killed her and is upset that the image will fade away. He decides to commit suicide and jumps out the window.

“War Toy”
Writer: Tony Isabella
Artists: George Perez and Rico Rival

Was reprinted in Marvel Preview #20.

“There are No Yesterdays”
Interview by Denny O’Neil

An interview with Alfred Bester who was the first author to win the Hugo award for his novel The Demolished Man. He tells about his introduction to science fiction with the pulps as a child. He also confirms a heavy influence of Freud in his works. Has a sample of his work from an Australian comic.

“Adam…and No Eve”
Writer: Denny O’Neil based on story by Alfred Bester
Artists: Frank Robbins and Jim Mooney

A man ignores the warning that his new rocket fuel will cause a chain reaction that will destroy the Earth’s atmosphere. He launches and it does indeed destroy the world. He crawls around injured the last man alive until he reaches the sea. The sea will someday once again spread life on the Earth.

“The Hunter and the Hunted”
Writer and Artist: Mike Kaluta

A young boy is the survivor of his destroyed ship. He manages to sabotage the enemies ship because they stopped to laugh at the destruction.

“Science Fiction Fans, and the Hugo (Not Necessarily in that Order)
By Don Thompson

Don writes an article on the history of fandom. It started with Hugo Gernsback who the Hugo awards are named after. He published the letters sent to Amazing Stories This lead to fans writing to each other and getting together. The first convention was 1939 and the papers described it as a gathering of nuts. He also lists all the winners of the Hugo award to date.

“Specimen”
Writer and Artist: Bruce Jones

A man is alone on an automated spaceship. He has a prisoner a girl. The girl was picked up from a crash but it is unsure if she is human or an alien Kriton. She convinces him that she is not and he lets her out. Only the man is the Kriton and was too hungry to bring the prisoner back to his people.

“The Day of the Triffids”
Writer: Gerry Conway based on book by John Wyndham
Artist: Rico Rival

Masen and Josella are captured by Corker and forced to help the blind. Only a plague from all the dead bodies strikes the people dead. Masen and Corker are left alive and go in search of the Colonel and Josella. The split up and Masen finds Josella living in a mansion with some people. They settle in until a copter arrives telling of a community on the Isle of Wright. They have to then escape some others from an organization that wants to enslave them.

The second issue had a good solid lineup of stories. Once again the Triffid adaptation was my favorite. Very similar to the eighties series. Will have to some day check out the book.

War Toy and Specimen were the next best. I loved the twist ending to Specimen.

The other two were good but not stand out great. The interview and article was very interesting and informative. The series seems to be on the right track.

CONAN CLASSIC #3

“The Twilight of the Grim Grey God!”
Writer: Roy Thomas adapted from “The Grey God Passes!” by Robert E. Howard.
Artist: Barry Smith

Conan has just escaped from the Hyperborean slave pits and still wears the chains. He comes on an imposing grey haired man. He tells of the coming battle between the Brythunians and Hyperboreans. That kings and even more will pass. Then the sky is filled with twelve valkyrie-like Choosers of the Slain. Conan leaves this supernatural sight to find the camp of the Brythunians. He comes on the commander Dunlang who offers to give him a lift. Conan will fight to get revenge on the Hyperboreans and maybe the blond who whipped him.

At the camp the girlfriend of Dunlang implores him not to enter battle. Eevin is from an old race with abilities to foresee the future. Dunlang refuses but accepts her give of armor. Meanwhile the leader of the Brythunian calvary is making a deal to betray his king. Kormlada is the queen of Hyperborea and manages to use her womanly charms to seduce Malachi. He will not come to the aid with his calvary when needed.

So next day the battle is met and Conan using his severed chains fights the hordes of Hyperborea. He manages to kill the blond slavemaster but Dunlang is killed after removing his armor. Conan manages to inspire the troops to fight on. The kings of both sides kill each other in a fight and Conan gets revenge by killing the traitorious Malachi. At the end the Choosers of the Slain come and take those who are worthy. This night Conan witnessed the passing of Borri the war god and two kings.

“Conan the Marvelous On the Wings of a Snow White Horse”
By Roy Thomas

An article on the writing of this issue. Roy decides to do what DeCamp had done and take a non-Conan story and adapt it to Conan. This was a story of a serf named Conn who escapes his masters and takes part in the Battle of Clontarf in 1014. This battle drove the Danes out of Ireland.

The third issue was another winner. The adaptation of the REH story was well done. A story filled with pathos and the barbaric savagery that established the character. Here Conan vows to wear his chains until he kills the blonde slavemaster. He uses them as his only weapon to good effect. Filled with a vast cast of characters it is still easy to follow. Combined with the beautiful artwork of Barry and this is another comic classic.

PLANET OF THE APES URSUS #1

“Untitled”
Writer: David F. Walker
Artist: Chris Mooneyham

We start where the three astronauts are caught up in the hunt. After the hunt a Gorilla notices the dark skinned human and decides to take it to General Ursus who has an interest in such humans. Ursus meanwhile has just been to a council meeting and is not happy. Humans are destroying the crops and Ape City is in danger of famine. The solution is to turn soldiers into farmers. This doesn’t go over well with Ursus who storms out. Later he is shown the dark skinned human and we get a flashback.

Ursus as a young ape with his traveling father in Terminus. The apes there are using humans as gladiators for sport in the arena. The leaders feel this is the best way to control humans. So back in the present Ursus goes to Zaius and tells of the dark skinned human. From the conversation something real bad happened in Terminus and Zaius was there too. An excited sergeant brings Ursus and Zaius to a talking human.

So this is the first in a mini-series about General Ursus the militaristic “Only good human is a dead human” from the movies. In every story he is a one dimensional character but here we get another side. An ape who lives alone and is a widower. A young gorilla who looks at the world with innocence and wide-eyes. This is a character with a past and history that shaped him. Already we get a hint of a tragedy that involved humans in his life. A friendship between Zaius and Ursus that we never have seen before. I look forward to learning more about Ursus.

G.I. JOE VS. THE SIX MILLION DOLLAR MAN #1

“Untitled”
Writer: Ryan Ferrier
Artist: SL Gallant

Steve Austin parachutes into Siberia to rescue an American tech mogul. He succeeds in taking out the guards and freeing the man. Only the mogul is working for Cobra and knocks Steve out with an electric wand. Later the G.I Joes are escorting the Presidents of U.S., Mexico and Prime Minister of Canada to a world conference on the island of Frisia. The conference is to unify the world in its fight against terrorism namely Cobra.

As Air Force One flies to the conference it is attacked by Steve Austin who is flying using a jet pack. He takes out the escort fighter then tears off the tail. The plane crash lands on an island full of Cobra troops. Meanwhile Cobra commander takes over the Infinity Tower in Switzerland. This tower is home to most of the worlds banks and corporations.

Well this sounded like another cool crossover series. I used to read G.I. Joe back in the eighties and loved the Six Million TV show. So far it is living up to expectations. Seems Cobra has managed to take over Steve Austin and turn him against the Joes. Cobra is gloriously evil and megalomaniacal in its quest to conquer the world. Filled with bigger than life characters this is bound to be fun.

THE WARLORD ANNUAL #5

“The Uxmal Encounter”
Writer: Michael Fleisher
Artist: Adam Kubert

In the Mayan city of Uxmal an American tourist wanders off from the group to get some pictures. Instead he finds a real Mayan warrior. A week later Morgan is out hunting for breakfast when Mayans on flying platforms attack. They take him prisoner to their city. This is a colony of Mayans that left the surface to escape a plague. Now they have uncovered the passage and plan to conquer the surface. First they are going to sacrifice the tourist. Morgan manages to take his guards gun and shoot the holographic staff out of the priest’s hand. Unfortunately he is tricked into surrendering and thrown into a well to drown.

Later the Mayans attack the village on the surface. They battle Mexican police and American DEA agents. The Mayans decide to destroy the village for resisting them. So later Morgan is rescued by a warrior and taken to the king. The king wants the secret to the high priests technology and Morgan agrees to give it in exchange for freedom for himself and the tourist. Just then the high priest discovers them and attacks the king. This distraction allows Morgan to find the tourist and steal a flying platform. They escape the Mayans and the high priest who emerged victorious in the fight.

After dropping off the tourist with a promise not to tell anyone about what happened, Morgan is attacked by a F-15 and knocked unconscious. He wakes to find himself captive of the CIA at a secret airbase in the Yucatan. Unable to break him the leader Redmond devises a plan where his second in command Caroline helps him escape. She has a story that Redmond is nuts and they both steal an F-15. They come on the invasion force of 31 Mayans fighters. Morgan takes out all the Mayans with air to air missiles and an experimental sonic cannon mounded on the fighter.

The woman turns out to be a KGB double agent and attempts to kidnap Morgan. He manages to eject her and crash land the plane. The high priest survives and gets the drop on Morgan but Morgan manages to launch the drogue chute and knock the priest off a cliff. He manages to get the priest’s craft operational and takes off back to Skartaris.

So this is Fleisher’s first stab at a Warlord annual and it is brilliant. I loved this story. It has everything. A lost Mayan civilization armed with advanced lasers and flying craft out to conquer the surface. A secret CIA base with cool advanced fighters and KGB double agents. This has to be Fleisher’s finest work on this series. I was real excited for the future of Warlord. Unfortunately this was the high water mark for the series. It never approached this quality ever again and started a downward slide in overall quality.

UNKNOWN WORLDS OF SCIENCE FICTION #1

“1975: A Space Odyssey”
By Roy Thomas

An editorial on what this series will be. A brief history of how science fiction has just recently taken hold of a mass audience. That this series will feature a variety of science fiction from well known authors and ideas.

“Slow Glass”
Writer: Ton Isabella adapted from concept by Bob Shaw
Artists: Gene Colan & Tom Palmer

A newlywed couple checks out an antique store in New York. Its filled with all sorts of stuff and its specialty is Slow Glass. A black glass that records images. They watch and see stories.

“The Day of the Triffids”
Writer: Gerry Conway adapted from book by John Wyndham.
Artists: Ross Andru & Ernie Chua

A man is stealing plant seeds from the Soviet Union but is shot down over the Pacific. The seed are spread all over the world and Triffids grow. In all climes they are walking plants with deadly stingers. They also have a sap with medical healing abilities. So they are grown and cultivated. William Masen works with Triffids and is stung in the eyes. He is in the hospital with his eyes bandaged and doesn’t get to watch the world wide meteor shower that is happening. That saves his sight for the next day he finds most of the people of London suffering from blindness. He rescues another woman with sight and they go to help her father. Only her father has been killed by a Triffid. They continue on and find a group of soldiers who have sight locked up in a gated building.”

“A View from Without…”
Writer and Artist: Neal Adams

A man finds an alien communicator in a field. It reports back on the Vietnam War. A small village is attacked with napalm and a baby wanders with injuries until it falls into the sewage pit and drowns.

“The Bradbury Chronicles”
interview by Shel Dorf

An interview with Ray Bradbury. He talks about his childhood and the books that got him into reading. Goes no about his beliefs on how to live life and what his plans are for the future.

“Smash Gordon in A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to Mongo!”
Writer and Artist: Frank Brunner

Smash Gordon just shoots down a dinosaur. Dale is excited for now she can take a bath and proceeds to strip down and bathe in the beasts blood. Professor Zookoff thinks this is bizarre behavior but then a pterodactyl swoops up Dale. They give chase but they hocked the laser cannon so have to ram the creature. As Dale falls she disappears then both Smash and Zookoff also disappear. The were beamed aboard the Starship Enterfuzz by what looks suspiciously like Kirk, Spock and McCoy. Smash is arrested for killing endangered species.

“Savage World!”
Writer: Wally Wood
Artist: Al Williamson

A nuclear test is conducted in 1968. The three scientists two men and a woman investigate the crater. They find it opened a hole in the ground. From the hole comes guys that float up and take them prisoner. Underground is a civilization that has been living in peace. The leader wants the woman to marry his son and starts a mind link between the two. The guys break her out and escape before the next nuclear test.

“Past and Present Master”
interviewed by Gerard Conway

An interview with Kelly Fries a seven time Hugo winner for art. He has done many covers for Analog, Astounding and science fiction covers.

“Hey Buddy Can You Lend Me A…”
Writer and Artist: Mike Kaluta

In the future most of humanity has left Earth. The remaining people live in a few big cities. A flight from New York to Los Angeles crashes. They are trapped in a radioactive wasteland filled with giant insects. Their only hope is a telephone booth but they don’t have any coins. One of the members is a collector and has a dime that is too valuable to part with. A woman takes it from him but gets a recording and needs to deposit an extra nickel which she doesn’t have.

“Light of Other Days”
Writer: Tony Isabella adapted from story by Bob Shaw
Artists: Gene Colan and Mike Esposito

The newlywed couple is a bit skeptical of Slow Glass. They watch another story about an unhappy couple traveling in the country. They come on a place selling slow glass. They watch through a window a happy mother and her son. Only the scene is on slow glass and the place is empty. Seems the mother and son died in an accident. This upsets the couple who leave. In New York the newlyweds are also upset and leave.

So this is the first of an anthology series of Science Fiction. Like any anthology some are hit and miss. Obviously the Triffids story is the best. I seen both the sixties movie and eighties series and both were excellent. Someday I will have to read the book.

The interviews were also very good especially the Bradbury one. Very informative.

The others were good. Some had humor and I found interesting. The Slow Glass one was a bit slow but was going to be a recurring theme in each issue. Hopefully it will pick up.

The only one I hated was the Vietnam one. A heavy handed rant about the war with no real merit.

All in all I good start to the series and look forward to reading the rest.

CONAN CLASSIC #2

“Lair of the Beast-men!”
Writer: Roy Thomas
Artist: Barry Smith

Conan stands over a giant man-ape that he just killed that attacked him. He ponders why it attacked then continues on his way. He sees a beautiful woman and chases after her. The girl leads him into an ambush by man-apes. They need slaves and take Conan to Brutheim. Here in an underground city Conan finds himself prisoner. Kiord the chief Thrall of the Manlings tells Conan of the place. Far in the past Kiord’s ancestors were warriors who went north to fight a race of man-apes that were developing civilization. Instead the man-apes captured the warriors and made slaves of them. They then captured women from nearby villages to mate with them so now Kiord and his people are born slaves to the beast-men.

Conan is not a good slave which becomes very obvious. So the king Gha-Kree sentences Conan to die in the arena. Kiord smuggles a knife to Conan so he can kill himself but Conan has other ideas. He uses it to kill the snow-lion he has to fight. This inspires Kiord who breaks out of his cage and with Conan use a giant ram to destroy the arena and the beast-men. Kiord dies and Conan crowns him the king.

“Conan the Marvelous Of Bears and Beast-men”
By Roy Thomas

An article on the second issue of Conan. Tells how the top editors were thinking of replacing Barry as artist but this work ended such speculation. Also tells how Barry gave a more Burroughs look to the city than Howard look. Also the beginning had a bear that Conan killed and took the fur for his cloak. The editor insisted that it be changed to a giant beast-man. Also he got the inspiration for the story from Howard’s pseudo-history. It tells of a race of beast-men in the north and a group of warriors that went to destroy them but was never heard of again.

The second Conan continues to establish a quality series. I love the young Conan who is still a teenager and new to the world. There is such a vitality to this story and it was nominated as the best story for the comic awards in 1971. The article was once again interesting and informative. The beginning with the dead beast-man does seem awkward and forced. This is truly a comic classic.

KONG ON THE PLANET OF THE APES #6

“When Chaos Reigns”
Writer: Ryan Ferrier
Artist: Carlos Magno

Kong and Na-ti are running from General Ursus and his army. They come to a cliff at the edge of the ocean. Ursus has his men take a huge wooden spear and start stabbing Kong. Zaius, Cornelius and Zira arrive and try to put a stop to this. Ursus is totally power mad and while they argue Na-ti is shot by Ursus. She falls and Kong falls with her to catch her. They crash through the ground and find themselves in the underground ruins of New York.

Meanwhile back at Ape city the council is going to cover up the whole expedition and its findings. They also plan to make the forbidden zone totally off limits to apes. Zira and Cornelius decide to leave Ape City and get the news of Milo’s discovery of Taylor’s spaceship. Ursus takes his army into the ground after Kong. While tracking him the mutants use their mental powers to project fire which forces the apes to flee. At the end Na-ti is dead and Kong manages to reach the ruins of the World Trade Center where he dies. The mutants see this as a sign that the end is near and plan to detonate the bomb.

So the series comes to a sad end. I figured that Kong was going to meet a tragic end. Appears that Na-ti and the apes in general will also meet one. Indeed the ending set up changes nothing that the original movie didn’t set up. I liked this series. It was done in a clever way to integrate the Apes universe with Kong’s. It managed to stay true to both universes and tell a fascinating if not a tragic story. I wonder what other crazy crossover the Apes universe will get.