VENGEANCE SQUAD #6

“Case# 0006 The Diamond Queen!”

Writer: Joe Gill

Artist: Pete Morisi

The Vengeance Squad is driving to their next assignment along the Aegean coast. They are attacked by a jet fighter and abandon their car. Luckily, they are such excellent shots they manage to bring down the fighter with their pistols. The pilot parachutes to a waiting boat. The squad continues to an island of The Diamond Queen. A woman that has over $30 million in diamonds. Mrs. Otokopoulos has hired the squad to protect her guests for an evening dinner. Redd finds a bug in their rooms and immediately knows something is up.

When the dinner comes the squad pretend to eat which is good thing. For the criminals have drugged the food. The squad pretends to be asleep so as not to have any innocent guests killed. The criminals steal millions and take Candy Orr as a hostage. Redd and Tulsa find a helicopter and take off after the stolen yacht named The Diamond Queen. Redd figures out the helicopter was booby trapped and lands just before it explodes. Then getting on a passing fishing boat they continue their pursuit. The criminals scuttle the yacht and take a car to the airport. Redd and Tulsa climb a cliff and with the help of Candy overpower the guards. Redd drives the car into the airplane destroying it. They refuse the reward money because they have no time to spend it.

“The Big Pigeon”

Writer: Unknown

The Vengeance Squad is watching the testimony of Barneby Brighton a mob bookkeeper. He is going to reveal the identity of Mr. Big. The squad has a feeling something will happen to Brighton and go to watch over him. Good thing because they find out Brighton is Mr. Big and was trying to escape.

“Gangwar”

Writer: Nicola Cuti

Artist: Joe Staton

A big mobster gets killed with a bomb in his birthday cake. Another case that Mauser can’t solve due to a gangster’s death. Mauser has also hired a new secretary. A part time exotic dancer whose typing is bad and her coffee is worse. She is also a karate expert who wants to be a policewoman. Mauser goes to visit his police detective friend and after meets a man. They have a drink and he finds out that his daughter was killed by drug use. This man is the vigilante and shoots Mauser with a tranquilizing dart. He takes him back to his office and makes a call to a mobster. Mauser figures out this was a ruse to lead him from the real target. He goes to this other mobster and saves him while shooting the vigilante.

The final issue was a real fun one. We have the Vengeance squad take out a jet fighter with pistols. How did someone get a jet fighter and use it without anyone seeing in a highly monitored airspace? Don’t Know. Yet it was a fun goofy story filled with action. The prose story also was an interesting read.

Finally, the Mauser story was the best one I read so far. In some cases, the backup outshone the main story in this series. Mauser rescues an evil mobster from a vigilante who lost his daughter. A man who does what is right even though he doesn’t feel it. You can feel it in his final words to the mobster when he asks what he can do for him. He replies, Give me a good reason to push you off this roof.” You can tell he is very conflicted by the decisions he made.

This series was a short lived one as most of Joe Gill’s endeavors I read from Charlton. Yet they were a fun if corny read from a much simpler time.

SAVAGE SWORD OF CONAN #130

“The Autumn of the Witch”

Writer: Don Kraar

Artists: Mike Docherty and Fraja Bator

A young noblewoman named Vitellia is about to be put to death for being a witch. Her husband died of a mysterious disease and her brothers accused her. Unless a champion fights for her then she will be judged by trial by torture. Conan has been hired to be her champion. He arrives in time and defeats the elder brother. Now Conan has won both Vitellia’s lands and that of her accusers. Conan goes about getting ready to sell these lands. The brothers still want revenge and the elder one with some of his men attack Conan. Conan manages to kill them then goes and visits the other brothers. He brings the body of their brother back and the next brother sets his falcon at Conan. Only the falcon turns on the brother and he dies of the disease. The final brother also attacks Conan and dies of this disease. Conan starts to have his suspicions that Vitellia maybe is a witch. When a servant dies opening a parchment that was for Conan he has his proof. Vitallia turns into a monster and Conan captures her and turns her over to the king for execution as a witch.

“Beneath the Crown…A Warrior!”

Writer: Charles Dixon

Artist: Val Semeiks

Kull is coming back after defeating the Commorians. A group of mercenaries decide they want their money now instead of sticking to their vow of going back to the capital. The leader who is also an Atlantean challenges Kull to a fight to determine if the mercenaries stay or leave. Kull wins.

This was an OK issue. The story was a bit goofy with Conan getting involved with some woman to defend her of a witch accusation. It does start out as an innocent woman being set up by her greedy brothers-in-law. As it goes on, we do find that she really is a witch and was using Conan. Not a bad story just something that didn’t really appeal to me. More of a ho-hum story.

The Kull backup was excellent as usual. An OK if not really excellent.

CONAN THE BARBARIAN #163

“Cavern of the Vines of Doom!”

Writer: Michael Fleisher

Artists: John Buscema & Charles Vess

Conan and Fafnir arrive in a village just in time to witness a young woman being burned at the stake. Fafnir springs into action and rescues her. The two later find out the young woman Krylxxa wants to return to her clan. Along the way they have to fight a huge bear. They stop at a blacksmiths place that Fafnir knows. Only the blacksmith and his sons don’t recognize Fafnir. Fafnir finds the blacksmith and his son’s bodies hidden. The blacksmith and sons attack and soon they discover that the phony people bleed water instead of blood.

After killing them they arrive at the place of Krylxxa’s people. Conan and Fafnir are ambushed by plant men. They find out this ancient race has lived underground in caverns since the asteroid destroyed the dinosaurs. A recent earthquake opened their cavern and some of the young went out to the world. They could only survive by taking the life force of humans and assuming their form. Krylxxa is one of them yet she has fallen in love with Fafnir. She helps the two escape and spends what time she has left before she dies in the outside world.

This was an interesting story that had these plant men that can take over others bodies. The young woman is revealed to be one yet has fallen in love with Fafnir. Fafnir returns the love and a bit of a tragedy that she dies at the end. A strange story but interesting.

GROO MEETS TARZAN #1

“1 of 4”

Writers: Sergio Aragones and Mark Evanier

Artists: Sergio Aragones and Thomas Yeates

Sergio and Mark are attending Comic-con. A panel for Groo actually gets some fans and they announce that the next Groo will crossover with Tarzan. Sergio also announces that he and Mark will go to Chula Vista Safari Park to research for it. Mark hears that the place is bankrupt and a condemned rathole. Later Sergio gets angry that everyone confuses him with the guy who wrote Spy vs. Spy for Mad. That is except the beautiful girl who he sketches a wall sized drawing for.

That night Sergio is reading his old Tarzan comics and dreams of Tarzan. Tarzan is summoned by the local constabulary to listen to a man’s story. He is a sponge diver and saw a slave ship. He recovered a bracelet they threw over to help Tarzan in his quest to find the slavers. At this time Groo and Rufferto have wandered into the village of Kaya. The tannery attracts Groo who starts to eat the skins in dung filled water. The elders of the village come up with a plan to get rid of Groo. They tell him that the best cheese dip in the world is located at Ungara. They then by drums warn Ungara and tell them to lead him away with promises of cheese dip somewhere else.

Tarzan continues his search for the slavers. He finds an old man that points the direction they went. It is to the land of Pal-Ul-Don. Groo comes to Ungara and they point him to another area. In our world Sergio and Mark go to Chula Vista with Sergio dressed as an explorer with a BB gun. They arrive at the safari park which does look run down. Mark hears the city plans to tear it down to build a slum in its place. After paying $60 bucks apiece they start the tour. Sergio has to get out to have his picture taken which is against the rules. A lion comes and chases after Sergio.

“Rufferto”

A short story on the back cover. Rufferto sees some birds flying away and comes on a nest of eggs. He has visions of birds to cook as they hatch. Only they are crocodile eggs and has to flee as the parents come back.

After the successful Conan crossover Sergio gets to do Tarzan. Yeates was an artist born to draw Tarzan and Sergio an artist born to draw Groo. Combining the two and you get a very beautiful issue. The Tarzan parts looks like a classic Tarzan story and the Groo parts are very much classic Groo. As a bonus Sergio and Mark insert themselves in the story. Fun humor with everyone thinking he did the Spy vs. Spy story. I actually thought that Sergio did do them. Learn something new every day. A fun and enjoyable story with plenty of humor that only Groo can deliver.

THE SOVEREIGNS #4

“End of the Golden Age”

Writer: Ray Fawkes

Artist: Johnny Desjardins

The big bad black blob is killing Solar. Magnus is revived by his computer and sees that the Moon is destroyed. Its pieces are heading toward Earth. Magnus has the machine conscience launch every weapon to intercept the fragments. He also implements The Endgame Protocol. Five cities New York, Moscow, Oslo, Paris and Tokyo have buildings that slide down into the Earth and are sealed up. These will survive the coming catastrophe. Everyone else well not so much. In the future Samson and Andar come on a place that the Moon crashed into the Earth. They hope to find the bones of Solar and Magnus so they can stop this evil entity.

“Doctor Spektor Part 3”

Writer: Aubrey Sitterson

Artist: Dylan Burnett

Spektor is rushing to meet his girlfriend for dinner. He takes a short cut in the subway and meets a demon that he owes money to. He blinds him then continues on. On the street he works a spell to change himself into a beautiful woman so the cab driver will stop for him. At the restaurant he arrives late and is admonished that he must be on time for tomorrow. For they are going to get a rent-controlled apartment and Spektor must be on time.

This issue we get to see what caused the apocalypse of the future. Magnus and his Endgame Protocol is responsible for some of humanity surviving. Samson and N’yark are his doing. In the future they find a place for this mysterious gathering of the keys to stop the evil blob. A bit of a convoluted story but still I have interest in seeing how it is resolved.

As for the Spektor backup. It was dumb like the other installments I read. A loser millennial and a pointless look at his pathetic life.

VENGEANCE SQUAD #5

“Case# 0005 Death is Driving!”

Writer: Joe Gill

Artist: Pete Morisi

The Vengeance Squad are parachuting into southern France. They are there to take out a heroin lab located in a chateau. Armed with Thompson submachineguns and grenades they take out a Maxim firing at them. Then Tulsa slugs the leader who is wearing a mask with a cape and cowl. This pussy just runs away and detonates the chateau. The squad has a limo waiting for them after this that takes them to Monte Carlo.

Once checked into a premium hotel they get down to tracking the elusive leader of the heroin operation. They throw around money and buy sports cars with cash while bragging about how they took out the heroin lab. The car salesman is observed by Candy at the beach telling a shady man. This man Marco Poleau is a suspected criminal. Later that day Poleau tries to run Redd off the highway but gets run off instead. So then Poleau kidnaps Candy and takes her to his yacht. Only Candy manages to escape and set off the bomb trap and destroy the yacht. Now Poleau has to race Redd in the Grand Prix. A race that sees Poleau die after crashing over the cliff.

“The Frame”

Writer: Nicola Cuti

Artist: Joe Staton

Mauser has just hired a secretary at his sister insistence. He hires Bambi a blonde bimbo with a heavy New York accent. She also can’t type or take dictation which is fine with Mauser. He hates a know it all. Mauser gets an assignment from Stu Canfield who runs a collection agency. A painting for $50 needs to be collected on a deadbeat. Mauser has an easy time collecting the painting which is stolen by a thug while walking through the streets. Mauser gives chase and hears the sound of three silenced pistol shots. He finds the thug shot dead. Mauser takes the picture and throws away the frame.

At the office he calls Stu and finds out that the frame is also worth a lot of money and has to go get it. Only he finds it missing and thinks that Bambi is the one who took it. She was the only one he told where the frame was and she immediately had to go take care of a sick mother. He goes to her apartment and finds Stu there. Bambi tried to steal the gems in the frame and Mauser is forced to shoot Stu. Bambi insists she was of course framed.

“Rule of Fear”

Writer: Unknown

Candy Orr goes to a shopping mall and rescues a woman being mugged. She offers to teach her and her friends some self defense moves. Later she finds out that they successfully fought off muggers.

Another fun issue. This was a Modern reprint which first introduced me to the series. It has this creepy guy who wears a goofy mask and cape. I love how Redd manages to shoot a grenade out of the air and explode it with his Thompson. These guys just have tons of money. They have a limo waiting to pick them up after a mission. They pay cash for two sports cars. Vengeance is good business. Of course Redd is so committed to getting the bad guys he has no time to rest in Monte Carlo. They have a new mission at the end.

The Mauser story was exceptional this issue. He gets a bimbo secretary who is working against him. Mauser will take anything even a job to collect a $50 painting. I suppose $50 was a lot back in the seventies. Ends with a great pun.

Finally the prose story was an enjoyable one. Candy Orr beats up some punks and teaches the local ladies to defend themselves. All around a fun and enjoyable issue.

SAVAGE SWORD OF CONAN #129

“The Sea Mage’s Daughter”

Writer: Don Kraar

Artist: Gary Kwapisz

A Zingaran merchant ship is attacked by Conan who is captain of The Wastrel. They successfully capture the ship but it has nothing but a Zingaran nobleman guarded by some elite guards. This noble has a message tattooed on his chest. It is an offer from Zingara to Argos to join forces and wipe out the Barachan pirates. Conan then goes to Baracha to warn his fellow pirates. Now Conan was banished by three of the pirate captains in charge. Yet Conan ends up killing two of them and making an alliance with the third. To defeat the combined Zingaran/Argossean fleet they need help from a mage that can control the winds. This they get by kidnapping his daughter. The mage helps and they defeat the fleet but the rival captain decides to kidnap the daughter for himself. Conan pursues and they end up on the beach. Here the mage comes and reveals himself as Triton the god of the sea. He turns the Barachan captain into salt and takes his daughter.

“The Barrens”

Writer: Charles Dixon

Artist: Val Semeiks

Brule is riding ahead of the army to forage for food. He comes on a village and is captured by deserters who have taken over. They take Brule out to hang him on a cross but Kull and the main force arrives. Kull kills the deserters and frees his friend.

This was a good issue. I loved this wild story that had Conan go all over the place. What really made it for me was Kwapisz’s art. He gave all the pirates their own looks including scars and such touches as shrunken head necklaces. There was some beautiful naval battle scenes including one big two page spread. I also loved he had plenty of sharks grabbing people.

The Kull backup starred Brule and was also a good story. Brule didn’t do much except get kidnapped but it still was an entertaining story.

CONAN THE BARBARIAN #162

“Destroyer in the Flame”

Writer: Michael Fleisher

Artist: John Buscema

Conan and Fafnir stop at a tavern in a city. Meanwhile far away the Brotherhood of the Falcon have chosen a new leader. The old one gets killed by falcons with steel claws because he failed to kill Conan. The Brotherhood then gets a message from Jerghl Zadh a demon that Conan defeated ten issues ago. He will lead the Brotherhood to Conan and he does. They find Conan and Fafnir and attack. The two manage to fight them off and steal a horse to ride away. The Falconmen give chase. Conan tries to jump into a river but Jerghl sets it on fire. Then he turns the grass in a swamp to snakes. This forces Conan and Fafnir to climb a cliff to escape. After battling the hunting falcons released at them, they reach the top of the mountain. There they find a temple that was an old one of Jerghl Zadh long ago. Now he has Conan where he wants him. He sends his spirit to take over Conan. Only Conan puts out the torch and Jerghl instead occupies Conan’s image in a mirror. Conan then shatters the mirror and the whole temple collapses. It also takes out the Falconmen that were climbing the cliff.

Fleisher brings back two of Conan’s adversaries in this issue. The reliable Brotherhood of the Falcon and the interdimensional demon Jerghl Zadh. These two get together for their revenge. I have to say that for a feared assassin guild and ancient powerful demon these two are bumbling idiots. Conan reduces them so easily. A good story and I like how Fafnir gives Conan a companion to talk to and share some adventures.

RED SONJA THE SUPERPOWERS #5

“Untitled”

Writer: Dan Abnett

Artist: Jonathan Lau

Red Sonja confronts Vampirella in a city circa 1971. Sonja finds out that Vampirella is very strong and powerful. Yet Sonja starts to master her own new suit and weapons. The two put up a good fight that takes them all over the city. They destroy all kinds of stuff until Sonja manages to tie up Vampirella using her suit. Others come from the project and stop Sonja from killing Vampirella. We find out at the end that some powerful threat has destroyed a plural Earth and might threaten all the Earths.

The final issue was basically a big smackdown fight between Sonja and Vampirella. I haven’t read Vampirella’s series so I don’t know how this came about. It was a good fight issue. Both girls showed they were powerful and someone to recon with. Sonja does win since this is her series. Ends with the hint of an upcoming Vampirella vs. Red Sonja series. So far haven’t heard of this being released but sounds promising. This was a well done and tightly written series. Did a good job of introducing the reader like me who has no idea what the Project Superpowers are about. One of the better Sonja crossovers.

THE SOVEREIGNS #3

“End of the Golden Age”

Writer: Ray Fawkes

Artist: Johnny Desjardins

Magnus has a brief period where he died because he was mentally linked to Dr. Spektor when he died. Luckily his computer manages to revive him. Solar discusses with her computer what is going on. We find out Magnus traveled back from 4000AD. In the future Samson battles some giant cat creature. After defeating it he then is confronted by Andar. Samson knocks the pistol from Andar’s hand after he shoots Samson. Samson talks with Andar and we find out that Samson is looking for two bone keys that belong to Solar and Magnus. He already has Turok and Spektor’s bone keys. Back in the present a huge explosion destroys Solar’s power station and she finds herself in the Lost Valley facing the giant black blob.

“Turok Part 4”

Writer: Chuck Wendig

Artist: Alvaro Sarraseca

The evil dinosaur mayor plans to sell Turok to the Varanids. He is going to shoot the young dinosaur man who was going to elope with his daughter. His daughter grabs a Jack Daniel bottle and cracks it over her father’s head. This causes a distraction that Turok grabs an AK and shoots the guards and the mayor.

The story is getting more interesting. We find out a bit about Magnus. We find out that Solar built some station that gives the world free solar power. In the future Samson is on a quest to find the bone keys of the Sovereigns of the Earth which are the various main characters. They all have died and the Moon blew up and took out Solar. Andar survived the creature that killed Turok and is now stuck in the future. Interesting story.

As for the Turok backup it is short and will be continued in Magnus which I don’t have. I will continue Turok’s adventures in his own series after the Sovereigns. Somehow I have a feeling I won’t care for this.