ATARI FORCE #8

“Part 8: Babe’s Story”
Writers: Gerry Conway and Andy Helfer
Artist: Jose Luis Garcia Lopez

Babe and Hukka have taken off in a shuttle to help Morphea. Only they manage to crash on some unknown world 500,000 miles away. Babe has to fight off a three-headed serpent. Then he meets a small little warrior guy. The little alien is carrying around a dead companion and is being chased by other bad looking aliens. Babe and Hukka decide to tag along with the little guy. They fight off some giant dogs. Then Babe takes out a large artillery piece located on a mountain. Finally they arrive at the aliens camp and Babe and the little alien attack. Babe’s huge strength manages to destroy the main armory and thus destroy the camp. At the end Scanner One finds them and they also take on the new little alien as part of their crew.

So this issue was devoted to Babe. Along with the Hukka the two have some fun adventures. They meet up with some little alien that has lost his people to these evil red alien invaders. A good issue in giving Babe the spotlight. We haven’t had much with him except comic relief. He is an infant who has incredible strength and is basically a living rock. So he bumbles through the story with a childlike innocence. The little alien doesn’t speak any language we understand so his story is told manly visually. Which they succeed in doing. Hopefully we will get more of the little alien’s story now that he is part of the team. A nice solo story to highlight one of the crew that up to now has been in the background.

ATARI FORCE #7

“Part 7 Counter Attack”
Writer: Gerry Conway
Artist: Jose Garcia Lopez

Tempest is being tortured by Psyklops an underling of the Dark Destroyer. Psyklops draws power from the psychic suffering of others. Dart and Pakrat are in the vent watching this. Before they can do anything a viperhound attacks Pakrat and Dart is forced to fire on it. This sets off the alarms and they flee. On board Scanner One Martin hears his son is being tortured from Morphea who can sense it. So he decides to surrender to the Dark Destroyer. The Dark Destroyer allows him on the ship and finds the bomb hidden on him. He than gloats on how he will make Martin suffer.

Morphea sneaks aboard the Dark Destroyer’s ship and uses her psychic ability to shield herself. She confronts Psyklops who uses his powers to bring back painful memories that Morphea has. As a child growing up in the creche she was different and felt emotions. This was punished by her mother. Morphea breaks the memory and defeats Psyklops and rescues Tempest. Dart and Pakrat manage to take over the engine room and threaten to blow up the ship if Martin and the others aren’t set free. The Dark Destroyer agrees and everybody returns to Scanner One as the Dark Destroyer leaves the area. Morphea makes a discovery that Babe and Hukka have left on a shuttle.

Wow was there a lot of stuff going on. Martin confronts the Dark Destroyer. Tempest gets tortured but rescued by Morphea. We get a glimpse into Morphea’s history and how she grew up. Dart and Pakrat manage to work together to save the day. Everybody gets out to fight another day. What was looking grim in the beginning turns out very positive for our heroes. Of course Babe and Hukka are now gone. A very fast paced issue that answers questions and raises a lot more.

ATARI FORCE #6

“Part Six: A Meeting with Life and Death”
Writer: Gerry Conway
Artist: Jose Garcia-Lopez

Scanner One has found the Dark Destroyer’s ship and thinks it’s shielding is hiding it. It is decided that Tempest should use his phase power to scout the ship. He phases over and finds himself in a crowded crew quarters. So he quickly goes back before the crew overwhelms him. They then decide to have Tempest go there and drop a canister of gas to knock out the crew. This he does but instead of the crew he is confronted by the Dark Destroyer. The Dark Destroyer beats him unconscious. Dart and Pakrat then go through the hatch and find out it is a trap. Luckily being corned brings out the madness in Pakrat and they fight their way to a vent shaft. The Dark Destroyer then projects himself on Scanner One and taunts Martin that he has his son and plans to torture him to death. Dart and Pakrat in the vent shaft come on Tempest being readied to be tortured.

So they finally confront the Dark Destroyer. He knew they were coming and set a trap. Tempest is captured and Dart and Pakrat are on the run. I enjoyed the emotions between the crew. Tempest is trying to impress his father. Martin finally at the end has some real emotions about his son being captured. Pakrat has his moments of comic relief and bravery. Dart is showing her natural leadership. In the background is Pakrat’s brother waiting for his chance to take back Scanner One. A very fast paced story filled with emotion and action.

ATARI FORCE #5

“Dark Dawn”
Writer: Gerry Conway
Artists: Ross Andru & Jose Luis Garcia-Lopez

Martin Champion his son Chris and Dart have come to the Atari museum. Their goal is to steal Scanner One. Dr. Morphea finds them and agrees to help them if they will rescue Babe from the station. So they take off but not before Parkat who is fleeing his brother Rident manages to get on board before the ship vanishes. They make a quick stop on the station and take Babe. Then its off to the new universe to find the Dark Destroyer.

On New Earth Rident manages to convince the council to loan him a ship with a multidimensional drive so he can go after Scanner One. Pakrat is captured and finds out he is on some crazy mission that could result in his death. Martin smashes the nav-chip so the Dark Destroyer can’t use it to find his way to their universe. Then they find the Dark Destroyer’s ship. Rident also enters and the Dark Destroyer was waiting for them.

So the various characters finally manage to join up into a team. Each of course for their own reasons. Chris to seek his fathers approval. Dart because she is bored. Morphea to get Babe back home. Pakrat to escape his brother and Hukka the pet is along for the ride. Interesting to see how their encounter with the Dark Destroyer turns out. Also nice to see Scanner One again and Dr. Orion who is part of the ruling council. I love the mixture of this misfit crew and their battle with the evil entity.

ATARI FORCE #4

“Part 4 Families”
Writer: Gerry Conway
Artist: Ross Andru

Dart comes home to New Earth and reunites with her adopted brother Tempest and her parents. On Atari Station Martin Champion continues his mad quest to find the Dark Destroyer. He has to have a session with Morphea and revives some of his past life. It is interrupted as she has to go and rescue Babe from the evil freighter captain. On New Earth Martin comes to visit the home of his friends Li San and Mohandas. It is a bit tense as Chris is still resentful of being abandoned by his father. At the end Martin is back looking for the Dark Destroyer. He feels he has found the right universe as a huge ship captures his probe. He is worried for the ship can use the probe to track back to New Earth. So he vows to form a new Atari Force.

A subdued issue. We get some glimpses into the old crew members and their lives. Some insight into Martin’s past and his obsession with finding the Dark Destroyer. Chris has issues with the abandonment and we see his close relationship with his adopted sister Dart. We get to see Hukka from the old series. Morphea gets to be in charge of Babe. Pakrat also arrives at Atari Station and can’t be arrested by his brother because New Earth doesn’t have an extradition treaty. So far the various members are coming together and looks like next issue a new team will form from them.

ATARI FORCE #3

“I Saw You Die Part 3”
Writer: Gerry Conway
Artist: Jose Luis Garcia Lopez

On Roc’s world Dart has a dream that Blackjack dies. So the two decide to leave and go back to New Earth. They purchase a used ship. The ship was defective and deliberately sold to them by the mysterious helmeted man that is after Dart. Pakrat sneaks on a station and is captured by his brother Rident. Rident has a personal grudge against Pakrat as the family has a distinguished line of law enforcement officers. He is ashamed of Pakrat’s criminal record. Pakrat manages to escape his bonds. When corned he goes nuts and easily defeats his guards.

Tempest is running a maze and uses his powers when he shouldn’t. He gets into an argument with professor Venture and phases out. Morphea finds Babe being abused by the freighter captain. She uses her psychic ability to find out that Babe was kidnapped and she frees him. Dart and Blackjack’s ship has broken down. While fixing it Dart gets a vision of a warship coming out of hyperspace and destroying them. So she manages to get the craft going in time. Unfortunately it gets stuck in a binary system. While attempting to break free Blackjack gets left behind.

So the third issue has once again many different stories going on. The various characters are slowly making their way to a meeting. The writer still keeps it interesting and easy to follow. We get some more insight into the characters. Blackjack seems to be killed and Dart has lost her lover. Babe is free of the evil freighter captain. Pakrat continues on and we find out he has a brother in law enforcement. We also get some more character profiles at the end. These for Dart, Babe and Morphea. An enjoyable series with excellent artwork by Lopez.

CONQUEROR OF THE BARREN EARTH #4

“Book 4 The Conqueror”
Writer: Gary Cohan
Artist: Ron Randall

Zhengla has invited Jinal, Yisrah and Barasha to a ceremony. They will take the Mulge mushrooms and have a vision. But it is a trap to find out who is a traitor. It reveals Yisrah as an agent of the Old Ones. He manages to escape with a hidden transporter. So the group makes plans to take D’roz. Jinal comes up with a plan to have 100 of them infiltrate the city. They arrive posing as pilgrims. Seems many pilgrims have arrived to offer their machinery. The Old Ones are building two robots. Jinal and the horde manage to break into the city after destroying the robots. Then they come to the chamber and Zhengla declares victory. Only Jinal uses that time to shoot him. Zhengla was too good to be offered a chance at a fair fight. His dying breath he offers the Earth to Jinal. She later takes the Mulge mushrooms for a vision of her own. She talks to the Old Ones and finds out they are the ones who created the Qlov. She sees herself uniting the world and reactivation the star cruisers. At the end the ship from her people arrive.

The final ending to this wonderful series. A bit surprising to have Jinal just gun down Zhengla. Yet she was right in that he was too good to let him have a fair fight. At the end we get answers to the mystery of the Old Ones. They were those who stayed behind and genetically engineered humans for the new Earth. The Qlov being one of their creations. It ends with the arrival of the colonist humans and a thank you from the creators. They state they have plans for the continuation but sadly that came to be. I would have loved to see where the story would have went. Yet they did end it and gave some closure to the fans. I hope someday they get that chance to continue to the story. Who knows with so much obscure stuff coming back through crowd funding.

ATARI FORCE #2

“Part Two: Direct Encounter”
Writer: Gerry Conway
Artist: Jose Garcia Lopez

On Roc’s world Dart and Blackjack are now fighting for the rebels after General Ki cheated them. They manage to take out a fortified laser cannon and thus win the battle. On New Earth Tempest visits his girlfriend and she rejects him. Her father a senator doesn’t like him or his father. On the Atari space station Morphea visits Martin Champion who lives like a hermit. He is obsessed with finding the cause of all the evil in the universe and sends out probes. Babe is still captive on a freighter bound for New Earth to be sold as a slave. Pakrat is also a stowaway on a space liner bound for New Earth.

The Mysterious figure after Dart sends down The Warbeast. A creature designed by a race for war that ended up destroying the planet. He is the last and was reduced to cannibalism. So the Warbeast attacks the rebels and Dart and Blackjack manage to toss a grenade down it’s throat thus blowing it up.

There are at the end three character profiles. One for Martin Champion. One for Pakrat and the final for Chris Champion. A basic summary of the characters history.

So the second issue has set up Dart to be the main protagonist. We find out she is the daughter of Mohandas and Li San from the original series. We also get introduced to Martin Champion the only original character for the first series to have a prominent role in this one. A guy obsessed with some dark force causing chaos in the galaxy. With this mysterious being he may not be so far off. Another solid issue that keeps these various characters moving to a meeting.

CONQUEROR OF THE BARREN EARTH #3

“The Warrior!”
Writer: Gary Cohn
Artist: Ron Randall

The Harahashan horde under Barasha has come to get revenge on Zhengla. Instead of the two armies fighting they agree to settle it in a dual between the two. The two have an epic fight that results in Barasha losing. Jinal intervenes and gets Barasha to agree to join them. So the two armies unite and head out to capture the open city of S’keen. This city is under the protection of the Old Ones. So the army heads out and meets a ship from the Old Ones. They claim to support Zhengla and lead the way to a meeting. Only the ship leads them into a trap. A village of Qlov attacks them. The village is lead by the renegade Qlov and their battle globe. Jinal manages to bring the globe down. Then they fight the Qlov and Zhengla manages to crush one with his bare hands. They use the captured Qlov globe to ram the ship guarding S’keen. They capture the city and are well on their way to taking the entire planet.

So this one shows that Jinal seems to have fully accepted Zhengla as her lord and master. She openly works to unite Harahashan with his army. They battle what looks like a primitive Qlov settlement on the Earth. They also soundly defeat the Old Ones. The final issue is one I looked forward to for it will answer all the mysterious questions and give a resolution.

CONQUEROR OF THE BARREN EARTH #2

“Book 2 The Captive!”
Writer: Gary Cohn
Artist: Ron Randall

Jinal is now captive of the brutal conqueror Zhengla Koraz. Zhengla had a vision that Jinal would be his consort and doesn’t really take no for an answer. After a fight she is invited on his next conquest a small desert settlement. Zhengla’s army rides right over the small settlement. Jinal uses the battle to try and kill him. She fails and this infuriates Zhengla. So he makes Jinal his slave and uses every chance to humiliate her. Jinal during this time gains a grudging respect for Zhengla. He is a harsh but fair ruler. One who has a commitment to make peoples lives better.

One day after a conquest the Mulge leader asks for Jinal. Zhengla at first grants the request but decides not to. He wanted to show that there are worst things than being the consort to him. He then gives Jinal a pistol and offers her the chance to kill him. Jinal decides not to and instead become his consort willingly. Later Zhengla tells her his story. He was a brigand who rescued a woman from the Mulge fungus ceremony. As a reward for putting her out of her misery she gave him a vision. A vision that showed him conquering the world with Jinal at his side. The story is then interrupted by news that the Harahashan hordes under Barasha have arrived.

Well this was a fascinating story. Jinal goes through all these hardships with Zhengla. It was a surprise to see her give in to him. Also we start to find out about Zhengla and his origin. Someone very capable of conquering the Barren Earth. At the end we get another cliffhanger with the arrival of Jinal’s allies the Harahashan. A very interesting story with beautiful artwork.