PEACEMAKER #3

“The Winds of War”

Writer: Paul Kupperberg

Artists: Tod Smith and Pablo Marcos

Peacemaker has fallen into a trap set by Micah the right hand man of Dr. Tzin-Tzin. Micah is goaded into a one on one fight with Peacemaker. Unfortunately for him he underestimates the crazy of Peacemaker. Goaded on by the image of his dead Nazi father, he breaks the back of Micah. Then he finds the electronic device that disabled his gear and manages to take off and escape. No sooner when he returns to his base then a report comes of terrorists attacking the Pax building in Geneva. So he takes off and kills all the terrorists except one. Threatening to toss him out he finds the location of a base. Meanwhile his girlfriend is captured. The Soviet and American generals in charge of guarding the peace conference in Berlin have been secretly hypnotized by Tzin-Tzin. They deploy the troops to leave an opening to attack. Peacemaker attacks the base in Paris and finds that there is equipment for a dirigible. We finds out that Tzin-Tzin has a dirigible he is riding as they plan to attack the peace conference.

I really love this series. Kupperberg does an excellent job of portraying Peacemakers psychosis with him and the image of his Nazi father. This image just goads him on. One time he tells him that he is just a figment of Peacemaker’s imagination which really sets the guy into a mental breakdown. There is something fascinating that the fate of the world rests in someone so mentally unstable. At the end is an article that gives us this time the background to three of Peacemaker’s supporting characters. A real exciting story and look forward to the final conclusion.

PEACEMAKER #2

“The Wages of Tzin!”

Writer: Paul Kupperberg

Artists: Tod Smith and Pablo Marcos

Terrorists have seized the Concorde at DeGaulle airport that has the American delegation to NATO. There are three superpowered terrorists that keep back the army. Peacemaker comes in and takes them out with his advanced weapons and electronic devices. He saves the hostages but there are many other terrorist attacks occurring that succeed, including one that kills nine members of the Soviet Politburo. Dr. Tzin-Tzin feels that Peacemaker is a threat to his plans and assigns his top man to eliminate him.

Christopher Smith the Peacemaker is mentally losing it. He goes and tortures a terrorist in Ireland to find out who is behind the attacks. He gets a contact who runs a cathouse in Budapest. So he goes there and finds out it is a trap. The guy Tzin-Tzin assigned is there with twenty men and electronic devices that jam Peacemakers tech.

This is a really interesting character. Unlike the Charlton stories this guy is really borderline insane. He talks to the image of his Nazi father who is always criticizing him for being too weak. He has no qualms about torturing people and threatens to make the terrorists deaths slow if they harm anyone. A fictional report at the end tells that the government wanted someone mentally unstable so they could disavow him if he ever got caught. A really dark antihero. I definitely love this reimaged character.

PEACEMAKER #1

“A Breach of the Peace!”

Writer: Paul Kupperberg

Artists: Tod Smith and Pablos Marcos

A group of Soviet and American diplomats are meeting at the French Riviera to discuss an upcoming peace conference in Berlin. Terrorists on boats land and start shooting everyone. Their target are the delegates and they succeed in killing them. As they leave they are attacked by an advanced helicopter flown by Peacemaker. He is too late to save the delegates but manages to kill all the terrorists. All the while having a conversation with his helicopter. The conversation is a delusion in Christopher Smith’s mind. It is a projection of his father Wolfgang Schmidt who was a Nazi concentration camp commandant.

Back at his chateau in Switzerland Christopher greets his girlfriend and talks to his maid who is actually a psychiatrist hired by the agency that employs Christopher. We cut to his girlfriend having lunch with an American police detective. She tells him the story of Christopher. That he was born in Austria to an Austrian munition industrialist and American children’s book author. At five it was revealed that his father was a Nazi war criminal and his father committed suicide in front of him. His mother took him back to the states and changed the name to Smith. Christopher had behavior problems and eventually joined the army. In Vietnam he massacred some villagers and was sentenced to life in prison. Only the government recruited him for a squad that was to fight terrorists in the Middle East. After the Nixon administration went out of power the program was disbanded and Christopher found himself a free man. He decided to become Peacemaker and now the government is using him to fight terrorism.

On a small island in the Aegean Sea Dr. Tzin-Tzin is training his army of terrorists. He plans to collapse the Soviet government and take over his own country from the chaos. Then build an empire selling arms and services to terrorists worldwide. An agent is found and Tzin-Tzin uses his hypnotic power to get his confession. The agent is sentenced to death but never reveals the presence of another agent.

Christopher gets word that terrorists are holding a NATO delegation hostage at Charles De Gaul airport. They have flying men supporting them so he takes off in his jet.

DC acquired the character from the defunct Charlton Comics and decided to give him a reboot. First off there version is much better in every way. Better written. Better art and quality of paper. This character has much more depth and also has a boatload of mental problems. He apparently had a problem of believing that the souls of terrorist victims and terrorists he killed were trapped in his helmet. The psychiatrist monitoring him as his maid recommends he get treatment. So far I love this comic. Plus we get this Fu Manchu type villain who has hypnotic powers and dedicated to chaos. A very well done reboot.

STARFIRE #8

“The Dwellers of the Dark Domain!”
Writer: Tom Defalco
Artists: Mike Vosburg & Vince Colletta

The survivors of the Lightning Lords are in a losing battle with the Mygorg. Then Starfire and her two friends come with laser guns. This turns the battle to the humans favor. Thus with the human survivors they join the remnants of Starfire’s army and plan their next move. It is agreed they need to find a safe haven. An old man tells of The Haven an island that humans control. He knows where it is and has the totem that will grant them access. Only soon after a giant spider attacks and kills the old man. They find an albino priest that was victim of the spider. He came from a cave so Starfire and some men go to explore it.

They find a futuristic city and a floater comes with men. Only the men attack because they don’t allow strangers. Starfire captures their leader and is allowed to meet Maybor the head honcho. Maybor tells of how the priests created the Eye of Armageddon which allows the Mygorg to exist on their world. Starfire and her men pass out because their food was drugged. Starfire wakes to find herself hanging from the ceiling in Maybor’s chambers. Maybor has decided to take Starfire as his mate. Starfire kicks him in the face and knocks his glasses off. The light blinds him and Starfire frees herself. She forces Maybor to take her to her men held captive in the colosseum. The men are about to be eaten by another giant spider. She crashes the floater into the spider killing it and Maybor. The explosion blinds the others and her men escape in a floater.

So this is the final issue but was a real fun one. Once again a new writer which would make it four writers and at least two editors for an eight issue run. This did effect the continuity of the series and the character was never allowed to fully form. The world also went through several changes. Now we were getting a new quest in finding the Eye of Armageddon which would expel all the Mygorg.

The series was cancelled right out of the blue. It advertises the next issue on sale the second week of September. The letter page had no mention of a cancellation. There was a brief introduction of a mysterious alien visitor that was hinted to play a major part in a future story. Sadly we never found out about this alien or if Starfire succeeded in freeing her world. This was a unique and enjoyable series that sadly didn’t get the focus it deserved. Musical writers gave it an uneven mythology and the supporting characters alternated from rogues to cowards to heroic. Too bad that this series didn’t continue on for it had great potential.

STARFIRE #7

“Freedom Never Dies”
Writer: Steve Engelhart
Artists: Mike Vosberg & Vince Colletta

Starfire is surrounded by the Yorg. She manages to find a secret passage to the weapons room. It only costs her a rusty nail sticking out that tears off her tunic. She finds laser weapons and starts killing the Yorg. The Yorg start demanding help in finding Starfire from Djinn and the Keeper. The Keeper decides to help Starfire and brings her friends that are captive of the Mygorg to her. Only he doesn’t know what power to use in the transport spell and kills all of Starfire’s men except Moonwatcher.

Starfire finds Moonwatcher and they rescue Thump. They find out from the Keeper that the Lightning Lords were the ones in charge and decided to collaborate with the invaders. Lady Djinn was responsible for turning the master computer programmer into the giant slow witted Thump. The Mygorg comes to the citadel looking for Starfire and instead finds their enemy the Yorg. The two species start to fight. Thump remembers enough of computers to transport the three to safety. Djinn is transformed into a computer just before the citadel explodes. Starfire, Moonwatcher and Thump now armed with laser rifles continue their quest to free their world.

Well a lot of things happen in this issue. First off the bat is once again a new costume change for Starfire. One that involves even a skimpier one. Nothing wrong with that but it is an obvious attempt to increase sales. So did it work? Well there would be only one more issue so I guess not. We also get to find out the origin of Thump and why he understands computers. Finally they also very coldly through computer error kill off most of Starfire’s men. They decided to tighten up the story with just three strong characters. Not a bad idea but that was a cold way to do it. This series was really starting to get good which is a shame it soon ended.

SHOWCASE #104 O.S.S. SPIES AT WAR

“Graves With No Names”
Writer: Robert Kanigher
Artist: Ric Estrada

In a concentration camp in Poland the Nazis know that the underground leader Artur is a prisoner there. They start to execute the prisoners until he is revealed. Control the head of O.S.S. has to get him out. So he recruits four Polish circus performers. They put on a show for the Nazis but engineer an uprising of the prisoners to cover their escape. Artur insists on bringing alone a man who tried to impersonate him to stop the executions. The group is chased by the Nazis and two the strongman and clown sacrifice their lives to slow them down. Eventually the man they brought along was a S.S. spy and tries to kill Artur. The leader sacrifices himself to save Artur.

“The World’s Greatest Spy”
Writer: Unknown.

An article on Wild Bill Donovan. A hero of the first world war who founded the Office of Strategic Studies. He faced opposition from the military intelligent branches and FBI initially. He put together an organization single handedly of 30,000 that became invaluable to the war effort.

“Another Pin–Another Death!”
Writer: Robert Kanigher
Artist: Bill Draut

Control overhears some of his men talking about how cold he is to assign men to their deaths. He thinks back to the beginning when with his wife they were in occupied France. They managed to destroy an ammo dump but where captured. Control let his wife be executed before revealing an info. So that is why he got the job he has now.

“The Friendly Killers!”
Writer: Bob Kanigher
Artist: Ric Estrada

A German pocket battleship code named ‘Tiger’ is causing havoc on allied shipping. It is protected in a Norwegian Fjord from air and sea attack. So Control recruits a trainer of dolphins to train his two dolphins to swim to the battleship and attach explosives. They have to fight through Nazi frogmen but manage to destroy the ship.

Showcase was a sort of series to try out potential new series. This issue they gave us some stories from the O.S.S. spy series that was a regular in G.I. Combat. I loved these stories of espionage during WWII with this Kojak type guy as Control. There were three very solid stories plus and interesting article on the man who created the spy agency. This never got off as a series on its own. Probably the DC war line was already very crowded and Robert Kanigher seemed to single-handedly write them all. So we had to settle for our spy drama in the other war books.

STALKER #4

“Invade the Inferno”
Writer: Paul Levitz
Artists: Steve Ditko & Wally Wood

Stalker has entered Hell and has to defeat the three-headed gatekeeper. Stalker manages to knock the poison dust the keeper was going to use into the keeper’s eyes instead. Then he fights some living skeletons and fire demon. All the while some obnoxious imp is guiding him. He then gets transported to a realm of nothing which is supposed to mentally break him. This doesn’t work and Stalker manages to free the captive warrior champions. He leads his army to Dgrth. Yet he finds that Dgrth can’t give his soul back. Only Dgrth dying can do that and as long as a single mortal believes in him that won’t happen. So Stalker goes back to the world to kill every worshipper of Dgrth.

So ends this short lived sword & sorcery entry from DC. They put out a lot and like most they didn’t last too long. This was a fairly interesting character. It had some good art and was well written. I think it’s major weakness was the character. He wasn’t very likable. He gave his soul freely and now whines about it constantly. Also I hated the costume he wore. Anyway the series was doomed to failure and the four that were released are an interesting historical curiosity.

STALKER #3

“The Freezing Flames of the Burning Isle”
Writer: Paul Levitz
Artists: Steve Ditko & Wally Wood

Stalker is on his way to the Burning Isle when Dgrth sends an electrical storm to stop him. A harpy comes and knocks him off his boat. He washes ashore and finds a beautiful woman named Srani. She was exiled to the island because she was considered a witch. She tells that she has a boat but can’t get off because of a sea monster. Stalker fights the many headed monster and kills it. He also kills a fire demon sent by Dgrth. As the search continues for the portal he finds out Srani is the harpy that attacked him. She is a guardian to the portal and Stalker manages to defeat her. Stalker enters the portal to Dgrth’s realm.

So this issue was a fun one. Stalker has to beat off several monsters. The island he is on is located right above the south pole of this world and has an active volcano. Srani was a mysterious character that is part of an ancient race of invaders from the stars that were driven through the portal. Sounds like a bit of sci fi creeping into the series. Ends on Stalker basically going to Hell to confront the Satan of his world. An enjoyable issue with the great art of Ditko and Wood.

STALKER #2

“Darkling Death at World’s End Sea”
Writer: Paul Levitz
Artists: Steve Ditko & Wally Wood

Stalker arrives at a small island at World’s End Sea. He has to fight a demon at the bridge which he easily defeats. Then he makes his way to the temple and appropriates the robes of an acolyte. During a ceremony he is discovered and captured. While in a dungeon a captive woman gives him a knife and tells of a crevasse he can hide in over the cliff next to the sacrificial alter. So next morning he breaks away and jumps over the cliff. They think he is dead but finds the crevasse to hide in. The girl who helped him is being tortured for helping him. Stalker manages to free her and force the priest F’lan to disclose the entrance to Hell. It is on the Burning Isle. So Stalker straps F’Lan on the torture wheel and gives it a good spin. Stalker sends the girl on her way on his horse as he finds a small boat to go to the Burning Island.

The second issue has Stalker manage to get a lead on the entryway to Hell. The guy isn’t that bright. When they find him F’lan looks at his eyes and thinks he is one of them. Only Stalker announces he isn’t which leads to his capture. Duh. Thankfully there was a girl there to help him. This is a fun series with some good artwork.

STARFIRE #6

“Citadel of Silence”
Writer: Steve Engleheart
Artists: Mike Vosberg & Vince Colletta

Starfire and Thump have found the Lightning Lords and the people seem to worship them. They go into the tower and meet a woman named Djinn Lady of the Lightning. She is a sorceress and together with the computer called the Keeper they rule over the Lightning Lords. At first they seem to be very helpful in arming Starfire’s rebels. Only Thump senses something and stays around after Starfire leaves. He overhears Djinn and the Keepers are plotting against them. He attacks but Djinn uses her magic to capture him. Meanwhile Starfire’s men are attacked by a larger horde of Mygorg and taken prisoner. Starfire later finds herself attacked by the Yorg. The other alien race that invaded her world. The Yorg are shadow creature and not solid. Starfire manages to find a patch of sunlight to hold them off. Only Djinn has abandoned her and the sun is setting.

A new writer brings us a new change in costume. I love this new costume but also loved the old one. The explanation given is the old costume was designed for slaves and Starfire needed something more practical. OK well both look real sexy. So we get some introduction to the Lightning Lords. Djinn uses her magic to keep the computer going since nobody knows any technical science anymore. Djinn was under the control of the Yorg. We finally get introduced to this race. Also Engleheart decided to make Starfire’s men fighters again instead of cowards which I think is a wise decision. I like the new direction of this series.