CENTIPEDE #1

“Untitled”
Writer: Max Bemis
Artist: Eoin Marron

Dale Trell is the last survivor on the planet Sty-rek. He has been living in a bunker and has decided to make up an imaginary friend. He tells his story of how his planet steals and harvests information from other systems. His favorite are the pulp fiction stories of Earth. So he decides to get out of the bunker and explore the nearby city with an assault rifle. In the city he finds mushrooms from the giant centipede lying around. He also is attacked by giant spiders and manages to destroy them by blowing up his land rover.

A flashback shows that Dale wasn’t a very bright kid. He was more interested in make believe instead of the collective need of his society. Their religion is filled with bland passionless gods. So he continues on wandering around the city until he comes face to face with the giant centipede.

So the second Atari series that Dynamite did was on the classic Centipede game. This one was taking place on some alien but Earth-like world that was destroyed by a giant centipede. Not a bad idea but so far this story did not impress me. The main character is totally unlikeable. He seems pathetic and his whole society sounds like one big dull planet. The whole goofy thing with this society stealing other peoples info is just kind of dumb. I don’t have much faith that it will get better but who knows?

THE GREATEST ADVENTURE #9

“Untitled”
Writer: Bill Willingham
Artist: Cezar Razek

Rokoff has now captured The Resolve. He threatens to kill the women if Gridley and the men don’t commit to building the superweapon. After his meeting Rokoff orders Miranda to kill the women anyway. He plans to kill the captives after they finish. So Gridley and the captives manage to build this superweapon. When it is time to test it, the whole big machine disintegrates. Gridley had rigged it to self-destruct. Rokoff also finds out that the women weren’t killed. Carson Napier was smuggled aboard and used his telepathy to make the angan guards see the women tossed out of the ship. Miranda reveals himself as Tarzan and snaps the neck of Rokoff. Dejah Thoris manages to kill the master before he can cause anymore trouble. The universe is saved and the ship arrives at the planet Poloda. But that is another story.

So the great adventure comes to an end. It was a satisfying ending. We find out that the master was some super-evolved human from Caspak. The series was on the whole a very enjoyable experience. It did have too many characters which did get in the way of the story. Still I love the spirit of this series. It had some beautiful artwork and it was nice to see many of these characters together. It ended on the possibility of another story so who knows. Maybe we will get the story of their adventures on Poloda.

THE GREATEST ADVENTURE #8

“Untitled”
Writer: Bill Willingham
Artist: Cezar Razek

The crew of the Venture are now in control of The Resolve. They still have to find the jewel The Eye of Judgement. They also want to find their missing crew. John Carter and Dejah Thoris decide to join them in their quest. First order is to pick a new leader and everyone agrees that it should be Jane. So Gridley manages to find out the location of the planet that he was original on and sets the course in the ship’s computer.

While this is going on Rokoff and Miranda are still hiding on the ship. Their master uses his power to make sure the crew sleeps for a long time. When they wake they find themselves captive. The ship has also been sent to Venus. There Rokoff makes a deal with the bird-men for much needed resources as Carson on Venus senses that their is trouble.

Now there is one big mistake that any Burrough’s fan should know. Carson and Duare are living in Vepaja. Vepaja would have them both put to death for transgressing the law and falling in love with one another. Otherwise this was a fairly laid back issue. A lot of exposition about both groups plans. Once again the artist does a great job of capturing the look of this world. His bird-men of Venus is just beautiful. Obviously you can see the plot twist a mile away and that Tarzan is still alive and impersonating Miranda. Still looking forward to how this story is wrapped up.

THE GREATEST ADVENTURE #7

“Untitled”
Writer: Bill Willingham
Artist: Cezar Razek

The fleets of Helium and the First Born have met in battle. The Resolve is proving to be very decisive in this battle. It’s weapons are causing destruction while it is impervious to the gunfire of Helium. So Tarzan with John Carter and the crew of The Venture volunteer to board the Resolve. They manage to get on and decide to split up. One group going to take out the engines while the other the bridge. Tarzan goes off alone.

Meanwhile Rokoff and Miranda have a falling out and go their separate ways. Esteban meets up with Tarzan. At this time John Carter’s group capture the bridge and gain control of the ship. Yet the victory is short lived as Tarzan is found dead. He is buried with honors as Jane plans to continue the quest.

This was an enjoyable issue. There was plenty of action as they board and capture The Resolve. I finally noticed that Esteban Miranda is the one from Tarzan and the Golden Lion. He bears an identical resemblance to Tarzan which is why Rokoff recruited him. I thought he died in the book. Anyway just another incongruity in the canon of Burroughs. Its obvious that Tarzan has faked his death and uses Miranda as the corpse. Still looking forward to see how this series ends.

THE GREATEST ADVENTURE #6

“Untitled”
Writer: Bill Willingham
Artist: Cezar Razek

The Resolve has been taken by the mutinous First Born. The creepy old master has managed to take over the mind of one of the First Born. He has him kill the guards guarding Rokoff and Miranda. They leave their cell to go and carry out the master’s grand plan. Tarzan and John Carter are brought to the arena to fight for the amusement of the Warhoon. Tarzan chooses a large spear and amazes the Warhoon when his throw kills the Jeddak. This causes pandemonium as half the Warhoon want to kill them and the other half make them part of the tribe. As they fight Tarzan and Carter use their Earth strength to jump out and go to the equilibrimotor belts Tarzan hid in the desert. This gets them to the Helium fleet. A fleet that has gathered to fight the First Born.

This was a fun issue. Plenty of humorous action as Tarzan and John Carter join forces to escape the Warhoon. On the Resolve we have the mysterious master demonstrate his power of mind control. All this as the First Born gather to conquer Barsoom. Plus we get introduced to Dejah Thoris. I have to say I love the artist work on this series. The women are beautiful. The look has a stylized retro feel. The story also keeps my interest.

THE GREATEST ADVENTURE #5

“Untitled”
Writer: Bill Willingham
Artist: Cezar Razek

The Venture has traveled to Mars. Jane is concerned because Tarzan seems to be keeping his plan to himself. When they arrive on Mars, Tarzan has the crew set up camp. Than he takes the ship off by himself. He purposely flies over the Warhoon territory where they shoot down the ship. Tarzan attacks them and kills a few before surrendering. The Warhoon take him back and throw him in a cell with another captive. That captive is John Carter and Tarzan has come to rescue him. Meanwhile the Black Pirates have taken The Resolve to Mars. The crew of The Venture spent time fighting off the fierce creatures of Barsoom and see a huge warfleet approaches them.

So the action gets to Mars or Barsoom as the natives call it. Tarzan has been acting secretive even from his wife. Apparently he has some weird plan to go and rescue John Carter. I liked this issue. It has a mystery and also some fun times as they are now on Barsoom. We also get united with two of Burrough’s greatest characters. The artist really has captured the feel of what Barsoom should look like. The story continues to build up interest and keep the reader engaged.

THE GREATEST ADVENTURE #4

“Untitled”
Writer: Bill Willingham
Artist: Cezar Razek

The Venture is attacked by a fighter from The Resolve. The crew try to hit it with their rifles but have no luck. So Julian straps on a Barsoomian equilibrium belt and flies to the fighter and shoots the pilot. The fighter crashes but Julian’s body is not found. So the ship continues on to Pellucidar. They fly around looking for Victoria and Stone who were to arrive via the underground passage from Caspak. Eventually Gridley detects The Resolve leaving. La says that they must have found the Gem and are now heading for Mars. Some of the crew decide to stay and search for their missing comrades as The Venture leaves Pellucidar for Mars. On The Resolve the Black Pirates find Victoria Custer and mutiny against Rokoff.

This issue was a bit of a let down. Not much happens. Besides the first battle with the fighter there is hardly any action. The ship just flies around. Some of the crew stay and its off to Mars. A bit of a disappointment that they didn’t have David Innes, Abner Perry or Dian make an appearance. Nor did they have any real meaningful adventure in Pellucidar. They just got rid of some of the crew. I suppose the realities of such a series with such a large cast and epic scale came against plot and wrapping the series up in a set time. I do admit I am looking forward to adventures on Barsoom.

THE GREATEST ADVENTURE #3

“Untitled”
Writer: Bill Willingham
Artist: Cezar Razek

Tarzan and the crew of the Venture have met Bowen Tyler and the survivors of the U-33. At Fort Dinosaur they learn something about the land of Caspak. The winged men that attacked them are located on an island in the inland sea. Promising to come back and rescue Tyler they continue on their quest. After exploring some of the islands they find the one that the Resolve was looking for. Most of the natives were slaughtered. A survivor tells how the ship came.

The crew explore and find a temple. Inside is La of Opar tied to a stake. La was kidnapped because the Eye of Judgement was originally an Atlantean gem. A rebel and his followers left Opar and settled in Caspak. Rostov who commands the Resolve kidnapped La to help with the natives. They found out that someone from Pellucidar tunneled up and stole the gem. So now they have to go to Pellucidar. Gridley has the idea of sending a team through the tunnel and using his Gridley wave to broadcast the location. In Antarctica a fighter from the Resolve comes in the destroy the Venture.

So we get Tyler Bowen and Fort Dinosaur making a brief appearance. There is a bit of a time discrepancy since this seems to be in the thirties but Tyler and crew were rescued way before than. We also get La of Opar introduced to the crew in a fascinating sub-plot. We also finally find out that Nicolas Roskoff’s son is the captain of the Resolve. Although some wizened old man hooked up to a machine is the real one in charge. Ends with another cliffhanger. A real fun story so far.

WARLORD OF MARS ATTACKS #5

“The Future of Worlds”
Writer: Jeff Parker
Artist: Dean Kotz

Edgar Norman is killed by a Moonhead assassin. Tars Tarkas drives his swords into the assassin but it is too late for Edgar. So he is given a Barsoomian funeral which means he is thrown to a giant creature called Grazhoula. We later find out the Grazhoula lays energy eggs which power Helium. The Moonheads find out that all their people and base are now gone. So the leader decides they must kill John Carter if they hope to succeed. Carter and friends come up with a plan. They lure all the Moonheads into a cavern and use the Mars rover to generate an EMP blast. This knocks out all their weapons and the Moonheads surrender. So the Moonheads are rehabilitated by the Tharks to live on the surface in peace. John Carter and friends also find peace and live happily ever after.

Well the final issue sees Carter and friends successfully defeat the Moonheads. For some reason I found the ending unsatisfactory. It was just too easy. I think writers are getting lazy these days. They just sort of end everything in an easy way which isn’t very exciting. This was a great idea and I enjoyed how it went. Just could have used a better ending. Have some more conflict. More drama. Oh well, on to the next series.

THE GREATEST ADVENTURE #2

“Untitled”
Writer: Bill Willingham
Artist: Cezar Razek

The Venture has started out to stop the villains of the Resolve from getting the gemstone The Eye of Judgement. The crew take the time to learn the new Martian weapons and gadgets on the ship. Their first stop is an uncharted land in the South Atlantic. Right away they are attacked by flying men with bat wings. Some have Martian rifles. Tarzan and the crew easily manage to fight them off but Townsend Harper and Virginia Maxon are missing. Later Tarzan goes hunting and kills himself a dinosaur. The meat is taken back to camp and while there a mysterious man from the outside world approaches them. They find that the land they are in is called Caspak.

So the first stop is The Land That Time Forgot. They have a battle with the Weiroo who seem to be in alliance with the evil guys. These guys have some Black Pirates from Barsoom and a mysterious Earthman. The writer also threw in another character from the other books in Julian the Second from the Moon Series. A good story filled with action and some hints of who the bad guys are. It continues to give the feel of a story from the time period written by Burroughs.