ASTONISHING TALES #8 KA-ZAR & DR. DOOM

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“The Battle of New Britannia!”
Writers: Roy Thomas & Gary Freidrich
Artist: Herb Trimpe

A small Cessna comes to the savage land carrying a man and woman. The plane is attacked by a pterodactyl. The woman lands in an inland sea and his attacked by Germans riding dinosaurs. She is rescued by other English men riding giant birds. She is taken to an island inhabited by survivors of a WWII destroyer. They have been fighting the survivors of the U-boat that sunk them for over thirty years.

Meanwhile the woman’s husband is rescued by Ka-zar and Zabu from the lizards that walk like men. Later they have to fight off man-apes and get caught up in the Englishmen’s scheme to destroy the Germans.

“This Badge Bedeviled!”
Writer: Len Wein
Artist: George Tuska

Damian Link is a policeman who is responding to a break in at a research lab. One of the crooks is his own brother. The two get in a fight and fall into an experimental chamber and nearly killed. Later it is discovered that Damian is still alive and named his brother as the attacker. The brother’s fellow hoods decide that he’s a liability and decide to dispose of him. The brother projects his spirit into Damian and gives him powers that help rescue him.

“…Though Some Call It Magic!”
Writer: Gerry Conway
Artist: Gene Colan

Dr. Doom every midsummer eve performs a ceremony. Using dark arts he summons Satan to battle for the soul of his mother a gypsy witch. Satan this year creates Kagrok a stone demon to battle Doom. Doom is almost defeated but manages to hold his own. Still he doesn’t win so Satan keeps his mother’s soul. He looks forward to the battle next year.

So this was a giant-size issue. The Ka-zar story was a fascinating idea to have these two tribes from WWII that have been fighting the war in the Savage Land. This issue had a real feel of a primitive land filled with dinosaurs and strange creatures. These are the kind of stories that I loved Ka-zar for and the series is really starting to find it’s footing. Which is good because starting next issue of Astonishing Tales Ka-zar will be the solo act.

The second story was also an interesting idea. It sounds like it was written as a possible ongoing series. I don’t know if it ever succeeded with future stories but I am intrigued enough to read them if they were written.

Finally the Dr. Doom story was probably the best in this series. A strange one that shows Dr. Doom does have knowledge of the arcane arts as well as science. This was also the last appearance of Doom’s stories in this comic. I liked the stories but I can see where they might have trouble maintaining it with interesting ideas for long. Doom is a villain and stories work best when the hero is the protagonist. I also got this comic for Ka-zar so its great that he finally gets room to expand his stories.

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ASTONISHING TALES #7 KA-ZAR AND DR. DOOM

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“Deluge!”
Writer: Roy Thomas
Artist: Herb Trimpe

The man-god Damon is flooding the Savage Land and eventually the world. Ka-zar with the help of Zabu causes a stampede of dinosaurs that temporarily stops Damon. But he is an immortal god and it looks as if Ka-zar will be unable to stop him. Luckily Tongah’s sister finds a pod with the body of his lost love Lelania. She sacrifices her life so Lelania can be brought back to life. The two reunited lovers then blast off into space.

“…And if I Be Called Traitor!”
Writer: Gerry Conway
Artist: Gene Colan

T’Challa gets the drop on Dr. Doom but Doom uses the honor of the Black Panther to get out. Asking for a fair fight when Black Panther drops his gun Doom then uses his energy ray in his armor to knock him out. Black Panther is resourceful and manages to bust out of captivity. He threatens to detonate the Vibranium if Doom doesn’t leave. Doom doesn’t call his bluff and returns home neither a victory or loser.

Both stories in this issue were sort of mediocre. Surprising since Roy Thomas always writes such excellent stuff. Not a lot happened in either stories and the protagonists didn’t have to do much to achieve victory.

ASTONISHING TALES #6 KA-ZAR AND DR. DOOM

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“‘Ware the Winds of Death!”
Writer: Gerry Conway
Artist: Barry Smith

Ka-zar is escorting his friend Tongah back to this village. The peaceful night is disturbed by the coming of Damon. Damon a god-like being long ago lost his love Lelania in an accident in the Savage Land. In his grief he tried to drown the Savage Land. He disappeared for an unknown reason but now is back. Still pissed off he is once again trying to flood the Savage Land.

“The Tentacles of the Tyrant!”
Writer: Larry Lieber
Artist: George Tuska

Doom has tortured information from some poor guy that Vibranium is located in Wakandia. Doom need the Vibranium to build invincible rockets. So he uses his underground drilling machine to tunnel from Latveria to Wakandia. His tunneling sets off a volcano which attracts the attention of the Black Panther who is also the king of Wakandia.

The Ka-zar story starts off with potential. Seems the Savage Land is just awash with omnipotent gods. I didn’t understand why Tongah and Ka-zar were fighting unless it was the influence of Damon. Hopefully it will be clearer in the next issue.

The Dr. Doom story is another interesting one. This time he’s going up against an bona fide hero. It looks like they will have a story that you won’t be rooting for Doom.

ASTONISHING TALES #5 KA-ZAR AND DR. DOOM

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“Rampage!”
Writer: Gerry Conway
Artist: Barry Smith

Ka-zar manages to escape the clutches of the pterodactyl and brings him and Zaladane down for a crash landing. They crash at the temple of Garokk. There they find a pool in the temple which will remove the powers of the sun god. Which is a good thing because Garokk has gone insane and wants to destroy all life. After defeating the demon that guards the pool Ka-zar lures Garokk to the pool where he is able to push him in. Garokk dies and Zaladane perishes when the temple caves in so the Savage land is safe.

“A Land Enslaved!”
Writer: Larry Lieber
Artist: George Tuska

Doom returns from his vacation on the Riviera and is ambushed by the Red Skull. Using Doom’s own weapons he subdues him and puts him on display in an adamantium case. Then the reign of terror begins with all the dissidents and undesirables being rounded up for the concentration camp. Doom is not so easily defeated. Using a generator in his armor that harvests the Sun’s energy he breaks free and defeats Red Skull and his Exiles. Using hypno-gas on his captives he makes them think they have been shrunk and sends them on a rocket for their island.

So the Sun God saga comes to a close. The Petrified Man is put to rest and Zaladane’s insane conquest is stopped. The Savage Land is at peace but that would be boring so I’m sure there is something new in store for the next issue.

The Dr. Doom story was excellent. Some great villain on villain action. They actually picked a villain that makes you root for Dr. Doom to succeed. I have to say that I find myself enjoying the Dr. Doom stories a lot more than I thought I would. They are very entertaining.

ASTONISHING TALES #4 KA-ZAR AND DR. DOOM

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“The Sun God!”
Writer: Gerard Conway
Artist: Barry Smith

The rampaging army of the Sun Empire under Zaladane is attacking the peaceful city of Vala-Kum. Ka-zar and his friend Tongah arrive to help but find no help from the inhabitants. The Val-Kumians are a pacifist people and are not fighting back. Luckily the Petrified Man goes to the statue that turned him into the Petrified Man and merges with Garokk the Sun God. The omnipotent Garokk orders his followers to stop. Zaladane refuses and grabs Ka-zar with her pterodactyl and threatens to drop him.

“The Invaders!”
Writer: Larry Lieber
Artist: Wally Wood

Doom has defeated the rebellion but his palace is in ruins. So he gets together his able bodied subjects to labor night and day to rebuild. Then goes off to slum it in the Riviera. He beats up some burglars and snooty hotel managers. Tiring of intimidating the idle rich he decides to return to Latveria. While he was away the Red Skull and the Exiles a goofy bunch of fascist kooks manage to take over the country. The Red Skull hopes to use Latveria as a launch pad for the establishment of the Fourth Reich.

The Ka-zar story sees the war that was started end with the Sun God. An interesting story that ended with a cliffhanger. I do enjoy having Ka-zar spend more time in the Savage Land. The place has so much potential for interesting and exciting stories.

The Dr. Doom story is also taking an interesting turn. They wisely give Doom an enemy that is even more evil than Doom. The Red Skull is already starting to form goose-stepping Nazis. This should teach Doom to not go off so cavalierly and leave his country. Now he has a fight on his hands to regain it. Sets up an interesting story for the next issue.

ASTONISHING TALES #3 KA-ZAR AND DR. DOOM

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“Back to the Savage Land”
Writer: Gerry Conway
Artist: Barry Smith

Ka-zar hears the story of the Petrified Man. Five hundred years ago he was a sailor on a British ship exploring the Antarctic when the ship was sunk in a storm. He survived and washed up in the savage land. While there he drank the water at the temple of Garokk the Sun God. He was forced to flee and eventually made his way home. But the water had an effect of longevity and turned his skin to stone. Now he has mental images of the Sun Empire making war on all the Savage land. Ka-zar, Zabu and the Petrified Man make it back and find that his premonitions are correct.

“Doom Must Die!”
Writer: Larry Lieber
Artist: Wally Wood

Doom is able to mentally link up with his Doomsman android and take control over him. He thus defeats the Faceless One and then proceeds to defeat the rebels under Prince Rodolfo. The Doomsman proves too dangerous so Doom exiles him to another dimension. His grip on power is secure.

The Ka-zar story has introduced an interesting character in the Petrified Man. The army of the Sun God lead by the beautiful Zaladane looks to set up a real exciting story for the next issue. Its good to get back to the Savage Land. I always thought that is the place where Ka-zar should have his adventures and we’re finally settling down there.

The Doctor Doom story continues along fine. Doom is able to defeat his enemies and ends up sitting pretty. But you know that there’s some threat over the horizon. And we still have to find out who the Faceless One is.

ASTONISHING TALES #2 KA-ZAR AND DR. DOOM

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“Frenzy on the Fortieth Floor!”
Writer: Roy Thomas
Artist: Jack Kirby

Ka-zar has come to an upscale hotel in search of Kraven. Because the guy doesn’t wear a shirt he has some problem with the hotel staff. But soon Kraven comes to confront him. Using his various gadgets like a bolo net and knockout gas he can still not defeat Ka-zar. Kraven is forced to retreat leaving Ka-zar to rescue his friend Zabu who was kept prisoner with booties over his claws. The two are confronted at the end by the Petrified Man with a warning that he must return to the Savage Land or die… and the Savage land will die with him.

“Revolution!”
Writer: Roy Thomas
Artist: Wally Wood

Dr. Doom is going after the rebels of Prince Rudolfo. He soon finds out that the captive Rudolfo is actually a robot of him. The real Rudolfo is still free and has allied himself with the Faceless One. The Faceless One has given the rebels powerful guns and force fields to defeat Doom’s robot army. The Faceless One has also found the wandering Doomsman, the android that Doom created. The Doomsman is now allied with the rebels and is capable of defeating Doom.

Another great issue. Ka-zar shows what a badass he is in kicking Kraven’s braggart butt. And still refuses to wear a shirt or shoes but does have a nice pair of slacks he must of picked up at J.C. Penneys. It ends with an intriguing character in the Petrified Man who indeed looks very petrified.

The Doom story is really picking up steam. A lot of stuff happens with robots, laser guns and multiply villains who love to brag and issue melodramatic threats. Thomas is a master of storytelling that just makes such goofyness an enjoyable read.

ASTONISHING TALES #1 KA-ZAR AND DR. DOOM

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“The Power of Ka-zar!”
Writer: Stan Lee
Artist: Jack Kirby

Kraven the hunter is looking through a magazine and reads an article on the Savage Land. He decides to hunt Ka-zar’s best friend and brother the sabre-tooth tiger Zabu. So he goes off to Antarctica. There he successfully sets a trap and uses a stun ray to knock out both Zabu and Ka-zar. He takes Zabu away but didn’t count on the strength of Ka-zar. He recovers and swims out to Kraven’s ship and single handedly kicks the crews butt. In spite of Kraven’s boasts Ka-zar easily kicks his ass. Kraven resorts to knock out gas to win and tosses Ka-zar overboard. Ka-zar makes his way to New York to track down Kraven.

“Unto you is Born … The Doomsman!”
Writer: Roy Thomas
Artist: Wally Wood

The mission to the moon finds a sphere. When they bring it back it is revealed to be a communication device from Dr. Doom who teleported it to the Moon. He had to demonstrate his superiority to the Americans. Doom is already working on a plan to conquer the world. He has build the Doomsman a mummy that is super powered and has the brain of Doom. While this is going on Prince Rudolfo the rightful heir to the throne of Latveria plots to overthrow Doom. He infiltrates a woman that has the looks of his long lost love. The plan fails but during the fight the Doomsman is activated and wanders off. A potential threat to Doom.

So Ka-zar gets his own book. He has to share it with Dr. Doom. Kind of a strange idea to make a story with the villain as the main character. Still Roy Thomas is an excellent writer and deliverers an interesting story with a lot of potential. And of course the Ka-zar story which is why I got this book is shaping up to be what I was looking for in a Ka-zar story.