The Original Thunderbolt Of The DC Universe!

Welcome back to Rotten Ink.  For this update I decided to once more take a look at a DC Comic series of a hero that seems to not get the respect of the likes of Superman and Batman so I decided to choose Peter Cannon Thunderbolt, a character that in 1983 was sold to DC by Charlton Comics and would last a small amount of issues for them and deliver a classic style hero in a 90’s comic style and fashion. While DC Comics right now are on my bad list for their push for digital comics, I still must say I respect their classic heroes and their push to try and bring back and create new ones that started in the 70’s and ran throughout the 90’s. So sit back relax and let’s take a heroic journey with Thunderbolt!

As a young boy, Peter Cannon lost both of his parents, as they battled as medical workers the black plague, and was raised in a monastery in the Himalayan Mountains and trained his body and mind to become a super athletic and perfect person…and while studding the monks scrolls he figured out that we as humans don’t use all our brains and he figured out how to tap into those parts and became a superhero named Thunderbolt once he moved to America. As the masked Thunderbolt he would fight crime as well as still try to learn and discover more of what the mind and body can do! His first comic book appearance was in 1966 as Thunderbolt # 1 was released by Charlton Comics and was created by Pete Morisi. Thunderbolts run at Charlton Comics would last for 11 issues and his run came to an end in 1967 as many of the companies superhero titles were cancelled. Thunderbolt would next end up at DC Comics in 1985 as part of the “Crisis On Infinite Earths” even series, as DC had bought all of Charlton Comics superheroes in 1983. Thunderbolt would not get his own series again until 1992 and would last for 12 issues before being cancelled again. During his time at DC he also had a brief run with the Justice League and was used to try and draw interest in classic heroes. And lastly he was in a 10 issue run at Dynamite Comics that started in 2012. For many long years now, Thunderbolt has not been seen in the pages of comics and while it looks like he has been sent to the long box in the sky, I don’t think you can count him out and I am sure DC or another comic company in time will dust him off for more adventures.

Growing up I knew nothing of the classic era of Thunderbolt as I never read any of the Charlton Comics (nor the Crisis On Infinite Earths story) and to be honest I never even seen one of his classic issues I didn’t even know he was around until 1992 thanks to DC Comics bringing him back to comic book shelves. And as odd as this sounds I rented out issues from the local library to read. And while he was not a must read comic for me I did find myself enjoying his adventures. It’s crazy that in 2021 I will be reading some of these comics again that I have not read sense the 90’s! And to be honest I am looking forward to doing so as it will be interesting to see if me in my 40’s will find a new respect for the character and if he will become one of my classic golden age heroes. Oh and while looking up history of Thunderbolt I learned that the character creator Pete Morisi only created the character after he tried to buy the rights of the original Daredevil, but the creator wanted a share of all profits and this made Morisi just create his own hero!

Really quick I would like to talk about the CD release of “OMG I Love Jazz” by Robyn Adele who is one of my favorite female vocalist going today along side Jewel, Iggy Azalea, Poppy, Cyndi Lauper and Lady Gaga! I want to also say that while I have nothing against Jazz music it is not a genre I normally listen to so this should be very interesting, but Robyn’s voice is what brought me to buy and try this CD off her official website store. I choose a snowy, grey-skied day in January 2021 to listen to this album and was working on a few projects that included updates for here at Rotten Ink as well as a few comic projects for Sparkle. OMG I Love Jazz is 15 tracks and really does have a big band jazz sound and is mixed with Robyn’s golden voice, and I know this sounds weird but for some reason this CD reminds me of the 1990 Dick Tracy movie and the songs done by Madonna for the soundtrack. My top three favorite tracks on this release are Ain’t Misbehavin’, Don’t Mean A Thing (If It Ain’t Got That Swing) and Bye Bye Blackbird as I feel all three have a great sound and Robyn’s voice on all three tracks is on point! If I had to pick my favorite track it would be Don’t Mean A Thing (If It Ain’t Got That Swing) as it’s a upbeat song and has that classic Jazz and Swing sound that can put a smile on your face. To wrap up this quick look at OMG I Love Jazz I would say that its not for everyone as it has a very old time sound, but for those who love fun natured Jazz music song by a majorly talented female vocalist I would say go and get a copy now! And for those who are not familiar with Robyn Adele look her up on YouTube and give some of her cover songs a listen to as she really is super talented and has a wonderful voice.

So as you longtime readers and friends know I grew up in the village of Waynesville, Ohio and I have heard the news that my old elementary and middle school are being torn down and a new school is being built. And while I am super happy that the next generations of Spartans are getting new classrooms and long overdue updates, I am still a little bummed out that the school buildings that meant so much to me as a kid will be gone forever lost in memories. I mean at that school I can remember talking to friends like Fred Marion, Jeremy Patton, Todd Osborne, Joanna Fields, Wes Coffman and many others about Movies, Comics, Cartoons, TV Shows, Wrestling, Horror Hosts, Video Games and normal school topics. I can remember the cool movie days in the gym were we got to watch Home Alone or Willy Wonka And The Chocolate Factory. In that same gym I remember listening to the Gettysburg Address being given by an actor dressed as Abe Lincoln, as well as doing the Arnold Schwarzenegger fitness challenge and watching episodes of Slim Goodbody in gym class. I remember the cafeteria pizza, the milk cartons that had Safety Pup on them and trading food with fellow classmates. I remember crushing on Tina Manning and never getting the nerve to ask her out. I remember the numerous book fairs that came through and the Garfield, U.S Acres, Scary Stories To Tell In The Dark and WWF books I would buy. I can remember being in a Christmas play as a Newsboy talking about a talking Snowman. I can remember playing basketball in the gym during intermission and being pretty good. I can remember watching Star Trek IV, Olympics and O.J Trail in Mr. York’s science class. The orange steps, the pencil machines that had NFL, WWF and Halloween pencils in them as well as the erasers that would sometimes be the heads of Looney Tunes characters. And just the over all bond and fun times that my classmates and I had and shared together at those school buildings.

Waynesville School 2021 Goodbye 1Waynesville School 2021 Goodbye 2Waynesville School 2021 Goodbye 3

On May 23, 2021, Juliet and I headed to Waynesville so that I could at least walk around the old building before they are gone as I have heard the 1915 part is soon to be torn down and those hallways will never have young minds walking around them to get to class again. It was really cool walking around that old school building taking pictures as well as telling Juliet old stories about my school days as well as trying to remember where so many of my classes uses to be, sadly we could not get inside as I missed the reunion day that allowed past school students to do so one last time. But still just walking around the old school building and back to the old football field was lots of fun and flooded me with memories as well as oddly enough kind of made me feel young again in my old age. So really I guess I just wanted to share these pictures I took as well as share a few of those memories and I also want to say “Thank You” to all my fellow classmates that made my school time at Waynesville a very awesome time and  plus thank you all again for being apart of my life and help shaping me into the creative person I am today.

Waynesville School 2021 Goodbye 4Waynesville School 2021 Goodbye 5Waynesville School 2021 Goodbye 6

Well on May 29, 2021 they opened up Waynesville Elementary and Middle School one more time for school alumni and Juliet and I showed up around an half an hour early and to our shock the doors were already open so we walked in and for a pretty good time we had the schools to ourselves to tour! The first place I headed was the gymnasium, as I had to see it one last time and the first thing once walking up the old concrete stairs I noticed was that many of the old basketball hoops was taken down and the ones still up where from my time going there! Sadly the old wooden bleachers were gone and all that remained of them was the bases, a little bummed, as I would have loved to sit on them one last time. The old scoreboard was still hanging and seeing it brought back lots of fun memories. The gym floor still looked good and while it was clearly not the same as when I was a kid it still was neat to see. The stage was a sight for sore eyes and seeing it was awesome and walking across it also felt so cool and flooded me with so much memories of gym class. This was so great to so walk that gym again and I almost wish that I would have jogged around and did one final lap.

Waynesville School 2021 Goodbye 7Waynesville School 2021 Goodbye 8Waynesville School 2021 Goodbye 10

Once we left the gym we walked around the halls and past all the sadly now gutted class rooms, but seeing the old chalk boards, tube TV’s with VCR’s still hanging on the walls brought a big smile to my face. The hallway floors were torn up and it was sad seeing the destruction and dismantling all around as even some fixtures where missing or stacked in the halls. But seeing the old PA speakers that use to give us the morning announcements from still hanging as well as the old pencil sharpeners still bolted to the walls and chalkboards was great to see. While walking the hallways it was also cool seeing the changes that was made to the building after I was no longer a student like they added an elevator and the massive stairs that I remember where now way smaller and divided up. I got to walk into the old cafeteria, see the old music room, went to the school library, walk into Mr. York’s old science classroom again as well as see an old shelf that had one of my old teachers names still on it! Walking down those hallways I had a rush of memories and felt like a kid again even as my pride of being a Waynesville Spartan filled my being I knew that while this chapter in Spartan history was coming to an end the new School building would build the next legacy and memories for the future generation. Also when walking downstairs of the 1915 building I had to snap a picture of the old stairwell as I can remember some of my fellow classmates as well as myself hiding under there and jumping out to scare each other as well as we used that spot to hide things, but when I was in school they did also store stuff under there.

Waynesville School 2021 Goodbye 10Waynesville School 2021 Goodbye 11Waynesville School 2021 Goodbye 12

Waynesville is known for its ghosts and even when I was walking the halls of Waynesville Middle School we all heard the tales of the school being haunted, and when walking around one last time before it was to be tore down one thing written on a blackboard made me smile and that was a message from the ghosts of the third floor saying they are not going anywhere! I like the idea that the old ghosts of the school found some old chalk and wrote the message to the living, letting them know that they will forever be roaming and haunting that land…building or no building. But I also like that a student wrote this humors and “spooky” message for people to see, also glad to see that the Horror Spirit of Waynesville youth is alive and well.

Waynesville School 2021 Goodbye 13

It’s time now for us to dive into the 12 issues of Thunderbolt released by DC Comics and as I stated before I am looking forward re-reading this and I am going to do something a little different as after the review I am going to give my ideas of what DC Comics could have done with Thunderbolt if they would have kept him in their universe! I want to thank Game Swap Kettering and Lone Star Comics for having these issues in stock and making this update possible. I want to remind you readers that I grade these comics on a star scale of 1 to 4 and am looking for how well the comics stay to the source material, it’s entertainment value and it’s art and story. So if you are ready let’s see what Thunderbolt has in store for evildoers.

Peter Cannon Thunderbolt # 1  ***
Released in 1992     Cover Price $1.25     DC Comics     # 1 of 12

Thunderbolt is fighting some thugs off in a New York ally as they just robbed some antiques from his alter-egos Peter Cannons exhibit when things go bad real fast and he is almost beaten to death by a metal suited bad guy named Trydan who leaves him for dead. But thankfully he is found and rescued by Green Lantern who rushes him to the hospital and saves his life. Once awaken Peter finds himself doubting his ability to be a superhero in this modern world filled with Superman, The Flash and Wonder Woman, even his best friend Tabu and Green Lantern come to visit and can not cheer him up after his defeat. Peter Cannon just sees himself as an orphan who was trained by Monks and scrolls in a monastery in the mountains of the Himalayas who is an outdated hero in a world filed with super powered ones. Peter and Tabu take their antiques and teachings to London and are flying around on a blimp filled with the rich and elite when Peter starts chatting with the beautiful Cairo DeFrey as news woman Anne-Marie Brogan talks with Tabu about setting up a interview with Peter when a group of masked men rush in calling themselves Crimson Dawn and claims they are going after Cairo due to her families crimes again the environment. As panic runs through the guests as the gun caring Crimson Dawn takes Cairo away to the cockpit and holds everyone one else hostage, when Tabu pushes Peter into becoming the hero again…and after fighting it Peter makes a mask and rushes to save Cairo and this ends issue one.

This is a great way to bring a classic hero back to the pages of comic books and sometimes I think DC Comics back in the 90’s had a gift to do so. This issues plot has much time jumps and takes us to Tibet to New York to London and shows Peter’s rise and fall as a hero, plus his rise once more as he fears that time has passed him by and that the villains of this modern times are getting bigger, badder and stronger! And when all seems lost for Peter to ever be Thunderbolt again he is forced to once more be the hero he was trained to be. Peter Cannon is a man who has had a hard life as he lost his parents while a infant and is raised in Tibet and trained to be a hero called Thunderbolt, and once set out into the world he still feels he needs to always be a hero. And when he gets his but kicked by a super villain and left for dead his ego and courage is bruised and this makes him question his ability to fright crime as well as life. Peter is a very interesting character because he has layers to him while he is a hero he also has some mental depression. Tabu is Peter’s best friend and also works as his agent in the world of arts and was raised with him in Tibet, he is very loyal to his friend and is also the voice of reason to try and let him know that he is a hero that’s needed in the world. Cairo DeFrey clearly is not only part owner of a massive business but is also more then she appears as she has got the attention of someone who wants her dear or at least to pay for expanding the business into places she shouldn’t! The Crimson Dawn is a bunch of red masked, gun caring terrorist thugs who while dangerous also seem very un-prepared for what they are doing. This really was a great way to bring a classic hero into the 90’s world of over powerful superheroes and does make you smile as you watch Thunderbolt meet Green Lantern who saves his life by getting him to the hospital in time. The cover is eye-catching and has a classic comic feel with a 90’s DC Comic look. The interior art is done by Mike Collins and its really great and I also have to give him credit for the story as he wrote it! Over all I think this is a really great first issue and has me hooked on wanting to re-read this series again after all these years.

Peter Cannon Thunderbolt # 2  ***
Released in 1992     Cover Price $1.25     DC Comics     # 2 of 12

Thunderbolt knocks out the members of the Crimson Dawn and saves the life of Cairo DeFrey, but during the fight the blimps control is damaged and worse one of the Crimson Dawn members damages the gas line and Thunderbolt and the blimp Captain have to emergency manually crash land the blimp into London! During the landing Thunderbolt remembers back to his training in Tibet when a fellow young man in training got his face burnt trying to save the lives of his fellow kids when a plane crashes and catches fire and he rushes to remove the bombs so they don’t explode and kill everyone near. Once they land the blimp reporter Anne-Marie Brogan is on it and Thunderbolt turns back into Peter Cannon while Detective Inspector James Flint alerts Cairo that the Crimson Dawn seemed to be just hired local thugs hiding behind the masks of being environmental terrorists, she blows off the information and invites Peter to join her on her boat the next day as Tabu alerts his friend that he does not trust her. While in London a masked costumed robber uses powers to rob an ATM, Crime Boss Johnny Wheeler is out with his son to see a movie at the theater and when his son goes to get the car it explodes and kills him and lastly at the London Museum a Egyptian Coffin is opened and one guard is dead of shock as a being named Evila has returned.

This second issue is packed with lots of plots all going on and starting! As we get Peter Cannon finding the courage to become a hero again and help land an out of control blimp while chaos and crime is running randomly throughout London! Peter Cannon quickly remembers why he was chosen and loved being a hero and seems to be back in the game after kicking some terrorist butt, he also seems to be way to trusting of a pretty face and seems to always second guess his best friends words as Tabu seems to be the one who pays more attention to the actions and behaviors of those around. Tabu also is clearly the one who pushes for Peter to become Thunderbolt once more as he is doing so not only for the legacy of his temple but also for the mental health of his friend. Cairo DeFrey the rich business woman while coming off like a sweet woman who cares about her family business also comes off like she is hiding something and I think she clearly knows more then what she is saying when it comes to who sent the Crimson Dawn. The masked ATM robber and Mr. Wheeler I am sure will be coming into play in coming up issues and its clear that what ever Evila is she is dangerous and deadly! I also think the burnt face young man from Peters past will also come into play as when we see the flashback of the trials that Peter had to pass in order to become Thunderbolt…the scared face youth was not happy at all as it’s clear he thought his bravery would make him the chosen one. I really dig that this story this far is taking so many twists and truns and we are going from present day to the pass to show the whole story. Also they have a cameo from Justice League Europe member Elongated Man that is pretty funny as he is on the news denying that they had anything to do with the landing of the blimp. The story for me this far feels like a blend of Classic Comic Hero and Spy Stories and that’s a good thing as it is keeping me guessing on what is coming up and who is to be trusted. The cover of this issue is ok and while cool they should have not focused on one the trials from his past when he had to face a snow leopard in an arena. The story and art is great and done by Mike Collins again. A great first read and really does make me look forward to reading the rest of this series for the first time. So with that lest see who all the new plots and characters in this issue play out in issue three, shall we?

Peter Cannon Thunderbolt # 3  ***
Released in 1992     Cover Price $1.25     DC Comics     # 3 of 12

At the London museum two security guards are dead by the hands of the evil Egyption Queen called Evila who animates statues into her army as she wants revenge on Thunderbolt who defeated her many decades back when she first was brought back to life. Meanwhile at the posh flat of Peter Cannon he is being interviewed by Anne-Marie Brogan for a paper article as rain pours down outside and Tabu sits backs and listens. Detective Inspector James Flint heads to the hospital and talks to a friend who works for Mr. Wheeler to show respect for the hit on his son who is in the hospital and dying, the man alerts Flint that a gang war is brewing that will take place in London. Mean while at a mansion we meet Victor Cypher who is throwing a dinner party and introduces them to the half face masked Andreas Havoc who he claims will be their main muscle. While Peter Cannon rushes to the museum for his lunch date with Cairo DeFrey who informs him they will have to go another day as the mummy of Evila has came alive and is on the loose and killed two security guards, Peter Cannon is not happy to hear his old enemy is back from the grave…again! At a Disco the ATM Robber who’s name is Tekk is holding up the owners for “protection” money as he is working for Scorpio the mob that is at war now with Wheeler’s mob, when they don’t pay he uses his power and blows out all the light bulbs in the building and says he will be back for the cash after they clean up. Peter returns home only to find that the Museum is now surrounded by a force field, so he changes into his Thunderbolt costume and heads back to find that the police can not make it past the force field, and with Inspector James Flint blessing Thunderbolt gives it a try and makes it through! Once inside Thunderbolt is attacked and knocked out by Evila and her statue turned to like henchmen.

This third issue has so much going on and so many plots and characters are thrown at you as you try to keep up on who, what, when and were and I have to say that’s what makes this comic series so good! The many plots of this issue has Thunderbolt learning that his old villain Evila is back from the dead and has killed some innocent people, while mobster Mr. Wheeler is dealing with his son who is dying in a hospital from a hit his right hand man warns James Flint that a war is about to pop off! And we also have the costume goon Tekk bulling local business for protection money and we meet a rich man Cairo DeFrey who is clearly up to no good. Peter Cannon has found his want and love for being a costumed hero and as well as Thunderbolt really wants to smash and stop crime in London, England. I think Inspector James Flint wants to find who set the car bomb that has a local mobster’s son on his deathbed, while Flint is a good man of the law I think he is also loyal to his close friend who is working for the mob family. Evila shows that she is super powerful and has dark forces and powers on her side, plus she clearly lets Thunderbolt know she will not be tricked again! Our other series baddies Tekk, Victor Cypher and Andreas Havoc are around and while they have done some bad things this far have not become the full threats you know they will become. The over all fast pace and introduction of so many characters and stories is what keeps this Thunderbolt series interesting as they are talking a classic hero and showing that you don’t have to fly nor have mutant powers to be a complex hero. I will say that the cover is pretty great and has that 90’s DC Comics charm and the art by Mike Collins is top notch. At this point being three issues into DC Comics Thunderbolt I have to say I am a fan and very much looking forward to what issue four has in store for us, as well as how this over all story will play out!

Peter Cannon Thunderbolt # 4  ***
Released in 1992     Cover Price $1.25     DC Comics     # 4 of 12

In side the force field at the museum Thunderbolt is hurt by the beating he has taken as Evila informs him that she plans to kill him and then raise an army of the dead to take over earth, and oddly enough she seems to know more about him this time and his life in Tibet. Thunderbolt fights back hard and challenges her to fight him once more on another astral plane the place she lost their last fight on and she in a fight of anger and out of ego agrees. Meanwhile reporter Anne-Marie Brogan heads to interview Maude Grymes on old lady who is a fortuneteller and she during the interview tells Anne-Marie she has a message for Peter Cannon. Meanwhile in the astral plane realm Evila tries and uses Thunderbolt’s fears against of defeat, but he is able to conquer it when he greatest fear attacks her and that’s being buried alive. As she explains her backstory and her true power to Thunderbolt as she gets bound by mummy wrappings doing so, back in normal life hero The Crusader stops a robbery and is around as well. Back to the fight Evila informs Thunderbolt that she set him up and was never facing her fear what she was really doing was giving her statue soldiers orders to attack Thunderbolts body in the real world and this forces him to break the bound on the realm and causes stress on Evila’s power and they both are back at the museum. While across the world Victor Cypher and Andreas Havoc are talking about big plans and Havoc talks about his past destiny being taken away from him and its clear they want to take control of Tibet and that this half masked man is the kid who saved lives in Peter’s past from the helicopter crash. Thunderbolt ends up making Evila drain all her dark magic and she appears to kill herself and sends her spirit into the wind, and this confuses Thunderbolt as she would rather die again then face defeat. In the end Mr. Wheeler’s son has died and now he alerts his men it’s a gang war.

The plot of this issue has a showdown between Thunderbolt and Evila who have a bad history against each other and are very bitter enemies and fight in our world as well as a astral plane as they truly want to stop each other from winning. And during this epic fight so many questions of Thunderbolts goes unanswered as Evila seems to have returned knowing way to much about him and would rather die then to be defeated again! Thunderbolt clearly by this issue has gotten over his near death defeat in New York and is ready to be the hero London needs and will push himself to do so! Evila is powerful but her ego causes her to crack and she pushes herself way too much and looses her powers because of her push. While at the end of the issue it looks like Evila is dead I am saying she is not gone for good as I think she left the fight to regain her powers. And it’s clear as day to me that Andreas Havoc was one of the kids from the Tibet temple who was burnt and now wants revenge on the monks and Peter who he feels took away his true calling in life. Victor Cypher is clearly a man who is greedy and wants power and money and has set his sights on Tibet, his homeland. I am wondering who Maude Grymes is and what message did she give Anne-Marie to tell Peter Cannon. Plus Mr. Wheeler has lost it all and I think this war for the streets is going to be bloody and the bodies will pile up if Thunderbolt and/or James Flint don’t step in and stop it. And now we have another hero in town called The Crusader who I am sure will be a good hero friend to have during all this tension in London that is about to go down. Great story and the pace moves fast as the fight of Thunderbolt and Evila takes up much of the issues and all the side stories fit nicely in-between. The cover is ok and showcases Evila and the art is once more done by Mike Collins and is fantastic like before. Another good issue and DC is going a great job with this classic comic character, so lets see what’s next in this story!

Peter Cannon Thunderbolt # 5  ***
Released in 1993     Cover Price $1.25     DC Comics     # 5 of 12

Krater The Demolishing Man is a new super villain who is looking for a hero to beat up and even kill and he rules out Superman, Batman, The Flash and Elongated Man and after seeing the paper he sets his sights on Thunderbolt to build his name on. Meanwhile Peter Cannon and Cairo DeFrey are out on her yacht talking about their crazy lives as well as their blooming relationship, and then start to head in as they have a press conference coming up to showcase his Tibetan artifacts. We then join Mr. Wheeler and his mobsters in a meeting and they call for a kill or be killed warfare. The press conference goes well as the press only wanted to chat about Evila and not the exhibit and Peter and Cairo go their separate ways as she has work to do, Peter meets up with Tabu and they talk about the mystery of Evila and what she knows. Meanwhile Anne-Marie is out for lunch with a friend at a fast food burger joint when Krater attacks and is screaming for the head of Thunderbolt! Meanwhile The Crusader stops a hostage situation and take down the drug pushers who were responsible, while back at the Museum Peter and Tabu watches on TV as Krater calls out the hero while rampaging in the streets. Thunderbolt shows up and the pair fight with Krater showing his power comes from a force field he is able to put into place before he can be punched! But with the help of the mascot at the burger joint Thunderbolt is able to place the mascots costume head over Krater and beat him down, and with that he is arrested with the help of the Special Unit police and Thunderbolt is thanked and starting to be respected by the London police. We show that Andreas Havoc is mad when he finds out that Thunderbolt is back and fighting crime again as he truly thought that the defeat had broken him all those years back. In the end Peter Cannon meets back up with Cairo DeFrey and the two flirt as on the subway a man is killed by an unknown attacker.

This fifth issue shows that Peter Cannon is back and while having a slight issue still by almost being killed is pretty confortable with being hero Thunderbolt again and knows that while he does not have superpowers he does have skill and the heart to do the right thing and protect those who can not protect themselves. Thunderbolt also shows that if his highly skilled hand to hand combat force don’t work he has a cleaver mind to problem solve and to over come the threat at hand. Tabu is clearly both proud of his friend as well as disappointed in his friend as he feels that he still has fear of defeat and is hiding behind a false wall of heroism. Reporter Anne-Marie who has a message to give to Peter Cannon, but after an awkard run in with Cairo and being in the middle of a super villain attack she has not had the chance. I also want to say I think Thunderbolt made a big mistake in his fight with Krater as he shouts out Anne-Marie’s name and I think she will link that he is Peter Cannon! Cairo DeFrey is trying so hard to flirt and get Peter Cannon hooked, but I don’t trust her as she seems like she is playing games and has a very sinister side. Andreas Havoc is 100% the youngster who was burnt who thought he should be the chosen one, and it shows that he stole scrolls from the monks and now its clear that he himself is or at least sent Trydan. And our issues main villain is Krater a man who got his powers from a bomb that went off in the DC universe and allows him to use a force field as protection as well as a way to cause destruction, but once Thunderbolt figures out his powers he is no threat and is easily brought down. The one downside that this issue more then others have shown is that events that are spoken about take place in other comics from DC and that causes you to not get the full story of what they are talking about at times, a shame really…but all comics do it even at Sparkle Comics we have done it. The end of the issue also alerts us that another “super” villain type is in London and I am sure he as well will be looking for Thunderbolt’s blood! Its crazy to think that in only five issue we have been introduced to so many villains, lets count them down Evila, Tekk, Krater, Andreas Havoc, Mr. Wheeler, Victor Cypher and I am telling you Cairo DeFrey will be a baddy by the end of this series! The cover for this issue is pretty good and the art by Mike Collins is great like before. This issue of Thunderbolt has lots of action and as well moves the story along and is a solid 90’s DC Comic series. Lets see what issue 6 that is the half way mark for the series has in store for us.

Peter Cannon Thunderbolt # 6  ***
Released in 1993     Cover Price $1.25     DC Comics     # 6 of 12

Peter Cannon is having a terrible nightmare that has many of his villains as well as his Lama, and he gets a clue of the armor Trydan is wearing looks very much like old armor from England. When he wakes up he talks with Tabu and they start their fight training, that is until Cairo shows up at their apartment flat and is looking for a lunch date. While Peter gets ready Cairo confronts Tabu about not liking her and tries to use her charm to tell him she cares for Peter. Meanwhile Tekk takes down two of Mr. Wheelers mobsters as they head to collect protection money who is now under the protection of Tekk employers the Scorpio family! Also on a London highway a crash frees a super villain called Shard a monster looking man who’s body is made from shards of glass! While on a walk Peter and Cairo are interrupted by Anne-Marie and her newspaper friends, as Cairo leaves after getting an emergency call Anne-Marie talks about her need to cover Thunderbolt when a radio message goes out saying the Special Unit Police need the help of Thunderbolt and all break away to get to the scene requested. Meanwhile we learn that Mr. Wheeler hired Mac The Knife to kill the man on the train, and that Mac is a gun for hire who will kill anyone if the price is right. Meanwhile after busting some more criminals The Crusader goes to a local pub and is having a drink when they get the news of Shard and the cops calling on Thunderbolt for help, the other people in the pub cheer and egg on The Crusader to head down their and show the world the Britain has the best superheroes…and in anger he agrees. Thunderbolt shows up to the highway and the place Shard was set free and he is holding hostages and proves he is super dangerous as just his touch shreds skin and Thunderbolt must use a metal door from a truck in order to hit this baddy, once knocking Shard down he saves some hostages but while doing so the villain us able to sneak attack the hero and hit him from behind leaving him on the ground hurt.

This sixth issue’s plot has Peter Cannon dealing with his bad dreams of defeat, his awkward relationship with Cairo, his mistake of talking to Anne-Marie as Thunderbolt during his fight with Krater in the last issue, and of course his want to be the hero that London needs. As Thunderbolt he is finding that he is way more stronger and skilled then he ever thought and also seems to be getting weird powers he don’t understand like moving things with only a thought. I like that we get that Tabu does not trust Cairo as he thinks that something is off with her and that she is using his friend for some kind of gain, and at this point in the series I don’t think he is wrong as something about her is off as she seems to always be rushing off after phone calls and other emergencies. This issue we also get a look at the backstory of Inspector James Flint who we learned use to work for Mr. Wheeler and that is why he is placed on the Special Unit as they don’t want him near the old crime family he once worked for as they think he could go back, very sad for him as he is a good cop and they know it, but his past is keeping him from reaching his dream jobs. Plus I am starting to think that reporter Anne-Marie is starting to get a crush on Thunderbolt and while she does want to interview him for the paper, she also wants to get to know him…oddly enough did I miss something as she also does not tell Peter the message from Maude Grymes when she had the chance! We see that Mac The Knife a killer for hire is in London and took his first job from Mr. Wheeler, but also lets him know that if someone hires him to kill him he will take the job if the money is right…in other words he is a scumbag who money talks to. And Shard is super dangerous as his whole body is made of sharp glass and just a light touch will cut deep, and to top it off he has a crazed mind and don’t mind hurting, killing and scaring. The cover is pretty awesome and the art by Mike Collins is great as always. Oh man I should also say I like the opening nightmare part as well as it adds more things for us readers to think about as well as for Peter to try and uncover. Lets see what issue seven has in store for us and see if DC and Mike Collins can keep up the great work on this series.

Peter Cannon Thunderbolt # 7  ***
Released in 1993     Cover Price $1.25     DC Comics     # 7 of 12

Thunderbolt wakes up bleeding and hurt of the highway and just in time as Shard is about to go in for the kill and he is able to dodge the attack. With the help of people on the highway that were hostages Thunderbolt is able to clear his head for a bit and get Shard to chase him and allowing the people to get to safety. Meanwhile Andreas Havoc is fuming over the return of Thunderbolt and with his magic he learned from the stolen scrolls he brings Evila to his castle and alerts her if they work together they can stop Thunderbolt once and for all. Thunderbolt is having a hard time with Shard, as he cannot touch him without being cut, but with his newly discovered mind powers he is able to use metal from the cars that crashed on the highway and capture him. Meanwhile Mr. Wheeler buries his son and is ready for all out war, while a Tibetan Monk shows up at Peter Cannon’s home in America looking for his help and is sent to London by the old woman watching over the home. The Crusaders arrives at the Highway after Shards been defeated and this enrages the hero as he thinks he is being made a full by the American hero. In the end Peter Cannon arrives back at his apartment in London and gets a visit from a Government worker who informs him to keep his opinions on China to himself or something might happen and worse he gets a call from Cairo just as armored forces show up to take her hostage!

In this issue Thunderbolt has to face and enemy he cannot use his hand-to-hand combat skills to bring down and must use his newly discovered mental powers to bring the baddy down! The issues plot also shows that Andreas Havoc is only helping Victor Cypher because he thought Thunderbolt was gone from the hero business, and he also clearly does not really care about helping him. We also get that something bad is going down in Tibet as a Monk has travled very long and far to find him to get help, we also see that The Crusader is mad that an American hero is saving the day and taking away his glory of being a superhero and we see that Mr. Wheeler is now 100% ready to make those who killed his son pay! Peter Cannon aka Thunderbolt knows that that he is even more strong and skilled then he ever knew as not only can he knock out a villain with his kicks and punches now he can use his mind and move object! I am not sure how I feel about Thunderbolt having the powers of “Carrie” as I liked him as the classic style hero who did not have superpowers. Cairo DeFrey has found herself once more on the end of a plot that will have her kidnapped and this time the people coming for her seem way more with it and better armed! Not sure now if I am right about Cairo DeFrey as at first I thought she was up to something sinister, but now I am not sure and think that she might be a secret agent or working with some very powerful people. Shard was a pretty cool bad guy and was super dangerous, and he was only defeated when Thunderbolt used his “Carrie” powers on him. I am interested in what The Monk is needing help with, but if I had to guess I would say it has to do with Andreas Havoc and his evil ways, and let me not forget what terrible plan does Andreas Havoc have in mind now that he is teaming with Evila! As always this issue is keeping me entertained and showcasing that not all heroes have to have superpowers…oh wait DC now did give him powers…but the cover is pretty good and eye catching and the interior art by Mike Collins is great as always. Lets see what issue eight has in store and find out the answer on who is kidnapping Cairo.

Peter Cannon Thunderbolt # 8  **1/2
Released in 1993     Cover Price $1.25     DC Comics     # 8 of 12

At the office of Cairo DeFrey the cops lead by Inspector James Flint are looking into her kidnapping and he speaks to Peter Cannon who is as well there as he was on the phone when the attacked happened. While people are being questioned Peter’s hidden mental powers flare up and let him see the act of the kidnapping happen and learns the Scorpio Mob is who has done it as he hears that name! Meanwhile Evila and Andreas Havoc discuss a plan that will get ride of Peter Cannon aka Thunderbolt once and for all as they both hate him and need him out of the way. Meanwhile after the cops have left Peter and Tabu get into an argument, as Peter wants to change into Thunderbolt and save Cairo and his friend Tabu says he can not use the ancient powers for his own personal interest, and this fight leaves Peter walking to the buildings roof were he sees the armed men placing Cairo into a helicopter and he just in times jumps and hides on the helicopter to find out where it goes. Meanwhile the Justice League Europe team is alerted to the kidnapping and Green Lantern takes notice when Thunderbolt is mentioned as he remembers helping him some years back from dying, while across town a shadowy figure under the disguise of working for the Government of England gives The Crusader an order to fight and beat Thunderbolt in a fare fight in order to prove England has the best home grown heroes and they don’t need the Americans help. Peter Cannon once they helicopter arrives at the hideout changes into Thunderbolt and takes out the kidnappers one by one until he and Cairo come face to face and she is happy to see the masked hero and alerts him that she knows he really is Peter Cannon and gives him a kiss. Also The Monk is now on his way to England to find Thunderbolt and alert him to what help the temple needs.

Well Peter Cannons secret of being Thunderbolt is out of the bag as the woman he loves has figured it out super quick! The issues plot is very simple Thunderbolt follows kidnappers to get his lady love back and then throw in some drama with the police, JLE and Crusader and you have this issue in a nutshell. Thunderbolt is a hero who is now also torn as his training says that he should only use his powers and skills to benefit and protect mankind and that he should never put personal issues on his hero to do list, but he feels different as he knows that he can save the life of a woman he cares about. Thunderbolt is also very confused over his new mental powers, as they only seem to appear when he has extreme stress or anger. Tabu is so stuck on the ways of the Temple that at times he seems to forget what it is to be human and only cares about rules. Inspector James Flint is trying to put pieces together like a puzzle as he wants to solve why Scorpio has moved into town and why Thunderbolt seems to be around when things turn bad. Cairo DeFrey proves that she is not some weak business woman and has skills of her own to get out of trouble, plus its interesting that she knows Peter is Thunderbolt and makes one wonder did she figure it out on her own or is she working for someone who alerted her to this? Evila and Andreas Havoc’s sinister plan to stop Thunderbolt I am sure will start next issue and by the mindset of those two, I am sure it will be very deadly. The Crusader while a hero is being played for a fool as he is being pushed to be annoyed by Thunderbolt and pressured into a fight for some unknown reason to cause tension between the heroes. I like the idea of a shadowy criminal organization using tricks to turn superheroes against each other as so many heroes have egos and could easily be pushed to turn on each other. Also great to see more cameos from Justice League Europe members as this time around we not only see Green Lantern but also The Flash and Crimson Fox and by the looks of it I think they might get a bigger role in a future issue! The cover is pretty great and has a direct to video action film look to it and the interior art by Mike Collins who is still doing the story as well. Another solid issue that has a few way to long talky parts, but is solid and keeps up the great work of the series and makes me look forward to the next issue.

Peter Cannon Thunderbolt # 9  ***
Released in 1993     Cover Price $1.50     DC Comics     # 9 of 12

Thunderbolt is shocked that Cairo DeFrey knows that he is Peter Cannon and she tells him that she has known sense he saved her on the blimp! As the goons around them start to wake up they make a run for the exit only for them to be cut off by Tekk who wants Cairo. Meanwhile Anne-Marie is looking into the past of Cairo and finds something very interesting that she wants to investigate as well as says she might want to tell Peter Cannon what she has learned, what it is we will have to wait. Tekk and Thunderbolt start to fight and are going hand-to-hand, when Cairo watches she is likes that two super-beings are fighting over her and says to herself at some point she will tell them they are on the same side! While at the store of Maude Grymes she gets a visit by the wizard Arion The Immortal who warns her not to meddle in the world of Peter Cannon, but she tells him she knows what she is doing! As Thunderbolt and Tekk are fighting The Justice League Europe (Green Lantern, Power Girl, The Flash, Crimson Fox and Elongated Man) show up as they are looking for the kidnapped Cairo as well and join and help Thunderbolt in the fight, but finally Cairo alerts them that Tekk is her bodyguard and was their to rescue her as well. As The JLE and Thunderbolt are cleaning up the area after Cairo leaves for home questions start to pop up as Inspector James Flint also shows up and backs up the feeling that something is not right with this kidnapping. We then see Mr. Wheeler about to pull in and being mad as its clear he hired the goons to get her and at Cairo’s office she tells Tekk that its time for them to ruin Mr. Wheeler and to get ride of him and his men. While Evila and Andreas Havoc use a spell and bring Dinosaurs to London and our heroes have to rush off to try and stop the rampage. Meanwhile Anne-Marie is waiting for Peter at his apartment and in China a superhuman being is beating up protesters.

The plots of this issue are coming at the reader fast and hard as we learn so much and get new mysteries shoved our way…and were to start! I think the biggest news is Cairo DeFrey being the head of Scorpio and while acting like a sweet businesswoman she is really a calculated mobster who puts hits out, has her goons strong-arm small businesses for protection money as well has Tekk a super villain under her control. I knew it all along that Cairo was not to be trusted as she always seemed to act a little off and very sneaky, worse thing is that she knows Peter Cannons secret and could try and use it for her own gain. Tekk is shown to be Cairo’s chuffer, bodyguard and muscle and almost seems to enjoy the bad things he is sent to do as his suit gives him big powers. We also see that Anne-Marie is digging deep into who Cairo really is and it’s clear that she has found out just how corrupt she is and wants to warn Peter as she knows he is getting way to close to her, plus poor Maude Grymes is in trouble with other magical beings for trying to deliver a message to Peter…that still has not been delivered. Plus it appears that the JLE and James Flint have also started to catch on that Cairo is a wolf in sheep clothing and are starting to question her…now if only Peter Cannon would catch on. I love that Andreas Havoc and Evila’s idea to cause issues to try and defeat Thunderbolt was to let dinosaurs loose in the city, its like they read Jurassic Park and got ideas. And one new mystery we get is who the heck is the muscle in China that is beating up the protestors and when will he tackle Thunderbolt as we knows it has to happen. Oh and I should also say that Mr. Wheeler has made a big mistake as he has been marked as a dead man now and by trying to kidnap Cairo he has also doomed his whole crew. The cover for this issue is well done and eye catching and the interior art by Mike Collins is still A+ 90’s DC Comic work. Another great issue and I can not wait to read the next issue as we are getting to the end of this series and things are starting to wrap up.

Peter Cannon Thunderbolt # 10  **1/2
Released in 1993     Cover Price $1.50     DC Comics     # 10 of 12

Thunderbolt and the JLE are rounding up the dinosaurs that are rampaging in London and are trying to keep the people safe as well as the creatures as they know they are just scared and not causing the chaos on purpose. While at Peter’s apartment Anne-Marie is telling Tabu about what she found and the message she was to deliver that all points to Cairo using and lying to him, and as they talk the monk who is Master Tsong arrives. As Thunderbolt and the JLE are tangling with the dinosaurs, he shares that he thinks that this mess was created by Andreas Havoc who is in turn being played by Evila who wants his power stone as she knows its true power and plans on using it against those who cross her. Meanwhile all around London Scorpio is attacking and shutting down all of Mr. Wheelers businesses and the war is on and gearing towards the end. The Crusader ends up joining the fight and helps round up the dinosaurs and they all watch as Thunderbolt uses his mind powers to bring down the massive T-Rex and his fellow heroes are impressed. As the JLE leaves Thunderbolt is attacked from behind by Crusader who in turn is attacked by someone from behind as Evila and Andreas Havoc are mad as they were behind making Crusader turn on Thunderbolt due to rage. We find out that a Checkmate Knight is the one behind the attack on Crusaders and has showed up with both heroes knocked out to Peter’s apartment and informs Thunderbolt about who is behind sending The Crusader and that’s Andreas Havoc and Master Tsong backs that up and says he must come back to Tibet in order to fight a man who killed the last Thunderbolt!

This issue is pretty fun even though most of the time is spent with the heroes rounding up dinosaurs like they are cattle. In this issue Peter Thunderbolt learns that he is a man that is neck deep in all types of trouble as he has a target on his head from Andreas Havoc, his lady love is a crime boss who has been a terror to so many, he has angered England’s hero The Crusader who has been pushed to attack him and he needs to now go to Tibet and fight a person who has killed the last Thunderbolt! In other words Thunderbolt has lots of hero work to do to make things safe for not only himself but everyone around him. Evila and Andreas Havoc while they are working together are clearly not friends as Evila has an idea of turning on him in order to steal the power stone to use in her own ways. Mr. Wheeler is loosing everything as he not only had his son murdered by his rivals but now all his crime empire is falling. The powerful fighter in China is Dorje and it sounds like he does not want to go to Tibet and I am guessing he is the one that killed the last Thunderbolt. Cairo DeFrey is truly an evil woman who is given orders to ruin and take lives and all the while is playing the victim and sweet person, she is a true mobster who has bad motives. The Justice League Europe are very helpful as they make the dinosaur capture way easier and even offer Thunderbolt a place on the team, plus seeing The Flash and the others in action is always a fun DC Comic reading experience. The Crusader has to feel like a tool now that he knows he has been played for a fool and pushed to attack a fellow hero by a criminal organization. Cover is great and fitting for the time and Mike Collins art his great as always. Like before a solid issue of Thunderbolt and really does prove that old heroes can find new life generations after their final issues. Oh and I still have to say I still am not a fan of Thunderbolts mental powers, as it makes him feel like an X-Men member.

Peter Cannon Thunderbolt # 11  ***
Released in 1993     Cover Price $1.50     DC Comics     # 11 of 12

Thunderbolt is gearing up to fight with Andreas Havoc and is surprised when he finds that he will have his own help going into this battle as Tabu, Power Girl, Anne-Marie, The Crusader, Master Tsong and Checkmate Knights all come to his aid. At first Thunderbolt is a little lukewarm on letting Crusader come along that is until he sees that the hero is upset that he has been played a fool and wants revenge. As The Checkmate Knights fight against Havoc’s men Thunderbolt, Power Girl and Crusader storm his castle and things start to look good for our heroes as Evila has her handsful with Power Girl and Crusader and Thunderbolt is holding his own against Andreas Havoc…that is until he gets blasted with a powerful energy blast that knocks Thunderbolt from the castle and we see that his attacker is Trydan the man who almost killed him years back! Thunderbolt finds his inner strength and uses all his skills to take down Trydan once and for all, only to fin the man in the suit was a drooling mindless fool, and as Thunderbolt starts to fight again with Andreas Havoc he learns that Trydan was just a paid assassin in a stolen suit from Lexcorp and that his brain was fried and he was a mindless tool of destruction. The fighting is going back and fourth and the Checkmate Knights get the call to pull back and return back to base, as this happens Tabu and Master Tsong rush into the castle and cause a distraction that allows Power Girl to grab the power stone and for them also to get the stolen scrolls…Thunderbolt uses the stone and his powers to transport himself and his friends to Tibet as Evila and Andreas Havoc stay in the castle that is now crumbling. In Tibet Thunderbolt and friends are by the monastery and find that it is under attack by a Chinese soldiers as Power Girl and Crusader attack the soldiers the others watch over the power stone as Thunderbolt rushes to check on the Lama only to find that he is face to face with Dorje, and worse Thunderbolt learns that Dorje is the real Thunderbolt who never dies those years back. Also during this time Mr. Wheeler heads to the Scoprio base and finds that his own right hand man has turned on him and that Cairo has hired Mac The Knife to put a dagger in his back!

So this is a bombshell as we learn that Peter Cannon has been living a lie for all these years and he is not the true Thunderbolt and protector of the order as his predecessor never really died and is back this time helping China to find the mystic powerful items that are hidden in the temple. So Thunderbolt as we know him is not the Tibetan hero we have followed, but he is a hero and a chosen one for sure as look at all he has been able to do and learn and I feel that Dorje is a man who at one point who was chosen to be the protector who now has turned his back on the job and is using his powers and skills to help with greed. Its great to see Power Girl and The Crusader lending their powers to help take down the evil magic of Andreas Havoc as both of their lives were in danger. And for that matter good on the Checkmate Knights as well for all their work in the battle. As for Andreas Havoc and Evila they are powerful and strong and if not for being distracted for a short amount of time they could have easily won the battle with our heroes…but I also feel that the defeat of Andreas Havoc, Trydan and Evila is very rushed feeling as they are the main bad guys we have spent so much time with, and now its changed to Dorje with just one issue to go. Poor Mr. Wheeler is in a bad way as it’s clear that the odds are against him and his time is running out as Cairo and her goons have his number. And speaking of Cairo she has surrounded herself with not only heavy armed foot solders but also skilled killers like Tekk and Mac The Knife…she is dangerous and I will guess will get what’s coming to her in the next issue. News lady Anne-Marie is getting the news story of her life as she has been along for the ride as Thunderbolt clashed with Andreas and also has seen China attacking a temple in Tibet! This is a great issue but again I do feel as if things are being rushed to have an end as they had to know that the series was being canceled and that they only had two issue to wrap it all up. The cover is great and showcases our heroes and villains and as always Mike’s work in the interior art is good stuff. Well let’s see how the DC Comic series of Thunderbolt ends as we are going to look at the twelfth and final issue.

Peter Cannon Thunderbolt # 12  **1/2
Released in 1993    Cover Price $1.50     DC Comics     # 12 of 12

Peter Cannon faces off with Dorje who sees Tabu holding the power stone and informs them all that he wants the stone as he needs to give it to China, and Peter can not allow this and fights Dorje who is older but more skilled and is showing his fighting skills. Tabu and Master Tsong watch in shock as Tabu is confused as he has pledged his life to help the true Thunderbolt, but he is best friends with Peter! Anne-Marie takes action and grabs the power stone and runs off with it trying to keep it safe and out of the hands of Dorje only to by accident giving it to Evila who is disguised at Power Girl and Andreas Havoc is also there who is now mad that Dorje is still alive as this makes his war and feud with Peter Cannon void! The Crusader and Power Girl arrive in the temple and after hitting Evila from behind the power stone falls to the floor as a fight between Thunderbolt and his friends against Evila with Andreas Havoc as well as Dorje who is fighting them all in order to get the stone. During the fight Andreas Havoc is thrown against a wall leaving him brain damaged as Dorje gets the stone and uses its power to kill Evila as well as himself in order to keep the temple and all inside it safe from her want to become the ruler, all the heroes gather as he tells them of his past years of being missing. With the fight over Peter Cannon is Thunderbolt again and the Lama sends Power Girl and The Crusader home and then sends Anne-Marie and Tabu to Peter’s apartment…as for Thunderbolt is gets a change of outfit and is sent to the Scorpio base as he needs to have words with Cairo. Once at the base he finds Mr. Wheeler who dies in front of him from his stab wounds and has to fight Tekk who uses all his power to try and stop the hero, but thanks to water and electricity Tekk fails and is left knocked out. In the end Thunderbolt faces Cairo and she alerts him that she is related to Evila and that she just wants power and order and begs Thunderbolt to join her, he rejects her offer and walks out telling her goodbye and both are heart broken as good and evil can never find love.

The final issue of Thunderbolt does a pretty great job of wrapping up all our characters and stories and allows now Peter Cannon to be Thunderbolt and not have to 100% follow the teachings of the Lama and temple as he is not the reborn spirit of the passed warrior…he is just his own warrior. Thunderbolt learns so much about himself that all his powers and skills are unlocked by his own will and training and that he is a hero no matter what label is placed on him. It’s also clear that he will always do what is right and fight on the side of good and that his friend Tabu will always be his pal and help him in life and in heroism. You have to feel bad for Thunderbolt as well when he learned that the old Thunderbolt is still alive and making his whole past being a lie, plus he has to face heart break as he must break it off with Cairo a woman he loves. To be honest Dorje the old Thunderbolt does nothing for me and seems like a waste to the story as his turn from being apart of the raiding Chinese forces to becoming the Temple hero again before his death seemed super cheesy. Evila finally meets her end thanks to the power stone and poor Andreas Havoc is left in a coma just like Trydan and both will spend their lives at the Temple in Tibet. Mr. Wheeler meets his end at the end of a knife and its cause of his own pride and want to fight that leads him to his death, well and the fact his own friend set him up! I do feel that Inspector James Flint does not have any real payout and only shows up for a second in this final issue to tell Wheeler’s men to start looking for new work, again his story seems rushed and like a wasted character. Anne-Marie is clearly a reporter who is stronger then she thinks and is clearly in love with Peter Cannon so who knows what could have been with those two. The series did do a great job of using other heroes from the DC Universe as the Justice League Europe, Checkmate Knights and The Crusader all seem important and add to the story as it unfolds. Cairo DeFrey is a killer and a woman who craves power who is from the same bloodline as Evila and while bad, I don’t think she sees her actions as evil as she just wants to lead and make the world follow her order. Mike Collins who did the interior art and the story for this series did fantastic work and really did bring a classic comic hero into modern times and made Thunderbolt fit right into the DC Universe, he also added onto the characters legend and story and did a great job of also using his classic rouges gallery while adding new baddies into the mix. It’s a shame that this series only lasted 12 issues as it was some of the better stuff DC was doing at the time with their smaller time heroes. From what I gathered low sales is what got the book canceled and Thunderbolt from here would be apart of other comics like Justice League Europe. The cover for this issue is also really cool and for some reason reminds me of Batman or even The Phantom. I have to say that I truly enjoyed Peter Cannon Thunderbolt and think that if you enjoy classic comic heroes and have not check it out yet, you should as its well done and while flawed in spots (looking at you mind powers) it holds a great classic comic feel. Check out the artwork bellow to see the style of Mike Collins.

If I worked for DC Comics around 1993 as a writer and Peter Cannon Thunderbolt was thrown my way in order to breath new life into the character after his final issue was released. I would have kept him in London for awhile and have him join The Justice League Europe for a short awhile and would have had him and Power Girl hitting it off and even dating. During this time Thunderbolt would have mastered his mental powers and this would have elevated his superpower statues, and the JLE would also hire Tabu to work their headquarters to keep all their missions in order as well as to alert members to crises. But Thunderbolt and Tabu would leave London and the JLE after Power Girl and he split up as he is still in love with Cairo DeFrey who has been spotted in New York causing him to return home to find her, and here is were I would change him up and take a really chance with him as when in New York and with his new more powerful mind powers I would have Cairo make a deal with the returning Evila and together they place a classic curse of Thunderbolt and turn him into a raging madman who is running amok in the streets and is attacking innocent people and as well as doing battle with Superheroes like one time friend Green Lantern, Batman, Hawkman, Plastic Man, Green Arrow and even Superman. I would then have Dr. Fate along with Zatanna be the ones who break the curse of Evila as well as end his mental mind powers of Thunderbolt and from there I would write him out for awhile by having him be placed in a asylum. After a year or two away I would bring Peter Cannon Thunderbolt back as a skilled fighter normal hero who has to earn the trust of the people and his fellow heroes. And from there I would just have Thunderbolt appear in other comics as a guest hero and would still be doing that to this day.

Thunderbolt over the years has been dusted off by other comic companies with his latest bigger run being with Dynamite Comics 2012 and later 2019 and would bring the hero into modern times. But for me I think he should have stayed put in the DC Comics universe. But DC is such a mess in modern times and are cutting comics, creators and even making a push for digital comics so in other words they are a shell of a company and sadly have been ran wrong for many years now and with AT&T owning them and not caring about print comic books I am not sure what their fate holds in the future. But lets not harp on the fate of DC Comics and why they let Thunderbolt slip from their fingers as for my next update I will be taking a look at another Horror Host for the celebration of the Horror Host Hall Of Fame being around for 10 years as I will take a look at Indiana’s own Baron Von Wolfstein! So until next time read a DC Comic or three, watch a superhero film or two and as always support your local Horror Host! See you next time for a trip to Wolfstein Manor.

The Voyage To Star Trek IV

Welcome back to Rotten Ink.  Once more we will be heading to space with the crew of the USS Enterprise as we take a look at Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home and the DC Comic adaptation of it! Many Trekkies find this film to be one of the best sequels in the series only slightly behind Star Trek II: The Wrath Of Khan, and I must say this film is fantastic and is one that I have seen many times. I know I have said this before and I will say it again, back when these original cast Star Trek movies were released in the late 70’s and all the way to the early 90’s they were big deals and I can remember the TV ads talking about them being in theaters. I also remember the ads in the local newspaper when they would show theater air times complete with mini black and white posters that I would cut out keep. Sadly Star Trek has lost steam at the Box Office for the most part, but has found a new life on CBS All Access with new series being made. So if you are ready, let’s step foot once more on the Enterprise and go on a space adventure with Captain Kirk and his crew.

So let’s start this off the way we should and begin our talk about The Voyage Home with taking a look at the film itself. As always, the film’s write up will be taken from our good friends at IMDB and after I will be writing about the film’s production as well as my thoughts on this fourth Star Trek film. So let’s take a look at this fourth and iconic Star Trek flick.

Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home (1986)

“The most acclaimed Star Trek adventure of all time with an important message. It is the 23rd century, and a mysterious alien probe is threatening Earth by evaporating the oceans and destroying the atmosphere. In their frantic attempt to save mankind, Admiral Kirk and his crew must time travel back to 1986 San Francisco where they find a world of punk, pizza and exact-change buses that are as alien to them as anything they have ever encountered in the far-off reaches of the galaxy. William Shatner and Leonard Nimoy return as Kirk and Spock, along with the entire Star Trek crew.”

Before Star Trek III was even finished and out, Paramount Pictures was already talking about a fourth film in the series, and they wanted Leonard Nimoy to return to direct and come up with the story as they liked the way his ideas were going. You see at this time Paramount was very much behind the Star Trek property and knew they had something special in their hands and started to truly understand that it has a majorly loyal fan base…unlike most modern Star Wars fans. At first the fourth film had a rocky start as William Shatner was not wanting to return to play Captain Kirk and only agreed to after a massive raise that got him $2.5 million to do the film.   Nimoy wanted to make a more fun picture as the first three films were very serious and filled with drama, and this go around he wanted to add a little humor. The original idea had the Enterprise Crew returning to Earth to stop a virus whose only cure was destroyed way back due to the cutting of the rainforests in the past…but people dying this way was not the way they wanted to go and so they went with the idea of returning home to get a whale to sing its song to save Earth from being destroyed by a weapon that only responds to their calls. The original script had a part for comedian and actor Eddie Murphy, who is a Trekkie, to play a professor who believes in aliens…but he disliked the role and went on to make the film The Golden Child instead. The script for this film also had lots of issues as not only was William Shatner displeased with many of them but so was Paramount Pictures who brought back Nicholas Meyer to help rewrite it and he joined names like Daniel Petrie Jr, Steve Meerson, Peter Krikes and Harve Bennett all of who, had ideas and wrote parts of this script! And after rewrites, Paramount was finally pleased with the scripts, and the film went into the filming stages. Leonard Rosenman ended up doing the score for the film and when released it was met with great reviews from critics and fans, and over the years it’s rated as one of the best films in the series. When released in 1986, it was the # 5 to grossing film in America bringing in as of this date $109,713,132.00 on a budget of only $21 million and beat out other films like Aliens, Short Circuit, Pretty In Pink, Friday The 13th Pat VI: Jason Lives, Howard The Duck, Legend and Labyrinth to name a few. And when released on home media, it was a top selling film showing that this fourth film in the Star Trek series really is a great film that has kept over the decades its popularity with Trek fans.

When Star Trek IV was being released in theaters, I can remember seeing the ads in the paper as well as commercials all over TV as this one seemed to have more hype around it and to be honest is the one I remember the most from the early films as I was the perfect age. The first time I ever saw the film was in science class in Middle School in Waynesville as my science teacher Mr. York was a big fan of Star Trek and college football and would often uses a Star Trek reference during teaching. He wanted the class to watch the film to show how actions have reactions; he was an awesome teacher. Plus it was a great way to spend a few classes taking a break and watching a Sci-Fi film with your classmates. I remember liking the film as it was cool to see them in more of a modern setting as well as tackling the issue that was the world killing whales and limiting their population, something that is sadly still a struggle to this day thanks to over fishing and whalers killing them to sell the blubber for cosmetics and other products. Kirk and Spock are fantastic as they try and figure out a way to bring a whale to their time, and Scotty talking to the computer mouse is classic stuff. Plus who doesn’t laugh seeing the Enterprise Crew trying their best to fit in to the late 1980’s society and being super awkward doing so. Over the years I would go on to get the film on VHS as well as later DVD and would watch pretty often along with the other films in the series featuring the original cast. This film as well is considered one of the best in the movie series and many place it right behind Star Trek II: The Wrath Of Khan as being the second best over all, I however would place it in my top three for sure, but at # 3! If you have not seen this one and want to watch Spock put the Vulcan Nerve Pitch onto a Punk Rocker on a RTA Bus after he flipped off, Kirk check this one out.

Like all the Star Trek movies that came before it, Star Trek IV had its fair share of amazing merchandise for fans to collect over the years like a paperback book adaptation, comic book, action figures, posters, magazines, soundtrack, trading cards, t-shirts and even buttons to name a few. This was the one Star Trek movie from my youth that when it was released I can remember the hype train being around and many of these items at stores my family shopped at like Hearts, Hills and Gold Circle. Star Trek IV had some great merchandise and I can remember over the years owning the film on both VHS and DVD. I had and read the paperback book, owned the comic book plus of course had the soundtrack on cassette and later on CD.

Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home really is a great sequel in the Trek movie series and brought a more modern feel to the series that many younger viewers had started to see as dated. And while not my favorite of the sequels, it is one I 100% enjoy and have watched many, many times over the years. And we are now at the time of this update that we take a look at the comic adaptation, and I am very much looking forward to reading this one again as I have not since I was a very early teenager. I want to thank Mavericks Cards And Comics for having this comic in stock all those years ago and want to remind all you readers that I grade these comics on a star scale of 1 to 4 and am looking for how well the comics stay to the source material, its entertainment value and its art and story. So if you are ready, let’s climb aboard the Enterprise once more and go on a trip with Captain Kirk and his crew and let’s save the world and the whales!

Star Trek IV: Voyage Home # 1  ***
Released in 1987     Cover Price $2.00     DC Comics     # 1 of 1

The USS Saratoga is trying to communicate with a probe that is not responding and is draining the ship of all its power. We then cut to a Starfleet Court as Captain James T. Kirk is on trail for many counts that go against the fleet as well as the killing of the Klingon crew as well as stealing the Bird Of Prey ship. The Klingon spokesperson also accuses Kirk of using the Genesis Project and claims all the destruction it caused was part of his plan. Speaking on behalf of Kirk and his crew is Ambassador Sarek who gets the court to dismiss the claims of the Klingons who claim that they will never be at peace as long as Kirk lives! Meanwhile on the planet Vulcan, the crew of the USS Enterprise are stranded as Scotty works his magic on the Bird Of Prey so that they can return to Earth and face the courts. While getting ready to leave, Kirk allows Lt. Saavik to step down and stay behind on her home planet, as the re-born now adult Spock is learning the ways of his culture and decides to go to Earth with his former crewmates. Meanwhile the Probe is heading for Earth and is shutting down all the Star Fleet ships and even their bases and is causing the planet to be covered in a fog! As Kirk and his crew head to Earth, they get a message from the President who is warning all ships not to come close to Earth as a Probe has it under attack by creating mass flooding and can shut down any and all ships, Spock figures out that the Probe is trying to talk to a whale and that Earth is in trouble as they had all been killed in the 21st Century! Kirk decides that the way they can help the Earth is by going back in time and bringing two whales back to their time in order to answer the Probe and save the Earth. Once they travel back in time they do their best to blend in and split off into groups as they not only have to find the whales but also build tanks for them to take back as well as they need a nuclear reactor to recharge the ship’s crystal that gives it the power needed to return! McCoy, Scotty and Sulu head out to try and find the materials needed to build the tanks and even change history a little along the way, Uhura and Chekov find the place to get the nuclear power needed and Spock and Kirk head out to find the whales! Dr. Gillian Taylor is in charge of two whales in captivity, and Spock and Kirk make their way to visit. Spock dives into the tank and mind melds with one of the whales and learns that the female is pregnant and they both hate how people treat them and they are willing to go to the future to save the Earth from the Probe. Kirk goes out to dinner with Gillian after she drops Spock off at the park where their ship is hidden. Meanwhile Scotty, McCoy and Sulu find a manufacturer and give them the idea to make a stronger plastic that they can use to transport the whales on the Bird Of Prey back to the future. Meanwhile Chekov and Uhura are on a ship trying to get the nuclear energy needed they are spotted by the military and while Uhura gets away, poor Chekov suffers a head injury. And now they have to get to the hospital to save him from surgery and Gillian also returns to the park and is beamed aboard as she has bad news that her boss has shipped off the whales to the ocean! Kirk and this crew get to the hospital and save Chekov and then track the whales and save them from blubber hunters and get them on the ship and along with Gillian they return to the future and the whales answer the probe and the Earth is saved! But even after saving the day Kirk and his crew must face the court, and what they get as punishment is Kirk is demoted from Admiral back to Captain and he is assigned a new ship with his crew and their adventures continue.

First things first, this could be the best Star Trek Movie adaptation we have covered thus far as it truly captures the adventure and nature of the film! The plot of this comic and the film is pretty simple: a Probe that can destroy a planet sends out a whale song that is not answered as mankind has killed them off in the future and now they are paying the price as the probe is causing a massive flood on Earth and it’s up to Kirk and the Enterprise Crew to travel back in time and bring whales from the past to the future to answer the Probe’s call. Captain Kirk in this issue is in deep trouble with Star Fleet as he disobeyed orders in order to save the reborn Spock and even blew up his own ship that was high jacked by Klingons that leave all the invaders dead! I also should note that Kirk is an Admiral for most of this issue and even though he is in trouble he and his crew take action and save many lives as well as Earth from becoming a massive swimming pool. Spock is starting to get his mind back after being dead, and is slowly remembering his friendships and memories of being Spock. He also as always he one who figures out how to save the day as well as has the skills to talk to the whales that are needed to save the day. Scotty as well is a lifesaver as his knowledge of space crafts and compounds make the transport tanks possible. Poor Chekov while trying to get nuclear power needed for the ships crystals gets a nasty head injury and must be saved from the hospital and treated by McCoy to heal him up. And the rest of the Enterprise Crew McCoy, Sulu and Uhura are all doing their part to get the stuff they need in the past to save the future. Dr. Gillian Taylor is a woman who loves her job and cares very much for the two whales that have been in her care, and I also respect that she leaves her life behind to travel to the future to stay with them and help teach the future about caring for them. DC Comics so far has delivered two very well done adaptations of Star Trek movies and this one does a top notch job of capturing the true fun, silly and sci-fi action of the film. The thing that works the best for me is the fact that this comic does a great job of capturing the humor of this film, and while “Hello Computer” is a little weak in the comic, other gags work great in ink. The cover is really good for the time and is eye catching as the interior artwork done by Tom Sutton is great stuff as he captures the look and attitude of each character. If you like Star Trek IV, this comic is one that should be in your collection as it will surely entertain you. And to be honest I am very much looking forward to reading the comic for Star Trek V next year as these update are truly a blast for me to write. Check out the artwork below to see the style of Tom from this issue, and I picked panels that are from some of my favorite scenes from the movie.

Star Trek IV is a fun film as well as a fun comic and for me. While I enjoy the other Star Trek shows like Next Generation, Deep Space Nine, Voyager, Enterprise and Discovery, none of them are as good as the original series and the movies that followed with them. Captain Kirk is for me the best of the Captains, and I wish William Shatner would return one last time to Star Trek and unite with the remaining cast for one last voyage. But for my next update we will be leaving space and heading to the world of Horror Hosts for our first in our celebration of 10 Years of the Horror Host Hall Of Fame as we take a look at Miko Macabre of Cryptique! So until next time, read a Star Trek comic or three, watch a Star Trek Movie or Show and as always support your local Horror Host! See your next time as we cover one of YouTube’s best Horror Hosts from the past.

Hercules Thanksgiving Dinner Unbound!

It’s Thanksgiving again and that means it’s time for us to once more travel to ancient Greece and visit our good friend Hercules. This time around he is living in the DC Universe and is ready to share his adventures with you on this holiday to make it even more special! What also makes this special is the fact that this is the last time, at least for a long while, that we will be visiting Hercules on Thanksgiving so I really hope you enjoy this update while you eat your turkey, ham or vegan meal! Looking back its been a great time writing these updates based on Hercules from all types of comic companies as I have covered ones from Marvel, Topps, Radical, DELL and Graphic Universe! We have chatted about his Legendary Journeys, his Twelve Labors, and even meeting the Three Stooges! We have gone to war alongside him; we even traveled to space with him in order to find his true calling. In other words Hercules and his comic adventures really have been a Holiday Tradition, and while it’s sad its ending, it for sure is not a full goodbye as one day Herc will return for Thanksgiving! But let’s not harp on the farewell and let’s get to this DC Comic Hercules Turkey Day update!

Hercules has had a strange journey in his life in the DC Universe. His first appearance was in All Star Comics # 8 where he appeared alongside Wonder Woman, and while that version of Hercules would appear in a handful of issues and was pretty much a jerk, it was the Earth-86 version that is our subject for this update. This Hercules is based on the Greek mythology and has been bound with chains for centuries, and only breaks free in the future after World War III has taken its toll on the world. Now wandering the apocalyptic world, he wants revenge on those who bound him as well as his brother Ares, the God Of War. This version of Hercules was introduced by DC in 1975 and sadly became wiped from the DC Universe thanks to the acts of the mini series “Crisis On Infinite Earth” that collapsed many of the Multiverses. This event took place in 1985-1986. I was a young man when I first discovered and started reading Hercules Unbound. If I had to guess, I would say I was around 12 or 13 and got issues from the Bookie Parlor as well as Mavericks Cards And Comics, and I can remember they were always very cheap and were in the .50 and $1.00 boxes. This was also a series that I knew I had to have every issue of and can remember reading them and enjoying them as it was like Hercules in a Mad Max type world, just less extreme. Over the years, somehow a box of my DC Comics became missing and this series was in the box as well as my complete set of The Joker comics, but thanks to all the comic shops around here as well as online comic retailers I was able to track them all down again and re-read them. If you enjoy Hercules in comics or just like classic 70’s DC Comics, give this series a chance as it’s pretty dang fun.

Remco teamed with DC Comics to make a toy line that would be a cash-in on the popular Mattel series Masters Of The Universe that was a must have for all the kids of the 80’s. The series was called “Enter The Lost World Of The Warlord” and brought out many amazing DC Comic characters based on mythology characters and warriors. The series was headlined by Warlord of course but also had characters Arak Son Of Thunder, Machiste, Mikola, Deimos and Hercules! Growing up I can remember seeing the figures at garage sales and I myself at one time had Hercules as well as Arak, in fact I still have them both to this day. At my Brassfield grandparents, I remember that they had Hercules there and when playing with my cousin Nathan, I would choose him to be one of my heroes in the toy battles. And of course I remember the amazing full-page ad for the toy series that appeared in DC Comics and showed the figures as well as let you know you could get them at K-Mart. These figures were pretty cool and while cheaply made, they were must-have toys for me in my youth as they were based on the classic Sword And Sandal heroes of the films I enjoyed watching. On a side note, I really do want to get a Machiste figure in good shape and if I ever do, I will let you readers know.

You readers want to know another fun silly Hercules movie that I enjoy? Well let me tell you about “Hercules And The Masked Rider” from 1963, one silly and goofy film that has our muscle bound hero teaming with a Zorro like masked hero in order to fight a ruler and the rich who are pushing the poor down. The plot from IMDB is this: “In 16th century Spain, Don Francisco reluctantly betroths his daughter, Blanca, to the arrogant Don Ramiro in order to preserve the lands in the family estate. Then Don Juan, Don Francisco’s nephew and Blanca’s true love, returns from the war in Flanders. Don Juan dons a mask and joins with a gypsy band led by Estella to fight against the forces of Don Ramiro. In this effort he’s aided by a bare-chested muscleman and also by Captain Blasco who works for Don Ramiro but whose sympathies lie elsewhere.”

The crazy thing about this Hercules film is the fact that, for the most part, Hercules takes a backseat to Don Juan and his quest to get his true love. The fun aspect of this film is that it truly does blend together a Hercules film with a Zorro movie and a dash of Robin Hood is thrown in for good measure. This is a film that I discovered on DVD thanks to the company Cheezy Flicks and my friend Josh Weinberg, who used to sell movies at a local Flea Market, gave it to me as a gift, as he knew I enjoyed classic Sword And Sandal films. Alan Steel is the actor who played Hercules in the film, and while he is good as the muscle bound hero, he is not in the same league as Steve Reeves, but does do a solid job in the role. So if you like over the top cheesy movies with poorly dubbed dialogue, then check this one out!

Alan Steel was born Sergio Ciani in Rome Italy on September 7, 1935 and started his career in movies in 1958 in a unaccredited role in the film “Herod The Great”, but his big break came in 1959 when he became the stuntman and body double for Steve Reeves in the movies Hercules Unchained and The Giant Of Marathon, the latter of which he also had a role in. And when he changed his stage name to Alan Steel, more roles in Sword And Sandal films started to pour in, and being also a bodybuilder helped locked many roles in such films as Samson (1961), The Fury Of Hercules (1962), Hercules And The Black Pirates (1964), Hercules Against The Moon Men (1964), 3 Avengers (1964) among many other films of this genre with his final film being in 1979 with the film Baby Love. With Italian Cinema moving away from the Peplum Films (Sword and Sandal), Alan Steel retired from acting in 1979 and went on to still be a bodybuilder. Sadly on September 5, 2015 at the age of 79 the cinema strongman passed away in his sleep just two days away from his 80th birthday. It’s crazy to think that Alan Steel played Hercules about four times and next to Steve Reeves I think more fans of this style of cinema know him as the popular mythic hero than many of the other actors that played the role. Over the years of doing so many Horror and Comic Conventions it’s a shame that I never got to meet many of the icons of Peplum Cinema as it would have been great to have meet the likes of Steve Reeves, Alan Steel, Brad Harris and Reg Park to name a few before they passed away.

So before we get to the comic review of DC Comics series Hercules Unbound I would like to take just a moment to chat and update you readers about the Hercules Comic that Jeff Potter and I was creating for Sparkle Comics. As you longtime readers remember we wanted to start a Sword And Sandal comic line that would feature all the heroes of those films coming back for more adventures. The first in the series was Samson by Don Stephenson and sadly the sales of that book were below average and the feedback was mixed as everyone praised the amazing artwork Don did but they wanted more action in the story. So with that we feared that readers would not be ready for more Sword And Sandal comics so Hercules took a back seat for awhile and Jeff and I went on to work on a few other projects first like Black Jack # 1, Eternal Sleep # 1 and Babysitter Massacre # 0 to name a few. But I have some great news for those Sparkle Comics readers who want to see Hercules once more come alive in the pages of comics that has a cinema feel to it and that’s I think in 2022 we will begin work on the comic that will feature Hercules fighting off a horde of cannibalistic cavemen in order to save a beautiful woman who’s being sacrificed to them in order to appease the King of her village! I am very much looking forward to developing this issue as well as several issues that will follow that will pit our hero Hercules against so many amazing creatures and foes.

When I made the a hard decision to stop covering a Hercules Comic on Thanksgiving, it really was a tough one to make as I have been doing so since 2013 and it was something that I and many of you readers looked forward to every Turkey Day. But over time and eight years of covering him and his comic adventures it was time to walk away for awhile, and keep in mind I am not saying Hercules will not return for a Thanksgiving update, I just don’t see me doing so for a very long time as I have said above. But when coming to an end I knew I must cover the DC Comics universe version as we have covered Marvel’s twice and growing up I can remember reading the DC ones and loving them.

Hercules Unbound # 1 ***
Released in 1975     Cover Price .25     DC Comics     # 1 of 12

World War III has ended four weeks ago and on a small island Hercules breaks free from chains that have bound him to a boulder for many decades. Once free he has one thing on his mind and that’s revenge on the one who has held him captive that long, and that person is the God Of War Ares! But before he can think too much about it, he notices a young man and his dog on a ship being attacked by water demons! Hercules dives in the water and beats down the demons and comes aboard the ship and meets Kevin, a blind young man with the bravery of a warrior and the dog is Basil, who is friendly and loyal. Kevin tells Hercules about how he and his brother Jason were on vacation with their dad when World War III started and his brother was killed and many the people were affected by a nuclear bomb’s radiation that has caused them to be blistered mutated monsters who want to eat humans! And if not for Basil guiding him to the boat, he would have been killed. Hercules does not like what he hears and now has a goal to get Kevin to his father and to then take the fight to Ares who is watching the war from Mount Olympus and loves the death and destruction all around him and is even playing all sides against each other in order to cause more deaths. While Hercules with Kevin are now on land Hercules tells how he was set up by Ares as he was mad at Hercules for his stance on wars, and tricked him and chained him up. Hercules and Kevin are now in town and are attacked by Minotaur demons and once they take them down Hercules and his friend head for Rome, but Hercules notices that Kevin was very skilled with a slingshot even though he is blind. Once In Rome Hercules stops men from war and calls out Ares who sends his purple skinned champion Smasher to deal with Herc, and after a fight that leaves Hercule hurt and Basil the dog down, Kevin uses a rock and hits Smasher killing him. As Hercules is back up he notices that Ares has run away and worst of all Kevin finds that Smasher was his father mutated and now dead by his own hands.

This first issue of Hercules does a great job of building the world it takes place in, a world that is ravaged by war and nuclear fallout that has caused most men and women to mutate and go crazy all the while the old Gods of the world are playing their own sick and twisted games. Hercules has been chained to an island for around a thousand years and only by a miracle is he set free and when free finds a blind boy named Kevin and his dog Basil who helps him understand what is going on this this world he has been long removed from. That’s the thing about Hercules thus far, his instinct to be a hero and stand up for what is right is still a part of him, even if he does want revenge on Ares the God that placed him in chains. Kevin is an interesting lad as he is a true survivor and, while blind, does well for himself when it comes to protecting himself and his friends, truly there is more to him then meets the eye as his skill with a slingshot with no sight is too good. Ares The God Of War is living up to his name and is getting joy in playing all remaining sides of the world against each other as he loves death and battle and he is getting his fill of it in this new chaotic world. The comic does a great job of feeling like a classic hero story, but also does a great job of making the gloom and doom feel like a real threat to our heroes. This issue really did hold up for me after all these years, and I cannot wait to read the rest of this series again! The cover is great and eye catching and has a true classic 70’s DC Comic look to it. The interior art is done by the team of J.L. Garcia Lopez and the great Wally Wood and is great stuff and showcases why DC Comics at the time was a delivering some topnotch comic series. Over all if you like fantasy comics based on Hercules with a dash of Superheroes, then give this issue a read.  Now let’s see how issue two holds up!

Hercules Unbound # 2  ***
Released in 1976     Cover Price .25     DC Comics     # 2 of 12

Hercules with Kevin and Basil are now in Paris, France and are being attacked by more sinister demons and after taking them down, they meet fellow World War III survivors the Simon St. Charles a British older man, Dave Riggs a young man and Jennifer Monroe a pretty blonde woman. They invite Kevin and Hercules to come hide with them in a hideout that is stocked with drink and food. Meanwhile Ares is upset that the demons have failed to kill Hercules and summons Cerebus and his pair of two headed hounds of hell as he gets orders to attack and stop Hercules so that chaos and war can rule the Earth. Hercules and Jennifer go for a walk and it’s clear the God has fallen for the young woman who was once a supermodel, but their walk turns bad when the Hounds Of Hell attack Hecules and Cerebus runs off with Jennifer kidnapping her. Cerebus and Hercules fight for a few moments and Herc is knocked out and found later by Kevin and the rest that later who are upset that Jennifer is missing. Hercules, Kevin and Basil follow the trail and soon find that they have to enter Hell in order to save their new friend!

This second issue’s plot has Hercules heading to Paris only to find more survivors with one being a love interest, but Ares has plans to bring down Hercules and sends Cerebus to cause mayhem and take the young woman to Hell and force Hercules to follow him there were they could kill the God once and for all. Hercules in this issue is not trusting of other people, but yet his heart falls hard for Jennifer a model who as well seems to have an attraction to Hercules as well. Good old Hercules is headstrong in this issue and also finally questions how well Kevin gets around if he is blind, but does trust his young friend. Kevin and Basil are loyal to their friend Hercules and even rush into battle to be at his side and help the best they can. Jennifer is a young woman who at this point is trusting and seems to just accept the fact that Hercules is real and falls for his kindness and chiseled looks. Simon St. Charles and Dave Riggs seem like good guys but are also very much cowards and while they care about Jennifer they are not willing to risk themselves to save her. Ares is as evil as ever and wants to bring on total war and ride the world and himself of Hercules, a total ego driven God. Cerebus is a man who does what Ares asks and is super powerful and has the support of two hounds that have two heads and are ready to shred flesh. I do like that they give Cerebus a backstory of being sent to Hell over the love of a cheating woman that he would love to kill…man she did him wrong. This issue has some great drama and action and like before did a great job of blending them together and not making the story drag and keeping you wanting to see what is going to happen next. The cover art is solid and eye catching as the use of white and the red hounds of hell makes it stand out and the interior art once more is perfect and done by the team of J.L. Garcia Lopez and the great Wally Wood. So as you can see, this second issue is great and like the first held up with me when reading again.

Hercules Unbound # 3  **1/2
Released in 1976     Cover Price .25     DC Comics     # 3 of 12

Hercules along with Kevin and Basil jump into the deep hole and find a man named Orpheus who plays a lyre as well as the ferryman Charon of the river Styx, but Hercules and Kevin before they can set sail are attacked by a shadow demon that there is no way to defeat…that is until Kevin tells Orpheus who Hercules is and he uses his music to distract the demon allowing Hercules to defeat it. Orpheus asks to join them on their journey to save Jennifer and they take him along for the adventure and start the journey on the river after paying the toll. Meanwhile Cerebus arrives at the castle of Hades with Jennifer and informs the god of Hell that he is waiting for Hercules to try and save her, while waiting Cerebus opens up to Jennifer and the two start to become friends and she understands his reasons and loyalty to Ares. Meanwhile Orpheus tells Hercules about how he lost his bride and how Hades set him up to once more loose her with a cruel and yet simple trick. Hercules finally arrives at the castle and he is ready for war as he throws a tree trunk through the castles window alerting Cerebus who charges out ready for a brawl. Hercules and Cerebus are battling to the death as Orpheus talks to Pluto to just allow Jennifer to leave, and by accident Hercules punches a wall and it crumbles down and kills Cerebus who has now found peace. In the end Hercules, Jennifer, Kevin and Basil travel back to the overworld as Orpheus shows that he himself was a ghost as well and returns to the place he belongs. On Earth Simon and David are attacked by demons and are kidnapped and taken to speak to Ares The God Of War.

In this third issue Hercules with his friends travel to Hell in order to get Jennifer back as Cerebus has taken her there on the orders of Ares as Hades himself has agreed to host the epic showdown…and in the end the battle leaves Cerebus dead, but yet free from his torment of lost love and no longer being controlled by Ares. Hercules in this issue turns on his full hero mode as he battles a shadow demon as well as a very angry Cerebus in order to save Jennifer who clearly he is fallen in love with. Kevin and his dog Basil does what they can to help in this quest as does the spirit of Orpheus whose music can weaken the demons that stand before them. Cerebus himself is a bad guy, but does have a good heart and is only doing the bad stuff as his heart was broken many decades ago and Ares has taken advantage of his pain and uses him as a tool of battle and war. But while a bad guy you do kind of feel sorry for him when he gets crushed to death, but you also feel good about it as he has found peace. You also now know that Hades is on the side of Ares as he has allowed this all to take place in his kingdom…and it makes sense, as War equals more souls for him. One thing that is clearly going to come back on Hercules that takes place in this issue is the taking of Simon and David as you know Ares has no good plans for these two. The cover for this issue is good and eye catching and showcases the powerhouses fighting, and the interior artwork done by J.L. Garcia Lopez again and its solid work and brings me back to the days of reading old DC Comics. Over all a great issue that sets the stage even more for the Hercules and Ares showdown that we are building towards.

Hercules Unbound # 4  ***
Released in 1976     Cover Price .30     DC Comics     # 4 of 12

Hercules along with Kevin, Jennifer and Basil the dog are on a boat and are being attacked by a war ship, and when their foes try to board their ship our heroes fight back and find that their attackers are animal humanoids people who were attacking on the orders of Hunter Blood a madman who claims he is the ruler of England! Hercules has heard enough and heads toward England to break up this empire as well as see if the missing David and Simon are there, and once their Jennifer brings up that the note they found written by their missing friends could be a fake written by Ares, and Hercules blows that off and unknowingly insults her by saying that she is a woman and should leave things to him…and this of course enrages Jennifer! Meanwhile Hunter Blood is as well furious at his Cat Man who lead the attack on Hercules ship for failing and uses his radioactive eyes to fry him and then orders his men to bring him Hercules and his crew or they will as well will share that same fate. That night while camping Hercules and crew are attacked by the Animal People and are taken prisoner when they use sleep bullets on them, while Hunter Blood tries to charm Jennifer, Hercules and Kevin find themselves chained to tower bells! Hunter Blood explains to Jennifer that he collects fine art and treasures but that he can not see them as the effects of World War III have left him blind and his eyes now fire beams that decay things it hits! And this upsets him and says that Kevin and Hercules must pay and starts ringing the bells causing our heroes massive pain. With the words of Kevin going through his brain Hercules uses all his power and brings down the bell tower and crushes Blood Hunters collection, and as Blood Hunter starts to choke Jennifer to death Hercules appears and challenges him to a final fight.

This issue is a fun ride and has Hercules and his crew traveling to England in order to find their missing friends only for them to find a crazed madman and his animal humanoid henchmen! Hercules in this issue is on a true quest as he is really on a warpath to bring down Ares as well as try to bring peace to this world gone mad. He as well feels that he must protect his friends from harm, but does have a boneheaded look at women as he feels that they can not be the hero like him and that they should not think about battle and traps as that as well should only be left up to him…he has a lot to learn. Jennifer in this issue shows that she can fight and takes out a few of the animal people on their ship and as well seems to be wise on looking at all aspects of things before just rushing in like Hercules. Kevin and Basil are as helpful as ever and it’s clear that at this point Kevin looks at Hercules as a close friend. Hunter Blood is a man turned mad thanks to the radiation fallout of the war that has given him powerful eyes that decays anything he looks at! This power and also curse has driven him mad as he loves classic art and the fine things of life that he could never afford when the world was normal…he gets what he wants and because he can not see them he lashes out in fits of rage. The Animal Humanoid People are mindless followers who do what they are ordered in fear of what Blood Hunter would do to them if they did not. I like that the issue ends as well with a cliffhanger as Hercules freed himself from a deadly trap and is now wanting to beat the hell out of Hunter Blood who he himself wants death as his collection is gone…this is going to be an epic showdown for sure! The cover is eye catching and has Hercules raging in the streets of London and the interior art is fantastic and done by icons J.L. Garcia and Wally Wood! This is another great issue in this series and one that was fun to reread after all these years, and I really am looking forward to looking back at this whole series. So with that let’s see how this fifth issue holds up.

Hercules Unbound # 5  ***
Released in 1976     Cover Price .30     DC Comics     # 5 of 12

Hercules grabs a concrete pillar and is ready to go head to head with Hunter Blood as he wants him to let Jennifer go! And with his eyes Hunter Blood zaps the pillar and makes it rot and then hits the ground from under Hercules to fall through it and hit hard the subway that is below and then he smacks and knocks out Kevin and then drags Jennifer away as his Animal Humanoids follows. As Hercules wakes up he meets Durak Malloy a Ape Humanoid who leads a army of other animal humanoids who are at war with Blood Hunter and his people, and then they go above and find Kevin and Basil who are now both coming two and are all happy to see each other alive and well. Durak Malloy tells Hercules and Kevin that before World War III he was just a regular primate that was a lab animal and after the bomb went off spilled chemicals from the lab filled the air and made him and other animals intelligent! While Hercules and Durak sit in a theater and watch a movie, Kevin and Basil are attacked by Hunter Blood’s animal people and this alerts Hercules who springs into action who starts to rumble with them as Blood Hunter appears and uses his eyes on Big Ben to try and bring the landmark down onto his enemies as well as his own Animal people as he looks at them all as expendable. Hercules rushes to Hunter Blood who falls from his perch on a building and his own Animal Humanoid soldiers beat him to death, but Big Ben also falls and Hercules holds it up as long as he can as everyone gets to safety…but poor Basil the dog is not lucky as a stone falls and crushes him…Hercules and Jennifer’s hearts break as they watch Kevin mourn the loss of his faithful dog.

This fifth issue in Hercules Unbound has a mix of Planet Of The Apes thrown into it as I could swear that Ape humanoid Durak Malloy could have easily been taken out of the Marvel Comics series of that film that was running in 1975-1976! The plot of this one has Hercules taking on Hunter Blood as he tries his best to rid the world of this hero as well as anyone that is in his way that includes his own soldiers! Hercules in this issue is headstrong once again and thinks that his raw power can stop any enemy and he is quickly sent fallen to the ground when he finds his opponent is a more powerful mutant when it comes to his twisted eye beams. But while Hercules fumbles the first fight his power and hero attitude does end up saving the day and he even proves to Jennifer that he is a good person even if his thoughts sometime are primitive towards women. Poor Kevin tries his best to help in this issue and suffers the worst loss as his best friend and loyal dog Basil is killed by a fallen stone, sad to see Basil gone from the series. Jennifer takes a backseat in this issue and is pretty much just held captive until she is saved, and she herself got the best first look madness of Hunter Blood as she seen his true fall into madness. Durak Malloy is a cool character as he is Patient Zero of the animal humanoids and is at odds with the crazed Hunter Blood and his group, he is also the one that explains why the world now has human walking and talking animal people. Hunter Blood is a true madman who a deadly power that he abuses in order to rule with fear and threats of death, plus life to him really is cheap as he claims is own loyal foot soldiers are nothing more then mindless slaves to him…he is a fool and it’s great to watch him get beat to death at the hands of his own one time men. This issue also shows briefly David and Simon on a warship with Ares who alerts them they are being used as bait to snag Hercules, as the showdown between the Greek Gods is counting down. This issue was a fun and fast read filled with action, drama and some great sci-fi elements and yet still has that classic Sword and Sandal feel. The cover is great and has Hercules holding up the falling Big Ben tower and the team up of Garcia and Wood are on interiors again and it looks great, in other words another solid issue of Hercules Unbound.

Hercules Unbound # 6  ***
Released in 1976     Cover Price .30     DC Comics     # 6 of 12

Hercules, Jennifer and Durak Malloy along with his animal humanoids are all quite and sad as they walk along with Kevin who is hold the body of his canine friend Basil, and worse before they can really do anything to comfort him they are attacked by two waves of Ares’s Warriors and with Hercules might and Durak and his men’s firepower they make quick work of these soldiers. After the battle Hercules tells Kevin that he has a way to bring Basil back to life and this makes the young man very happy to hear, as Jennifer takes Hercules off to the side and asks how he plans to do so he explains to her that he witnessed Ares bring his dead pet hawk back from the dead, and that he planes on forcing his brother to do the same for Basil. Meanwhile Ares along with his army and his captives Simon St. Charles and Dave Riggs and they are heading towards Stonehenge, when Dave escapes with the help of Simon and this angers the God Of War who tells Simon he will pay for this, and he means it as he chains him to the barrel of a tank! Hercules wishes Durak and his men well as they are now splitting from Hercules quest and soon after a warn out Dave appears and tells them were Ares is and that they still have Simon, and this is all Hercules needed to hear as he makes his way to the landmark to have a final showdown with his brother. When Hercules arrives Ares sends his warriors to fight his brother and after making short work of them Ares joins the fight after being mocked by his brother, and the fight goes back and fourth and in the end Hercules uses his wits and might to bring his brother down! In defeat Ares uses his power to bring back Kevin’s dog Basil and rides away letting Hercules know that next time they meet one of them will have to die! So with that Hercules stands among his friends Kevin, Basil, Jennifer, Simon and Dave and in a world that has been destroyed by Nuclear War.

With issue six the Hercules on a path to fight Ares comes to an end in a battle at one of the most mystic sites in the world! This issues plot is really just the build up of Hercules making his way to Ares and along the way we learn that Ares can bring the dead back to life, Dave escapes being a prisoner and that Durak Malloy and his men have their own quest and break away from Hercules once they help him fight off some attacking warriors. Hercules in this issue is very focused on finding Ares and saving Jennifer’s friends from him as well as now knows he must force his brother to use his powers to bring back Basil from the grip of death. And once he gets into battle Hercules knows that his power will not fail him and that he must win at any and all coasts, and Herc even shrugs off a direct hit from a tank. Ares in this issue is very cocky and surrounds himself with warriors and war machines, as his end goal is the death of all humans! And even in defeat Ares stands by his word to help Basil but still warns that he will be back and next time he planes on killing his brother. And the characters of Kevin, Jennifer, Simon and Dave all take a backseat as the main focus is the showdown of the Godly brothers clashing, and again the end fight is lots of fun and holds a classic cheesy Sword And Sandal Film appeal to it. It’s a shame that Durak Malloy and the rest of his animal people soldiers are a second thought in this issue and they write them off in one panel after they just helped against a handful or warriors, I would have liked for at least Durak Malloy to be with them for the rest of this series. At the end of this issue they also alert us that the “direction” of this comic series is changing and the only thing I can think of as to why they would do this is cause low sales or a new team of creators taking over the series. The cover is great and eye catching for the time and the Garcia does the interior art once more once more, and its great and so fitting for 70’s style DC Comics. Issue six of Hercules Unbound holds up just like all this series this far and I really have been enjoying revisiting it, so let’s move onto issue seven to see how the new direction holds up.

Hercules Unbound # 7  ***
Released in 1976     Cover Price .30     DC Comics     # 7 of 12

Hercules along with Kevin, Basil, Jennifer and Dave are on a quest to find the lake known as Loch Ness, and after getting across a dam they find their destination! Once around the lake they are greeted by three beautiful women who are apart of a group called The Order Of Tarn and invite them to have a meal and rest for a bit with them and the fellow members, the others rush to the idea of a free meal as Hercules is a little more untrusting…but soon gives in. During the meal all is well and everyone is having fun, that is until they all pass out as they have been drugged and when they awaken they are tied up and near the lake and meet an old man with a staff named Casper Zedd who informs them that he has been give great power by the Master Monster God of the lake and that for the Master to regain full power he must kill Kevin as the alerts them all that the boy is something more special then a human, and when the Master is summoned to Hercules shock he sees that he is no Lake Monster but is the Titan Oceanus! Hercules warns Casper of the dangers of Oceanus as the Titan wants to really rule the world and when the old man don’t listen, Hercules breaks free and saves Kevin and the rest of his friends and they rush off to the Dam after knocking down Casper who is now enraged and wants them all dead. The heroes make it to the dam and Dave works fast to make the electricity that the dam creates into a weapon that they can use on Oceanus who has now arrived at the dam and is fighting Hercules with the intention to kill him! Dave is able to overload the dam and Hercules grabs the raw electricity and throws a massive bolt at Oceanus killing the Titan! The fight takes a lot of Hercules who falls down and is out cold, while the magical staff of Casper Zedd explodes his followers leave and the old man is nothing more than a weak person all alone.

So the new direction of Hercules appears to be to take the Mythic Hero and place him in typical 70’s superhero comic book situations and sprinkle in a bash of mythology…and I have to say I didn’t hate it back then and I still don’t hate it now! This issue has Hercules and his friends going to Loch Ness only to have to fight a Titan and his crazed followers. And with the help of his human friends Hercules is once more able to save the day and ride this war-ridden world of evil. Hercules once more is untrusting to strangers, and is proven right and uses his might and battle ridden mind to bring down a Titan! But it must be said that if not for Dave and his knowledge of how water dams work, Hercules would have been killed by the Titan, so to be honest Dave is just as much of the issues hero as Hercules. Jennifer as always is being set off to the side in the action as Hercules still has very dated views that women can not help in “men’s work” and she is starting to get really annoyed by his primitive thoughts. Kevin in this issue is shown to be something more special then a normal blind man, and its clear that he is something special as with out sight this whole series he acts as if he can see all around him. Casper Zedd and his The Order Of Tarn Cult are easily fooled as Casper is just a pawn for the true evil that is Oceanus a Titan who wants to kill, enslave and rule the world. Oceanus really is one of the most dangerous villains we have meet in this series and in this issue he is super weak, imagine what he could have done if at full power? While the battle between Oceanus and Hercules is slightly lackluster the Titan’s ending really does have a true epic myth feel to it and also is fitting for a quest for Hercules who pulls “lightning” from the sky to throw at his enemy. The cover for this issue is well drawn, but is only ok when it comes to eye catching and this issue has artist Walt Simonson doing the interiors and its fantastic as well! Issue seven keeps up the fact that DC Comics knew how to create an entertaining Hercules comic series.

Hercules Unbound # 8  **
Released in 1977     Cover Price .30     DC Comics     # 8 of 12

Hercules and his friends are on a raft in the waters of Ireland when they are attacked by four old fighter planes that open fire and cause them all to fall into the water, and during this attack Dave drowns and this angers Hercules who hurls objects at the planes causing three to crash and damage another. Hercules still mad about the death of one of his friends follows the damage plane back to a massive metal factory, and after taking down an army of robotic women a voice echoes out from a loud speaker and apologizes for the attacks and invites them in. When inside the meet an older woman named Lady Agatha Simms who as a young woman was hit by an army jeep that left her crippled, but made her mind stronger as she has built war machines for the Government and now is playing a war game with an unknown opponent, and she by mistake thought Hercules and his friends were apart of the “war”. And while she shares her story her base is under attack and then she shares that all the old battle planes, tanks and ships she uses a machine she made that pulls them from the past! She asks Hercules to help her win this battle and if he does she will grant Kevin his site back! Hercules agrees to these terms and along with Kevin, Jennifer and the Female Robots they rush her opponent’s island base. Meanwhile to everyone surprise Dave washes up on shore and is alive and finds himself wondering toward a small town that is filled with robots who take him as a recruit for their “war”. Meanwhile Hercules on the island finds a hidden door to their targets base and to their shock in the chair hooked up to the machines is Dave!

This issue slips a little for me as the “War Games” between two mechanical hooked people just is kind of bland for me, and while I enjoyed the Hercules stuff it still is the least interesting issue in this series for me. And lets be honest they also make Hercules seem like a fool when his friend is drowning and Jennifer tells Hercules to save him, and Hercules says nah its to late only for Dave to be alive…it makes you feel like did Hercules want Dave to die as he could have helped and chose not to bother? Hercules in the issue is also filled with the want for revenge and even does a few acts that he would normally not do and that includes going into a strange building blindly on the request of a total stranger who had already attacked them twice. Jennifer and Kevin are just around and the only major plot point they serve is that if they help in this war game Kevin could be given his site back. Lady Agatha Simms is a weird sort of villain as she is really just wanting to play her War Games with the unknown as she has nothing else better to do, and she also is super brilliant as she can pull weapons from the past to help her cause…but she also does seem to be a little less sweet then she wants people to think. The cover is pretty good and eye catching as I like the World War II planes raining bullets and Hercules and his friends and the interior art by Walt Simonson is good. Over all this is an average issue with a story line that I hope ends in the next issue.

Hercules Unbound # 9  **1/2
Released in 1977      Cover Price .30     DC Comics     # 9 of 12

Hercules tries to attack the now mechanical hooked up Dave who uses a giant magnet to take down the female robots as well as it effects Jennifer, as Hercules grabs Kevin and Basil and they flee from the war room as the plastic robots under Dave’s control start to pour in. Hercules with Kevin are trying to dodge traps and find a way out as Jennifer wakes up and finds the plastic robots out of the room and the wired up Dave shut down and this is her chance to flee. Meanwhile Agatha Simms is upset as she thinks that Hercules has failed so she pulls the atomic bomb from the past and sends it towards the island, as she wants to truly win this war game once and for all. We then learn that a electronic being that is of the worlds defense is who is calling the shots, and after blowing up the original Atomic Bomb over the sea he forces Dave to pull a trigger that will unleash a massive atomic warhead as well as many missiles to destroy Agatha Simms and the land all around! Hercules and Kevin make it back to the war room but are to late to stop the event, but thanks to Jennifer who uses a pipe and pushes a self destruct button the Being is stopped cold and Dave is set free from his mechanical trap. Hercules is able to stop the rest of the missiles by throwing heavy metal at them chopping them in half…but the atomic missile is still on its way. Hercules, Kevin, Basil, Jennifer and the wounded Dave all make it to a boat just as the island explodes from the self destruction button. The heroes sell back to Agatha Simms’s island and are puzzled as it seems to be find as if the atomic missile never hit, and as Hercules and Kevin enter she greats them and informs them that she sent the missile away with a portal that dropped in in Greece in 1986…as this game they played is what started World War III and is what killed Kevin’s Father and Brother…and this makes him walk away from Agatha Simms not wanting her help with his site.

This issue brings the war games to a whole new level as they throw in the original Atomic Bomb into the mix and that’s crazy as in order to win a side is ready to cause total destruction to all living things on the island as well as the land it’s self! This issue has Hercules along with his friends on the island trying to fight of the hooked up mechanical version of Dave who is also controlling plastic robots all for the faith that the crazy old woman they just meet will restore Kevin’s eye sight, and during this battle Hercules runs away with Kevin leaving Jennifer behind who passed out of a magnet was used to take down a ton of robots…making you wonder is she a robot? Hercules in this issue is brave but is also kind of dimwitted as he rushes into battle, blames Dave to being a traitor when he himself left him to drown and gave zero attempts to save him, leaves Jennifer behind and acts like a full caveman with muscles over the calculated hero he has been most of this series. Kevin is just kind of around and wants his site back and acts as the voice or reason for Hercules who is kind of acting different, plus he delivers the shock of the issue as his actions with Hercules is what helped create the events that have caused the world to have fallen apart. Jennifer has a true mystery around her as why did the magnet make her faint? Is she part robot or was it just from all the craziness doing on that she passed out? Dave shows that while he is ego driven he is stronger than people give him credit for as he not only survived almost downing even though he could not swim, he also does what he can to fight off the will of the Defense System Being! The true bad guy in this issue is Agatha Simms who does not care about people’s safety and only wants to win a war against her unknown opponent, and to save herself she sends an atomic bomb to 1986 to a city that is packed full of people to save her hide as well as to claim a victory…she is scum a truly selfish evil person. Over all a entertaining issue and I am glad the War Game story arch is over as it was just an ok adventure for Hercules to be a part of and I must also throw in not keen on the “New” direction this far as the last two issues just feel so generic. The cover is pretty good and eye catching and interior art by Walt Simonson is solid and good. Let’s see what issue ten has in store for us.

Hercules Unbound # 10  ***
Released in 1977     Cover Price .30     DC Comics     # 10 of 12

Hercules, Jennifer and Kevin are in London, England during a rain storm to bury Dave who passed away from his injuries from his run in with the Defense Being, as they are at the cemetery morning their friend a group of scientist are messing with a fragment they found and during an experiment the fragment erupts into a massive geyser of water and Hercules has to think quick to save not only his friends lives but those as well that belong to museum workers and using a lamp poll he quickly makes a ditch to house the water. After everyone is safe Jennifer spots one of the scientist who is dying and warns them that a bigger fragment was found in America and that they must warn them not to experiment on it as the effects will be way worse then this! So they take a Flying Wing Plane from the Museum and Kevin is the one to fly it and oddly enough Kevin also glows with energy showing that the effects of the war has really impacted him. Hercules and crew arrive at the great lakes and find them bare and also meet the Atomic Knights a group of heroes that ride giant Dalmatians and who inform them that a super villain named Dr. Scuba who turned major bodies of water into those blocks! As Hercules grabs a fragment from the block they all head back to the tent to see if they can figure out how to safely bring the water back, but unknown to them the Atomic Knight at the tenet is no longer human and is really a space being! Hercules catches on that the Knight is no longer human as the being inside is getting power from the water cube fragment and makes its move as it wants even more power from the bigger cube in the lakes dried bed, as hit escapes and heads for the water cube Hercules follows and the pair fight it out! The Being Knight is getting stronger as they are close to the water cube and in an act of pure power Hercules lifts the cube and shoves it down the mask whole of the possessed knight causing it to explode and killing the being and filling the lake once more with water! In the end Hercules comes out of the lake and now The Atomic Knights truly know he is Hercules.

This issue has Hercules and his friends coming to America to find that that nation has been rocked by a water shortage thanks to a bad guy named Dr. Skuba that turned it all into blocks of pure energy. I should also note that those events by the villain took place in issue 7 and 8 of OMAC. And while in America the mighty Hercules also meets The Atomic Knights a brave group of giant Dalmatian ridding scientists who have survived World War III. The plot of this issue really does feel like a cheesy DC Superhero story complete with an epic fist fight and a super villain who has caused so much world sadness. And let us not also forget that poor Dave Riggs who survived almost drowning, and becoming a plaything for a Defense Department Entity only to finally die from energies…poor Dave his life could have been saved really if Hercules would have just made a tiny attempt to have saved him when he fell into the water. Hercules in this issue is pure hero and not only once more uses his power and brains but once more also goes by his gut instinct that ends up truly being the thing that saves the day. Jennifer and Kevin are around with only Kevin having a little more character development as its shown he can store power and can fire it from his hands like a laser blast when fully charged. The Atomic Knights are around and are no match for their quick fight with Hercules but once they are proven to be friends they also act as a source to explain what the water cubes are and why for those who did not read the OMAC issues, and while they are not major players in this issue it was great to see them in the issue as it was a cool way to bring other DC characters into this world just like they did before with Durak Malloy and the other talking animal people that are from the Jack Kirby created series Kamandi, well not them per say but talking animal people. The issues bad guy is a being that takes over the armor of one of the dead Atomic Knights and while he is powerful once he is near the water cubes, he is outsmarted and destroyed by Hercules with extreme destruction. The cover art is great and has Hercules fighting a massive knight and the interior art by Walt Simonson is great like before. Over all a good and entertaining issue that shows that Hercules Unbound might be back on track of delivering amazing adventures of the Mythic Hero in a world of chaos and war.

Hercules Unbound # 11  **1/2
Released in 1977     Cover Price .35     DC Comics     # 11 of 12

Hercules along with Jennifer, Kevin, Basil and The Atomic Knights are in Detroit at a factory were the Knights have just created a new set of armor for Hercules that can withstand heat, cold and brute force! After an accident at the factory leaves it in rubble they all get back onto the Flying Wing and once more Kevin and his weird power take the wheel, but something goes wrong as Kevin turns evil for a second and his actions end up knocking The Atomic Knights and Hercules from the Wing and is going crazy with power endangering Jennifer and Basil who are stuck on the flying machine with him and he is using the weapons on the Flying Wing to attack the base of the Knights! Hercules shakes off the fall and acts quickly and uses a giant rock to throw into the near by water to cause the Flying Wing to crash land, and once down he and The Atomic Knights rush over to pull everyone from the wreck. Meanwhile on Mount Olympus the Gods lead by Zeus are stuck in their castle as a strange storm is outside keeping them trapped inside and with one last chance to warn Hercules of the Earths doom by Anti-Gods and send a message his way via a bolt that hits Jennifer, and this message comes at a terrible time as Hercules has his friend Kevin in changes and he along with The Atomic Knights are trying to tell him that they had to put him in chains for his own safety as the blind young man does not remember his rampage from earlier. Jennifer via the Gods warn them that danger is coming and just like that a massive red fire breathing dragon appears and attacks them and Hercules once more springs into action and does his best to fight off the Dragon and protect his friends. Hercules uses dirt to smolder out the Fire Dragon, but in the fight poor Jennifer died of fright! Hercules unchains Kevin and they bury their friend, when once more Kevin has an attack of energy and rushes to the Flying Wing with Hercules just able to grab the wing in time to try and save his friend. The Flying Wing crashes in the ocean and to Hercules shock its by the rock he was chained to for centuries, and its there that Kevin turns into Ares who tells Hercules this is the spot that shall bring back the Anti-Gods!

Ok the first thing I have to say about this issue is that I hate the new armor look of Hercules and I am not a fan of the interior art done by Walt Simonson this time around as I find it very sloppy and rushed and to be honest has a unfinished look…not a fan at all. But with that said this issue really surprised me as the more I read the more I enjoyed the story as at first I was kind of middle of the road about it as it started to feel like a filler issue, but by the end I was hooked and wondering who the Anti-Gods are and what Hercules will have to do to stop them in their tracks! Hercules in this issue comes off as generic hero as he show no real personality and is all just “Ill Save The Day” in his attitude and actions. Kevin going crazy with power is interesting, but also with only one more issue to go it needs to be explained and better have a good payout, as it also begs the question was he Ares all along? Jennifer is just hanging around and is not used much to really further her storyline in this series, besides to die of fright…what a lame way to kill a character off. The Atomic Knights are clearly just background players in these last few issues and don’t really offer much in the way of the story. Zeus and the rest of the Gods are finally being shown and it’s their story that really made me take notice as they seem both to feel sorry for what’s going on with Earth as well as seem very made at people that live on the planet. Plus who are the Anti-Gods and why do they hate the old Gods and also the people of Earth, and why is Ares The God Of War wanting them to be brought back? The action in this issue starts right off the bat with the accident at the factory and then gives us action on the Flying Wing and then wraps with the fight with the Dragon showing that it was not pulling any punches. The cover is eye catching in layout and colors, but again not a fan of the art Walt is using. Over all a slightly above average read that was entertaining and is a nice build to the final issue.

Hercules Unbound # 12  ***
Released in 1977     Cover Price .35     DC Comics     # 11 of 12

On the tiny Island Hercules finds out that it is not Ares The God Of War that stands before him instead its Anti-Ares and after trying to fight him he finds that he muscles will not bring him down as the fighting only makes him stronger! And in the end Hercules is buried under rumble and Anti-Ares jumps into a portal to join together with his brothers and sisters and what comes back out of the portal is a multiple headed creature that is known as the Anti-Gods! The Anti-Gods fly away and out from hiding comes Basil who helps Hercules get out from under the ruble, but soon after touching the chains that kept him held on that island in the past he finds himself all of a sudden riding two thunderbolts that brings him to Mount Olympus and travels through the storm and finally comes face to face with his father Zeus who tells his son that he was the one that created the Anti-Gods as he and the others removed all their anger and evil to find perfection and instead created this God Killing being! And that it was he not Ares that chained him to the rock on that island as he as well gave that order as he did so cause the chains and Hercules power is what kept the Anti-Gods trapped in that rock…he then tells him that Kevin has been possessed by the Anti-Ares from the first day he meet him! This sickens Hercules who is angered with his father, but that changes fast when Anti-Gods appears and is ready to kill them all! Hercules watches as The Anti-Gods and the Gods clash its clear that the battle will leave many dead, so Hercules takes the chains that once held him and starts to bring down Olympus, and this makes the Gods and Anti-Gods both rush to stop him and by them being on the same page this combines the Anti-Gods back into the Gods ending the fight and causing Hercules to stop his rampage as he knew this would cause the Anti-Gods being to be no more. Hercules is sick of being used by Zeus as a pawn to only protect him and he returns to Earth were he is joined by Basil and to his surprise Jennifer as well as Zeus has brought her back from the dead to undue the wrongs that have been done to his son. In the end Hercules, Jennifer and Basil walk away from the sun set into a war rattled world.

Hercules Unbound is one of those really good series that got canceled by poor sales as DC Comics had a very bad habit at this time of canceling titles if they did not sell Batman and Superman level of copies. This final issue has Hercules learning that all along he has been used by his father in order to protect his own mistakes that he was even willing to chain his son to a rock on an island for thousands of years in order to keep monsters he created captured…in other words Zeus is a real jerk in this issue, but by the end he does feel bad for what he has put his son through. Hercules through this whole series goes from protective hero of his friends, to cocky head strong muscle head to a son who has been treated poorly by his family…and through out it all he maintains that he must do the right thing! I like that Hercules in this series stops all types of bad guys and makes friend with others along the way showing that this old Greek Myth Hero really is the champion the world needed during the fallout of World War III. Kevin the blind young man that was Hercules right hand man during this series has never been who we all thought as he as been just a shell that housed the evil Anti-Ares…and while this is a cool twist it also makes no sense as why would the Anti-Ares help Hercules out like he did throughout the series if he just wanted death to all the Gods. I am so glad that Jennifer came back from the dead as the way she died was really cheesy as fright of a Dragon is what killed her…its almost as bad as Padme Amidala’s death by heart break in Star Wars Episode III. Zeus and the rest of the Gods are shown to be very selfish as they created pure evil for their own quest for perfection and even don’t mind ruining and killing others to protect their own hides. The Anti-Gods are super powerful and while I am sure could have caused so much destruction on Earth and Mount Olympus, it’s down played as they had to wrap him up in one issue. It’s a shame that Hercules Unbound did not last longer as a comic series as I would have love to have seen more of the Anti-Gods, I would have loved to have seen what other monsters he could have faced and what other DC Comics series would have been tied in. The cover for this final issue is eye catching and like before not a fan of Walt’s style for this issue as its back to being that sloppy unfinished look. Over all Hercules Unbound is a comic series that I loved when I was a kid and for me it stood the test of time as most of the issues in this series where highly entertaining and is one of the better Hercules in comics series ever made. If you have not read this comic series and like Post Apocalyptic Stories, Sword And Sandal films mixed with Sci-Fi elements or just classic heroes do yourself a favor and give it a read. Check out the art below to see the styles used in this series.

Well as you can see I think DC Comics did a fantastic job with Hercules and I would say that I think Hercules Unbound is a better series then the Marvel Hercules in space mini series we have covered here before. And its crazy that after this update we will be walking away from Hercules on my Thanksgiving updates and I don’t know how to really feel about it as I have very much enjoyed covering Hercules and all his adventures throughout the world of comics, but while this is a goodbye to Herc for now its not a forever one as we will at some point in time revisit him on Thanksgiving and will start it back up as to me Hercules and this holiday go hand and hand. So as always thanks for spending apart of your holiday here with me at Rotten Ink and I have something very cool for my next update as we will be leaving the world of comics and will be taking a look at a the first film of Independent B Movie called Teen Suicide and this will also mark the first in my updates that will talk about all the Shot On Video films that my fiends and I made over the years. So until next time eat turkey leg or two, watch a Hercules film or three and as always support your local Horror Host. I cannot wait to take you all back to my past of SOV filmmaking!

DC War Superstars Featuring Sgt. Rock!

In the words of Edwin Starr “War, huh, yeah…What is it good for…Absolutely nothing.” While the lyrics to that song make lots of sense, they also forget the fact that war is good for something as without it, the world would not have American Heroes in comic books like Captain America, Fighting American, The Shield and Super Green Beret to name a few. And let’s not forget literary and movie heroes like Rambo and Colonel John Matrix. For this quick update, I will showcase a DC Comics one-shot issue that reprinted a classic war story that featured some of their top characters of the time that included Sgt. Rock, Lt. Johnny Cloud and Haunted Tank driver Jeb Stuart as they have to work together to save and deliver one of America’s only hopes in an agent that’s very unusual. So if you are ready, strap on your helmet and let’s head to war DC Comic style!

I am sure you longtime readers know that the update after the July 4th has always been about my trip to the Horror Convention Monster Bash with Juliet, but sadly this year the summer event was cancelled due to the coronavirus outbreak that pretty much shut down the world and changed lots of events that I had planned. I 100% understand why events like Monster Bash, Horror Hound, Cinema Wasteland and others were cancelled as lots of people attend them and the virus could spread very easily from attendee to attendee causing more illness and even deaths. But while I do understand, I was also very disappointed as every year I look forward to going to Monster Bash and enjoying all the amazing restaurants, sites and friends I get to see while in Cranberry Township. So while I am bummed, maybe later this year if all this clears up, Juliet and I will take a trip and I will cover it here on Rotten Ink.

Typical none-superhero War Comics were never my thing growing up, and the only one that I really enjoyed and still do to this day is DC Comics character The Unknown Solider who I will 100% cover some year soon for a July 4th American Hero update as he is a true comic icon and hero in this blogger’s eyes! Growing up I can remember my brother getting some issues of DC war comics from our Grandma Brassfield when she would get them from garage sales for him, and for the most part I would barely read or look at them with Sgt. Rock being the only one I would once in a blue moon read as the action in his comic was slightly more fast paced. But one comic from those hauls that always caught my attention was called “Battle Classics” that brought Sgt. Rock together with many of the other War characters teaming up to save the life of a person stuck in a metal suit, and to be honest, the cover showcasing the metal suit is why I checked it out! When planning this update I figured that I should give a little brief bio on each of the heroes that are showcased in this issue. So sit back, relax, and let’s chat about DC Comic’s battle stars, only after I talk about the July 4th Holiday Horror Movie Marathon 2020!

With Monster Bash not happening this year, Juliet and I decided on the long July 4, 2020 weekend that we would have ourselves a Horror Movie Marathon! On July 4th we had ourselves a pre-show of four frightful films as we ate pork chops, baked potatoes and corn! The first film of the day was the 1958 Horror/Sci-Fi film called “Frankenstein 1970” that is about the last relative of Frankenstein trying to create a life in his image all the while hosting a TV Film crew trying to make a Horror series that are clueless to his plan of creating a monster. Next up was the “horror” western film “Rawhide Terror” about a masked killer who is killing people of a small town for crimes of their past. Fun side note: this film was done by Al Adamson’s dad! We then watched the 1970 made for TV version of the George Dibdin Pitt story The String Of Pearls with “Mystery And Imagination: Sweeney Todd” about a killer barber who is slipping into total madness. And the last film of the night was “Mystery And Imagination: Dracula” that was released in 1968 and is about vampire Count Dracula and attempt to turn Lucy Weston into one of his undead brides.

This was a super fun Holiday night of horrors as the food was great and the films were very entertaining! The Golden Turkey of this pre-show for both of us hands down was “Rawhide Terror.” While it was a very cheesy and poorly made western, the “horror” aspect was not in sight and to be honest the film had some many plot holes and dead ends that it made Swiss Cheese look solid. The best film of the night for me was “Mystery And Imagination: Dracula” as I felt this short film captured the book well in 75min with Susan George who played Lucy being not only beautiful but also fantastic in the role, and Denholm Elliot was okay as Dracula…even if we nicknamed him Chubby Dracula! Juliet picked “Frankenstein 1970” as she loved the vibe and feel of this Sci-Fi Horror film and thought The Monster was cheesy fantastic! For the Golden Turkey of the Pre-Show, Juliet and I both picked “Rawhide Terror” as it was kind of a mess plot wise, and while it had a killer on the loose, it was not pulled off very well at all…in other words this Horror Western was a miss. To sum it up, a great night as after the movies we sat and listened to the booms of the fireworks outside.

The main day of The Holiday Horror Movie Marathon Weekend took place on July 5th and started at 8am, and of course this day was as well packed with good food that included breakfast casserole, chips and dip, mixed nuts and burritos! We started our day with the 1958 Sci-Fi/Horror flick “Colossus Of New York” about a genius that dies in an accident and his father & brother put his brain into a massive robotic man. We then viewed “Pharaoh’s Curse” about a tomb being opened in Egypt that turns one of the expedition team members into a walking Mummy! For the third movie we stayed in the 1950’s and watched “Invasion Of The Saucer-Men” about aliens that land near a lovers lane and a couple trying to prove that they are real to the adults and the law. “The Gallows Act II” was the next fright flick and it was about a young woman who craves fame and makes the mistake of taking “The Charlie Challenge” on a YouTube Video. Space themed Horror Flick “Plaguers” was next on the blood tap and is about a space crew and space pirates fighting for their lives against infected mutated humans. The super cheesy and sleazy “Dracula In A Women’s Prison” was next and follows Dracula and his vampire brides running a prison, while a former victim’s sister tries to kill him. Indie film “Moon Of The Blood Beast” was next and is a sort of sequel to the film Track Of The Moon Beast that’s about a killer monster on the loose in a park. Next up was “A Nun’s Curse” a film I helped crowdfund that is about an evil sprit of a Nun called Sister Monday who has become a life long obsession of a young woman. The unlucky number nine film of the day was the reboot/sequel film “I Eat You Skin” about a group of photographers in the Philippines trying to take a picture of a rare bird, but instead one becomes a murderous zombie! The next indie fright flick to try and scare us was “Straight Edge Kegger” about a group of Straight Edge young men who snap when a member leaves the group and goes to a party, and all they can think of is to kill the drinkers! We then watched the 1989 Italian Horror Flick “Paganini Horror” about a popular female singer shooting a music video in a haunted mansion, that turns out to be a true nightmarish terror for her and her band. The final film of the night is the Bela Lugosi film “Invisible Ghost” about strange killings that take place in a respected Doctors home, who’s the killer and why are they killing? Over all as always this was a great day spent with Juliet as we watched many great films and ate some amazing food and was a great way to forget the Virus Crisis for just one day.

So something happened on this Horror Movie Marathon that has never happened before: Juliet and I picked the same films in the same order for our top three films of the event and we both choose the same film as the Golden Turkey! For The Golden Turkey we picked “Moon Of The Blood Beast” and while it was not a bad film at all, the only thing that took us both out of the film was the long segments that just showed footage from the old flick “Track Of The Moon Beast” which is a kind of prequel to this film. Otherwise, the monster was cool and plus seeing Alana Evans in a none adult film role was great to see. Our # 3 pick was “Straight Edge Kegger,” a really cool indie Horror Movie that starts out as a drama of a young man struggling with the Straight Edge militant lifestyle and then turns into a mix of The Purge and You’re Next! Our # 2 was Paganini Horror a silly and yet entertaining Italian spooky ghost mixed with a slasher film with a very cool killer and silly 80’s music! And our # 1 went to “Colossus Of New York” as it was a great classic Sci-Fi Horror Film that mixed the elements of both very well and even had a cool looking robotic monster that racked up a decent body count. I also want to note that Invisible Ghost almost took my # 3 spot as I really enjoyed the cheaply made Lugosi film. This Marathon from start to finish was packed with some great films and even the Golden Turkey ones we picked were good and entertaining in there own way.

So The Golden Massacre Award goes to the Straight Edge Warriors from Straight Kegger as they racked up a body count of over 15 people in brutal and quick ways! One of the most brutal has a poor partier who had drain cleaner forced down his throat via a beer funnel! The Straight Edge Warriors killed people in a pack and had a very brutal mentality when dealing death and sadly think that their killing of people drinking and using drugs is right. So here is to the Straight Edge Warriors who made this July 4th 2020 marathon a little more bloody.

Sgt. Franklin John Rock is part of the infantry branch of the U.S. Army during World War II and later became the head of a unit that was called Easy Company that would get into the dangerous missions. He joined the Army after the attack on Pearl Harbor as he was working in a steel mill and was set off by the sneak attack. His time in the military he was well respected by his peers and feared by his enemies as he was a great combat fighter, a crack shot, is hard to kill, seems to have a weird sixth sense when it comes to battles and is a quick thinker under extreme pressure. Sadly the Earth 1 Sgt. Rock was killed at the end of the war by the final bullet fired by the enemy. He is a true icon of War Comics and a true Comic Book American Hero.

LT. Johnny “Flying Cloud” Cloud is a Native American fighter pilot that is very skilled and respected by most of his peers as he single handily killed many Nazi pilots by gunning their plans down in firefights. His unit of fighters was called “The Happy Braves” and later became a member of a group called “The Losers”. Johnny would also go on to be promoted to Captain and by the end of the war he was thought dead, but it turned out to not be true and he went on to live a normal life. A very interesting and cool character that played up on the treatment of Native American people at that time, worth checking out if you like war comics.

Jeb Stuart is the commander of a tank in World War II that is dubbed The Haunted Tank as the spirit of his ancestor J.E.B. Stuart, a General in the Confederate Army, haunts the tank and helps Jeb in battle against the Nazis. The Haunted Tank was DC Comics second longest running War Comic character and would over the years go on to make appearances in comics. I would like to also point out to those who might not know that J.E.B. Stuart was indeed a real General during the Civil War. The Haunted Tank is a cool concept for a character but not one I have must interest in.

So before we get to the review section of this update I want to take a moment to talk about a 1980’s shot on video fan film called Sgt. Rock that was done by Red Planet Films on a budget of only $300.00! This short film’s plot is about Sgt. Rock being thirteen years old and fighting cyborgs, zombies and the evil Queen that controls them. Along with two of his best soldiers they travel behind enemy lines and come face to face with a skilled ninja, a killer Cyborg with massive firepower and after defeating them and stealing the armor and helmets of two other Cyborgs Sgt. Rock and his one surviving ally enter the Queens base and blow it up with her inside it.

And after watching this short fan film I must say it was lots of fun and these guys clearly loved the comic series Sgt. Rock and as well loved Horror and Sci-Fi films as they mashed them all together like a big bowl of mashed potatoes and delivered a really fun and entertaining flick. The acting is pure backyard film stuff, but I must admit it is better than most I have seen. The Cyborgs and Zombies are nothing more than Halloween masks and helmets with one actor wearing an old Darth Vader helmet! While it’s not perfect, it is a really fun little fan film that you should check out on YouTube after you read this update.

So I can see you readers are ready to gear up and head into Battle Classics so let’s not talk about our fellow soldiers on the suicide mission, let’s not talk about fan films and let’s talk about how I am grading this comic on a scale of 1 to 4 and am looking for how well the comic stays to the source material, its entertainment value and its art and story. And if not for those brave soldiers at Bell, Book And Comic for having this comic in stock this Classic Battle could not be talked about…so grab your MRE Full Meal and pull up your seat as it’s time to talk about Sgt. Rock and his war time buddies.

Battle Classics # 1  ***
Released in 1978     Cover Price .50     DC Comics     # 1 of 1

“Suicide Mission” Fighter pilot Lt. Johnny Cloud is given a very top secret special mission that does not even allow him to open until he is in air and away from enemy lines and is given orders if captured to blow himself and the orders up! After taking a Nazi plane, he opens his orders that is to pick up an agent named “Martin” and get him to a military base as he has info that could help end the war as well as save lives! Johnny Cloud arrives at the pick up point and finds a fatally wounded man who shows him a man in a heavy iron suit that is Martin, you see the Nazis trapped him in the suit so he could not get away, and just in time Johnny is able to help Martin into the plane and they fly off as a Nazi gunner shows up missing his time to bring them down. And while in the air Johnny has another air battle with Nazi planes and bringing them down, he gets help from an American tank lead by Jeb Stuart who gets Martin and Johnny into his super tank as Johnny’s plane is down for the count after the battle. Jeb in his tank with his new passengers inside goes up against a Nazi tanks and when things look bad the Ghost of a Civil War General that haunts the tank helps guide them through, and things look good until they hit a land mine! Sgt. Rock and his men are nearby and start to make their way to the stalled American tank when a blast from a Nazi tank leaves them all dead, besides Sgt. Rock who with every bit of energy he has fires a bazooka at the tank blowing it up. Sgt. Rock makes his way to the US Tank and is meet by Jeb Stuart and Johnny Cloud and all three men help Martin out of the tank and they start their journey to home base. Along the way Sgt. Rock gets Jeb and Johnny to help him get Martin out of the metal suit and find that Martin is really female French Agent Mlle Marie! Now the four of them make their way faster to the US Military Base, but they get stopped by a Nazi Tank close to the base and with quick thinking Sgt. Rock is able to use his skills and blow up the enemy tank and saving all their lives as they were all marked for death. In the end for delivering Mlle safe and she tells the secrets that she knows Sgt. Rock, Johnny Cloud and Jeb Stuart all receive promotions for their bravery in what was called a Suicide Mission.

This World War II war comic from DC Comics is a fantastic read that brings together some of their best characters from this genre of comics in one single issue on one epic mission that they all have to work together in order to pull off. Suicide Mission is a great title for this story arc as pilot Lt. Johnny Cloud is given a mission to pick up and rescue a French informant that has info that could help win the war and has orders that if he is captured to self destruct his plane! And when things go south after he gets the informant, they must depend on American soldiers to get the informant safe to the Military base. Lt. Johnny Cloud is awesome and is a Native American pilot who wants to make his tribe and country proud of his actions, and he is damn good at what he does! He is a character that I knew about but never read any issues off besides this one and now as an adult I find myself wanting to find some issues to enjoy. Jeb Stuart and his Haunted Tank that has a ghost of a civil war general that haunts it is a little silly, but yet still pretty cool as DC blends their war and horror comics together. While Jeb Stuart is interesting and very noble to the cause of bringing down Nazi’s he was the weaker of our heroes, as I don’t think they let his personality really shine. Mademoiselle Marie or Mll. Marie for short is the female agent that is stuck in the iron suit and goes by the name “Martin”, and she herself is a hero of DC war comics and is really a Nazi butt kicker in her own right. And Mll. is the true hero of the issue as she is the one that has all the information of the super weapon that the enemy planned to use! And the main star of the comic and the most iconic is Sgt. Rock, a tough as nails soldier who has no fear and risks his own life in order to save his fellow fighters and to help completer the mission at hand. I also like how Sgt. Rock brings down a tank with some grenades like it was something he does every day! The Nazis are total scumbags and as the reader you find yourself cheering for our heroes to deal out death to them, as they are super cold blooded and egotistical and deserve it.

This comic really did hold up for me and in fact I think now that I am older I enjoyed this comic even more and was even able to understand the stakes a lot better that each of our war heroes faced. The cover is great and fantastic and eye catching and is what made me read it when I was a kid from the stack of comics my Brother got that day, and to be honest that cover has always stuck in my mind when I think of comics from my youth. The interior art is done by the iconic artist Joe Kubert and is fantastic, but what do you expect from an artist who had his own art school named after him that is still going to this day. Over all I am not a major fan of War Comics but I will say that this comic as well as Unknown Solider issues are worth checking out and if you find a copy of this at your local comic shop make sure to pick it up and give it a read. Check out some artwork bellow from this issue and check out the style of Kubert.

I hope you enjoyed this quick update and that maybe it has also sparked your interest in checking out this one shot issue as it really is a good read for fans and even none fans of War Comics. While I am very much bummed out about not attended Monster Bash and being in Evans City walking around the NOTLD Cemetery I am very thankful for all of my family, friends and you readers being well! For my next update I am going to be turning over Rotten Ink once more to Juliet who is going to be covering the HBO Vampire show True Blood, so you know that’s going to be a good one. So until next time read a comic or three, watch a movie or two, support your local Horror Host and let your loved ones know you care. See you next update for a good old glass of True Blood to keep those hunger pains away.

Star Trek III: The Search For Comic Book Spock

Welcome back to Rotten Ink Update Log 434:90. As we are into 2020, a new year, it means that we will be taking another look at a comic adaptation of a Star Trek movie and this leads us to taking a look at Star Trek III: The Search For Spock, the most overlooked sequel in the series and one that I really enjoyed as a youngster and still enjoy as an adult! With Star Trek not being a powerhouse at the Box Office anymore and rumors that Quentin Tarantino might be getting his mitts on the franchise to make a R rated feature, I think here at Rotten Ink it will always have the respect and be a draw for you readers. So if you are ready to beam aboard the Enterprise and go on a search for Spock with the crew and Rotten Ink, we should start this amazing update.

So let’s start this off right and begin our talk about The Search For Spock with taking a look at the film itself. As always, the film’s write up will be taken from our good friends at IMDB, and after I will be writing about the film’s production as well as my thoughts on this third Star Trek film. So let’s take a look at this third and over looked Star Trek flick.

Star Trek III: The Search For Spock (1984)

“In the wake of Spock’s ultimate deed of sacrifice, Admiral Kirk and the Enterprise crew return to Earth for some essential repairs to their ship. When they arrive at Spacedock, they are shocked to discover that the Enterprise is to be decommissioned. Even worse, Dr. McCoy begins acting strangely and Scotty has been reassigned to another ship. Kirk is forced to steal back the Enterprise and head across space to the Genesis Planet to save Spock and bring him to Vulcan. Unknown to them, the Klingons are planning to steal the secrets of the Genesis Device for their own deadly purpose.”

Paramount Pictures was riding high on the over all success of “Star Trek: The Wrath Of Khan” and when director Nicholas Meyer stepped away after an argument with Paramount, they went to Leonard Nimoy who was excited by the aspect of bring Spock back and became the film’s director. Harve Bennett stepped in to not only produce the film but also write it as they loved his work on Star Trek II: The Wrath Of Khan, and during the writing stage Bennett and Nimoy worked close together to do the return of Spock right for fans. And once the film was written and all parties involved were happy with it, Paramount gave them $16 million dollars for the budget and most of it went to the film’s special effects as they hired Industrial Light & Magic to make the film’s props and sets look just right. When filming started, Paramount and Leonard Nimoy were very protective of no spoilers being leaked and did their best to try and prevent any of the workers from spilling the beans on any of the film’s major plot points, though sadly in the end the Enterprise’s destruction was leaked before the film hit theaters. The filming of the third film was very stressful and demanding of both cast and crew, and at one point a studio fire at Paramount held up production as an arsonist had set some sound studios ablaze. Rumor has it that William Shatner among others helped battle the fire from destroying their set with water hoses as the set for the Genesis Planet almost went up in a blaze. Once filming was done, they had to add in the special effects and later the score music that was done by James Horner who was returning from Part II. Star Trek III was released to theaters on June 1, 1984 and was a hit for Paramount at the box office bringing in $87 million worldwide and places at # 9 over all for the year in America. Star Trek III beat out such films as Purple Rain, The Terminator, Friday The 13th Part 4: Final Chapter, Dune, The Last Starfighter, A Nightmare On Elm Street, The Muppets Take Manhattan, Supergirl and The Adventures Of Buckaroo Banzai to name a few. The critics gave the film positive reviews and fans as well seemed to enjoy it with President at the time Ronald Reagan being the only major stick in the mud when he was quoted as saying “It wasn’t too good” when asked about it after seeing it with White House staff. The film would later find its way to cable as well as home media being released on VHS, Laserdisc, DVD and Blu-Ray over the years.

Growing up I was a major fan of Star Trek, both the TV Show and The Movies starring the original cast, as it always seemed to be on my radar when a new one was being released to theaters or even home video, and for some reason this third movie has always stuck with me and I can say one reason why….and it’s cause Spock returns from the dead in the end! When I was younger and watched as Spock dies of radiation poison, I was devastated and I can remember my Mom telling me that he would be okay, and when the next movie was released called Search For Spock I knew her words was true. But I would have to wait till the film hit cable before I could see just how Spock returned, as weird as it sounds my Dad who liked the original Star Trek TV Show would never go to the theater to see the movies so we would have to always wait till it hit cable or home media before we got to watch it. After seeing the film for the first time I found myself truly enjoying this entry in the series and loved the aspects of the Klingons wanting to get their hands on the Genesis Project so they could use it for war purposes, not to even mention that Christopher Lloyd played Kruge, the head Klingon. Even some years later my mom bought my brother and I a Kruge action figure that she found at an Odd Lots. And now being an adult in his 40’s, I can say that Star Trek III still is a great film and I still enjoy watching it ever so often. It’s sad to say that so many of the original cast are no longer with us and that means we will never get a new film or show with the original cats, though I have heard rumors of a streaming show about Captain Kirk played by William Shatner being in development and this old school Trekkie hopes it’s true as I would love to see more adventures of Captain Kirk. To sum it all up, while Star Trek III is not my favorite film in the series, it is in my top three for sure and I suggest you give it a watch and enjoy the return of Spock.

Star Trek III: Search For Spock, like all movies in this series, had its fair share of very cool merchandise to keep fans happy that included action figures, posters, novels, calendars, comic books, soundtrack, card game, shirts and Taco Bell even did amazing collectors glasses! Growing up I had some of the action figures that were built more like classic 3 ¾” G.I. Joe action figures and the novel plus comic adaptation. But one of my favorites was the Taco Bell Glasses that we would find at garage sales and our Mom would pick them up. I cannot count how many glasses of Chocolate Milk, Mt. Dew and Kool-Aid I drank out of them over the years. I must also say that I still do have all these items I had from my youth. While some are not the ones from my past, I made sure to get them back when I got older.

Star Trek III: The Search For Spock has always been one of the films with the original cast that has always stuck with me as I found it to be solid and also a great way to end the Genesis Project storyline. Plus no joke, I cannot tell you readers how many times I have watched this film over the years as in 2017 for the longest time I put on the original seven before bed! Well I think it’s time to see just how well DC Comics has adapted the film into a comic, and to be honest I am looking forward to rereading this comic as I had it when I was a kid and want to see if it holds up! I also want to remind you all that I will grade this comic on a scale of 1 to 4 and am looking for how well the comic stays to the source material, it’s entertainment value and it’s art and story. Also a big thanks to Game Swap Kettering for having this comic in stock and making this update possible and for getting me a copy of the comic again for my collection. So let’s head out to space and see if we can find Spock with DC Comics and the crew of the Enterprise.

Star Trek III: Search For Spock # 1  ***
Released in 1984     Cover Price $1.50     DC Comics     # 1 of 1

The Genesis Planet is growing fast and word is that the vessel that houses the body of Spock has landed on the man made miracle planet, and Captain Kirk’s son David along with Saavik are aboard the Grissom in order to study it. Meanwhile Captain Kirk and the crew of the USS Enterprise are heading into dock and all are filled with sadness over the death of Spock, and weirdly enough Dr. McCoy is acting very strange and even acting like their deceased friend. Meanwhile rogue Klingon commander Kruge and his crew are obsessed with getting the secrets of the Genesis project, and they are now on their way to the planet to gather what information and secrets they can. When Kirk and crew return to base they are all sent on leave besides Scotty who is to report to a new fancy ship, and the Enterprise is set for retirement and Kirk is told he is not to speak nor go to the Genesis planet! Meanwhile David and Saavik are on Genesis and find Spock’s burial tube empty, but worse the planet itself starts to become unstable! While on leave Kirk and his crew are together when Sarek, the father of Spock, shows up and tells Kirk that he needs to bring Spock’s body and Dr. McCoy to Vulcan so they both can find peace, and Kirk and the crew of the Enterprise know what they have to do and that’s steal the ship, get McCoy out of Federation watch and save their friends! Meanwhile on the unstable Genesis planet David and Saavik find a young Spock who is a shell of himself with no spirit, and they now need to protect him from the world around him and The Klingons have destroyed the Grissom and a land crew are on their way to the planet to take them as prisoners. As the Enterprise reaches the Genesis planet, they get into a space battle with the Bird Of Prey ship commanded by Kruge and both ships take major damage and Kurge uses the prisoners on the planet as his bargain chip, and after killing David things get real cold as Kirk tricks a large group of Klingons to beam aboard the Enterprise as it self destructs and his crew beam down to the Genesis Planet and save the growing Spock and Saavik from the Klingon guards. Kirk makes a deal with Kurge that he will share the secrets of Genesis if he beams his crew aboard, and after doing so Kurge comes down and he and Kirk fight to the death…and this leaves the Klingon dead and the Enterprise Crew taking over the Bird Of Prey and head toward Vulcan. Once at Vulcan they are able to meld the spirit of Spock into the new body of Spock and they crew celebrates as they have their friend back.

This DC Comic adaptation of the Paramount Pictures film Star Trek III: Search For Spock is fantastic and shows that these movie comics can be done right! The plot has Kirk and his crew trying what they can to stop a rogue batch of Klingons who stand between them and the body of Spock as well as they themselves going rogue and disobeying the Federation’s rules making them outlaws now. Captain James T. Kirk is as always our hero and in this comic he breaks all the rules in order to be loyal to friendship, and while some of his choices lead to devastating actions like the death of his son David and even the destruction of the Enterprise his loyal nature to his friends is inspiring. Kirk also shows why he went from Captain to Admiral as his strategies are solid and always seem to work. Doctor Leonard McCoy in this issue has some mental issues as inside his mind is not only his own thoughts but also that of the deceased Spock! It’s also really cool to see that McCoy himself is very upset about the death of Spock and misses his friend and is willing to risk is own safety in order to try and bring him back. Spock in this issue as a person is a shell of a being who does not speak and is growing at a superfast rate, his spirit however does speak through McCoy from time to time. In the end when Spock fully returns its great to see him start to remember his friends and that his own father wanted to see his return. The rest of the Enterprise crew are around and while not major focuses they all are very much important. The Klingon Kruge is a madman who is obsessed with gaining the knowledge of the Genesis Project and has no issues killing to gain it, and he does kill and even orders the deaths of others…in other words he is very cold and self centered. The comic much like the film is a chess game as each move made has a response and each move also has an answer with some being good and others being very bad. I think DC Comics did a really great job of capturing the mood, drama and action of the movie and delivers a great read that shows just why Star Trek in all media means something to the series fans. The cover is very interesting and for the most part I really like it as I find it to be very Sci-Fi paperback novel looking. The interior art is really good and has that DC look and is done by Tom Sutton. To sum this adaptation up I would say if you are a fan of the film or just enjoy the original cast of Star Trek, I would recommend checking this comic out. Check out the art below to see the mind meld of McCoy and Spock to see they style used in this comic.

While Star Trek III might not get the respect it deserves with many fans as I think for them its over shadowed by Wrath Of Khan and Voyage Home, I still find it to be a great film that made a great comic! And be ready as next year we will be taking a look at Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home and the DC Comic Adaptation of it. And when thinking about the next update I decided I was having fun in space and while we will be walking away from the crew of the Enterprise we will be joining Captain Chris Galland as he and his crew visit the Planet Of The Vampires! That’s right its time to take another look at the world of Atlas Comics. So until next time read a comic or three, watch a movie or two and as always support your local Horror Host. See you next time as he try to survive a world run by bloodsuckers!

DC’s Micro Masked Hero The Atom!

Here at Rotten Ink I enjoy covering classic Superheroes from both Marvel and DC as well as Indies, and over the years I have spent a lot of time with Marvel Comics and their heroes and have also made an efferent to cover more DC characters as I feel over all they seem to always take a backseat when people chat about comic heroes besides Batman and Superman as Marvel Comics has taken over thanks to their cinema movie hits that have brought their heroes into the mainstream pop culture and made many of them household names. So for this update, I am thinking about covering a DC hero that is pint sized in nature, and of course I am talking about The Atom! I am sure most of you readers at least know who The Atom is or have heard the name in your local comic shop or even seen him is some sort of other media from TV to Video Games. So if you’re ready, let’s take a look at the one and only micro hero of DC Comics The Atom.

Ray Palmer was a professor at New England school Ivy University who is working hard on a solution to the world’s over population and uses parts of a white dwarf star that fell to Earth to do so. You see, he has figured out a way to use parts of the star in order to shrink objects, but sadly they become unstable. While on a field trip with his students and girlfriend Jean Loring exploring a cave, they become trapped during a cave-in and Ray must use his shrinking lens on himself in order to get free and get those he cares about help, and to his shock he is able to shrink as well as become normal size again without exploding! Ray decides that he will use his new discovery to help mankind and becomes a costumed hero called The Atom and even helps Jean in criminal cases as she is a lawyer. Over his career of being a superhero, he has lost faith in mankind and made a choice to stay small. He has fought aliens and super villains like The Bug-Eyed Bandit & Doctor Light and was even a member of the Justice League Of America and even the Teen Titans when his powers turned him back young! The Atom was created by Gil Kane in 1961 for DC comics and made his first appearance in Showcase # 34 and is still a character in use to this day. The Atom thus far has spawned about five solo titles and has appeared in a massive amount of other characters’ books showing that he is a staple for DC and will be for generations to come. While The Atom might not be as forgotten about like some of the other DC Characters I have covered like Red Tornado, Jonni Thunder, Hawkman and STEEL: The Indestructible Man, he still is not as big as he should be in the eyes of readers…get it? Because he is small!

The Atom has become a B-league hero for DC Comics, and this has lead to him appearing in animated series, live action shows like Arrow and even in video games like Injustice 2 as a DLC fighter! As you can see, DC has some faith in The Atom and that’s why they have broken him out of the pages of comics and allowed him to show his hero skills in other forms of media. I think one of his best appearances is one that most of the world has never seen as it was a failed unaired pilot for a Justice League Of America TV Show that had him as one of the members alongside the likes of Green Lantern, Flash and Martian Manhunter, and boy was this one really bad! It was made in 1997 and was supposed to be a new hit series as DC Comics had found some fame making shows for television, and the JLA was one they thought could have been a major hit…that was until it was shown on CBS and it was trashed by fans and critics as it was deemed terrible. The film was a mix of comedy and action and would have the heroes doing interviews like the TV show The Office in between events of the show. The show did so bad that the series idea was canceled and this was buried for the most part by DC who knew they had a stinker on their hands. The Atom in the show looked terrible and his suit was bulky and made him look overweight. Below are some pictures of The Atom from all types of media which show you the different looks and styles of the character in toons, games and shows.

Like all good superheroes, The Atom has had his fair share of action figures released and they have been pretty cool looking for fans of this character. He has graced such toy lines as “DC Universe: Crisis”, “JLA Classified” and “Justice League Unlimited” to name a very few. And while these figures are cool and I do own the one from DC Universe: Crisis, it’s crazy to think that The Atom never got a figure in the classic 1984 Kenner series Super Powers! In fact the rumor of the un-produced waves of figures for that series shows that The Atom was not even considered for the series and that’s shocking as they had some very weird picks selected like Creeper and Blue Devil. Just wanted to take a few moments to let fans of The Atom know that if they collect action figures, there are options out there for you.

So as you can see, The Atom is a very cool character for DC Comics and is one I think should get a little more attention than he does. I also like the fact that he has made appearances in video games, cartoons, toys and TV shows showing that he is a great character. But we are now at the point of this review that I should take a look at the comics, and as I said, I have chosen to take a look at the four issue mini series called Sword Of The Atom for this update as I remember seeing them around when I was younger. I would like to remind you all that I grade these comics on a star scale of 1 to 4 and am looking for how well the comics stay to the source material, their entertainment value and their art and story. So let’s see what adventure The Atom has in store for us with this 80’s series.

Sword Of The Atom # 1  **1/2
Released in 1983     Cover Price .60     DC Comics     # 1 of 4

On a rainy night Ray Palmer is waiting on his lawyer wife, Jean Loring, to get home from a late night at the office, and when he sees a car pull into the driveway and shut off its lights, he goes out to investigate and finds that his wife is making out with her new assistant! As he storms off, she gets out of the car and follows, and they two argue and share their issues about what has been going on in their marriage with much of it being the lack of time they spend with each other. That night Ray decides that they should take time away from each other and goes on a trip to South America in order to find more of the white dwarf star. Ray wires a plane to fly him over the Amazon, and he soon finds out his hired hands are drug smugglers and a fight breaks out that causes him to turn into The Atom and leading to the plane crashing with The Atom thrown from the plane and his two attackers dead! Now stuck in the Amazon, he tries to make his way to the crashed plane and finds that he is stuck being 6” tall, and worse, a snake has chosen him for dinner, but a group of small warriors help him out only to capture him and bring to their king. While in chains, he notices that a warrior named Taren is also prisoner and his only crime is he has fallen in love with The Princess. The King orders his guards to beat down Taren, and The Atom has seen enough and helps the fallen warrior. But the numbers are against them, and the pair is taken to a dungeon and their fate is to be eaten alive by rats!

This first issue in this mini series starts off with a major downer as our hero is being cheated on by his wife who has found affection in her new hired helper, and he thinks by leaving for weeks could save their marriage. Very sad stuff as it’s clear the two are in a bad way and neither are really talking to each other about the issues that have caused this split. And worse, Ray finds himself stuck in his small size in the Amazon and as the slave to a race of tiny people! The Atom in this issue goes from being a heartbroken husband, to a man focused on his work to a hero forced to stay in his small size who becomes stuck in a world he does not understand. Poor Jean Loring in this issue goes from a cheating wife to a heartbroken one when she thinks her husband she has been fighting with is dead in the plane crash in the Amazon; this poor woman’s mind is broken by the end. We don’t get much info on the race of bright yellow skinned tiny people that live in the Amazon; all we do get is that the King is a cruel man and his daughter is the object of a damned man’s affection. I like the cliffhanger of Atom and Taren being fed to a bunch of rats as the odds look really grim for them, and it makes you wonder how two weaponless 6” tall guys are going to survive the attack. I also like when Ray Palmer has to get away from his cheating wife for a bit he is attacked while on a small plane by two drug smugglers that want to knock him out and then toss him from the plane…brutal. The cover for this issue is pretty cool and has a Conan The Barbarian vibe to it as a sword swinging Atom riding a frog is fighting off a massive mean looking snake…classic fantasy comic stuff. The art is done by comic legend Gil Kane and is topnotch stuff for fans who like the classic style comic art. Over all this first issue is a great read and does a nice job of building up the story of The Atom stuck in the Amazon, and with that let’s see what issue two has in store for us. On a side note, I really should have read this comic as a kid as I am pretty sure I would have loved it!

Sword Of The Atom # 2  **1/2
Released in 1983     Cover Price .60     DC Comics     # 2 of 4

As The Atom and Taren prepare to fight for their lives against the rats, a canister of gas is tossed in and their lives have been saved by the King’s advisor, who wants them to be healed up and trained so they can fight as gladiators in an arena for the people’s amusement and to show the true glory of the King. Weeks pass, and The Atom is rushed to the arena and given a sword and finds out his opponent is Taren, who has been blinded to secure the fact he will be killed in battle. The crowd goes crazy and turn on the King as anarchy rules out and The Atom and Taren run to escape and find Princess Laethwen waiting with frogs with saddles. The three flee into the jungle as The King can not understand why his people hate him and is furious as he thinks the fleeing heroes kidnapped his daughter. The Atom stays with Taren and The Princess as the rebels come to meet them lead by the ego driven Voss and are taken to camp. Meanwhile back in the Kingdom, we find that the advisor is the one who is setting up events to make the people turn on their King. In the end Taren asks The Atom to lead his men into war with the King, and as The Princess and Taren talk, our masked hero is attacked by Voss who thinks The Atom is a spy, but of course The Atom makes short work of the ego maniac Voss and the showdown is set between the rebels and the Kingdom.

In this second issue adventure, The Atom finds himself being saved from the rats and forced to become a gladiator fighter for the kingdom as is his new friend Taren who is blinded as well to ensure his death in the arena. But things are not so bleak as they get help to escape and soon find that the Princess is on their side, and someone on the rebel’s side is a true mole and is sharing information. The Atom shows that he is an honorable man who will do the right thing when faced with conflict and will stand by his friends and allies when they need him. Also its’ clear that he is drifting apart from his wife he is away from as he is barely thinking of her. And Jean, his wife, thinks he is gone and at the end of the issue calls the gentleman she was cheating with to come over as she does not want to be alone….sad to say, but I think their love has faded. Taren and The Princess are shown to be good people who want to do all the right things that are best for their people. Voss is a jerk, and I would guess he is the rat who told the King and his goons what Taren’s plan was that lead to him being captured and made blind. The King, I think, is clueless and is not fully evil as his people and the rebels are lead to believe as I think his scumbag advisor is the true fiend who is cruel and a liar. What really works for this story so far is the fact The Atom is a true fish out of water and is stuck in a jungle world where he is targeted for lunch by the animals around and most of the locals want him dead as they think he is an enemy of the kingdom, and when he makes his escape riding on a frog, you find yourself cheering him on. Once more, the cover is great and has a fantasy comic look to it and the interior art is great and done by Gil Kane. So as you can see, the second issue has set up that The Atom will be leading the rebels to fight against the kingdom as the King himself is facing an uprising from his own subjects. So with that, let’s see how this plays out and, if I am right that Voss is a traitor, and move onto issue three.

Sword Of The Atom # 3  **1/2
Released in 1983     Cover Price .60     DC Comics     # 3 of 4

After winning the fight against Voss, the Atom decides that he wants this brave warrior as his second in command as they get ready to battle with the Kingdom. Meanwhile, the King is upset at his Advisor, who he has found out is doing experiments on a fallen star without his permission, and still the evil Advisor works to make the King look terrible in the eyes of his subjects. While in the jungle, a horde of ants attack the rebels and while trying to escape their flesh eating ways Voss, The Princess, The Atom and Taren run for their lives and after reaching safety Taren flings himself into the ants killing himself and allowing the rage to build up in The Atom and moving the war with the kingdom closer. While in the Kingdom, the rebel spy sends a message to the Advisor of Taren’s death, and this pleases him as he knows that soon an attack will happen and he will get control of the Kingdom. Back in America, Jean Loring decides she is going to travel to South America and make sure her husband is really dead and not hiding from her. Meanwhile, the Atom and the Princess have fallen in love and get the rebels ready and are heading to the Kingdom for the big attack.

In the issue, The Atom starts to see that the jungle is a dangerous place and life can be taken away very quickly and that he must really step up and be the hero the rebels need when their leader dies. And while The Atom is in this wild world, he also learns to trust those who don’t trust him and to fall in love all over again. Our hero The Atom in this issue becomes a true leader to the people as he prepares them to war, he also decides to prove his dominance of the jungle that he must kill an alligator! He also wastes no time in falling in love with the Princess after the death of her boyfriend. The Princess herself is very tough and spends very little time on being sad about her man’s death before putting the moves on The Atom. I find this quick love affair very odd as it’s clear The Princess respected him throughout this series, but now she is madly in love. Taren is a warrior who has lost the will to live and once he knows his army is in good hands decides to commit suicide by letting ants eat him alive…the strange part is while people seem slightly sad about his death, they all move on very fast with life without him. Voss is a really loudmouth and untrusting warrior who likes to stand against yet with The Atom who he blames for being a spy for the other side, when I think it’s him! The King and his Advisor are playing a chess game against each other and don’t really know they are, and both are just being driven by power. Jean Loring, who has moved on as she is with her boyfriend, now seems hell bent on exposing if her husband is dead or not. What’s unclear is if she is trying to find the truth out of love or hate. This was a pretty good issue and is a great one that builds to this final fight between rebels and soldiers, builds the tension between the King and his people, shows that The Atom is the leader the rebels needs and all pieces of this jungle action puzzle of love and war are coming together thanks to this issue. The cover is great and once more captures a fantasy comic look and has The Atom fighting the alligator, and like before Gil Kane did the interior art and its great. Very solid issue and was a great way to build up the next and final issue in this mini series, so if you’re ready, I am ready to see how this clash in the jungle ends.

Sword Of The Atom # 4  **1/2
Released in 1983     Cover Price .60     DC Comics     # 4 of 4

The Atom stands on the outskirts of the castle lost in his own mind of what it will take to truly win this fight when he is joined by the Princess, and the pair talk about how much they love each other when they are interrupted by Voss as they have found out who the spy really is! The spy was one of the rebel archers and before he is put to death, he spills the beans that the King’s Advisor is the mastermind behind the downfall of the Kingdom and that they all can live in the Kingdom if they pledge their loyalty to the Advisor once he becomes ruler. After the spy is killed, The Atom leads the rebels into war that has three forces with their own battle plans as the rebels must face those loyal to the Advisor and those who stand by their King! The battle rages on as the people are screaming for the deaths of both the King and his Advisor who are having words as the King has finally found out his most trusted is who ushered in his downfall. The Advisor stabs the King in the back and runs to activate the white star that will blow up the kingdom! The Atom, Voss and The Princess makes it to the throne room where the dying King informs them of his Advisor’s plan, and our heroes rush to the energy plant where the star is stored and find they are too late! Voss puts an arrow through the brain of the Advisor as The Atom rushes inside to see if he can stop the meltdown, but the power of the star turns him normal size again and is driving him mad as he rampages through the Kingdom even chasing off The Princess and Voss. After everyone is safe, The Atom stumbles around and passes out on the banks of the river and is found by fishermen and awakens in the hospital, and Jean is waiting for him down in the lobby. In the end Ray must find out if he truly loves Jean or if he wants to find his Princess.

This final issue of this mini series plot has The Atom and the new love of his life The Princess lead an attack on her father’s Kingdom only to find that his trusted Advisor has struck and killed the King and has set a meltdown due to a white dwarf star being used as a source of energy. And with everyone in danger, The Atom rushes in and soaks up most of the star’s radiation causing himself to grow big and pass out leaving his new love behind as well as his sanity as he is unclear if any of it was real. The Atom proves he is a born leader as he leads rebels into a war that they win! He also shows that he no longer would like to live his normal life as Ray Palmer and would love to stay small and be The Atom from here on out and be with his Princess girlfriend and leave his wife Jean behind forever. The Atom also goes from being a confident hero to second guessing just what he is doing with his life showing that even a superhero has his doubts. The Princess is a fighter as well who wanted her father The King out of power but is very upset when his life is taken. Plus she gets even more heartbroken when her new boyfriend The Atom grows and is taken away when found. The one weird thing about her is she really dose not mourn that much over the death of her first boyfriend who dies by suicide. Voss is a hardened warrior who I was wrong about that could be the most composed person in this comic series as he does what’s right and uses his brain in situations and not his heart. The King was a man who ruled with a big ego, but he was not as bad as his subjects were lead to believe and almost seems angered and saddened by his advisor’s betrayal and the fact his own people want him dead. And when he is stabbed and dying, he does show remorse and love toward his Kingdom and his daughter. The Advisor is the true villain of this series as he really just wants to rule and will do whatever he can to gain power including murder and using unsafe measures to try and impress the people. So when he takes an arrow to his head, I found myself cheering as he was a pure narcissistic terrible person. And poor Jean Loring is a woman who cheated on her husband and has tried to move on when she thinks he is dead, but also must come to terms that even if he is alive, what is left of their marriage. This mini series was a great way to update the dated hero The Atom and even added the realm of a fantasy comic to it and was a great way to cash in on the popularity of the likes of Conan The Barbarian. I also like that in the end they leave it open that maybe this jungle society was all in the mind of The Atom who was injured in the plane crash…so was his war with a Kingdom real or just a delusion? The cover for this fourth issue is pretty cool and while eye catching, I would say is the weakest in the series. Gil Kane’s art is fantastic and really shows that he is the best one to draw this as he created the character and knows how to bring him to life on pages. To sum it up, Sword Of The Atom is a very good mini series released by DC and was a great way to get comic readers to check out classic characters that needed a boost and might have not sold well if given a continuing series. Check this series out if you enjoy The Atom, and check out the art below for a look at Gil Kane’s art style.

The Atom might not be as popular as Batman, Superman or even The Flash, but one thing this mini series does show comic readers is that he can deliver good classic superhero adventure that is mixed with classic science fiction fantasy flare. I’m not sure which DC hero will be next to get the Rotten Ink treatment, but I do have a few in mind that include Green Arrow, Aquaman, Martian The Manhunter or even Wonder Woman! Only time will tell who will be next, but one thing is for sure, I really am enjoying reading and talking about these DC heroes. But our next update will be up on July 4th and will be another entry in the American Hero updates. For this year I have chosen to talk and showcase action movie hero John Rambo! So until next time, read a DC Comic or three, watch a movie or two and as always support your local Horror Host. See you next time as we see who draws first blood!

The DC Detective Superhero Jonni Thunder Cracks The Case!

Here at Rotten Ink I really enjoy taking a look at all types of heroes, villains and characters from all types of comic companies, and one that I really do enjoy showcasing when it comes to underrated and misused heroes are those of DC Comics. In the past we have taken a look at characters like Red Tornado, Hawkman and STEEL, all topnotch superheroes that seem to be afterthoughts in the world of the DC Universe. For this update I have chosen a character who took over the role of superhero from her father, and I am talking about Jonni Thunder aka Thunderbolt a private detective who also has the power to turn into a powerhouse electric hero! So if you’re ready to solve a mini series with a super powered gumshoe, let’s take a quick case with Jonni Thunder!

Jonni Thunder and her father Jim Thunder came together in California and opened “J. Thunder Detective Agency” after Jim was fired from the police force but still felt he could help people. For years father and daughter try and help people with their skills and have lots of great success. But over the years her father Jim Thunder is slowly killing himself with hard liquor and cigarettes and dies from his bad vices leaving Jonni to have to run the agency on her own. While on a case of murder she is offered money by one of her father’s friends for a statue that turns out to hold the power of Thunderbolt, and once free the creature bonds with Jonni and she is able to control it and hence a superhero is born. The downside for her is that while she takes control of Thunderbolt, Jonni herself passes out and is left open to attacks and dangers. Jonni would later, as Thunderbolt, get involved in the Crisis On Infinite Earths and took on Knodar and also would later become romantic with superhero Skyman and would join the team Infinity Inc, that is until she would lose her power and gain it back only to find that the Thunderbolt that attached itself to her was in fact a alien who had bad attentions. Once she lost her powers and Skyman passed away, Jonni Thunder left Infinity Inc. and faded way back to normal life. So while her time as Thunderbolt and a superhero might have been short, Jonni still was a cool and interesting character that once more DC dropped the ball with and misused over the years.

So as you can see Jonni Thunder by all accounts is a normal strong willed woman who owns and runs her own business that by luck gets the power of a superhero. But like many of the characters created by DC, she was not given the chance to become a mainstream character as it has always been clear that if they were not Batman, Superman or Wonder Woman they just don’t have much for you at the time. With comic characters now being used in other forms of media like video games, novels, TV shows and movies the folks at DC seem to be more open to using the none A-List characters. But we are now at the time of this update were we will do the review for the Jonni Thunder mini series, and I want to thank Bell Book And Comic for having them in stock. I also want to remind all you readers that I grade these on a star scale of 1 to 4 and am looking for how well the comic stays to the source material, its entertainment value and its art and story. So if you’re ready, lets see what Jonni Thunder is all about and if Thunderbolt can save the day.

Jonni Thunder # 1   ***
Released in 1985       Cover Price .75       DC Comics     # 1 of 4

It’s a stormy night in California as Private Investigator Jonni Thunder returns to town after her father’s funeral. Once back at her office she finds a body of a would-be client dead with gun shot wounds, and after the cops question her, she gets a weird phone call that says if she seeks answers to why the man was murdered in her office she must meet them at the tar pits. Jonni jumps into her 1957 Thunderbird and in the pouring rain finds that her mystery caller was a no show. When returning to her office she finds a weird metal insect waiting to try and kill her and with lots of luck and after escaping her office via the window in the ally she is able to make the machine blow up with a well places umbrella to the metal machines eye. After the attack the cops once more give Jonni guff and act as if her story of a killer robot is fake and takes the word of a drunk who claims he was in the ally and seen and heard nothing. Jonni storms off and heads to the office were she finds a note to meet one time western actor and singer turned TV mogul Slim Chances who makes her an offer to buy an old statue of her fathers that has a story of power around it. Jonni knows that the statue was turned into a lamp at the office and when bringing it to the set up meeting spot she is attacked by the old bum who has a high powered laser gun and he as well wants the statue and even tells her he is the one who sent the metal bug assassin! As he tries his best to kill her with his laser gun the statues starts to glow and a being of energy comes out of it and Jonni passes out and is now controlling it and chases the old man who falls off a cliff and dies! The flying energy being returns to Jonni who awakens and is confused on what just happened.

This first issue in the mini series is fantastic and a great way to kick it off and bring readers in. The thing that works the best for this comic is the nice mix of classic detective comic with a touch of superhero comic by the end. This issue’s plot has Jonni Thunder after the funeral of her father being the target of a hit that by the end of out story all revolves around a statue that was sent to her father when she was young that was stolen from a foreign country that has stories of powers. Jonni Thunder is a good detective, who is skilled at her job as she is always looking for clues and always paying attention to things going on around her and best of all she is sharp witted with good survival skills. Jonni also is very skilled at combat and is a strong willed character who does what she can to get the job done, plus she does not take any guff from anyone…she is a really cool basic detective character. Thunderbolt is a female being of energy that can fly and shoot energy blasts from her hands, she has the mind of Jonni and at this point Thunderbolt does not speak nor do we really know much about her yet. The main villain of this issue is the old man who clearly wants the statue and will kill in order to get it.  At this point we don’t know who he is, but I am thinking he might be the man who originally stole the statue decades past. I also don’t trust Slim Chances as this old time western actor seems a little too interested in buying the statue and even never showed up at the meeting spot, making me wonder if he hired the old man to kill the daughter of his one time friend. This far the story is well done, and I am looking forward to seeing how this all plays out as well as I hope to get the answer of who the old man is and who hired him. The cover is pretty eye catching and is very 80’s DC Comics.  The interior art is well done and is done by Dick Goirdano. To sum this issue up, it’s a great first issue and introduction to a character that had/has lots of potential, and I am looking forward to seeing what issue two has in store for us.

Jonni Thunder # 2   **1/2
Released in 1985      Cover Price .75      DC Comics     # 2 of 4

The police have shown up to the crime scene and find the dead body of the old man at the bottom on the cliff, they of course have it in their mind the Jonni Thunder is the killer but they have no proof and seem to get joy in given her a hard time. Once she leaves the crime scene she goes home and tries to figure out what this statue is and why it has given her powers in times of need. She goes home and thinks about her next move when she finds a private detective like herself named Harrison Trump digging through her mail, the two get into a struggle and Harrison gets away before she can figure out why he was snooping. Jonni goes to the office and finds Slim Chances and his bodyguard Roadblock waiting for her and they are not their as friends as they search her purse for the statue and leave when they think the cops are on their way. Jonni who has hidden the statue finds the Harrison has stolen it and she travels to San Francisco to get it back. She soon finds that Harrison was working for night club owner and dancer Red Nails who has turned on Harrison and is trying to figure out the power of the statue when Jonni breaks in and confronts her. The two women share some words and Red throws the statue at Jonni knocking her out but also allowing her to turn into Thunderbolt who chases Red around but should have taken her out fast as Red picks up a gun and is about to shoot the knocked out Jonni in the head!

The second issue has Jonni Thunder at odds with many people all who want the statue minus the cops who think she might be covering murders that are happing by not giving them all he details. The poor detective is also having to deal with the fact that a statue has given her powers that turn her into a living raw energy power superhero! Plus she gets attacked and bullied all through the issue as Slim Chances and his bodyguard try and rob her, sleazy private detective Harrison Trump snoops around her house and does rob her and club owner beauty Red Nails knocks her upside her head and also tries to rob her!! Jonni Thunder in this issue is tough and also confused as after the death of her father her life is becoming stranger and stranger and she herself is trying to solve her own case of what’s the deal with the statue and why the world wants it and why does it have weird powers. The cops are no real help, and they keep just blaming and investigating Jonni instead of listing to her statements. The old western actor Slim Chances and his former NFL player bodyguard Roadblock are scum and are greedy for the statue and try to bully their way into getting it and even try and use money as means to get it. Harrison Trump is a P.I from San Francisco who is not a good one as he is willing to steal for his clients and even is willing to fight against a woman in order to get his case closed, funny thing is he is a fool and becomes a hostage of his own client! Red Nails is a pretty red head woman who owns a dance club and is clearly cold blooded and willing to kill in order to get the statue as she wants it’s power for herself. The cliffhanger ending of this issue is really well done as it’s clear that Thunderbolt has to be fast in order to save her own life! The cover for this issue is great again and is classic 80’s DC Comic stuff and the interior art by Dick Goirdano is great once more and is great classic art stuff. To sum it up, this is a great DC Comic for a female hero they sadly seem to have forgotten for the most part. So lets see what issue three has in store for me!

Jonni Thunder # 3   **1/2
Released in 1985      Cover Price .75      DC Comics     # 3 of 4

Red Nails forces Thunderbolt to retreat back into Jonni Thunder’s body as if the hero don’t she threatens to shoot the host body in the head! Once awake Jonni and the still captive Harrison Trump are handcuffed and forced by Red and her henchwomen to sewer tunnels where they are shown a giant electric machine that was built by Red who besides being a stripper is also a whiz of electricity machinery and has designed a massive laser gun that she plans on powering with the power of Thunderbolt, but first she wants to use it on Jonni and Harrison! But when the statue doesn’t power the laser gun, Red Nails sends her goons to kill Jonni and Harrison instead who end up escaping right after Jonni is able to grab the statue. The pair find themselves on the run and end up being kidnapped by Slim Chances whose limo is now being chased by Red’s lady goons on motorcycles! Jonni and Harrison leap from the limo just in time and find themselves having to work together to really get out of harms way. But their escape is cut short when Red Lips starts to use a lightning machine try and stop them forcing Jonni to become Thunderbolt and for Harrison to try and control the run away car that the body of Jonni is passed out at behind the wheel! With some luck and power Thunderbolt is able to electrocute Red Nails ending her reign of terror, and return to her body and she hopes this is the end.

The third issue once more is a solid read and shows that Jonni Thunder when pushed can take care of business and truly has the will to live when faced with odds that are stacked against her. In this issue Jonni is kidnapped and set to be murdered by a laser cannon, but is able to escape and stop her enemy who is using the cities electric power to try and kill her and gain back that statue. Red Nails is one mean woman as she is unfazed by the chaos she is creating and the lives she might be taking, she also clearly only really wants power and money…too bad she gets none and finds herself fried like a piece of chicken. Slim Chances the one time movie cowboy turned TV tycoon is also a true scumbag as in this issue he even turns to kidnapping in order to get the statue and it’s power. Harrison Trump who is the goofy private investigator who really help start this drama shows that he is not a fully bad guy as he risks his neck to not only try and save his own hide but that of Jonni’s as well. Thunderbolt is shown that she does have a weakness as all the electric power of the city really zaps and hurts her, but she also shows that with the mind of Jonni she is smart and quick to come up with answers to major problems. This issue helps build up the story really well as it once more shows you that this statue is something special and has bonded with Jonni who cant get a moments peace in order to figure out what and why! The cover for this issue is very eye catching and good use of the colors yellow and red with interior art once more being handled by Dick Goirdano who once more captures the feel of DC Comics in the 80’s. Over all this is another solid issue that makes me look forward to the fourth and final issue to see how our story plays out.

Jonni Thunder # 4   **1/2
Released in 1985      Cover Price .75      DC Comics     # 4 of 4

Jonni Thunder and Harrison Trump are driving back home when they are pulled over by the cops and as Jonni is taken to the station as Harrison steals her car! After being questioned by the cops a call comes in from the higher ups to leave Jonni alone who leaves only to be once more taken by Roadblock to meet with Slim Chances. Once at the mansion Jonni beats up and kills Roadblock and soon finds that Slim is the man who hired the laser gun madman who tried to kill her at the meeting spot and that he also is the one who shot the man who died in her office! Slim also tells her that the statue came from space and that he and Red Nails had nothing to do with each other, but he goes too far when he is about to kill Jonni with his laser gun and Jonni turns into Thunderbolt and electrocutes Slim killing him before in a daze back as Jonni she leaves the mansion with two dead bodies left behind and lots of thinking to do as she returns to her office. Once back she finds her friend beat up bad on the floor and a note left behind by Harrison for her to meet him alone, Jonni is in a rage as she thinks he has beaten her friend near death and rushes to bring down Harrison who she quickly learns is innocent and that Red Nails is still alive and she and her goons are the ones who beat up her friend. After tricking the goons Jonni targets Red who she lets in on the secret that the statue no longer has power, as she is now the source of the energy.  Red in a rage tries to shoot Jonni and a struggle ensues that leaves Red shot thanks the cops that have been called. In the end Jonni has cleared her name, she has the power of Thunderbolt living inside her and she now has friends in the police department as well as Harrison Trump a fellow P.I.

This is a mini series that does a great job of bring the world of comics and cheesy detective pulp style novels together to deliver a very entreating adventure. In this issue Jonni Thunder learns that she truly has the power of Thunderbolt and is able to clear her name as well as deal with all those filled with greedy wants and needs that all breaks down to the statue. Jonni Thunder is good at her job and knows how to find the information she needs to close a case as well as survive any and all bad situations that come her way. But while Jonni is smart and tough as nails, she still has a soft side as it’s clear she loved her dad and cares about her friends old and new. When as Thunderbolt she has massive raw power and energy and will do what she has to do to save her hide and others, also as Thunderbolt her power could easily kill a human. Whats weird is the power of Thunderbolt lived in the statue for awhile but once bonding with Jonni the power makes it’s home inside her. Harrison Trump is a sleazy dude who was willing to steal to make money and only after being saved and almost killed does he really come around to be a decent guy.  Plus I think once he started to having romantic feelings for Jonni his attitude and look out on life changed. Slim Chances and his ex-football player Roadblock were slimy rich people who wanted the power of the statue and looked at human life as disposable! Plus for their greed and power hungry mindset both Roadblock and Slim meet their deaths by the hands of Thunderbolt/Jonni. Red Nails and her goons as well are terrible and greedy people who meet their ends as well trying to get power. Plus the cops while a thorn in the side of Jonni finally turn out to be heroes when one of them shoots and kills Red Nails before she could end the life of Jonni. Over all this is a nice action packed detective romp mini series that does a great job of blending noir and superheroes to make me as a reader wondering what turn was next for our characters. The cover for issue # 4 is ok and by far is the weakest one in the series.  The interior art is still great and done by Dick Goirdano again. Over all if you enjoy detective comics that have a hint of superhero this mini series is for you! Check out the art below to see the style of Goirdano.

DC Comics has a bad history of really back burning many of their characters in favor of just focusing on the same main A-List heroes. I think they dropped the ball on Jonni Thunder as I think she could even have been a great side character in one of their mainstream books like they could have had her move her office to Gotham and enter the world of Batman! But sadly I just don’t see this changing at DC as they will always be the comic company that Superman and Batman built, and they will always only focus on them and a handful of other heroes. For our next update we will be walking away from DC Comics and one of their many forgotten heroes and take a journey with another detective, but this one is like none other as he is a talking dog named McGruff The Crime Dog! So until next time, read a comic or three, remember an old superhero or two and as always support your local Horror Host. See you next update as we take a bite out of crime!

Look In The Sky! It’s A Bird! It’s A Plane! It’s Hawkman!

DC Comics has been in the comic book game since 1934, and for the longest time was the top comic company in the world until Marvel Comics came onto the scene in 1939. Over the years, they have traded places off and on being the top company in the game. DC Comics has brought the world some amazing superheroes like Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, Green Lantern and The Flash who over the years have all been on many fans’ top Superhero lists as well as have done their share of bringing in money and readers to DC, but while those heroes are household names, many of DC’s heroes slip under the cracks like Red Tornado, who I covered last year. For this update I am going to cover another hero that I feel does not get the respect and attention he deserves. I am talking about the Justice League Of America and All-Star Squadron member Hawkman, who has always been one of my favorite DC heroes and who I feel has been underrated by comic readers for many years. So let’s travel to the DC Universe and enter that Shadow War as we talk about Hawkman and breakdown his 4 Issue Mini-Series from 1985! I hope you have packed a snack as this one might get a little long as Hawkman has been around for many decades and has lots of cool stuff to talk about.

The DC Universe is filled with many Earths, each with a different history for characters and even in some cases names are changed and even characters have died with new people stepping into the shoes of the fallen hero. But while Katar Hol and Fel Andar have been Hawkman, for me, the only guy to wear the bird mask is Carter Hall! Back in the days of ancient Egypt, Prince Khufu was kidnapped and killed by his arch nemesis Hath-Set, and in the 1940’s Khufu is reincarnated as Carter Hall, an archaeologist from America who soon gains the memories of his past life and is able to figure out that his life means more to the world and that his enemy of the past is also wandering the Earth as a scientist who has kidnapped a woman. This causes Hall to become a costumed hero named Hawkman! As Hawkman he wears a mask, wings and created a gravity belt out of Nth Metal. After saving the woman Shiera and falling in love with her, she later becomes Hawkwoman! Hawkman would go on to be a member of the super hero team Justice Society Of America and even joins the Air Force and fights in World War II. Along with the JSA during the 1950’s, he took on Congress when they wanted all the heroes to tell them their real identities causing the bulk of the team to retire for some time. It wasn’t until the 1960’s when the JSA comes back and somehow meets with Earth-1’s Justice League Of America, who, for some reason over the years keeps the kids of the JSA members from joining the team and is thus responsible for the creation of the team Infinity Inc. Due to the massive age difference and after the events of Crisis On Infinite Earths, they explain that Hawkman’s aging has slowed down thanks to a super villain who put a spell on the heroes and their spouses…yep now that’s an evil deed, am I right? Now during modern times both Carter Hall Hawkman and the original Hawkman Katar Hol were active in the same Earth, and over the years Hawkman has died, been brought back, joined teams like the Justice League of America, become a terrorist and so much more! This is just a very brief look at Hawkman as sadly the world of DC Comics is one mixed with lots of silly different Earths and reboots that sadly, for the most part, becomes a tangled mess of nonsense. But one thing I must stress is that Hawkman is one kick butt character, and if you like the brief bio I supplied you readers with, make sure to visit your local comic shop and buy a few comic issues that star this mace-carrying winged hero. Check out the images below to see Hawkman in all his glory!

In 1984, Kenner released the first series of their DC Super Powers toy collection, and in that first wave was Superman, Batman, Robin, Wonder Woman, The Flash, Green Lantern and others that included Hawkman! When I was a youngster, my brother and I tried our best to get any and every Super Powers we could find at local stores with many of ours coming from Hills or Children’s Palace.  The first figures from this series I owned were Superman and The Joker that I got on the same day! Later on I would get Hawkman, who was one of my favorite figures from that toy line. It’s funny to think that as a kid, even though I read comics with Hawkman in them, I always made him super strong in battlers, like he has Superman level power! In 1991, Kenner, the maker of the Super Powers figures, reused many of the figure molds when they started making figures based on the Kevin Costner film Robin Hood Prince Of Thieves and the body of Hawkman was used for the Dark Warrior as well as Little John. In 1990, Toy Biz made a figure that looked like a cheap knock off of the Kenner Super Powers Hawkman, and it stunk up toy shelves. These two figures are only a small amount of toys made based on Hawkman, and for me are the two I remember the most from my youth. Check out the pics below to see what they look like.

Back in 1967, Filmation created a cartoon called “The Superman/Aquaman Hour Of Adventure” that featured 6 minute cartoons featuring the likes of Hawkman sandwiched between longer Superman and Aquaman toons. Hawkman would also go on to star in many other cartoons through the ages like Challenge Of The Super Friends, Super Powers Team: Galactic Guardians, Justice League Unlimited, The Batman, Batman: The Brave And The Bold and Young Justice, to name a few. It’s crazy to think that Hawkman has been a star in so many cartoons that spanned over many decades, and he is not nearly as remembered or loved by comic readers and those who grew up watching these toons. But again,, while he is not as popular as Batman, Superman or Wonder Woman the winged hero Hawkman still has made his mark on the world of cartoons.

Besides cartoons, Hawkman has also appeared in many live action shows and showed that while DC might not treat him with that much respect, young fans did indeed like Hawkman. In 1979, two episodes of a show called Legends Of The Superheroes were made that had Adam West and Burt Ward once more playing Batman and Robin. They were joined by many other heroes like Captain Marvel, Green Lantern, and yes, Hawkman who was played by Bill Nuckols and wore the classic outfit and hammed it up for both silly comedy kid friendly episodes that were called “The Challenge” and “The Roast”. Years later Hawkman would appear in several episodes of the hit show Smallville and was well liked by viewers, but sadly just like in the comics, they decided to kill the character off in Smallville. He was played by actor Michael Shanks. Hawkman, played by Falk Hentschel, would then go onto be in many other modern CW Shows based on DC Comic heroes like The Flash, Arrow and Legends Of Tomorrow and while he has yet to be in any live action films, here is to hoping that sometime in the future he will appear in a Justice League film. My favorite live action version of Hawkman is hands down from Legends Of The Superheroes as it’s super cheesy and his over dubbed loud hawk yell is the stuff of legend when it comes to bad TV from the 70’s, complete with laugh track. Plus while the other actors did a great job in their roles, they did not have the muscles and build to pull off the character right. Below are images from all the actors who have played Hawkman on these TV Shows and each have made their mark on the legacy of the character.

I first discovered Hawkman thanks to old comics that came from garage sales, and I was drawn in as I found the comics weird and entertaining. Besides the comics, the Kenner Super Powers figure was also a very big introduction to the character for me. Much like many of the Superheroes from DC, the main issue is that they have silly costumes and names and always seem dated as they fear making major changes to them and this causes lots of modern comic readers to dismiss some of the characters as out of time. But for me, the outdated look and Boy Scout attitude is what makes DC characters so different from those of Marvel. Over the years of buying comics from all the local shops, I always find myself picking up copies of All Star Squadron or Justice Society from .25 and $1.00 bins if Hawkman is on the cover as I enjoy reading about him trying to save the day. So this update is for Hawkman and Hawkwoman and all the creators behind them from the past and present.  While he might not be an A-List hero, he is a great hero who this comic reader has always enjoyed and it’s because of their hard work that made him so awesome.

So we are at the point of this update where we will be reviewing some Hawkman in the world of DC Comics.  The series I chose was The Shadow War Of Hawkman because I remember reading it when I was a youngster and want to see how well it holds up now that I am in my 30’s. I want to thank Bell, Book And Comic for having all the issues in stock and allowing me to be able to re-read them as it’s been too long. One thing I want to stress to all you comic collectors reading my blog is don’t be like me and sell off your collection at an early age to get money to help a girl you were dating at the time.  While I enjoyed my time with that girlfriend, I also have always regretted getting rid of 90% of my collection. With that, let me also once more remind you that I grade these on a star scale of 1 to 4 and am looking for how well the comic stays to the source material, its entertainment value and its art and story. So get your flight wings on, as we are going to war with Hawkman and Hawkwoman!

Shadow War Of Hawkman # 1  ***
Released in 1985     Cover Price .75     DC Comics     # 1 of 4

Mousy Mason is a down on his luck cat burglar who one stormy night is visited by a race of mean aliens who bully him into taking a heist for them to steal the anti gravity units from Hawkman and Hawkwoman and threaten him with harm if he refuses. Meanwhile in the city Hawkman and Hawkwoman stop a gang of crooks who have been targeting the elderly, and after making short work of them, they fly off and chat about their old home planet and whether it’s right to read the minds of humans if it is to help them. The pair change into their human identities of Carter Hall and Shiera and start to go to work as they need to set up an exhibit for Mavis Trent and her press agent Joe Tracy, but before they can start, an alarm goes off that someone has broken into their home.  Hawkman heads home to bust the intruder, and Shiera stays behind to work. As Hawkman gets home, he finds Mousy, and the pair are attacked by the aliens who murder Mousy with their vaporize gun and as quickly as they attack, they retreat. Hawkman figures out that this was just a distraction and rushes back to Hawkwoman’s side at the museum but finds that the aliens have been there and that they have used their terrible vaporize gun on Hawkwoman who is now nothing more than a shadow on a wall!

This first issue is as good as I remember it being and showcases why Hawkman is an amazing character that is underrated! The plot of this issue has Hawkman, who has just patched things up with Hawkwoman, at war with himself over the use of his alien powers to look into the minds of man. As he is dealing with that, a race of aliens with a powerful burning vaporizing gun have targeted our heroes as they want the technology that allows them to fly. Hawkman is a man deep in thought who knows that helping people is the right cause, but hates the fact that he can enter the mind of man and see what they are thinking. He is also very much homesick as he misses his home planet and it’s clear that all of this has been a strain on his relationship with Hawkwoman even though they are both very happy being with each other. While battling his own inner thoughts, when it comes to fighting Hawkman in this issue pulls no punches beating up thugs and aliens alike. Hawkwoman is such a cool character who clearly loves her mate as well as fighting crime.  She also has a sense of humor and sadly while fighting against aliens who attack her while at her day job, she is “killed” by their zap gun or so it seems. The aliens in this issue are true scumbags who use their weapons and powers to try and intimidate and kill those who they think are in their way.  They even kill two people just so they can steal a belt! Mousey Mason is just a crook who makes a living breaking into peoples homes, and he becomes the target of the aliens as they use him to distract Hawkman so they can attack Hawkwoman. This poor guy loses his life trying to help battle the aliens that have forced him to enter the home of Hawkman. Mavis Trent and Joe are great side characters with Mavis being a snob who has a crush on Hawkman and Joe Tracy is her smart mouth press agent who likes to tease her as it almost appears he has a crush on her. The cliffhanger of this issue, the “death” of Hawkwoman, is really well done and leaves the reader wanting to find out if she really is dead, and if so, how is Hawkman going to avenge her! The part that works really well for this comic is the fact that writer Tony Isabella mixes this superhero comic well with elements of drama, action, science fiction and even some comedy making for a solid read for fans of Hawkman. The cover for this first issue is fantastic and very eye catching and would surely draw in fans of the character as well as first time readers. The interior art is done by Richard Howell & Alfredo Alcala and is great stuff and showcases the great 80’s DC art style. Over all this is a great comic and held up very well for this comic reader and now makes me very much look forward to reading issue 2 again after all these years.

Shadow War Of Hawkman # 2  ***
Released in 1985    Cover Price .75     DC Comics    # 2 of 4

Eddie Hamilton is a young man who dares to dream of one day being a superhero.  He has the power to grow wings and fly if he thinks hard enough about it and even has a name he wants to be known as, The Icarus Kid! While training to control his power of flight in the farmlands of Kansas, those pesky aliens show up and use a new gun to shoot Eddie from the sky, and the blast burns him alive…the aliens have killed yet again! Meanwhile Hawkman is alone in the Museum room looking at the brunt shadow on the wall that was once his wife.  As he leaves the room he asks police Captain Frazier if he could chat with him for a moment, and Hawkman even snaps at artist Mavis Trent as he does not want to speak to the woman who has a crush on his alter ego. Hawkman opens up to Frazier and tells him who he really is and allows him to witness as he disposes of alien tech that he fears is the cause of this alien attack. Hawkman asks the Frazier to keep his men at the museum as he goes off the fight the aliens alone. Hawkman talks to the birds around his house and finds a hint of radiation and is able to pick up the aliens trails that leads him to the side of a mountain that is the hideout for the aliens. As Hawkman enters and make short work of some of the aliens, he soon finds that these aliens are from his own home planet of Thanagar and are working on orders from their government that wants them to conquer the Earth first and then the rest of the universe!

This second issue has the plot thicken as we learn why the aliens are attacking and that they are attacking superheroes in order to get them out of the way before the invasion that’s planned happens! This issue has Hawkman gearing up to avenge his wife’s murder as the aliens are killing and gearing up to attack the planet Earth in order to take it over. The shocking part of this issue is that the aliens are from Thanagar, the same home planet of Hawkman and Hawkwoman, and that their home world is now on a path to try and take over the universe! It also is shown that the alien who killed Hawkwoman was not supposed to, he was only told to capture her! Hawkman in this issue is heartbroken over the loss of his wife and wastes no time getting rid of the high powered tech he has hidden and sets out to bring the aliens to justice. Captain Frazier is a good cop who Hawkman respects, and our hero tells him his true identity as well as gets his help to keep the museum safe just in case the aliens come back. Mavis Trent is upset that the superheroes have caused her some delays and bad press for her art showing, but does seem to have something important that she would like to tell Hawkman, but he just blows her off. Joe Tracy in the issue really is a terrible human as he is more worried about bad press than he is that a brave hero just died before his very eyes. The aliens are super cold blooded and are cruel to mankind and even toward each other, and they clearly have lots of high tech weapons that could kill anyone who gets in their way. And poor Eddie Hamilton aka The Icarus Kid is killed before he can truly be a hero of the world. This issue is really great and had enough drama mixed into the action to build the mini series’ story up. The cover is great as is the interior art once more done by Richard Howell & Alfredo Alcala, making this second issue just as good as the first. This issue holds up to my childhood memories, and I can’t wait to see if issue 3 does as well.

Shadow War Of Hawkman # 3  ***
Released in 1985     Cover Price .75     DC Comics    # 3 of 4

The alien who killed Hawkwoman gets a punishment from his fellow kind as they make his mind and soul bound to a computer, making him a living instrument of information and mind reading. Meanwhile Hawkman is trying to get answer from the aliens he has just beat up and finds that his home world has lost all technology and that they are no longer advanced in the ways of weapons and that’s why they targeted him and his wife. As Hawkman gets his answers, he is attacked by a group of the aliens who beat him down and bind him and just as they are going to steal his anti gravity belt, the aliens are blasted by a stun blast fired by Hawkwoman!! The heroes escape the base and after they are safely away, they take a moment to catch up with each other and Hawkwoman explains that she was not killed in the museum, and it was Mavis Trent who was killed as the artist was the one in the costume, and after she was murdered, Hawkwoman quickly dressed as her in order not to be attacked and killed herself. The pair decided that they can not get any help from anyone as they cannot allow the enemy to find out about their hidden ship and tech and travel to JLA Headquarters in order to erase their history and to do so ,they must stun Aquaman and Elongated Man, but just as they are to erase their history from the computers the screen shows a message from the aliens who have found their old war ship and are on their way to attack and kill them!

Wow, this issue is a roller coaster of emotions as we go from thinking Hawkwoman is dead to finding out she is alive and well! This issue’s plot has Hawkman and Hawkwoman attacking and retreating the aliens and having to sneak around and attack fellow Justice League Of America in order to keep the war they are fighting in the shadows and protect the Earth and all the people on it including those with super powers. The aliens meanwhile have figured out a way to read minds and all the world’s computer information and have highjacked the hidden spaceship of the Hawks and are on a path to use the ship to kill them! Hawkman in this issue is filled with rage and wants to not only get information from the aliens but also wants to beat them to death! His mood changes when he finds that his wife is alive, and he is filled with joy but also has the will to save the world from an unknown terror that they do not know is coming. Hawkwoman is alive and is sad that Mavis Trent died in her place, but also knows that she must pull it together and with her husband stop this Shadow War. One cool thing also in this issue is having Aquaman and Elongated Man in cameos, and it’s sad as both Hawkman and Hawkwoman feel bad that they had to stun their friends with guns in order to achieve their goal. This third issue also does a great job of building the story of the Shadow War and makes the readers wonder how Hawkman is going to stand up to a space ship that is hellbent on killing him! The cover for this issue is as well great and has Hawkman fighting with both Elongated Man and Aquaman, and the interior art once more rocks and is done by the team of Richard Howell & Alfredo Alcala and is such great 80’s DC style. With the alien ship heading toward our heroes and this issue as well holding up to this long time comic reader, I think it’s time to read the final issue in this mini series.

Shadow War Of Hawkman # 4  ***
Released in 1985     Cover Price .75     DC Comics     # 4 of 4

The aliens of Thanagar have started their war with earth in secret as they have used their mind reading computer to get the dirty little secrets of people in power and will use it against them unless they go along with what they say. Meanwhile Hawkman and Hawkwoman leave the JLA Headquarters with Aquaman and Elongated Man still knocked out and beam themselves aboard their old ship and are met with aliens who want them dead! Our heroes fight off the waves of gun firing aliens and make their way to the ships second control room in order to override its controls as they find out the ship is going to crash land in Detroit on purpose starting the war and making a statement for all mankind. While Hawkwoman works to overwrite the controls, Hawkman battles an alien and gets stabbed as they also cut off the air supply to the ship. Hawkman wounded takes over the controls and does what he thinks is best to save lives and that is he blows up his own ship just as he and Hawkwoman beam down to Earth and the explosion kills all but one of the aliens as the leader of this task force also beams down, but he meets his fate at the hands of the mega mind reading computer who uses all its last energy to blast it’s one time captain. The bleeding and wounded Hawkman and his wife Hawkwoman have saved the world from a war they did not even know was happing. In the end the new artist hired at the museum is shown to be a spy from Thanagar and the Shadow War has really just began!

The Shadow War comes to an end thanks to the heroic efforts of Hawkman and Hawkwoman who had to put their own lives, friendships and even ever returning to their home planet on the line, and the sad part is no one besides the aliens they beat and themselves will ever really know what they did to save the Earth. This final issue in the mini series plot has Hawkman and Hawkwoman beaming aboard their highjacked war ship and beating up some aliens and then blowing up their own ship that has been set to blow up Detroit by the aliens! Hawkman in this issue once more shows that he is a skilled fighter, but also is super smart and can use his brain to also defeat his enemies. Hawkwoman as well shows that she is smart and super skilled in combat and proves why she is not a sidekick but a full fledge equal in the superhero partnership. The Aliens from Thanagar so wanted to kill our heroes as well as start the war full force showing that they were cold blooded and murder and mayhem was what they enjoyed. While they might now have been super powered super villains they still were a major threat to the world as we all know and love it. The thing that works so well about this comic mini series is that at all times the odds seem against Hawkman and Hawkwoman and they seem to be trying so hard not to alert Earth to the battle and war that is gearing up to crash down on them, and all this dread and heroic moments makes this feel really more epic than it should feel. And this is why as a kid I really liked this comic series and even now as an adult I find myself still very much enjoying it. The cover of the fourth and final issue is well done and has our heroes beating up the aliens and the interior art once more is crafted by Richard Howell & Alfredo Alcala and show that they are a pair of artist that work so well together. Over all this is a great read for fans of the character Hawkman as well as those who enjoy 80’s era of DC Comics as this is a cool mini series that showcases why Hawkman is still around to this day in comics, no matter how neglected I feel he is by DC. Below is some cool artwork from this cool comic series, so check it out!

So now that we have witnessed Hawkman win the Shadow War, I think it’s time we walk away from the world of DC Comics and their underrated heroes and into a world with giant monsters that come from the deep where our only hope is giant two person controlled robots….that’s right, we will be entering the world of Pacific Rim! Thanks for spending some time with me here at Rotten Ink, and I really do hope you friends and readers enjoy my updates as much as I do writing them. So until next time, read a comic or three, watch a movie or two and as always support your local Horror Host! See you next update as we talk about war ready robots!

Alien Invasion: Alien Nation

Imagine if tomorrow we found out that there is life on other planets.  Now imagine them coming to Earth and working everyday jobs alongside us; how would your mind handle this? Would you fear them because they were different and not born on Earth? Would you embrace them as fellow living beings? What kind of languages, religions and cultures would they share with us? I for one would be very interested to learn about and from them and would embrace them as fellow living beings….that is unless they are like the aliens from Mars Attacks or Independence Day.  Then I would say we as the world would need to come together and drive them from our planet! Today’s update is an Alien Invasion update that brings aliens to Earth who want to become productive members of our very own society and want to be treated with respect.  These aliens are The Tenctonese aka the Newcomers and are from the film Alien Nation that spawned a TV show, comic books and novels, and we will be digging into the DC Comic adaptation of the film as well as explore the world of the film that was released by 20th Century Fox in 1988! So sit back look to the skies and think about alien friendship, as I am proud to bring you Alien Invasion: Alien Nation.

So let’s start this invasion off right and take a look at the film that this comic is based on, as without this film Alien Nation would not be a cult classic film that many Sci-Fi fans enjoy and love still to this day. The movies write up will be taken from our good friends at IMDB, and after that, I will write a little about my first time seeing Alien Nation as well a few more memories of its legacy.

Alien Nation (1988)

“A few years from now, Earth will have the first contact with an alien civilisation. These aliens, known as Newcomers, slowly begin to be integrated into human society after years of quarantine but are victims of a new type of discrimination. When the first Newcomer police officer, San Francisco is assigned his new partner, he is given Matthew Sykes, a mildly racist veteran, the animosity between them soon gives way to respect as they investigate the Newcomer underworld, and especially Newcomer leader William Harcourt.”

I can remember the ads on TV and in the newspaper for the release of Alien Nation. It really piqued my interest as growing up in the 80’s, just like Horror and Fantasy films, for me Science Fiction was a big genre as films like Star Trek, Star Wars, Aliens, Enemy Mine, Blade Runner, Back To The Future, Planet Of The Apes and Last Starfighter were all popular with fans and my generation as a whole. But sadly, I was not able to go to the theater and see Alien Nation as my parents did not want to go to see it, plus it was rated R so could not see it on my own as I was only around 9 years old when it was out. It would be some years later when I first got to see it thanks to a VHS rental from a local video store on a weekend. I can remember the whole family watching it and all of us enjoying it as it felt like it was a film that had a deeper meaning behind it and yet felt like a true modern style science fiction film. After the first time watching it, we saw it a few other times as it would later go on to be shown on paid cable stations we had, and at some point I ended up buying it on VHS. The film had an amazing cast that included James Caan, Terence Stamp and Mandy Patinkin, all of whom were fantastic in their roles with Stamp and Patinkin being unrecognizable in their roles as aliens. After seeing the film I can also remember watching the TV Show Alien Nation that started in 1989, and I remember finding some of the comics from Adventure Comics years down the line at The Bookie Parlor and can remember going crazy when I got to read the cross over mini series they did with Planet Of The Apes called Ape Nation in 1991. But by the mid 90’s sadly Alien Nation had lost its footing in the world of pop culture as the TV Show was cancelled after only 22 episodes and the comic series from Adventure Comics ended in 1992. But while Alien Nation never got a movie sequel or even a more modern comic series, it still remains a classic 80’s Science Fiction film that I think everyone should check out.

The Tenctonese are from the planet of Tencton and are human like in appearance besides their heads, which have no hair on them and are slightly bigger with reddish spots on them that also run down their spines. They are stronger than a normal man as well as smarter as they were born and bred in order to be slaves. They eat food raw and that includes meat and veggies and in order to get drunk, they gulp down soured milk! They can be poisoned and die by such things as chocolate, tobacco and fluoride with salt almost being like acid to them as it can burn their skin. Their nerves and organs are different than ours as is the way they make love and things that can harm humans seem to have no effect on them including many types of poisons. They also look at sex as something special and not taboo and find adult movies childish. So what I am trying to say is that while they can be killed, they are definitely smarty and stronger than us and if they were real and here on Earth we would be smart to work with them and not against them as they could very much be our downfall!

So we have talked about the film as well as the Tenctonese, and I think it’s time to take a look at the DC Comic adaptation of the film and get this invasion going! I also just want to say that one other reason I think I have always enjoyed Alien Nation is the fact besides being a good science fiction film it also is a good buddy cop film! But if you look in the sky, a message has just been written in the stars and it says, “I grade these on a star scale of 1 to 4 and am looking for how well the comic stays to the source material, its entertainment value and its art and story”! So let’s get to it and see if the comic holds up as good as the movie.

Alien Nation # 1  ***
Released in 1988       Cover Price $2.50       DC Comics       # 1 of 1

It’s been three years since the Newcomers came down from space on their ship and became part of the populace in America.  This anniversary is all over the news and is causing people to remember where they were when the aliens landed. While on duty, cops Matthew Sykes and Bill Tuggle are involved in a shootout with some robber newcomers who leave Bill dead and Sykes very bitter toward Newcomers. He decides to team up with promoted Newcomer officer Sam “George” Francisco as he thinks he might be able to help him find who killed his partner as a rash of fake robbery murders have been taken place targeting the aliens. Sykes and Francisco follow the leads and find out one of the gunmen from the robbery worked at a gas plant and that’s the connection between the cop killing and the Newcomer killings. The pair of cops go around and uncover clues and even along the way start to build a friendship as they both see that their job and family is what matters in both of their lives. And soon George opens up to Sykes and lets him in on a Newcomer secret that there is a powerful drug that was made that all Newcomers took when they arrived and some got addicted to it.  The drug has side effects, and he thinks that this drug is the reason for all the killings. They finally are able to figure out that Newcomer William Harcourt is the man behind the killings as well as the man behind making the drugs, and when George and Sykes go to arrest him, he overdoses on the drug and turns into a raging hulking alien monster who stalks Sykes down trying to kill him.  This fight leads them to the ocean, and Sykes is only able to beat Harcourt when he pushes the supped up alien into the salt water that acts as acid and burns him up. George is able to pull Sykes out of the water and into a helicopter and they solve the case, destroy all the drug, take down the super powered alien bad guy and still make it to Sykes daughter’s wedding.

This DC Comic adaptation of the film Alien Nation is a great read and holds the magic of the film and even quickens the pace slightly and delivers a great buddy cop science fiction comic. The film’s plot has a cop whose partner is killed by an alien and his next partner is from the same alien race that murdered his last.  He must learn to put aside his hatred in order to solve the case and become a more tolerate person. This comic does a fantastic job of blending all the elements that made the film special together to make for a quick pace comic. Matthew Sykes is a cop who is good at his job but fails in life at being a good person as he has a rough and hateful attitude, but as he goes long on one of his most important cases he learns to try and be a better person and not hate those who are different from him. Officer Sam “George” Francisco is a Newcomer and the first of his race to be on the force and climb the ranks, he is a good cop who is by the book and he as well learns by the end of this case to lighten up and finds friendship and understands its value in life. Our main bad guy is William Harcourt who is as well a Newcomer and is a rich alien who is very slimy and is involved with drug making, selling and the murders of his fellow race! And once he is discovered to be a scumbag he overdoses on his own drug and causes himself to become a hulking mutant alien and does his best to murder our two main characters! This comic is filled with action, drama and even a little dark humor and this helped add to the enjoyment of the read, and proves that many comic adaptations of films can be well done. The cover to this comic is well done and is eye catching for fans of the film, and the interior artwork is pretty good and is done by Jerry Bingham. Over all this is an entertaining and good comic based on a cult classic film and is worth a read for those who enjoy Aliens and Buddy Cop stories. Check out some artwork below and see what this comic has in store for you.

Alien Nation is a great science fiction film about an alien invasion that allows them to live among us and not try and take us over like say Independence Day or hunt us for sport like Predator that I have covered here at Rotten Ink in the past. But I think it’s time to leave this Alien Invasion behind and crank open another Undead File for our next update as we will take a look at the Original Walking Dead series! So until next time, read a comic or three, watch an Alien film or two and as always support your local Horror Host! See you next time for a zombie gut munching of a good time!

 

Robotech: Defenders Not To Be Confused With The Anime Robotech

Robots ruled the 80’s and early 90’s.  I know I have said this before, but it was so true.  Toy aisles were filled with Transformers, Go-Bots, Robotix, Robocop and Robo Force to name a few, and they were always a hit on the playground as almost every kid I knew owned tons of Go-Bots and Transformers.  Many even drew pictures of robots as they seemed like the most popular during my youth! Not to mention that also around this time lots of Japanese cartoons were being dubbed, renamed and repackaged for American audiences, and if you think we are going to be chatting about Robotech, the anime that took US by storm in 1985, you are sadly wrong as we will be talking about the model kits from Revell that helped name the famed series that many of you know and love to this day. So sit back, grab an oil can and let’s briefly dive into the world of Robotech: Defenders, the models and the comic mini series from DC.

Revell was founded in 1943 by Lewis H. Glaser, an entrepreneur from California who made kitchen products that were heavy on plastics.  Their first major toy/kit released was a HO scale train set, and this started the company down the path of being one of the top early plastic model makers as they became kit makers in 1945. By the 1950’s they started making models of cars like the Ford Model T as they teamed with English company Gowland Brothers and these models became a hit in the American market. And these type of older cars would be released many times by the company under all types of line names as model makers seemed to not be able to get enough of the classic cars. In the 50’s they also made models of battleships, airplanes, rocket ships and even modern cars of the time. By the 1960s the market had changed and so did Revell’s releases as they focused on Hotrods and racing cars.  This kept them at the top of the line for those who enjoyed the hobby of model building. But the party of being one of the companies at the top of models came to a harsh end when the 80s came around and kids of the time wanted to get new interests like video games, comic books, sports cards and action figures and the bubbled burst on the world of model kits as sales became very weak and companies who made their fortune with these plastic kits found themselves losing profits.  Revell even merged with another company only to once more be on its own two feet in around 1983. By 1986 Revell was bought by Odyssey Partners who had the model kit brand Monogram, and they decided to merge the two companies using both brand names to try and keep them alive. But while fighting to get plastic model kits to be in fashion again, Revell was bought by Hallmark Cards in 1994 as they wanted to try and cash in on the products they made.  By 2007, they as well sold Revell this time to Hobbico Inc. and still to this day are the parent company. Also I should note that Germany also had a branch of Revell that is also owned by Hobbico, who bought them in 2012. While I have never been a model kit kind of guy, I can respect the hobby and do enjoy seeing the ones people have built based on monsters. So this was a quick crash course on Revell as a company and to sum it up they make plastic model kits and have been bought and sold several times.

Back in 1985, DC Comics decided to make a deal with Revell to make a comic series based on their model kits called Robotech: Defenders, and I think we should take a few moments to take a look at the history of the Revell model kits of the same name. As you have read, Revell was in some trouble finically back in the 80s as they were at one time one of the biggest names in plastic model kits.  They needed new life breathed into the stale market of cars, boats and planes and decided to jump on the giant mecha robot craze that was sweeping Japan at the time to see if they could as well make it stick here in America.  So they licensed kits from foreign kit makers and put them out under a name they created called “Robotech: Defenders” and unleashed these in the American and European markets. This series had a higher price, and while they did okay in America, they did not fare well in Europe as sales were low. But while the kits were trying to bring in money for Revell, it was media company Harmony Gold USA that helped make Robotech: Defenders a payday! You see Harmony Gold USA had bought the rights to Japanese anime series Macross to release in the American market, and the downside for them is that Revell had licensed the model kits of Macross and this made for a bad situation as market confusion could ruin both parties’ plans of making big cash on their investments. So Harmony Gold made a deal with Revell to co-license Robotech, and this became the series that American fans watched and loved as Robotech was used for the models and the anime! So as you can see Revell turned a semi hit plastic model kit line into a beloved anime that had nothing to really do with each other as nothing but the name was used for the toon. So if you’re a fan of the anime, these model kits and the story of its characters has nothing to do with your characters. Check out some of the model kits packages below.

Robotech: Defenders was the birth of the Robotech universe here in America even if the product itself had zero to do with the anime that has made the name Robotech mean something to fans. But Revell themselves really did believe in their plastic model kits and even before the Harmony Gold USA deal, they had a team up with DC Comics to make a 3 issue comic mini series to give their models a back story and to market them to youngsters who were enjoying reading comics at the time. The funny thing is that when the deal with Harmony Gold USA came into play,  they did not want the comics to confuse their watchers and when combined with the the poor sales of issue # 1, this comic mini series went from 3 issue to being wrapped up in 2! So here we go my friends and readers, I think we should move onto the comic review part of this update as I am really interested to see what kind of personalities DC came up with to give to plastic models! I want to thank Half Price Books for having both issues in stock and for even alerting me that this series was even made. And as I climb into my favorite mech-suit, the computer system keeps repeating this “You, Matthew, grade these comics on a star scale of 1 to 4 and you are looking for how well the comic stays to the source material, its entertainment value and its art and story,” and this robotic voice is right! So sit back and relax, and let’s see what this Robotech: Defenders is all about.

Robotech: Defenders # 1  **1/2
Released in 1985    Cover Price $.75    DC Comics    # 1 of 2

The planet Zolteck is under attack by an evil race of aliens called Grelons who have advanced weapons and lay waste to towns. Opposing the evil aliens are the Robotech: Defenders, a group of noble pilots who risk it all to save innocent lives and bring the Grelons down. Malek is the leader of the Robotech: Defenders, and Zolteck was her home planet.  Now all that’s left after the battle was a stone statue of a robot that turns out to really be a giant robot mech-suit! Malek in her new robot fighting machine tracks down the warship that attacked her home planet, and she makes quick work of it, and best of all the suit alerts her that they are six more mechs like hers on different planets. Her team is fellow human Dex and aliens Eedon, Icik, Akros, Scal and Silky, and they are all ready to find the mech suits and take the war back to the Grelons who started the war months back after killing ambassadors of planets who would not allow the Grelons to take over other planets, so they made a deal with S’Landrai the adviser for an alien race to get machines of war. Meanwhile our heroes all travel to their home planets and each find their robot waiting for them and as they all meet back up on Zolteck, the Grelons attack with hundreds of battle bots and the Robotech: Defenders must gear up and get ready for the fight of their life.

This comic about giant robots that is based on plastic model kits was way better than what I expected as I found it to be a nice touch of action, adventure and science fiction all wrapped around a traditional space war story. The plot is pretty simple and has a terrible race of aliens making a deal with another alien race in order to take over other planets.  The only thing standing against them is a group of pilots who find ancient mech robot suits and are the galaxy’s only hope. Our main hero is Malek, a wise female pilot who’s spirit is almost broken when she witnessed the destruction of her home planets town, but she gets her fighting spirit back when she finds the giant robot. Her crew is loyal and also understand that in this war that they might not survive as the odds are against them, but they as well find a new insight on the battle when they get their own robots. The Grelons are being lead by Ssegma, who is the brains behind these attacks that are leaving planets destroyed.  They are barbaric and think of nothing more than universe domination. Not much at this point is known about S’Landrai, who is the alien who’s people are supplying the Grelons with their weapons of world destruction. This first issue does a great job of building and introducing or heroes and villains and makes you want to learn more about them in the issue to come. They also do a great job of leaving you with a cliff hanger that makes you wonder how our heroes will survive a horde of 100 war bots rushing them with orders to destroy. The cover is pretty badass and showcases our hero robots and I am sure was very eye appealing for kids and readers at the time. The interior art is solid and done by Judith Hunt and is topnotch 80’s DC stuff. Over all this was a way better read than I was going in thinking it would be and I really can’t wait to see how this story plans out. So with that let’s head to issue # 2 and see how Robotech: Defenders save the galaxy.

Robotech: Defenders # 2   **1/2
Released in 1985     Cover Price $.75 .    DC Comics     # 2 of 2

The Robotech: Defenders are ready for war and do well against the ground bots but are over matched by the warship high above that leaves our robot hero team defeated and one member Silky dead. The Grelons bring up the robots to the monster warship and start heading toward their home planet. Malek figures out that they all must push the glowing red buttons in the suits and the robots come alive and have a mind of their own and escape the warship and go into hiding to repair themselves and inform the humans/aliens that the true evil is S’Landrai who is a parasite and is using the Grelons to fulfill is own evil plan! And that they need to get back the fallen robot that was driven by Silky if they want to win this battle.  With the help of a Cyba, a Grelon General who has turned against his race, after hearing the true plan of worlds destruction they come up with a plan to get the robot back and they do when Cyba and Dex enter the planet under the guise of the human being a captive and as a team they active the robot and get him back to his friends. Meanwhile S’Landrai is pissed and uses his power to kill Ssegma and some of his warriors in order to steal their energy and try and bring some of his own race back, and by doing this he also destroys the planet of Grelon! As the Robotech: Defenders are reunited the plan is for one rider and one robot to arrive at their planet and wait for the attack of the S’Landrai who are using satellites to steal the energy of planets and leave the world dead and everything on it in order for them to steal the life energy and become powerful once again. As the attacks are launched some of the Robotech: Defenders stop the launches while other fail as both sides are in a power struggle to get the upper hand, and this all comes to ahead as the Robotech: Defenders face off with the S’Landrai mothership and while out gunned they are not outsmarted as the Defenders reroute the syphon satellites to the sun and the power surge explodes the S’Landrai mother ship and ends the war as they are all killed. The Robotech: Defenders and their riders return to the planet Zolteck and stick together to rebuild what was destroyed.

The battle to save the worlds was won by the Robotech: Defenders, and I can not say I am shocked as even when the odds was bad and their spirits broken they never ever fully gave up on hope and fought until they could change the odds into their favor. The plot as Malek and her crew finding out that their new robots also have a mind of their own and that they have been awaken in order to stop the destruction of a galaxy by the hands of a parasite race called the S’Landrai who are using the Grelons in order to drain planets of their life in order to feed their hunger for the energy. The robots are all ready for battle but weird enough they as well at times seem to make dumb mistakes just like the riders did and while in the end they do win they used brains and not the massive weapons they had to win. Malek and her team seemed loss as they no longer are in charge of the war as they are just going along for the ride as its clear the bots are in charge now. I did really like General Cyba who turns against his race the Grelons in order to stop the multiple worlds destruction and even takes the place of Silky who died during the first wave of attacks. The S’Landrai are real scumbags as they live off the live energy of the others and kill whole planets and everything on it just to feed, so when they get blown up at the end of this story you find yourself cheering! The Grelons who as well crave power are just puppets and when they cross the true evil of their puppet master the S’Landrai they are squashed like a bug. So if you really look at this story, its like World War III in space as you have the S’Landrai, the Grelons and Robotach: Defenders all really in a struggle against each other each with their own reasons. It’s funny how this comic drew me in when I am not a model kit nor an anime kind of guy and I found this series well written and entertaining and no joke it really surprised me on its over all quality. The cover for issue two is ok and reminds me for some reason of issue # 2 of the DC Comic mini series for Power Lords another toy line from the 80’s that we will have to cover sometime. The interior art is done by Judith Hunt as well as Mike Manley and is really great and captures the magic that was 80s comic style. Over all this is a really cool mini series and by all accounts made plastic model kits cool. Check out the art below to see what this series looks like.

So crazy as it sounds, this mini series made me want to check out the comics based on the Robotech anime series and sometime do an update about it…well maybe not as I just never see myself watching the toon in order to do the update justice. So for our next update we are walking away from robot plastic model kits and into the world of horror films as we are going to kick off our countdown to Halloween a little early with a “From Horror Movie To Horror Comic” update.  The film we will be chatting about is the low budget flick Legend Of Diablo from 2004 and the Image Comic based on it. So until next time, read a comic or three, build a model kit or two and as always support your local Horror Host! See you all next update as we explore the legend of Azar!