Star Trek VI: The Rotten DC Country

As you can see, you have found yourself on Rotten Ink and on another trip down memory lane with the crew of the USS Enterprise as this time around we will be talking about Star Trek VI that has Captain Kirk and his crew once more at odds with Klingons when he is framed for the murder of a high ranking Klingon. And like most of the past films in the series, DC Comics was the company who took up the task of making the adaptation. This sixth film has an interesting back story of cheap budget, anniversary and even rumors of a star taking naughty photos on the set, so with those teasers lets get to the bridge and take flight through space with Captain Kirk and his crew as we try and beat a murder wrap and find that undiscovered country.

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So let’s take a few moments and talk about the film Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country. I will be taking the films write up from our pals at IMDB, and then I will talk about the films production as well as a little about my thoughts on the film. So let’s jump to warp speed and talk part six.

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Star Trek VI: Undiscovered Country (1991)

“On the eve of retirement, Kirk and McCoy are charged with assassinating the Klingon High Chancellor and imprisoned. The Enterprise crew must help them escape to thwart a conspiracy aimed at sabotaging the last best hope for peace.”

The fifth film in the series was a disappointment at the box office for Paramount Pictures and the future of the Star Trek films was on shaky ground, but they knew that they needed to do something as the series 25th Anniversary was coming up and they wanted to do something to celebrate it but also did not want to spend a lot of money on a new film. And then ideas and scripts started to be pitched and considered with the first one being about The Starfleet Academy and would feature younger versions of Kirk, Spock and other characters from the classic series and would have focused mostly on Doctor McCoy who would be telling the story of how they all meet to recruits at the academy. And this cool idea was viewed very negatively by most of the original cast, heads at Paramount and even Gene Roddenberry himself and this caused Harve Bennett to be fired from Star Trek projects. And during this time even Walter Koening tried to create a new script that would have Starfleet and the Romulans teaming up to go to war with the Klingons and would see almost all the cast die in the end besides Spock and McCoy…this as well was not green lighted nor was an idea for the original cast to meet the cast of Star Trek The Next Generation. And it was an idea by Leonard Nimoy and the screenplay by director Nicholas Meyer that ended up being the bases for the sixth film in the series.

After the screenplay was locked Paramount gave the film the small budget of only $27million and filming started April 16, 1991 and needed to wrap on September 27, 1991 as Paramount wanted the film in theaters in December for a Holiday release. And during filming many coast cutting measures was used to keep the film in the given budget and they even filmed some parts at the iconic Bronson Canyon in California that has been the set for many iconic TV Shows and Movies over the years including such Horror and Sci-Fi films as “White Zombie (1932)”, “The Vampire Bat (1933)”. “Robot Monster (1953)”, “Invasion Of The Body Snatchers (1956)”, “Return Of Dracula (1958)”, “Equinox (1970)” and “Army Of Darkness (1992)” to name a very small few. I should also note that many classic heroes films, shows and serials has been shot here as well like Superman, Batman. Dick Tracy, Flash Gordon and Captain Marvel. The film would be scored by Cliff Eidelman and it would be released in theaters of December 6, 1991 and was meet with mostly positive reviews from critics as well as fans. But one sad thing is that Gene Roddenberry would pass away on October 24, 1991 at the age of 70 from heart failure and never got to see the film released. Star Trek VI would go on to bring in $96,888,996.00 worldwide and be the # 15 top grossing films in 1991 beating out such films as JFK, What About Bob?. Boyz In The Hood, The Rocketeer, Thelma & Louise, Freddy’s Dead: The Final Nightmare, People Under The Stairs, Child’s Play 3, Ernest Scared Stupid, Drop Dead Fred and Suburban Commando to name a few. Over the years this film is also considered one of the best in the Original Cast Star Trek films and is still talked about and respected to this day. And I can see why I have always liked this film and have good memories once more of seeing the film in school and enjoying it for all the strange moments of the prison and the aliens that made it up. This film is also iconic for me as it marks the final film that features the classic crew all together and truly marks the end of a era of Science Fiction characters for me as while I like the reboots of Star Trek no once can replace these actors in those roles.

Star Trek VI is such a fun film and from the first time I seen it via renting it on VHS when released I was a fan as I felt that it was a great story that once more pitted Captain Kirk against the Klingons and really built up the bond and friendship between Kirk and McCoy. While the cast was getting older it was awesome to see the character they played as well grow as well as be promoted and yet all still remain friends and stick by each other during the ups and downs. It’s crazy to thank that this film is the last to feature all of the original cast together and while it’s not my favorite film in the series I feel that it was a fun one to go out on as it brings Captain Kirk and the Klingons back together and a healing moment happens for Kirk. I also think that casting David Warner as the Klingon High Council member Gorkon was very cool as I knew him from the films Tron, The Omen, Nightwing, Time Bandits, Waxwork and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles II: Secret Of The Ooze and seeing him as a Klingon was fun. And growing up I owned this film on VHS and later DVD, I also had the paperback and comic adaptations as well as the films score on CD. I need to also point out that while they cut the films budget very low the film does not feel cheap, just a little less polished than the other films in the series. If you have not seen this film and enjoy Classic Star Trek make sure to give this one a watch.

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Like all Star Trek films the merchandise machine was in full effect as they wanted to make a little extra money off it just in case if the box office numbers needed help. And besides the comic and of course home media release you also got the soundtrack, magazines, toys, novel, posters and shirts and like all other Star Trek movie merchandise that came before it fans flocked to buy it all up. And over the years I have had and have much of this as I still own the film on DVD as well as many of the toys, the novel and soundtrack. And at one point I had a few magazines featuring the film. I must say I do really like the classic Playmates Star Trek toys as they were well done for the time and covered all eras of the classic series and films. So if you are a fan of Star Trek VI, make sure to track down some of its merchandise for your collection.

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Ok before we move onto the comic review part of this Star Trek themed update we need to talk about the fact that actress Kim Cattrall and her character Valeris are super attractive in this film I mean Kim was already a 80’s Actress Sex Symbol with her roles in such films as Police Academy, Big Trouble In Little China, Mannequin and Honeymoon Academy to name a few all adding to movie goers noticing her beauty. And when she took a roll in the then newest Star Trek film the world of Sci-Fi started to really take notice of her looks and her acting talent. And man did she look great as a Vulcan and in a Star Fleet Office uniform! And come on any of you fellow Trekkies out there know just how great it is to see an attractive woman in a Trek uniform. Rumor has it that Leonard Nimoy was not a fan of Kim’s on set as he thought she was driven by ego and again just a rumor is that she and her boyfriend at the time took sexy pictures of herself on the USS Enterprise set and this was the final straw for Nimoy who caught her doing so and forced them to destroy the pictures and made it that she would never work on a Star Trek project again…but again this was all just a rumor. But one thing is for sure and that’s Kim made her mark in the world of Star Trek and looked good doing it.

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Well I think we are at the point to travel to that Undiscovered Country with the crew of the USS Enterprise and DC Comics and see how this comic adaptation compares to the film it’s based on. And this is a comic I am looking forward to re-reading as its been a very long time sense I did so, and I also would like to thank Mavericks Cards And Comics for having this comic in stock and making this update possible. I would like to also remind you 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 lets head to the criminal trail of Captain Kirk and Doctor McCoy and see how and if they can beat the murder rap they are on the hook for.

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Star Trek VI # 1
Released in 1991     Cover Price $2.95     DC Comics     # 1 of 1

Captain Sulu and his crew have just finished up a three year mission and as they are returning an explosion from a Klingon owned moon rocks the star ship and worse when they call the planet to see if they need help the Klingons refuse it, and Sulu ends up calling for the Starfleet for help. Days pass and at a big Starfleet meeting Spock gives a speech about helping The Klingons who’s ozone is damaged after the moon explosion and that in 50 Years their planet will be unlivable and that Klingon Ambassador Gorkon is willing to call for peace in order to get help, and the Starfleet are torn on if they should trust them and help and Captain Kirk is against helping them! But after talk they majority vote to help and Spock has volunteered Kirk and the Enterprise to host Gorkon through federation territory and to the meeting, Kirk is not happy as he hates them but does so with his classic crew as well a new crew member Valeris a Vulcan who graduated at the top of her class. That evening Captain Kirk and the Enterprise Crew host Gorkon and his crew for dinner and that includes General Chang who clearly does not like Kirk, and the dinner ends in arguments between the two sides. Latter the ship of Gorkon is attacked by torpedo’s being fired by the Enterprise to Kirk and the crews shock as well as two masked men beam aboard the Klingon ship and shoot and kill Gorkon! After the attack General Chang blames Kirk for the attack as well as Doctor McCoy who tired to medically help Gorkon for his murder and this forces the two to be put to trial via Klingon law and are found guilty and sent to a frozen prison planet. Meanwhile Spock, Valeris, Scotty, Uhura and Chekov are all trying to figure out what happened as the ships computers are conflicting with each other on if the torpedo’s came from the Enterprise as well as some interference is keeping them from talking with Starfleet. While on the frozen prison planet Kirk and McCoy meet female alien Martia who fills them in on the rules of this prison, while on the Enterprise Spock leads a search of the ship in order to find the assassins. Kirk and McCoy are able to escape the prison with the help of Martia who was a spy for the Klingons and is killed during the escape and are beamed back to the Enterprise where they have discovered that a new cloaked Klingon Bird Of Prey ship is the one who fired the torpedo’s and that Valeris is the one who was the traitor of the Enterprise and helped set up the assassination. Kirk gets the help of Sulu and they head to the peace talks as another assassination is going to take place and they bring down General Chang who was one of the masterminds behind this framing of Kirk and is in the Bird Of Prey that is now blown up that fired on Gorkon’s ship. Once at the peace talks Kirk and his crew stop the assassination and expose the members of both sides that wanted the peace talks to fail, and Kirk forgives the Klingons for the death of his son and as all things change for the good Kirk knows this was the final ride for the Enterprise with him in as Captain.

This comic adaptation is very well done and DC Comics once more proved that they knew how to adapt the Star Trek films into comics! The plot is best summed up this way Captain Kirk and Dr. McCoy are framed for the murder of a high ranking Klingon and are sent to a prison planet were they have to try and escape the clear their names and expose the Klingon traitor who has set up the whole thing to cause more tension and possible war between Starfleet and the Klingons as he thinks his people have gone soft. This plot is very cool and is kind of deep as it shows Race Tension between several different alien races and shows that all people are the same and there is good and bad in everyone as we all have the goal of just living our lives, and it also shows that people will come together for a common goal and that can be something positive or something foul. Captain Kirk goes from being very angry and hating the Klingon race for the death of his son, and by the end learns that forgiveness and change is what is best for the galaxy. And like always Kirk is a ladies man and a hero and risks his life several time in order to escape and do the right thing and that’s solve a murder, make sure peace is meet and to clear his name of murder. Doctor McCoy who does not trust the Klingon’s does do his best to save the life of one, but does not understand the biology of them and is not able to help. Spock along with Scotty, Uhura and Chekov do what they can to solve this murder mystery and of course figure it all out and save lives and Spock is the key to help Kirk grow as a person. Valeris and General Chang are the two masterminds behind the killing of Gorkon as they both on the side that The Klingons and Starfleet should never trust each other and that being at war is what is needed. I think what is great is that General Chang is so ego driven that even before he is blown up he is bragging and thinking he is in charge of the battle, such a great and sleazy bad guy. The comic does a great job of keeping the pace of the story going and yet also keeps all the important speeches and exchanges between characters. I also have to say that while they are around Sulu, Scotty, Uhura and Chekov do kind of seem like background players in the issue as they are helpful and around they just are not major players in the issue. The cover for this issue is awesome and showcases all the major character from the film and the interior artwork done by Gordon Purcell is really good and he does a great job of capturing the likeness of the actors. Over all a great comic adaptation and is a very fun and entertaining read. Checkout the artwork below to see the style of Purcell.

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Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country is a great film and as you can see DC Comics did a great job of turning the movie into a fun comic and capturing the mood and adventure elements of the film on paper. I also want to say that I was really sad hearing about the passing of Nichelle Nichols in 2022 who played Uhura, as she was an amazing actress and will be missed. But with the review coming to an end it also makes me a little sad as we only have one more film and comic adaptation that features the some of the cast of the original series to cover and of course that is Star Trek: Generations and we will be covering that in 2024. But as our time with Captain Kirk and the crew come to an end I want to let you know that the next update will take us out of space and into the wrestling ring as we take a look at George “The Animal” Steele and kick off our year long celebration of Pro Wrestling and WWF WrestleMania! So until next time read a Star Trek comic or three, watch a Star Trek film or two and as always support your local Horror Host. See you next update and lets hope that Turnbuckles is not the only snack food offered at the Rotten Ink Arena snack bar!

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American Hero: G.I. Zombie

Welcome back to Rotten Ink, and Happy 4th of July! And I am sure you are like me and waiting for the fireworks to fill the sky while eating some grilled food and chatting with friends, and as well thinking about American Heroes.  Today’s topic is a strange one as he is a zombie, a solider and a hero! I am talking about the DC Horror character Jared Kabe also known as G.I. Zombie who is a member of the U.S. Army in the DC Universe and does what he can to keep our nation safe! So while the burgers are on the grill and the fireworks are still a little while away, let’s take a look at the American Hero: G.I. Zombie. And also keep in mind this is 10 Years of Rotten Ink, and I would like for you readers to take a moment and think about your favorite hero in your life from the past or present and to sit back a relax and as always thank you for spending a small part of your Holiday with Rotten Ink.

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Jared Kabe is an American Army Soldier who has been working for the government for many decades and has been involved in many wars for his country, and he as lasted as the nation’s ultimate soldier for so many years because he is in fact dead and is a zombie that is sent into what would be suicide missions for any living soldier! So if there are bio weapons in play, chemical attacks or even good old-fashioned zombie plagues, the man for the job is Jared Kabe who is code-named G.I. Zombie. The powers that Jared has are that he is skilled in military combat, he is stronger than a normal living human, he has great use of his senses, can regenerate after being wounded and more important he is immortal! The character of G.I. Zombie was the created by the creative team of Jimmy Palmiotti, Scott Hampton and Justin Gray in 2014 for DC Comics who was making an attempt to update their universe. And weird enough G.I. Zombie is not really used by DC Comics anymore and for the most part he only lasted the one-year of his release. While not a major player in the world of DC Horror or even DC War Heroes, he is still an interesting character who had his readers that enjoyed his issues.

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G.I. Zombie is a character that I just learned about in late 2021, or should I say paid attention too as he was never on my radar as in modern times I have paid very little attention to DC Comics and he just never was a Horror Comic that I picked up at the local comic shops as most of the time I have found most of DC’s Horror Comic work to be a little weak with Swamp Thing, Man-Bat and House Of Mystery being the ones that I find to be really good. And I think really that in 2014 the Zombie comic trained started by Walking Dead from Image Comics has started to be over done and that is also why I paid no attention to G.I. Zombie. Over the years I have found myself being a little less picky about Horror Comics I read when it comes to the big two companies Marvel & DC as sometimes they are the better offerings they have as their main Superhero titles have been very poorly written for many years now in my opinion, and the Horror titles I feel lets the creators have a little more freedom in the stories they are telling. What makes me intrigued about G.I. Zombie is that I know nothing about the character and I am looking forward to seeing if they play more on the spooky aspect of the character or the army hero…or will it be a great blend of the two? Regardless of what angle DC Comics goes with the character I will say that Jared Kabe aka G.I. Zombie is an American Hero in the world of Comic Books and that is why he is getting this American Hero update.

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So as you can see, the burgers are almost done on the grill and it’s inching so much closer to firework time so I think we should get into the comic review part of this American Hero update that I have to say is also a DC Horror update for this 10 Year Celebration for Rotten Ink! 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 also remind you 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 grab a sparkler and your favorite cold beverage, and let’s make a toast to G.I. Zombie and see what his comic series was all about. Oh and on a side note, this series is called “Star Spangled War Stories G.I. Zombie” but for the sake of this update we will just shorten the title to G.I. Zombie.

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G.I. Zombie # 1  ***
Released in 2014     Cover Price $2.99    DC Comics    # 1 of 8

At a small bar in the backwoods of Mississippi recent released female prisoner Carmen King meets Duke and his men who have just captured a F.B.I Agent and have him tied up in the back of the bar and worse the Agent have been beaten up and will not spill the beans on how many are with him and were they are based out of. Carmen in order to impress Duke and get a job with his outlaw gang tortures and shoots the Agent in the head killing him when her interrogation does not work. Carmen takes the body of the agent away and Duke sets up a night meeting time for the two. We soon find out that the agent is G.I. Zombie who repairs his body and that Carmen is working with him. The two while having to work together do not know each other and Carmen is a little nervous about having to stay in a motel with a zombie. As Carmen takes a shower and then goes to bed, G.I. Zombie sneaks out of the room and ends up attacking and killing a man who was abusing his wife in front of a gas station, he kills the man to eat him…but sadly he does so in front of the mans wife and child. Later that night Carmen and Zombie head to the farm that is were Duke told Carmen to meet him, and they have a car wreck when Carmen hits a deer and they have to travel by foot. Once they arrive at the farm the notice that Duke and his gang of outlaws have missiles!

The first issue of G.I. Zombie is really good and they drop us right into the story that has our undead solider teaming up with a female agent in order to bring down an outlaw group that is dealing in stolen guns and more. We learn that G.I. Zombie has been around for a very long time and has always survived his country and really loves America, we also see that while he is a good guy he still craves human flesh and feeds on it when he can get it. His uncanny powers of not being able to die and being able to reattach cut off limbs and heal up his wounds is really cool and very useful in his line of work. Carmen King from what we gather is a good solider/agent who is doing her job, but clearly only kind of trust her undead partner, as she knows very little about him and his character. Duke and his gang are a bunch of outlaws who look like they deal in all types of crime from murder to stolen guns and I am sure while he looks like the big fish now, someone else is truly calling the shots. The comic has some blood and gore in it and that was nice to see and some moments are gruesome like when G.I. Zombie is shot in the head by Carmen so she could impress Duke and his gang. The issue also does a great job of ending on a cliffhanger as our heroes see missiles are part of the groups weapons they have stockpiled and this is proof that Duke is working for a bigger threat. The cover for issue one is really good and eye catching and captures both the War and Horror aspects of the series, and the interior art by Scott Hampton is not the style I like in comics but it is really good work. Over all a great start for this series, and I am looking forward to see what happens in issue two.

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G.I. Zombie # 2  ***
Released in 2014     Cover Price $2.99    DC Comics    # 2 of 8

Carmen arrives alone at the gate and is let in to see Duke after she alerts the guard that she has had a car wreck and that is why she is late. Meanwhile G.I. Zombie is out in the woods and takes out one of Duke’s men and then takes another hostage with the threat of eating him alive he is able to get some info as well as the man’s cellphone in order to hear the communication between the rest of the outlaws. While inside a deadly virus has been delivered to Duke and as the two that dropped it off leave G.I. Zombie is able to snap a picture of them and send it to his bosses via the stolen phone. Carmen is shown by Duke a massive pot field on the farm compound and he then starts talking to her about his distaste for the government and if she has the same dislike he wants to offer her a job with his group. But G.I. Zombie is spotted and the alarm goes off and Duke has Carmen leave with some of his people to go to another secret farm compound while G.I. Zombie has a shootout with the outlaws, and Zombie gets back up when Commander Gravedigger and fellow soldiers show up to help in the fight. Duke has his men fire off one of the missiles that has the virus inside it and its headed toward Washington D.C., but G.I. Zombie jumps on the missile and pulls out wires and causes it to crash into a small town in Tennessee.

This second issue is as good as the first as this story progresses and has me drawn in on what is going to happen next! In this issue Carmen and G.I. Zombie make it to the farm hideout of Duke and his militia outlaw group and while Carmen gets deeper in their ranks, G.I. Zombie finds himself trying to stop a virus carrying missile that will have collateral damage of human life. G.I. Zombie in this issue shows that he is also very skilled in combat as he uses guns as well as his zombie ways to take out many of the outlaws and its clear that he is very hard to stop and those who face him seen see the horror that this solider can inflict on them. Carmen meanwhile has to play it cool and build up trust with Duke who is clearly a very dangerous man who is now also getting bio-weapons from some government agency or maybe its ones made up of former workers, we will have to read more issues to find out. And Duke and his outlaw militia clearly are dangerous and do not care about how many people die in their quest to stick it to the government, and they have all tools and weapons to really be a threat. I like how the officer in charge of this mission is called Gravedigger, a nice touch sense he is in charge of a zombie soldier. The issue has some good blood and gore moments of G.I. Zombie eating some flesh and the story is really good and does a good job of keeping you interested as a reader. The cover for this issue I have is cool and eye catching even though it’s also misleading as G.I. Zombie does not parachute into battle at all. The interior art is done by Scott Hampton and is again really good if you like the more modern style art in comic books. With that the series is staying strong and I want to see what chaos this missile is going to cause and what will Carmen witness next from this outlaw group.

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G.I. Zombie # 3  ***
Released in 2014     Cover Price $2.99    DC Comics    # 3 of 8

The missile goes down in Tennessee and G.I. Zombie knows that the virus inside it will cause a zombie outbreak and it seems that the animals around are now attacking him in aggression is it cause of the virus or are they just scared. Meanwhile Gravedigger has captured Duke who is not giving up any information on what his group is truly up to and who is the people behind getting them the weapons. Meanwhile Carmen is with some of the outlaws on their way to the farm and she is trying to get as much information out of them as possible. Back in the small town the animals are infected by the virus and when they are biting people its making them infected as well with a sort of rabies that is turning everyone in contract with a bite into a zombie in seconds. G.I. Zombie ties up an infected person and finds the towns doctor when they find that the people who are infected are pretty much brain dead and a cure is unlikely, and then the G.I. Zombie safely gets the doctor and her assistant home safe and then gets the towns exits from the mayor to give to Gravedigger who is on his way with soldiers to try and contain the outbreak. As G.I. Zombie waits on one of the bridges out of town he is attack by a horde of zombies and is fighting them off, as he cannot let one single human or animal that is infected to leave the town.

This poor small town gets infected by a virus that was unleashed by a nut job who is anti government, but all he did was hurt the innocent people in a town by infecting them and the animals with a zombie rabies! We know that the animals are the first to be infected by the virus and that when they bite people the virus passes and they become raging zombies who kill and infect others. G.I. Zombie is not scared of being infected but does hate watching and having to kill the animals and feels bad for the people who are being hunted down by those infected, but when it comes to protecting the innocent people as well as the fellow towns he goes into solider mode and will do what must be done. Meanwhile Carmen is still on her road trip to the other farm and is not getting too much information for her female road buddy. Gravedigger and his soldiers have captured Duke and are now on their way to the infected town to back up G.I. Zombie to contain the virus the best they can. The end also is a nice cliffhanger as G.I. Zombie armed with a knife is being over taken by a massive zombie horde that are on the path of getting out of the town and spreading this infection to a wider population. The issue has some blood and really is doing a great job of keeping me interested in the storyline as well as wondering what is next for the characters. The cover for this issue is really cool and has G.I. Zombie fighting a zombie horde and like before the interior artwork by Scott Hampton is good stuff. DC Comics and the creators behind this series have delivered a good series this far and let’s see if they can keep it up in the fourth issue.

G.I. Zombie # 4  ***
Released in 2015     Cover Price $2.99    DC Comics    # 4 of 8

Carmen and her escort who’s named Cat find a motel room and while trying to rest she has a nightmare about a helicopter crash she was the only survivor in during a war, and even when up she can not get any info out of Cat about were they are going. Meanwhile G.I. Zombie breaks free from the zombie horde and finds a safe place on top of a building and watches as Gravedigger and the army show up and blow up the zombies, once G.I. Zombie joins them they find that the infected can drive some what and this adds to the possibility of them leaving the town so Gravedigger and G.I. Zombie must act fast to fully contain this. Meanwhile Cat and Carmen arrive at a massive spa in the middle of nowhere that is the hidden base and Carmen meets Forrest, the money man behind Duke and his movement, and she also notices that he himself has weapons of all types around him.

This issue is very fast paced and we get more information on many of the characters as well as some questions are answered. G.I. Zombie himself goes from being out numbered and fighting off zombies to escaping the attack and spending some time on a flat tar roof of a store and ends the issue alongside the army and Gravedigger as they try and figure out the best way to stop this virus from spreading. While on the other hand, we learn that Carmen was the sole survivor of a helicopter crash and this is what haunts her dreams and drives her to protect her country.  We also see that she might be in over her head when she finally arrives at the next hidden base location as it is packed with weapons. Forrest is a rich man who is clearly the moneyman behind this home grown terrorist group and is investing in even more weapons to fight the fight and this includes more of the zombie virus as well as suits that can take bullets and is indestructible! I really think that Forrest and his indestructible suits will be a huge pain for G.I. Zombie in the coming issues, I also hope that Carmen’s cover is not blown as the odds would be against her as her army friends have no clue to were she is even at. The issue has some blood and the story is good as the zombies can drive adds even more drama, horror and stress for the army to deal with! The cover is great and has G.I. Zombie and Carmen backed into a massive tree on a hill and are surrounded by zombies and this is very eye catching. And like a broken record the interior art by Scott Hampton is good stuff, so with that said again I have to say that DC Comics are on a good stretch as this was another great issue and G.I. Zombie is proven to be one of their best modern series for me. So let’s see what issue five has in store for us, and I am going to guess it will be a fun Horror War Comic surrounded by a simple yet entertaining story.

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G.I. Zombie # 5  ***
Released in 2015     Cover Price $2.99    DC Comics    # 5 of 8

G.I. Zombie is back in the small town and is having issues as his craving for flesh is taking control as he needs to eat and soon before he loses control, so they send for a child killer on death row and is sent into a tent with Zombie who eats him and gets back on track to save America. Meanwhile Carmen is shown around the base by Forrest who alerts her to some of the over all plan that he and his groups have for the world, that includes over throwing the US Government and give the power to the people. Meanwhile a few miles away the this base G.I. Zombie meets up with longtime agent friend Elliot who fills him in on the last sighting of Carmen and tells him of the base that is also acting as a spa for the rich, he also tells him to head to this small motel down the road and he will find his “new” identity as a video game maker who has a treatment set at the spa for the next day. Later as G.I. Zombie sits alone in his room a young woman named Libby enters and is running for her life as she hides in his bathroom as two men are following her, after exchanging some words with them Zombie takes them down only to be shot in the head by Libby who is the true baddie as she works for Forrest and after cleaning the room she is taking the bodies to the spa hideout for disposal.

The plot thickens in the fifth issue as we now know that Forrest and all of those who follow or are apart of his group’s true goal is to take over America as they claim they want the power back to the people, but somehow I feel that Forrest has other true plans and is using these militia groups and ex-criminals to further along his true underline plan that I can not figure out yet. Poor Carmen is truly stuck in a very dangerous situation as she is truly in the hornet’s nest and has seen and heard too much to be figured out as a spy as they would and could easily kill her. Libby and Cat are also two females who work for Forrest and it’s clear that they will also kill for him on his orders and will leave no loose ends. Gravedigger and Elliot are two of the good guys who clearly want to try and stop this group from doing another attack as they have unleashed a virus once that has taken way to many innocent human and animal lives, and they both know that G.I. Zombie is America’s only hope. Speaking of G.I. Zombie we have all seen up to this point how much of a good undead guy he is who is always helpful, respectful and follows orders…but I do love that he does have the urge and craving for human flesh and that the army gives him inmates of the worst kind from near by prisons in order to fill the hunger! A very cool aspect of the character as he could snap and kill if he is not fed after a while. The story is really keeping me intrigued and I like the small turns we get as well as the character development and new characters being added into our story. This issue has some blood and murder and the cover is a strange one as its G.I. Zombie kissing a woman and blood is linking their lips, and you know the interior art is done by Hampton and is good. So with another good issue in the books let’s see what issue six has in store for us.

GI Zombie Comic 6

G.I. Zombie # 6  ***
Released in 2015     Cover Price $2.99    DC Comics    # 6 of 8

Forrest is on the phone and is calling Leo, the man who is making the zombie virus in Ecuador and explains that the sample has been used in Tennessee and was a success and that he needs his full shipment sent, Leo is annoyed that Duke used it already and agrees to send more, but it comes with a threat if the virus is linked back to him. Forrest then leaves and creeps around Carmen’s room and half hearted flirts with her before leaving. Meanwhile Carmen tries to sneak around to find a phone to call Gravedigger, but instead runs into Cat and they both go and get a midnight snack from the kitchen. G.I. Zombie who was set to be burned up in a furnace snaps into action and takes down several guards and top officials for Forrest and even finds his gun stockpile room before he himself is caught on a security camera and a red alert goes out to the guards. Forrest recognizes G.I. Zombie and knows that he works for the Government and tells Libby to get the jet ready that they along with a few other including Cat and Carmen are leaving the hideout, and the rest of the people will sadly die as he is dropping a nuke bomb on it as he can not have any information leak out!

The gig is up at the spa hideout of Forrest and his crew of over throwers and his big plan to deal with being caught is for him and few to escape and them bomb and kill all the others who have been loyal to him and the cause, so it shows you that Forrest is a rich a-hole who does not care about anything but himself as I am sure if push comes to shove the likes of Libby and Cat would be sacrificed if it meant saving his own hide. And Carmen is really trapped as she keeps getting deeper into the trust of these people and this makes it so if she is exposed for being an undercover agent, she will be killed and the worst part is her own people are always a few steps behind her in order to save or get the information she has out of her. Also it looks like Leo and his people are surly the ones behind the creation of the virus and this also shows that this network is even bigger and spread out then what it appears in the first few issues. G.I. Zombie snaps into action and goes after the baddies in their own base and uses a knife and a gun to deal death and gets a few before being caught on a security camera, he so wants to get to Carmen and also complete this mission before anymore innocent Americans are hurt. Some blood and death in this one with a gruesome one being a man set on fire and then gets a knife to his skill as he ran around, pretty brutal kill from G.I. Zombie. The cover is our hero being nuked and you all know by now who did the art and that it’s good stuff. Over all a great issue that leaves us on a good cliffhanger of the hideout being blown up and only a few of Forrest closest crew escaping along side him, can G.I. Zombie stop the bomb and save lives or will be apart of the explosion…I guess we have to read issue seven to find out.

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G.I. Zombie # 7  ***
Released in 2015     Cover Price $2.99    DC Comics    # 7 of 8

Forrest has set the timer for the nuke bomb to go off and he along with a select few have escaped the hideout via a private jet set for California to another secret lab hideout. Meanwhile G.I. Zombie tries to figure out a way to stop the bomb from going off and soon finds that that task is impossible and that everyone inside this hideout is going to die. Gravedigger meanwhile along with a hammer is able to get a little bit of information out of Duke and he learns just how dangerous this group is as they plan to truly unleash a massive attack on America. While stealing a car and trying to get as far away from the explosion as possible G.I. Zombie is able to get a cellphone and call Gravedigger to tell him about what is going to happen and sure enough the bomb goes off and also unleashes more of the zombie virus, the explosion causes G.I. Zombie to wreck and he is even injured cause of this, and he is saved just in time by some Army guys as two civilians who was hit by the virus tried to kill him. Meanwhile at the new hideout Carmen makes a run for it as she thinks Forrest and the others have caught on that she is an agent, and after calling Gravedigger she is surrounded by heavily armed guards. In the end Gravedigger alerts G.I. Zombie that they have to leave now and try and stop this Armageddon style attack that Forrest is about to commit.

That Forrest is one evil man as not only has he killed innocent people and animals with his zombie virus but this time around he used a bomb to blow up his discovered hideout killing hundreds of his own workers in order to cover his own butt. Plus it’s clear that he is more like a rich doomsday cult leader than a give the people the power one. Duke the big bad biker leader of the Mississippi sure does squeal when a hammer is taken to his fingers in order to get questions answered as this also proves Gravedigger will do what he must in order to save America from this threat, and that includes bashing a mans fingers with a hammer. Carmen is was over her head and its clear that by the end of this issue she is spooked by Forrest and his people as she thinks they have made out that she is an agent spy, and when escaping the hideout she also shows that she is a skilled fighter as she takes a gun with only four bullets and makes it work. G.I. Zombie does what he can to try and figure out how to stop the bomb and how to save the workers inside, but sadly time was just not on his side. While he is undead it shows that he still cares about living people even if most fear him. We also see that the end game is near as Forrest is about to set off tons of his zombie virus in order to shake up America, and we have to see in the next issue if G.I. Zombie and this secret branch of the Army can stop it. This issue also is more about building to the final issue and is less about the horror aspects, don’t get me wrong we still get blood and death, it’s just a little more toned down. The stakes feel high coming up as the threat is world changing and the fact that only a small few know and can stop this also adds to the drama. The cover for this issue is eye catching and has G.I. Zombie fighting zombies and you know what I am going to say for the interior art. Over all a great issue that was perfect for setting up the final issue in the mini series.

GI Zombie Comic 8

G.I. Zombie # 8  **1/2
Released in 2015     Cover Price $2.99     DC Comics     # 8 of 8

Carmen escapes the ambush and is able to kill all the armed guards that was sent after her, she has a mission to stop this threat and that is just what she is going to do. Meanwhile G.I. Zombie and Gravedigger board a jet and head to the next hidden base of the outlaw terrorist in hope to stop them as well as save Carmen from danger. Back at the hideout Forrest decides that Cat is the one who brought the agent to their doorstep and puts a bullet in her brain for doing so. Once at the location G.I. Zombie, Gravedigger and the team find Carmen and go into the base with orders to stop the bomb and kill anyone inside as they are terrorist and need to be taken down. Carmen and G.I. Zombie enter the base and take out anyone they come across and finally they find Forrest who has set another bomb to go off to let the virus out all over and spread this zombie infection. Forrest has a past with G.I. Zombie as once they see each other they both realize they have a past, and when Carmen decides she has had enough she beats up Forrest as G.I. Zombie alerts Gravedigger to the location of the launch room and as well gets Forrest’s cellphone and calls Leo the creator of the virus and says that they are coming for him as well! Gravedigger lets off a sonic device that not only takes out the terrorist who are not wearing earplugs but also gives them time to find the main power and to stop the bomb from going off. In the end Gravedigger tells G.I. Zombie and Carmen that they make a great team and that they will be placed together from now on.

I am not going to lie I am a little disappointed in the ending of this series as I found the wrap up to be a little weak and not pack a punch like it should. While the good guys do stop the bomb from going off, characters like Forrest just don’t seem to really get what is coming to him, sure he gets shot in the ear and beat up…but his “death” by sonic vibes is a little bland. I also feel that the fact that they call and alert Leo that they know who he is and that they are coming after him also was a strange move as now all he has to do is relocate…why warn him. I do like the team up of Carmen and G.I. Zombie and I would have liked to seen more of them, maybe even at some point teaming alongside the Creature Commandos or even Unknown Soldier. I also feel that the end “battle” was way to easy and quick and all of a sudden Forrest and his men seem less threatening as they fall like a house of cards on a windy day, and it really is disappointing as the creators of this series did such a great job building to this last issue and for this comic reader it fell a little flat. Now I am not saying I didn’t enjoy this issue, it’s just a weak ending to a very solid series. G.I. Zombie is a very interesting character that we have learned lots about in this series as he is an American Army member who even in death tries to protect the land that he loves and is a true warrior and skilled in fighting and strategies, and that a lost body part of his is what helped create the zombie virus being used by the terrorist. We also see that he is a caring man as he looks out for not only his agent friends but also innocent people and animals. Carmen is also a pretty cool character an army vet who survived a terrible crash during war and is using her skills still to help keep America safe and to honor her fallen friends. Gravedigger is pretty cool as well as he clearly is a veteran of situations like this and does not crack under pressure. This mini series really did do a great job of mixing Horror and War Comics with elements of both getting time to shine and the amount of blood used throughout was a nice touch for those readers who loved zombie comics, plus bonus points to them for some of the more gruesome deaths. The cover for this issue is pretty cool and lacks the punch of the covers before it and throughout the series Scott Hampton has really rocked it with his art and won me over as at first I was not a fan of the style, but by the end I really liked and respected it. Over all DC Comics had a good series here and a cool character that they should still be using today! Check out the artwork below to see the style of Scott Hampton used in this series.

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But wait there is more! Given that this is July 4th and Rotten Ink’s 10 Year Anniversary, let’s take a look at G.I. Zombie special that was released in 2014 and was part of the “Future Ends” stories that DC Comics had going at the time. So with that, let’s dive into this one and spend just a little more time with G.I. Zombie.

GI Zombie Comic Special 1

G.I. Zombie: Special # 1  **
Released in 2014     Cover Price $3.99    DC Comics     # 1 of 1

G.I. Zombie is on a ship and his partner Carmen has been infected with the virus and is now a flesh eating zombie and doctors are going to try a treatment that they hope will help her. But things get worse when zombies are parachuting out of the sky and are now attacking the agents and G.I. Zombie is given the orders to attack and get these undead nightmares off the ship. And he does so when he charges into them and turns into a massive deformed zombie that rips many of them to shreds, but he is attacked by the helicopter that dropped the zombies off and is taken down for a few moments before he can comeback together. The scientists deliver the antidote to Carmen and at first it looks as if it didn’t, work but just in time she is cured as G.I. Zombie pulls himself together and they come up with a plan to drop the antidote from a crop duster on the city of Gotham that has been infected by the virus. But the enemy helicopter approaches and shoots down the crop duster, but G.I. Zombie is able to leap into the copter and gets it to crash…and the man behind this attack is Gravedigger who himself is now a zombie that is just like G.I. Zombie and the two fight for a moment when G.I. Zombie removes his head and takes it away causing Gravediggers body to wonder around, after this fight G.I. Zombie gives the order for the antidote to be dropped so that lives can be saved. Later G.I. Zombie and Carmen are having dinner and she has decided to retire as an agent and go live in the mountains, while G.I. Zombie is sad, he understands and the two enjoy one last meal together.

What a strange One-Shot comic as everything we know from the mini series is thrown out of the water and in this one G.I. Zombie is calling the shots, the army has found a cure for the virus, Carmen goes from being a zombie to cure and the most weird change is that now Gravedigger is pro the virus infecting people and is now a bad guy that is as well a super zombie solider who is taken down very easily by G.I. Zombie. And so many questions are not answered in the comic and that’s why this is a very odd read like why is Gravedigger bad now, who is spreading the virus and why, why is Gotham City under attack and why does G.I. Zombie turn into a massive zombie Hulk for a few panels and then its never spoke of again…just so many weird moments in this one that made it slightly less enjoyable of a read as I really do feel that this story kind of disrespects the characters and story that the mini series introduced us to and I dislike the fighting and large changes to personalities of the main three and those of course as G.I. Zombie, Carmen King and Gravedigger. The story also seems very bland and rushed and I hate to say this was a major letdown for me, as I feel that DC had something very cool with G.I. Zombie and this comic makes him and the lore seem like an after thought to just delivering a comic with a cheesy gimmick cover that while cool does not save this issue from being lazy. The interior artwork by Scott Hampton is good and helps bring some of the charm from the mini series into this. Not much to say besides this is just an ok issue and if you like the mini series and have not read this one I say skip it as it does nothing but ruins aspects of the series. Checkout the artwork below, and again art is good sadly this comic story is not.

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Well it’s time to go eat some grilled food and enjoy time with family and friends before the fireworks fill the sky, so once more thanks for spending some of your holiday with me here at Rotten Ink and also I need to say that while DC Comics had a few miss fires with G.I. Zombie, I do feel that in 2014 they created a good American Hero character that truly did walk the line between War and Horror. Well for the next update we will be leaving the DC Universe Zombies behind but will be once more visiting the Romero Zombies when we cover Dead Dog Comics series “Night Of The Living Dead: The Barbara Chronicles” as well as take a look at Monster Bash Convention 2022 and Juliet and I’s adventures in Cranberry Township, PA. So until next time, read a comic or three, watch a zombie film or two and as always support your local Horror Host! See you soon as we are coming to read you Barbara…

NOTLD Barbra Chronicles Preview Logo

The DC Dream Warrior Known As The Sandman!

Here on Rotten Ink we love ourselves some Jack Kirby as he really is The King when it comes to the Golden Age of comics as over the years I have covered him in such blog updates based on his art and characters like Devil Dinosaur, Captain America and Satan’s Six and with many more to come this update will showcase just how important Jack is to the world of comics as well as Rotten Ink and how can I celebrate my blogs 10 Year Anniversary without covering him! While thinking about what character to cover for this update I ruled out one of his Marvel Comics characters as we have covered his Marvel work already and I also ruled out his indie work as well for the same reason and that’s why I landed on covering his DC Comics work and choose a character that I can remember reading when I was a kid and that’s The Sandman! So grab a glass of Warm Milk, Count Some Sheep and lets catch some Z’s and take a comic book superhero adventure with The Sandman, Jack Kirby and DC Comics.

The Sandman Kirby 1

Jack Kirby was a true legend at Marvel Comics as he has created many iconic characters for them along side Stan Lee like The Fantastic Four, Iron Man and The Incredible Hulk to name a few, but in late 1970 after years of talking to them he made the jump to DC Comics as they wanted the creative mind of Kirby to help bring them new characters as well as his skilled art style. The contract was for three years with an option for two more years and would allow him to create multiple series and characters that would be blanketed under “The Fourth World” and would allow Jack to have his own say with his characters and build his own world within the DC Universe. And that brought characters New Gods, Mister Miracle and The Forever People to comic pages and all characters are still being used from time to time in comics for DC. During his early years he also worked on the comic Superman’s Pal Jimmy Olsen. And Jack Kirby was loving working on his Fourth World comics and added touches of his own life into the books, as well as even his views of the youth at the time in The Forever People. At this point in time Jack Kirby had lots of bad feelings toward Stan Lee and Marvel Comics and even created a character called Funky Flashman that was a dig at Lee, and would also create during this time DC Comic’s biggest and more powerful super-villains Darkseid. But while DC Comics was hoping for that Kirby magic and help sales they also did some pretty crappy things to him like having fellow artists Al Plastino and Murphy Anderson redraw the faces of Superman in comics as they did not like his style of drawing The Man Of Steels face. Jack Kirby was so proud of his Fourth World books he even came up with the idea of putting several issues together aka the Graphic Novel and DC being goofy failed to do so, so those of you who love reading comics in Graphic Novels should thank Jack Kirby who came up with that idea. During his years with DC he would also go on to create such characters as OMAC, The Demon, Kamandi, Kobra, The Sandman and as well did a few characters for the “1st Issue Special” comic series like Manhunter, Dingbats Of Danger Street and Atlas The Great showing that the characters where flowing from his creative mind. He would also do work for the war comic “Our Fighting Forces” by doing the stories and art for The Losers. But by 1974 the honeymoon was over between Kirby and DC Comics as they started to make him work on characters he did not care for, the political games at the office was out of control and many of the classic DC Artists did not want Kirby at DC as they viewed him as an outsider and a threat to their position at DC. And by 1976 Jack Kirby and DC Comic split ways and he would return to work for Marvel for a short time, before becoming a gun for hire artist and working for Cartoons for Hanna-Barbara as well as would do spot work for indies like Topps Comics and Pacific Comics as well as even DC up until his passing in 1994. And while his time with DC Comics was not as grand as his time with Marvel he still made a great impact on that company given them some amazing heroes and villains as well as entertained readers with compelling stories. Jack “The King” Kirby really is one of the comic industries truly iconic and inspirational artists and creators.

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I want to also take a moment to share a photo I found on the net that shows the art desk of Jack Kiby! This is a surreal image for sure as you realize that he had drawn so many comic pages at the desk, he created so many characters at the desk and he spent so much time being creative at that desk. The crazy part being is the chair, desk and his art supply cabinet was nothing overly fancy and his area he created in was near what appears to be a fire place. Imagine Jack Kirby sitting at the art table with a snow storm outside and a fire going in the fireplace as he drew a Fantastic Four page…its very inspiring as Jack really was one of a kind and a true artist who was to be looked up to and admired. I feel that Jack’s desk should be placed in a museum of art and young inspiring artists should be able to see it and get inspired by it.

Jack King Kirbys Desk

Now I want to talk a little about The Sandman a character created by Jack Kirby and Joe Simon in 1974 and was one of many characters Kirby created when working for DC Comics. The Sandman is a hero that lives in the Dream Dome alongside his two friends Brute and Glob who are nightmare creatures and are called in when The Sandman cannot right the wrongs that are going on in the dream world as well as reality. The Sandman can enter the dream world via a sled that takes him to the Dream Stream a place ruled by the Nightmare Wizard where all the creatures that make up Nightmares live. He can also slide into reality and can lend a hand to help during attacks and natural disasters. The Sandman wears a red and yellow costume and looks like a superhero and uses dream sand and his Hyposonic whistle to fight crime as well as to put people and things to sleep. The Sandman mostly watches over the nightmares of kids and will enter the dream if he feels the youngsters are in true danger. He is original portrayed as the mythical legend Sandman the watcher of dreams, but later in 1983 DC Comics and Roy Thomas tried to say the he was really Garrett Sanford a Professor at UCLA who was trapped in the Dream Dimension and even becomes a part time member of the Justice League, but this just is cheesy and shows once more that DC Comics had no respect for Jack Kirby’s creations. The Sandman is a character that never was used much by DC Comics and while he has his fans he never made an impact on the world of comics like so many other Jack Kirby creations.

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It’s a shame that DC Comics treated Jack so badly when he worked for them in the 1970’s as I truly think that given more time and freedom with them who knows what kind of great reads and characters he could have given the world. And I am pretty sure that the cool art we all seen of Kirby drawing the Horror Movie character Dr. Phibes who was played by Vincent Price would have been a pitch that he would have made for DC…and I wonder why this comic was never green lighted and I would have loved to have seen what Jack had in store for Phibes! Well enough of what could have been for Kirby, DC and Phibes as we are now at the part of this update that is about the what was and for me when I think of DC and Kirby together three series come to mind New Gods, Mister Miracle and The Sandman, with the later being what I will be covering! And one reason I choose The Sandman is that Kirby teamed with Joe Simon on the book, and for those who don’t know that pair is who created one of my favorite superheroes Captain America! I want to thank Game Swap Kettering for having this series in stock and making this update possible. I also would like to say that I have read almost this whole series before this update and this makes me exited to reread them after all these years. I want to also 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, it’s entertainment value and it’s art and story. So if you are ready lets travel to the land of dreams and see what DC Comics and The Sandman have in store for me.

The Sandman Kirby Comic 1

The Sandman # 1  ***
Released in 1974       Cover Price .20      DC Comics      # 1 of 6

On Dolphin Island young Jeb who has asthma and lives with his grandfather Ezra Paulsen is having a terrible dream about a man drowning in the ocean right in front of his home that is holding a strange doll. Meanwhile in another dimension The Sandman watches the dream and awakens the boy who runs outside with hid Grandpa and pull a dying sailor from the ocean who gives them the strange doll he calls the Werblink before he dies. Jeb, who is a lonely kid on the island, spends time with Werblink and the doll becomes his best friend. One night Jeb has a nightmare that Werblink is trying to kill his Grandpa and as Jeb gives chase he slips in his dream and is about to fall to his death…but The Sandman has seen enough and enters the nightmare and saves the boys life even though the creatures he keeps in glass tubes Glob and Brute tell him to let the child die! Once saved Jeb wakes up and falls back to sleep as his Grandpa grabs the doll and smashes it and then buries it on the beach. We cut briefly to the past and see that a rebuilt solider named General Electric was the man behind building the doll and he escaped a hospital and runs holding Werblink into the night. We cut back to Dolphin Island present time and a stray dog digs up the grave of Werblink and this causes Jeb and other kids around the world to have a four alarm nightmare and even an earthquake breaks loose in California and The Sandman leaves his Dream Dome in order to help the wounded using his sand to heal those in need and then rushes to Dolphin Island just in time as Jeb has found his broken doll and a group of Nazis have appeared and taken both The Sandman and Jeb hostage. While back on the mainland we find out that General Electric is in charge of the Nazis and they are collecting all the dolls he made as by linking them it will blow up the US Capital! And before they do so they beat up The Sandman and one of the Nazis finds his whistle and blows it freeing Brute and Glob who come to their friends aid, and Glob turns up the wave length of the whistle and this blows up the glass bowl on General Electrics head that holds his brain, ending the madman’s terror and with that Jeb is safe and The Sandman with Brute and Glob return to the Dream Dome.

The first issue of The Sandman was suppose to be a one shot comic, but due to good feedback from readers it would go one to have five more issues and The Sandman proved to be a minor creative hit for both Jack Kirby and DC Comics. The plot is pretty cool and has The Sandman watching the dreams and nightmares of sleeping kids via his Dream Dome and has to come to earth when the evil General Electric has a plane that will kill many and will bring back the alliance of Japan and Nazi Germany. The Sandman is a being that is humanlike in nature but has the powers to put people to sleep with his sand as well as enter your sleeping mind and cause and change the events that are taking place. His friends Brute and Glob are creatures of nightmares and while they look like monsters they are not bad. Jeb and his grandpa Ezra are also good people who live on an island and while it’s a lonely life they do have each other. The issues main bad guy is General Electric a Japanese kamikaze pilot who survived a crash and had his head and brain repaired and created by a doctor who cannot get over loosing World War II and is masterminding a way to strike at the US and once more have the Nazis rise to power. He is as scummy as they come, but do not threat cause as you see his head exploded and it appears he has truly died this time. The plot really does have that Joe Simon and Jack Kirby feel to it and during this time Kirby was very obsessed with other worlds and Simon loved telling stories of Nazis getting their butts kicked by heroes. The one odd thing about The Sandman as while he helps save Jeb from falling in a dream and helps injured firefighters he gets beat down by the Nazis and its his friends that really win the end fight as he is tied up on the floor and never even throws a punch. This is a comic I can remember reading at a young age and enjoying it, but I think now as an adult I found myself enjoying it more. The cover is awesome and eye catching as its classic Kirby stuff as is the interior art, but I will say that this is not some of Kirby’s best stuff as its pretty basic in look and lacks the Kirby detail on backgrounds. Over all the first issue of The Sandman is a fun read featuring a hero who has the powers of dreams, so with that lets see what issue two has in store for us.

The Sandman Kirby Comic 2

The Sandman # 2  ***
Released in 1975       Cover Price .25      DC Comics     # 2 of 6

On Dolphin Island Jeb is sound asleep in his bed when two hooded men enter his home knock out his Grandpa and kidnap him to take him to Dr. Spider a strange man who is using Jeb now to bring his nightmare creatures to life and they are under his control. While at the Dream Dome The Sandman notices that the youth of the world are not having nightmares and enters the dream stream to see what is blocking the nightmares from happing. While in this realm he tracks down the old man known as Nightmare Wizard who tells him that Dr. Spider has stolen all the creatures and is going to use them to take over the world, and he approves of this horrific plan! The Sandman is furious and heads to the real world to see if he can stop this sinister plan from fully being realized and with his hyposonic whistle and dream sand he is able to bring down a few of the creatures in front of the army, only to find himself attacked by one of the hooded goons of Dr. Spider and taken as a prisoner to their hideout with the idea of also using his powers to bring more nightmare creatures alive. While at the Dream Dome Brute and Glob watch as their friend is tied up and knocked out and Brute reveals that he has his own seceret whistle and they pair free themselves from the glass tubes and travel to reality and loosen the straps holding down Sandman and then wake him up before hiding and Sandman rushes to bring down Dr. Spider. The Hooded Men try and attack The Sandman who uses the hyposonic whistle to put them to sleep, but fails to capture Dr. Spider who uses Jeb’s nightmare creatures to attack him and if The Sandman kills one of the creatures then Jeb will die! The Sandman then uses his dream sand to put the creatures asleep, then uses his whistle to send them to the Dream Stream, he then destroys Dr. Spider’s machines and this wakes up Jeb that he send back home. In the end The Sandman is to late to stop Dr. Spider who uses a submarine to escape or does he as it blows up and this makes The Sandman wonder if he really has seen the last of this new foe.

The second issue of The Sandman is really good and still holds that classic superhero feel even though both Jack Kirby and Joe Simon had nothing to do with this issue as DC gave it to a new creative team, well I should at least say Kirby did the cover for this issue. The plot brings in a new foe called Dr. Spider who is a strange man who is just a torso that’s body in a metal frame and has mechanical arms that look like spider legs. He almost looks like a mutated melted cheese face version of Spider-Man villain Doctor Octopus and I am sure this really was a dig at Marvel Comics. A couple of things I do like about Dr. Spider is that he has a good idea of taking creatures from the nightmare world and using them to bring the world to its knees and allow him to take over, he also has hooded men who look like cultist as his henchmen and that’s also pretty cool. We also in this issue meat Nightmare Wizard a creepy old man who runs the realm of nightmares and who is very bitter about the real world. Jeb is around and is nothing more then a tool in the bad guys plans who spends almost the whole issue asleep and feeding them creatures from his nightmares, in other words he is the one that is feeding the evil doers with soldiers in order to take over the world. Plus we have zero clues if Grandpa Ezra is alive after his shock he received at the start of this issue, so Jeb could have been sent back home by The Sandman only to find the dead body of his grandpa! The Sandman once more is the hero of the day…but really does not do it on his own as once more Glob and Brute are the ones who really are the heroes as they once more free the captured hero that allows him to win the battle in the end. The Sandman really has only two weapons and tools to take on evil doers and that his Sand that puts people to sleep as well as his Hyposonic Whistle that can as well put things to sleep, send creatures back to the dream world and free his two friends that he keeps locked up in tubes. Now that I am thinking about it why in the world does The Sandman keep his two friend locked up in small tubes with him only letting them free when he needs help, seems pretty unfair and makes The Sandman come off as kind of a villain. The cover is great as its Kirby and eye catching for fans of his art as well as DC Comics from the 70’s and the interior art this time is done by Ernie Chan who was going by Ernie Chua and I will say while its not Kirby I would say that its still very good, but while the issues art and story are fun and good I still miss the Kirby and Simon touch as they where a iconic team that could make great art together. Well with that lets see what issue three has in store for us and if it holds up like the first two issues in the series.

The Sandman Kirby Comic 3

The Sandman # 3   **
Released in 1975       Cover Price .25     DC Comics      # 3 of 6

In Europe the people of a village storm a castle ran by The Count and his Zombie Gorillas as they want to hang him for the decades of abuse he has put them through, but he cheats them of revenge as he drinks poison just as they find him. Once “dead” his body is taken by the Zombie Gorillas to America as this was a plan by The Count to get his body to Professor Rundhaven so that he can remove it and allow it to live inside a tank that not only allows him to speak by also gives him mental powers. The Count uses his new mental powers to zap and kill Professor Rundhaven and then uses his mental link to get into the mind of the young daughter of Scientist Ralph Ervin who has been working on experiments dealing with the human brain. While The Count is in her dream The Sandman in his Dream Dome picks up on the intrusion and heads into the dream himself and foils the plot of The Count hypnotizing the young girl and causes The Count to have to retreat. As the young girl wakes up the hold on her mind is truly broken and The Count decides to send his Zombie Gorillas to the house the next night to steal the research papers and then to also steal medical equipment to free him from his glass prison. The Cops follow the Zombie Gorillas and gun them down, but not in time as they succeed and free The Count who is now a powerful floating Brain that kills the cops and then heads to the city where it drains all the power out of the power planet and The Sandman once more returns to reality and gets himself arrested before he can stop the blackout! He then uses his whistle to free Brute and Glob who once more rescues him this time from jail and The Sandman sends them back to the Dream Dome and the tracks down The Count and uses his whistle to blow up the villain ending the terror the giant brain caused New York.

The third issue as well cut Kirby from art (besides the cover) and Simon from story and delivered an ok read that has followed the same formula as the last two issues and that recycled tale is getting a little warn thin as each story has a kid in need, a new dream world entering villain, The Sandman being captured and having to have his friends save him and lastly the bad guys meet their end by explosion. The plot of this third issue has a bad guy entering the dreams of a young girls dreams in order to get her to steal the research papers of her father, and when that fails he steals them and becomes a powerful being that is exploded by The Sandman who was arrested and saved by his Nightmare friends in order to do so. The Sandman is a dream master who watches and monitors the dreams of kids that by all accounts tries his best to be a hero, but he really is just bad at it as he seems to always get captured and has to have his friends save him in order for him to take down the bad guy and take all the glory for the rescues and world saving missions. While I as a reader like The Sandman by this issue he should be better at being the Superhero he so wants to be. Brute and Glob we are miss treated and kept behind glass are the real heroes as they are the ones who seem to always get The Sandman’s fat our of the fire and even at times take down the henchmen of those who are keeping Sandman captive. The Count is a brain who grows in size and power and while he does kill a roomful of police officers, he really is not that big of a threat as he is blown up with a whistle with ease and once he becomes all powerful all he does is drain the electric power from The Bronx, New York. The Zombie Gorilla henchmen of The Count are pretty cool and they are very loyal to their master and even give their lives to protect him. Again I have to stress that DC Comics and the creative team they had behind The Sandman series really at this point needed to get past the same story format that they had followed for three issues as it really cheapened the character and really does make him look like a zero and not a hero. The few things that I did like about this issue was The Zombie Gorillas and the secret lab of Professor Rundhaven being in a old farmhouse, but to be honest this third issue is not very well done and is an average at best superhero romp. The cover done by Jack Kirby is great and the interior art by Ernie Chan is solid and good, just to bad the story by Michael Fleisher is so weak and had clearly places a bruise on the character as the series end will come just three issues later and would force them to bring back Kirby on art. Well with that lets see if Kirby’s return to art can pull this series out of the downward spiral.

The Sandman Kirby Comic 4

The Sandman # 4  **1/2
Released in 1975       Cover Price .25     DC Comics     # 4 of 6

An alien race is watching Earth and the dreams of Jeb as they are coming up with an idea that will allow them to take over the world and will use the dreams and nightmares of mankind in order to do so! They come up with an idea that will have them enter the Dream Stream and take Nightmare Wizard hostage as well as the creatures of that world and the Aliens would then enter people’s dreams and control or kill them. Brute and Glob are in the Dream Stream visiting family and becomes trapped in a dome dropped by the invading Aliens UFO ships, and worse the Aliens as well are able to sneak up on and take Nightmare Wizard down given them control to enter dreams! Meanwhile on Dolphin Island Jeb is showing his Grandpa how good he has gotten with his Yo-Yo before heading to bed, and its when the youngster falls asleep that The Sandman catches that the Alien starships have invaded the Dream Stream and uses his powers to wake up Jeb and then The Sandman enters the Dream Stream to stop the Alien plan that has them dropping bombs and killing many kids while they sleep! While wondering around The Sandman finds Nightmare Wizard but before he can free him the Aliens attack and knock out The Sandman and now have him as a prisoner, and this time he uses his whistle to bring Jeb to the Dream Stream and has the young boy unties the two dream masters and even uses his Yo-Yo to knock out an alien! Once free The Sandman, Jeb and Nightmare Wizard rush to the dome and the whistle is used to free the Nightmare Creatures and a clash with the aliens breaks out with The Sandman and the Creatures winning the big fight and sending the Aliens running back to space. After the fight is over The Sandman sends Jeb back to reality and best of all he is sound asleep and having good dreams.

The fourth issue of The Sandman brings back Jack Kirby on art but keeps Michael Fleisher on writing and while better then issue three it still has some of the same old same old moments that have plagued this character and the writing style of Fleisher as The Sandman once more finds himself captured and a friend having to save him and like fore the issues bad guys get into the dream world of a youngster with plans of world domination. It’s clear that Michael Fleisher just had no real ideas for The Sandman and was just retelling the same story over and over worse then a Joss Whedon and a part of me wonders if this was also the case cause Fleisher was placed on the book and he did not care for this Kirby creation so he put zero effort into the scripts. The bad guys for this issue was a race of fish looking Aliens who want to take over the world via the Dream Stream and has plans of using bombs to wound the youth of the world and come into the dream world in full force. But while they have the firepower they also had very little knowledge in combat as the Nightmare Creatures once freed make short work of them and send them running back home like chickens. Brute and Glob for once are free from their tube and are given permission to go on vacation by their “friend” The Sandman and while visiting friends and family they are captured, but once set free they fight hard. I also like at one point Brute uses the catchphrase “It’s Clobberin’ Time!” that was made famous by Fantastic Four member The Thing a character created by Kirby for Marvel. Nightmare Wizard makes an appearance as well and gets taken hostage way to easy, as you have to think he controls everything in the Dream Stream and seems to call on none of them to set him free once tied up and left in his cave home. Jeb and his Yo-Yo skills come in handy and he pops an alien in the eye with it and is able to free The Sandman, so keep that in mind a kid is the one who had to save The Sandman this time around cause like always he got himself beat up and caught. The Sandman and his whistle in the end is what breaks the dome that sets the creatures free and cause this ends the aliens packing. The Sandman really is a terrible hero and seems to walk into battles and gets himself captured every time this far! Also he finally see that Grandpa Ezra is alive after the shock from the stun gun from issue two and that he and Jeb are the only people that live on the island. The cover is great Jack Kirby stuff and his interior art is fantastic as well showing that Kirby is what’s keeping this comic series alive. I really think that in issue five they need to make The Sandman look stronger and more hero like and for the love of The King Jack not let him get captured and have to be saved by others as his track record right now is 4-0 on that! So with that lets see what The Sandman gets into for issue five.

The Sandman Kirby Comic 5

The Sandman # 5  ***
Released in 1975       Cover Price .25      DC Comics      # 5 of 6

Grandpa Ezra and Jeb are on a fishing boat looking to catch some big fish when they are attacked by a giant sea creature that crushes the boat and leaves them both in grave danger of not only being eaten but also drowning, in other words they need help! The Sandman watches this unfold from his Dream Dome and rushes to the world of reality in order to save them and after hurting the sea creature he gets Jeb and Ezra to shore and sadly Grandpa Ezra dies from this attack. The Sandman gives Jeb a whistle that will alert him if he needs help. Days pass and Jeb is living along on Dolphin Island when he gets a visit from his Aunt Clarice and Uncle Barnaby who get the youngster to come live with them at their farm. At the farm he meets his cousins Susie and Bruce and finds out that his relatives are lazy people and he is forced to do all the hard work and is being feed poorly even. After getting into a fight with Bruce over the whistle, Jeb is forced to chop lots of wood as his punishment and will not even get dinner until its all done! Jeb takes a nap and gets a visit from The Sandman who has him travel to the Dream Stream to help fight the Frog People who are attacking the Winged People and have kidnapped their Queen, and after saving her and returning back home Jeb wakes up to find the wood chopped and his aunt in shock as she invites him in to have dinner. As Jeb walks into the house we see that Brute and Glob chopped the wood for him while he was out with The Sandman.

The fifth issue of The Sandman is a really solid issue with a good plot that mostly focuses on Jeb and his life after loosing his Grandpa to a Sea Creature and his journey of leaving Dolphin Island and living on the mainland with his Aunt and Uncle who treat him oddly. Jeb does really well dealing with all the major changes in his life and while he misses his Grandpa he makes do with his situation. The Sandman who tries his best to save both Jeb and Ezra from the attack at sea is also the one who has to deliver the bad news to Jeb that his grandfather has died, then gives him a whistle before leaving a young boy alone on an island right after his only guardian has died…I will say it again The Sandman is not good at being a superhero! But I do have to give him credit this time around as he at least does not find himself being taken prisoner and he does but some heads with his fists this time around and not his sand or whistle. And this time around Brute and Glob take a back seat and while they help in the end they are not the heroes of saving the day like they normally are. The Frog Men are the bad guys but they are defeated easily once The Sandman and Jeb find their hidden kingdom. The Aunt, Uncle and Cousins of Jeb are all terrible people who use the young lad to do all the work around the farm and while they eat lamb chops they feed him oatmeal, showing that they do not care if he is blood as they just want someone to work hard and get the chores done. And I have to say that I think writer Michael Fleisher did a great job on this issue and it feels like a true classic superhero comic story even if the parts with the death of Grandpa Ezra are awkward and weird and the emotions of all seem very off. The cover and interior art by Jack Kirby is amazing and outstanding like always and some of his art for The Frog Men is fantastic and for some reason reminded me of Super Mario Bros. 2 for the NES. Over all this is a great issue in the series and is a great lead up for the six and final issue that we will be taking a look at right now.

The Sandman Kirby Comic 6

The Sandman # 6  ***
Released in 1976       Cover Price .25     DC Comics      # 6 of 6

The Sandman is watching the dream monitors and notices that Jeb is having a bad nightmare about drowning and worse it seems as if this nightmare is being forced and is coming from an unknown source. The Sandman goes into the Dream Stream to save his young friend but soon finds out that the youngster is not real and is a bomb that blows up knocking him out, we then see the hooded henchmen of Dr. Spider coming for our hero and taking him away. Moments later an android version of The Sandman arrives at the Dream Dome and he tricks Glob and Brute into following him back to Dr. Spider’s ship, but Brute holds back for a moment and poor Glob is zapped and held prisoner. Dr. Spider alerts the real Sandman that he plans on taking over America and his sea ship that can go from the dream world to reality is the key to doing so as is the Hyposonic whistle that now is in the hands of Spider. Meanwhile back at the farm Jeb is once more being mistreated by his family and is forced to do all the chores at the farm while they go to a carnival, and that night Bruce sneaks in and steals the whistle and gives it a blow and Brute shows up and delivers some creepy crawlers to the brat cousin and then wakes up Jeb and says that they need to get ready as he thinks that The Sandman is in danger. While back on the ship Dr. Spider is set into a rage over The President and the News making a joke of his threat to use a magic whistle to bring down Washington, and at midnight now he plans on using the whistle to teach the Government a lesson! The Sandman uses all his strength and breaks free and takes out a few henchman before being zapped by a laser gun and then tied up and thrown into the ocean as Dr. Spider has no use for him. Meanwhile Jeb and Brute arrives at the base of Dr. Spider and are not sure what they are going to be up against, and soon find themselves the prisoner of Dr. Spider and are put in a cell with Glob and all will be forced to watch the destruction of the US Capital. The Sandman escapes his watery death and even punches a shark in the face to do so and then arrives at the base and frees his friends and the heroes take out all his henchmen but are too late to stop Dr. Spider from escaping on a rocket. In the end The Sandman, Brute and Glob return to the Dream Dome as Jeb is returned to the farm.

The final issue of The Sandman is a good issue but an odd ending for the series as I think that the sixth issue was not originally meant to be the final in the series as we have no real closure for any of the characters. And I think once more writer Michael Fleisher did a good job on the story for this issue as he brought back the sinister Dr. Spider who this time wants to take over America and is going to use the magical Hyposonic Whistle to do so! The Sandman in this issue shows more superhero tendencies than ever before as he not only saves the day he even gets himself out of danger twice and does not have to have his friends to be the true heroes of the day. The Sandman also shows that he is very skilled with his fists as he punches his way through henchmen and even shows that he is strong as he breaks a crystal cage and tosses people around like ragdolls. While most of this series The Sandman has been a dud of a hero, by this final issue he shows that he was becoming more and more one. Brute and Glob are nightmare creatures who are The Sandman’s friends and allies and while they spend most of their lives in glass tubes, when needed, they always come through and do the right thing to save lives. Jeb whose life is bad now that he has to live with his Aunt is also more then just a youth having nightmares by the end of the series as a few times he helps save the day and adds elements to the story, in fact by the end of the series its clear he is part of the team. The sinister Dr. Spider is as crazy as ever and wants so bad to become a ruler of something, but seems to never be able to get the chance, he is also the only villain to be used twice and is clearly the main baddy of the series. While Kirby draws him different then Ernie Chan I still think Dr. Spider looks life a mound of melted cheese in a metal body. While I think that The Sandman is a comic series that suffered from changing creative teams, a writer who seemed disinterested in the character at the start, DC Comics lack of respect for the creator and character and a handful of other issues, I for one have always found it to be a fun and simple read and while I think many readers enjoyed The Sandman I also thank that by the mid 70’s this type of superhero was dated and readers had moved based the simple nature of good vs. evil. The cover for this final issue is ok and the least impressive of the series, but does do a good job of building up the danger aspect of what The Sandman had to face. The interior art by Jack Kirby was great and he was also inked by Wally Wood and this was a great combo and these two are amazing artists and icons of classic comics. To sum it all up I would say that The Sandman is not a comic series for everyone and while super flawed its simple plots and classic style heroes are enjoyable and worth checking out if you like Kirby and those style of heroes in comics. Check out the artwork below as I think it showcases the work of Kirby as well as captures the over all vibe of this series.

The Sandman Kirby Comic Art 1

Reading The Sandman again after all these years I can say that I really did enjoy his adventures and the character was very interesting even if DC Comics truly didn’t believe in him. Jack Kirby really was a man with many ideas and The Sandman was one of them that I feel should have been bigger then what it was, and again I say the same thing about Satan’s Six. Also imagine if DC Comics, Jack Kirby and the other creators that helped on The Sandman explored the Nightmare World better and think of the creatures, monsters and madmen that could have made up that world. Well let’s not harp too much on DC Comics always dropping the ball with a cool character and let’s talk about what I have in store for you readers for the next for this 10 Year Celebration and that a new update theme that I will be calling “R.I.W Wrestling Legends.” I will be talking about the wrestler Missing Link! So I hope you are all looking forward to that one as this will be an update series that will be around for a long time just like my Horror Host Icon updates! So until next time read a Jack Kirby comic or ten, watch a movie or two and as always support your local Horror Host. See you all next update at the Rotten Ink Arena as Missing Link is in the main event!

Missing Link Promo Preview 1

Star Trek V: What Does God Need With A Starship?

Welcome back to Rotten Ink and one of the updates that I selected to be part of this 10 year celebration of course has to be another of the Star Trek films as they have always been some of my favorite sci-fi flicks ever made. Rotten Ink and Star Trek go hand in hand as the show and movies are truly parts of my past, and I am sure as Star Trek continues on it will as well be apart of my future. As you long time readers know, I have been reviewing all the comic adaptations of Star Trek films that feature the original cast (you know the ones with Captain Kirk and Spock) and this year we have landed on Star Trek V: The Final Frontier, a film in the series that was met with mixed reviews from critics and fans alike, but one I am very much looking forward to covering as I have always enjoyed it! So with that, let’s take a look at Star Trek V as well as the DC Comics adaptation as its time to Boldly Go Where Many Comic Readers Have Gone Before and that’s on comic adventures with the crew of the Enterprise.

Star Trek V 1

Let’s start off by talking about the film itself. I will be taking the film’s plot write up from our pals at IMDB and after I will be writing about the film’s production as well as my thoughts on the film. So if you are ready, let’s take trip with the Enterprise Crew to a final frontier in space.

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Star Trek V: Final Frontier (1989)

“When the newly-christened starship Enterprise’s shakedown cruise goes poorly, Captain Kirk and crew put her into Spacedock for repairs. But an urgent mission interrupts their Earth-bound shore leave. A renegade Vulcan named Sybok has taken three ambassadors hostage on Nimbus III, the Planet of Galactic Peace. This event also attracts the attention of a Klingon captain who wants to make a name for himself and sets out to pursue the Enterprise. Sybok’s ragtag army captures the Enterprise and takes her on a journey to the center of the galaxy in search of the Supreme Being.”

William Shatner was finally given the opportunity to direct one of the films in the Star Trek series with this fifth film that he also helped with the story on, a story that he had been working on even before he was offered the director’s chair. Shatner’s original idea was about a false God that turns into Satan that tries to take the crew of the Enterprise to Hell…what a strange and interesting idea that also seems like it would have been an issue of the Marvel Comics series. Producer Harve Bennett was ready to walk away from the Star Trek film series after three films produced and the feuding he had with Leonard Nimoy, but after a meeting Shatner got him back on board. Then some elements of Shatner’s story needed to be changed due to the concern that the subject matter of God and Satan might not sit well with moviegoers. They changed the depiction of God into an alien being that was faking being God in order gain power and then brought on David Loughery to write the screenplay. This idea and script did not sit well with Gene Roddenberry, the creator of Star Trek, and the screenplay was put on hold when Loughery was part of the Writers Guild Of America strike, holding up the film’s production. When he finally got back to work and finished it, Shatner was displeased with many of the writer’s changes to his idea and things once more had to be worked out when Nimoy and Kelley had concerns with the script. Once the script was green lit by Paramount, they started the design, production and casting processes and started to film in October 1988. The filming of the fifth film in the series was very stressful as delays, strikes and looming deadlines made it stressful for all involved, but with luck and a hard working crew, William Shatner was able to get the film wrapped and Paramount as well as fans were very pleased to hear that the film was wrapped and would be released in theaters very soon. When the film was edited, composer Jerry Goldsmith was brought in and he made an amazing score that for many is one of the highlights of the film series with tracks like “The Mountain” being a must listen in this blogger’s opinion. The film was released in theaters on June 9, 1989 and was meet with poor reviews from critics who thought it was the weakest in the series, but movie goers seemed to favor it more as with them it was meet with mixed reviews. The film brought in $52,210,049.00 for Paramount at the American box office and ranked # 25 for the year beating out such films as Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventures, The Karate Kid Part III, License To Kill, All Dogs Go To Heaven, A Nightmare On Elm Street Part 5, No Holds Barred and Friday The 13th Part 8 to name a few. While Star Trek V might not be the biggest blockbuster in the series, I for one always enjoyed it and think it’s way underrated and offers some fun and adventures moments.

Star Trek V: The Final Frontier is a film that I first saw on VHS when my parents rented it from the video store and we had a family movie night watching it. I remember that we had microwave popcorn, and me and my brother were drinking Kool-Aid. I remember enjoying and loving the film as the bonding between Captain Kirk, Spock and Dr. McCoy around the campfire singing songs, drinking whiskey and eating beans was awesome and something that captured the three characters’ friendship so perfect. I liked the idea of them searching for God all because of a crazed Vulcan who is a cult leader by all accounts taking them hostage and brainwashing them to do so. Over the years I have seen the film many times and each time I have enjoyed it, and no joke this film has a line that I say all the time around the house to Juliet and I will get to that a little later. I also remember that my Uncle Thurman loved Star Trek V and can remember talking to him about the film while at my grandparents’ house. While Star Trek V is not my favorite film in the series, it’s not one I dislike and find it to be very charming, It’s one you should watch for the first time or watch again with a clear mind and enjoy it for the fun ride it is. I guess before we get off this part of the review I should also point out some things I didn’t like about the film with the biggest for me being the fact that the film’s semi villain is able to use his powers to scramble the minds of McCoy and the Enterprise Crew with only Kirk and Spock being strong enough to fight it off, and damn it, McCoy should have been able to as well as Sulu! To sum it up, Star Trek V is a great sequel and a fun film that I have enjoyed since I was a kid.

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Star Trek V: The Final Frontier has one of the greatest lines in Trek history and one that, as I said, I use around the house and even at times while hanging out with friends. Now to set up this line I need to explain the scene as it has Captain Kirk, Spock, Bones McCoy and Vulcan cultist Sybok breaking through the barrier and beaming down to Sha Ka Ree, the planet that is supposed to house God, well to Sybok and his followers at least. Once there they meet The Creator who demands they bring the Enterprise closer so that he can leave the planet and spread his word among the galaxies. And upon hearing that The Creator wants them to bring down the Enterprise…Kirk asks the best question ever asked in a Star Trek film “What does God need with a starship?”! Hands down, this is an amazing line! Say that phrase out loud but do it in your best William Shatner impersonation and stress the word God…Shatner should have won an Oscar for that performance as it really is something I say so much in my life as I find it to be fitting for many of life’s questions.

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Like all Star Trek films that came before it as well as after, The Final Frontier had its fare share of merchandise for fans to collect and add to their Trek collections. The film had magazines, novels, home media releases, soundtrack, toys, posters, shirts, hats, buttons, comic book, jackets, computer games, trading cards and so much more! Over the years I have owned many items based on Star Trek V like the film on VHS and DVD, the soundtrack on CD, the novel and comic as well as at one time the trading cards. So if you are a Trekkie and love Part 5, the world has many of cool items for you to own.

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Did you old school gamers know that a video game for the Nintendo Entertainment System (NES) based on Star Trek V: The Final Frontier was being made by Bandai that was to release around the same time as the film? Did you know that it was cancelled due to the game not playing well and losing track of much of the film’s concept? Did you know that in 2006 a ROM of the game was released that featured four of the stages? Did you know that the game has also made it way to the grey market and is now on a cart that you can play on your NES? Well now you do, and I am happy to say that I have a cart version of this game and man is it a hard one with unforgiving controls and gameplay. The game is a side scrolling adventure game as well as a space shooter and it’s a shame that the game was never finished as who knows what the level that had you fight The Creator would have been, I am guessing the Enterprise firing at a floating head that spit fireballs. The game is a really fun play for fans of classic NES games, as well as Star Trek fans and if you have a ROM on your computer or have a trusty favorite cart maker, make sure to give this unfinished game a try.

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Star Trek V: The Final Frontier is a super fun film that spawned some great merchandise as well as a fun half finished game for the NES, and we are now at the time of reading and reviewing the comic. I would like to thank Mavericks Cards And Comics for having the comic in stock and would also like 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, its entertainment value and its art and story. So if you are ready, let’s boldly go where no comic reader has gone before!

Star Trek V Comic 1

Star Trek V: Final Frontier  ***
Released in 1989     Cover Price $2.00      DC Comics     #1 of 1

On the planet of Nimbus III the Vulcan Sybok is on a quest to get a starship in order to find the planet Sha Ka Ree and is gathering the lost souls of the planet to help him do so by coming up with a plan that will make sure one will come. Meanwhile at Yosemite National Park on shore leave Captain Kirk, Spock and McCoy are having a camping trip and Kirk has decided to climb a mountain. While climbing Spock with rocket boots comes to speak to Kirk and this causes him to lose his grip and fall, and if not for Spock and his boots, he would have crashed to the earth below. Back on Nimbus III the ambassadors (a Klingon, Terran and Romulan) of the planet are taken prisoner by Sybok and his makeshift army, and Starfleet calls the Enterprise to be the peacemakers to help them. Also hearing of the hostage situation is Klingon Captain Klaa and he and his crew are more hyped for the idea of fighting a starship than helping. Once at Nimbus III, they try and trick Sybok when Chekov acts as the Captain and speaks to him about terms of releasing them while Kirk leads Spock, Spock, McCoy, Sulu, Uhura and a few other crewmembers on a rescue mission on the ground. But Kirk and crew soon find that this was a set up to get their starship and Sybok has even gotten to the ambassadors who believe in his journey to find Sha Ka Ree. Now the Enterprise is in the hands of a religious madman who is Spock’s brother and also Captain Klaa is on the attack! Kirk, Spock and McCoy are thrown in a cell as Sybok uses his mind powers to get the rest of the Enterprise crew under his spell…all but Scotty who breaks them out of the cell. Kirk makes it to his room and sends a call for help! Sybok catches them and tells them of his want to find Sha Ka Ree and then uses his mind control powers on McCoy and Spock by showing them past pains and freeing them from it. Kirk refuses to get his pain taken away, and then they hit the zone that will lead them to the unknown planet of Sha Ka Ree. As Sybok rushes back to the bridge, Spock and McCoy break the hold and stay with Kirk who has been ordered to stay in his room, that is until Kirk is called back up the bridge as Sybok says the ship needs its captain. Then Kirk, Spock, McCoy and Sybok get into a shuttle and land on the planet to meet “God”, and when they land, they meet a powerful being that alerts them that he needs the starship to carry his wisdom away from the planet and the zone. When questioned why God needs the help of a ship, the being attacks Kirk and Spock! And the being shows its true self at being an evil being and Sybok attacks the being just as the Enterprise gets orders to blast it with phasers! As Kirk, Spock and McCoy run to the shuttle, the being now as a rock creature goes on the attack and Scotty is able to beam up McCoy and Spock, but before he can get Kirk, the Enterprise is attacked by Captain Klaa making Kirk stand alone against the rock creature. That is until Kirk is beamed aboard the Klingon ship thanks to the Klingon Ambassador who orders Klaa to save Kirk from that false god and that terrible planet. Once out of the zone and back on shore leave Kirk, Spock and McCoy finish their camping trip.

This DC Comic adaptation of Star Trek V is a great read and captures the adventure and humor of the film really well and even showcases the power of the Fake God even more by allowing him to become a massive rock creature who wants to smash Kirk into the ground! The plot is simple: Spock’s brother hijacks the Enterprise to find a planet that is said to hold the secrets of God only to find an evil being and throw in a young Klingon Captain who wants to make a name for himself by killing Kirk and you have this plot in a nutshell. Captain Kirk goes from a relaxing camping trip to a rescue mission to being a prisoner on his own ship to fighting a fake God to going back on vacation, so as you can see, he had a very busy couple of days! The thing about Captain Kirk is that he is fearless as well as loyal to his ship and crew and lives for his Starfleet command. Kirk really is my favorite Captain in any Star Trek series as he is a rebel, a ladies man, and a great strategist when it comes to battles with the likes of Klingons. Spock in this issue is trying to learn human camping stories and snacks and shows that while he cares about his brother, he is very much loyal to his friends. McCoy as well cares about his friends and we see that he holds lots of pain when he could not help his father with an illness that took his life and a cure was just around the corner. I have to say this again, nothing in the world of science fiction can beat the friendship and bond of Captain Kirk, Dr. McCoy and Spock as they are the perfect trio of friends in any kind of fiction. The False God is pure evil and has been placed in the zone with a force field around it to keep it from infecting the rest of the galaxy with its evil ways, it’s violent and can take the appearance of anyone or thing and is best left on that planet. The Klingon Captain Klaa and his crew are young and crave war and want so badly to make a name for themselves in the history books and think that by killing Captain Kirk they can do so, and they come close until a high ranking Klingon forces them to help Kirk! Poor Sybok, who is the brother of Spock, is not a bad Vulcan at all and thinks that emotions are more important than logic and can even take peoples pain away and mind control them into happiness. All he really wants to do is find Sha Ka Ree, a planet he thinks God lives so all living things can find the answer to life and happiness, but instead he finds a fake and gives his life to try and help Spock, McCoy and Kirk to escape the cursed planet. The best part of Sybok is that he has a strange version of the Vulcan Mind Meld that allows him to fill a being with pure joy and take away their pain. I should also say that Sybok is Spock’s half brother as they share the same father. The comic does a great job of keeping the plot going and taking elements of the film that was cut from the film script like the Rock Creature. The cover for this comic is well done and super eye catching for fans of Star Trek and the interior art by James W. Fry and Arne Starr and is well done and captures the looks of the actors pretty well. If you are a fan of Star Trek V like I am I would say make sure to give this comic a read as I think you will enjoy it as much as I did. Check out the artwork below to see they style used in this comic adaptation.

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Star Trek had to have a place on Rotten Ink’s 10 Year Anniversary year as they really are some of my favorite sci-fi films and growing up Star Trek was a big part of my childhood in both TV shows, movies and toys. And while Star Trek V is not one of the most well loved films staring the original cast by Trekkies, it is one that I have always been a fan of. And after reading this update I hope you give this film a watch and sit back and enjoy the silly ride from the mind of William Shatner. For my next update, I am staying in the world of sci-fi but the next topic has a touch of Greek myth and fantasy to it and I am talking about the 1981 classic film Clash Of The Titans! So until next time, read a Star Trek comic or three, watch a Star Trek film or two and as always support your local Horror Host. Join me next time as Rotten Ink unleashes the Kraken!

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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!