NES Challenge: King Kong 2

Welcome back to Rotten Ink and another NES Challenge.  This time around in honor of my favorite giant movie monster King Kong coming back to the silver screen in “Kong: Of Skull Island,” I decided to try my luck at beating King Kong 2 from Konami on the good old RES! I am sure many of you are scratching your head and saying “King Kong 2 that was never made for the Nintendo, this must be a homebrew game!” This is only half true as the game was made by Konami for the Famicon in Japan and thanks to the team up of my friend Brett from Bad Or Rad, Pac N Sac Dave and Todd The Fox, I was able to get a custom version of this game that plays on all American systems and even has a custom box and label! So sit back, relax and take a trip with me as I look back on King Kong Lives and try to beat King Kong 2 on the good old RES!

So before we play the game, let’s discuss a little more about King Kong 2 that’s American title is King Kong Lives!

King Kong Lives (1986)

“A giant ape King Kong, which was shot and fell off the World Trade Center tower, appears to be alive, but is in coma for 10 years and desperately needs a blood transfusion in order to have an artificial heart implanted. Suddenly, in the rainforest, another gigantic ape is found – this time a female. She is brought to the USA, and the heart is successfully implanted. But then King Kong, having sensed the female ape, breaks loose.”

When I heard about a new King Kong movie in 1986, I was hyped as the giant monkey has always had a special place in my heart, but I would not get to see the film in theaters as my parents had no interest in seeing it.  In fact, my Dad made fun of the concept of King Kong living with a over sized pace maker. So I would not get to see it until it appeared on Home Video, and I will get to my thoughts after we touch a little on the films history and production. The De Laurentiis Entertainment Group, headed by the famed movie producer Dino De Laurentiis, decided that after the hit King Kong remake they made in 1976 the world needed a sequel ten years later, and so King Kong Lives was put into production and unleashed onto the movie going masses. The film had John Gullermin in the director’s chair again as he was for the 1976 remake, and the film cast such actors as Linda Hamilton, Brian Kerwin, John Ashton and Michael Forest and had a huge marketing campaign around it before and during its release. The film’s score was done by John Scott and is solid work; while not memorable, it’s still good. The film was a major flop when released in theaters, and critics and fans both panned the film for the silly storyline and its overall “boring” nature. Famed and respected film critic Roger Ebert gave the film 1 out of 4 stars and as of this update it holds a 0% on Rotten Tomatoes! The film had a budget of $18 million and only brought in $4,711,220.00 making it lose lots of cash.  It was # 113 of the year, only beating out such other cult films as “No Retreat, No Surrender”, “The Wraith”, “Deadtime Stories” and “Night Of The Creeps” at the box office. And while before it hit theaters it had a massive roar, once in it went out with a whimper.

When my parents rented King Kong Lives for my brother and I, I can remember I was pretty hyped to watch it as the box cover was amazing and had King Kong looking pissed off on it! When watching the film, I can remember my brother not being into it as I was glued to it with wonder.  While the film was not good, in my young mind it didn’t matter as on our TV screen was a new adventure of Kong! As a kid I always took that stand with bad movie sequels: at least we got to see the character again.  Sadly I still have that thought pattern to this day with some films like Halloween, which had some bad sequels under its belt, all of which I enjoy. After seeing King Kong Lives for the first time via a VHS rental, I would go on to watch it on cable tons of time as well as on TBS when shown edited for TV. And later on, I would go on to own it on both VHS and DVD and still dust this silly movie off from time to time and enjoy Kong’s rampage to save his lady. The things I really like about this film are that King Kong, Lady Kong and Son Of Kong look great for the time, and the rubber suits, while dated now, captured my young imagination! Another thing I liked about the film is the quick shot of actress Linda Hamilton’s boobs; as a kid that was always a highlight! I also liked the score music and the scenes when King Kong took on the army. The downside of this film for me was the fact that in many spots it does drag, and at times it seems to forget that viewers are watching to see King Kong.  The other part that’s silly is how they explain that Kong is still alive after falling off the World Trade Center and must have a pacemaker put in so that his heart will function, only to die of a heart attack in the end. While King Kong Lives is not a perfect sequel and is riddled with silly scripting and flaws, I still find it to be a fun entertaining film that I enjoyed from my past. If you have not seen it, go in with a clear mind and enjoy King Kong doing what he does best and that’s be a giant gorilla on a rampage.

While the film was a flop, it still sparked some merchandise that includes the film itself being released on VHS, Laserdisc and DVD. Plus the Famicom game “King Kong 2: Ikari no Megaton Punch” was released and entertained the gamers of Japan. Movie posters for the theaters and for video rental stores were made to try to entice movie watchers to check it out. The score soundtrack to the film found its way to vinyl, cassette and CD, and yes indeed, I own the CD and have played it on Alpha Rhythms on WYSO! These are just the items I can think of that came out based on this film, as I am sure other merchandise was made, official and unofficial! I wish at the time of release that a comic book adaptation, paperback novel and action figures were made as I would have loved to have owned them all. So if you’re a fan of King Kong Lives, there is some cool stuff that you should add to your collection.

In 1986, to go along with the film King Kong Lives, video game company Konami decided that the world was in need of a video game version.  So they made King Kong 2: Ikari no Megaton Punch to satisfy the demand from gamers in Japan that wanted a game based around the film. The game allows players to take control of King Kong as he goes on a rescue mission to save Lady Kong from the government scientist and must battle the army as well as other large creatures in a top down maze adventure that lasts for a total of nine levels. The goal of course is to rescue Lady Kong who is the love of your life and who also saved your life by giving blood when you were in a coma for 10 years. The game was not a major hit in Japan and never made it to the US for a release. I should also note that a game based on King Kong Lives was also made in 1986 for the MSX home computer called “King Kong 2: Yomigaeru Densetsu,” once more only for Japan and also made by Konami.  This time around you played as the human Mitchell, and it was a role playing game! While neither game set the world of video games on fire, they still left their mark for gamers who have played them.

So we have taken a look at King Kong Lives the movie, and we learned about the video game that I am about to challenge and hope to conquer! I have failed at trying to beat Werewolf: The Last Warrior and Adventures Of Bayou Billy for the NES, but I am going into this game with a positive attitude and the will to beat this game! So here it is, my NES Challenge: King Kong 2!

I selected the day March 7, 2017 to have my showdown as the weather outside was in the 50’s and rain fell most of the day with grey skies in between. After running a few errands that involved Sparkle Comics business I filled up my glass with water and heated up a chicken leg and was ready to save Lady Kong! Once settled into my chair I turned on my RES (Retro-Bit Entertainment System) and grabbed my NES Controller and was ready to save Lady Kong. I started my adventure and punched and jumped my way through what looks like a valley leading to a military base that is protected by green blobs and collected rocks and also found hidden doors! Each of these doors led Kong to a new area and finally to a giant bad guy who reminded me of a shell throwing shells! After dying and wandering around some more, I ended up finding a giant spider to get another key in my quest! My next challenge was fighting three green dragons who wanted me dead, but thanks to my trust rocks that was not on the menu! So far in the game I was feeling pretty good, while I did die a few times I was doing really well and collecting the keys and stomping out enemies with my punches, jumping stomps and rocks. I was also puzzled as to why the underground levels looked like the military base was an alien star ship, but I guess they needed to spice it up to make the video game pop more. After wandering around more and smashing and jumping over things I kept on my goal of collecting keys and smashing monsters! While wandering around the same areas and going into doors that lead nowhere was the majority of the game up to this point, I would get lucky and find a door that would lead to a enemy. The areas would change as I found myself also wandering the streets and smashing things, but mostly I found myself just jumping over bad guys to usher Kong into the next area and collecting more keys. Finally after a few hours of playing, I was lucky enough to make it to the end and fight three rows of giant robots that my rocks helped me smash through and after beating them I was at the door and rescued Lady Kong! In the end, I got a cool cut scene of King Kong and Lady Kong back on Skull Island and it shows Son Of Kong! Finally I did it! I conquered a NES Challenge and beat King Kong 2, and I find this to be a perfect way to celebrate the release of Kong Of Skull Island in theaters! While the game was somewhat of a challenge I found it to be more puzzling than hard as most of the game I found myself just wandering around looking for the right doors. The enemies of the game were hard with the final three rows of bosses being the most difficult. To sum it up, this game is worth playing if you like King Kong and movie tie-in games otherwise it would be very forgettable to most gamers besides diehard Kong fans. But once more I have to say…I did it!

The majority of this game offers the same enemies, blobs and helicopters, but some of the bosses at least put up a good fight! So here is to all of the military forces, the blobs and all the bosses that did their best to keep me away from rescuing Lady Kong. So while they didn’t stop me, here is to all the bad guys from this game who tried their best to keep me at bay; from the weird Shell Monster all the way to the three rows of suited assassins, thanks for making this game a challenge! Below are some pictures of the bad guys from King Kong 2, and I should also note NONE of these baddies are in the movie.

I also just wanted to touch up on one bit of King Kong bizarre news before we get to the comics.  For the premiere of Kong: Skull Island in Vietnam, they had a huge event planned that showcased live actors & dancers and a huge set complete with a 16 foot King Kong! There was dancing and a light show, and for the main attraction the giant King Kong was to shock and fill the crowd with wonder and excitement, but sadly it filled them with fear as King Kong burst into flames and became a towing inferno as the crowd fled the area while others armed with their cellphones took video and pictures of Kong burning to the ground! Lucky for everyone, no one was hurt, and the massive fire was put out 15 minutes after it started, but sadly by that time old King Kong was roasted and toasted. No one is sure how the fire started some say that it was caused by the heat from the lights, others claim that it was a misplaced torch from one of the actors on stage while others blamed Godzilla! One thing is for sure that while King Kong might have turned to ash his box office draw is legendary…you get it…never mind. Check out the picture below for the flaming Kong in all his glory.

So with a win under my belt, I think it’s time we put away the RES and turn our attention toward the main attraction of my blog the comic book reviews! While doing this update, I thought long and hard about which King Kong Comic series I wanted to tackle.  I really had three choices: the 1991 King Kong adaptation from Monster Comics, the 2007 mini series by Markosia or the current 2016 series going on by Boom, and to be honest, I almost considered the 2017 comic series by Legendary that ties into the film Kong Skull Island! After sitting and thinking about it all, I decided to go with the Markosia series called “Kong King Of Skull Island” as I felt it was a wise choice and added new adventures for King Kong to go in the comic book world. I want to thank Mavericks Cards And Comics for ordering me these issues years back for my pull file, and I can hear the Kong worshipers telling me to remind you all that I grade these on a star scale of 1 to 4 and am looking for how well the comic stays to the source material, its entertainment value and its art and story. So if you’re ready let’s walk away from the video game and head through the giant wooden gates and into the world of comics and see what King Kong has in store for us! I should also note that I really do love King Kong and when he clashes with Godzilla for Legendary Pictures in 2020, I will be cheering on the big gorilla as he has always been one of my favorite giant movie monsters, and that’s no disrespect to Godzilla as I love him as well….just not as much as Kong. Oh and I want to also alert you my friends and readers that this comic series is based on the novel by Joe DeVito who tried to sue Warner Brothers and Legendary Pictures as he claimed they stole his idea for their movie from his book! Did they who knows but one things for sure I am looking forward to reading this comic series again and some issues for the first time!

Kong King Of Skull Island # 0  **
Released in 2007    Cover Price $1.99    Markosia    # 0 of 5

Carl Denham is on a massive ship on his way back to Skull Island after the events of New York that left King Kong dead and his reputation dragged through the mud and piled with lawsuits against him. His friend Englehorn is the Captain of the ship an they are remembering back to their first time on Skull Island when a pterodactyl attacks and picks up Denham and once over the ocean a giant sea monsters pops out of the water and attacks the pterodactyl causing Denham to plunge into the cold water below.

Issue 0 acts as a very small build up for the comic mini series and follows Carl Denham and Captain Englehorn heading back to Skull Island after King Kong was shot down and killed on top of the Empire State Building. While on this journey back dinosaurs attack and leave Denham floating in the ice cold water, leaving us the reader wondering how he will survive and just why he has left America in order to return to Skull Island. Carl Denham in this issue seems lost and upset over the death of Kong and all the lawsuits he faces from New York, but while down and out he seems very happy to be at sea along with his friend Captain Englehorn whom seems not to be judging him on the incident.   Captain Englehorn seems to be just along for the ride even if he doesn’t want to go near Skull Island again he is willing to do so to help his friend. This issue has some drama and action but is a little weak as with no Kong and mostly talking on the boat its does not have the “epic” feel that most King Kong comics and films have. The cover is eye catching and has Kong looking over Skull Island and the interior art done by Dan O’Connor is fantastic as is the story by Chuck Satterlee based on the novel work of Joe DeVito. Not much more to say about this very short issue 0 besides it good and does it’s best to build up the coming story.

Kong King Of Skull Island # 1  **1/2
Released in 2007     Cover Price $3.99     Markosia     # 1 of 5

The year is 1957 and Vince Denham the son of Carl is a paleontologist who doubts that his dad’s discovery King Kong ever truly excited and was nothing more than a hoax. His friend Jack Driscoll witnessed Kong and tries his best to prove and tell what he knows about the event that shocked New York as Kong’s body has been missing and never seen again and he wants them both to travel to Skull Island and see the legend for himself. Jack Driscoll takes Vince to the island and things get bad when the massive ship takes some damage and needs major repairs. As Jack and some of the crew work on the ship Vince and others take a row boat to the island but don’t make it to shore when they are attacked by a underwater creatures that leaves the crew dead and Vince badly injured. Jack himself makes it to the Island and goes on a hunt to find Vince and comes across the bodies of past explores as Vince is having his wounds treated by a Islander story teller and her young female assistant and neither will tell Vince of his fathers whereabouts.

This first issue tries to bring us up to date on the characters from the classic film. Ann and Jack are now married and Jack owns his own shipping boats, Carl Denham has went missing some time back and his son Vince is wanting to find his father and get answers about King Kong. Captain Englehorn is also missing and no one seems to be on the look out for him. And King Kong’s body has gone missing after his tragic death in New York and some think he was nothing more than a hoax. The plot of this issue has Vince getting family friend Jack to take him to Skull Island to find answers and all he has found this far is wounds and weird Islanders who will not answer his questions. Vince Denham seems like a young man who had his life in order and loves his job as a paleontologist but also seems to have a black spot on his soul, as he really wants answers from his father who has vanished and left him and his mother to answer for the crimes he committed with Kong. Jack Driscoll is a man who is loyal to the Denham family and found his true love thanks to the original trip to Skull Island, he seems to be wise in age now but also loves the thrill of adventure. The Storyteller Islander seems to know more than she is sharing and I cant wait to see what her story is. The comic is very wordy and not much action happens till the end of the issue but it does a great job of setting up our story and introduce and reintroduce our cast of characters. This far I think my favorite character is Jack Driscoll as I find him to be the classic hero type and knowing what he has been through thanks to the movie he is just a great classic character. The cover for this issue is eye catching and has Kong beating up a giant snake and the interior art is done by Dan O’Connor and has a classic comic feel that brings this story to life. Over all this first issue is lots of fun and like issue # 0 is a great way to build the mini series. Lets see what adventure issue two has in store for us.

Kong King Of Skull Island # 2   **1/2
Released in 2007      Cover Price $3.99       Markosia       # 2 of 5

Vince’s fever from his wounds has broken and The Storyteller and her assistant Kara show Vince a old statue of Kong and she decides to tell him a story of the past the was about one of the Islands Princesses who wants to save her people and bring peace and the old wall’s gate being struck by lighting and man eating creatures called Deathrunners escaped and how the young Princess became friends with The Storyteller, but this does not interest Vince who wants to know about his father and Kong. Meanwhile Jack must fight his way through the jungle and even must kill a giant lizard with a stick! Vince soon finds that Kara hates him and wanted him to die in the water as The Storyteller stops her rant and gears up to share more of the story of the past.

This second issue is once more very wordy and packs some action and adventure but is more about the story of the past and Vince wondering why he is hated so much by one of his rescuers. This issues plot has Vince regaining his strength and listing to a tale from The Storyteller who is speaking of the wall, the political tribe tension as well as Kong. And all the while we follow Jack who is trying to find Vince and is trying his best to survive the jungle. While the story this far is interesting I am also getting a little annoyed that we are only getting brief moments of King Kong in flashbacks and I for one want more of him and less of long winded story telling of events of the past. I mean a book about Kong should have more than a few panels of Kong over the course of three issues at this point. The only other funny thing I noticed in this issue is that Vince seems to be more of a whiner and is very concerned why Kara dislikes him and less about the fact every one on the rowboat with him is dead. We also get to see Deathrunners strange lizard like creatures who clearly eat humans and they are pretty cool but again have very little panel time. Not much more to say about this issue besides more plot build up, less action and adventure and the cover is great and show Kong beating up Dinosaurs. Oh and the interior art is done by Dan O’Connor and is still great. Lets just move on to issue three and see if we get more stories or more action.

Kong King Of Skull Island # 3   **1/2
Released in 2008     Cover Price $3.99     Markosia     # 3 of 5

Vince Denham listens as The Storyteller gives him a little more of the story as in the past a tribes holy man is wanting to give human sacrifice to a giant lizard they named Gaw, this does not set well with the Princess who along with her lover a warrior head into the jungle to find herbs that they think will make the giant beasts tamable. As they get deeper into the jungle they come upon a young Kong and his father under attack by Gaw and Deathrunners and after a brief fight the larger father Kong is killed and the young escapes into the jungle with Gaw and his minions hot on his tail. The Princess and The Warrior move a little further and find a ship and white men looking for help! As she tells this Kara enters and is mad that The Storyteller is given all this information to Vince as she still thinks he is a bad person and will bring more explores to their island. While all this story telling is going on Jack is still roaming around looking for the son of his friend and is getting closer to his goal.

The story telling continues and this issues plot has the Princess and her warrior boyfriend traveling to the jungle in order to find some herbs they think will help make the giant monsters around them more controllable, but some of the tribes are starting to worship the giant monsters as Gods and worst the one named Gaw has made Skull Island his and even has killed a Kong and is on the hunt for a smaller one. All the while Vince is listing to The Storytellers tale and is also still on watch as Kara truly wishes him dead. So as you can see we get more tribe politics but we do also finally get a quick Kong fight that leaves one of them dead and shows that our books main villain is an evil reptile killing machine. Vince at this point is getting a little stronger but is brain is now an open to the tales of the old woman as he is trying to understand the history of the island and how his father ties in. Jack is still just stuck in the jungle looking for his friend and is doing his best to survive. The Storyteller and Kara are at odds with one another over how much they should share with Vince, but the while at odds respect is still in play. The Princess and The Warrior while in the past are doing what they can in order so save peoples lives as the primitive ways are trying to come back and with that means human sacrifice. The two Kong’s are father and son and while strong the father is just out numbered and killed as the younger giant ape is now on the run and I am sure he will be the one we will later know as King Kong. The Gaw is a red skinned lizard giant monster who is brutal and attacks with fury and worse the Deathrunners seem to help him bring down his prey. While we do get some action and adventure this issue is much like the others and more about the story of the Island and I am ok with that I just hope we get a great fight in the end between Gaw and Kong. I must say the cover for this issue is very eye catching and is sure to please fans of King Kong but the interior art this time around is done by artist Scott Larson and I must say I am not a fan of his style of art as I found it sloppy and not able to capture the epic nature of Kong and the world of Skull Island. While this issue is not amazing it still was fun and for all the lack of Kong action I am enjoying the tale of Skull Island and lets see what issue four has in store.

Kong King Of Skull Island # 4  **1/2
Released in 2008     Cover Price $3.99     Markosia      # 4 of 5

The Storyteller continues her tale of the past to Vince as she shares that the white sailors where lead by Captain Magwich and their boat was in need of major repair and they are welcomed in by the villagers who in turn ask them for help to capture the last Kong. The Warrior and the sailors enter the jungle and disappear for awhile but finally return with the captured young Kong. The Holy Man still pushes for human sacrifice and with one they set up Gaw and pour super hot boiling oil on him and this also sets the captured Kong off who breaks free and rushes into the jungle looking for a final fight. Sadly for the Princess her father the King has passed away and her people are still at odds as the Holy Man and the Sailors are still around and could be ready to cause problems. Meanwhile in modern times Jack wonders the jungle and soon finds tribe people who have a Kong under their control and he himself is now taken captive and lead to Vince who is happy to see his long time family friend and for the major surprise The Storyteller takes him to see his father Carl who has lived this whole time on the island!

This time around the story is how in the past the islanders captured the young Kong in order to control and defend them from Gaw who has been their tormentor for way to many years, but also how outsiders are starting to influence some of the people and with their firearms they could help the Holy Man gain control of the island. All the while Vince is hearing this history lesson and by the end of this issue Vince is reunited with both Jack and his father Carl. The Storyteller and Kara seem less at odds and seem to get slight joy of letting Vince see his father again. I really like how the outsiders are a factor now in the past storyline as it’s clear they could tip the scales into the favor of what ever side they decide to take if they take any by the end. I also enjoy the fact that the Princess is the only one who showed the young Kong compassion and brought him food, drink and tended his wounds from being captured. I also like how the villager’s fights back against Gaw and catch him on fire with oil and this also makes you wonder what he will do in the next issue for revenge against them for turning on him. It’s nice to have Carl Denham back into the story and see him and Jack Driscoll reunited as it gives a real classic feel to see the films two main heroes together again. Kong while he does not do much its still great to at least have him around and know that in the final issue coming up he is going to have a battle to the death with Gaw! The cover for this one is awesome just like the all the covers that came before it. The Interior art is a team up of Dan O’Connor and Scott Larson with the later’s sloppy art sticking out like a sore thumb. Over all a good issue while nothing special I found it to be a good read that made me look forward to the Kong vs. Gaw final fight, so with that lets move onto the final issue.

Kong King Of Skull Island # 5  **1/2
Released in 2008     Cover Price $3.99     Markosia     # 5 of 5

Carl Denham and son Vince exchange words and son is not happy with his father as he feels that he left him and his mother to deal with the drama of King Kong, but The Storyteller calms everyone down and they all enter Skull Islands skull cave and find that Carl brought the remains of King Kong with him to return him home! Meanwhile in the past The Queen finds the herbs that helps tame the beasts in the lost city but she and her people also soon find that Captain Magwich have other ideas that is not about helping them kill Gaw but to help himself to the islands gold! But when the Holy Man finds out that the sailors have turned on them he summons Gaw who kills the Captain and turns his sights on the others but they humans are saved when King Kong shows up and kills Gaw and ends his path of revenge! When back at the village The Warrior is killed, The Holy Man rises to full power and The Princess goes into hiding and has become The Storyteller and she shares that Carl has been writing their stories down and when he is about to get praise they find that he has died in his sleep. Vince and Jack return to the fixed ship and they sail home and Vice has a new respect for his father and Skull Island.

In this fifth and final issue we get every storyline from this series tied up, King Kong’s body has been brought back to Skull Island, Vince finds his father and gets the answer as to why he has been missing all these years, Carl has spend years helping the Islanders teaching them English as well and taking down their story, Jack gets out of the jungle and finds his missing friends and The Storyteller passes down the tales and lets Kara know that she is now Queen of the people! This comic is more drama than adventure and while the story was lots of fun I really did wish for more King Kong fighting action. King Kong in this comic series goes from being a frightened youth to a vengeful fighting machine and while not in the mini series that much when he is shown he demands the reader’s attention. Vince and Carl Denham serve their parts in the story as two outsiders to Skull Island whom are trying to find answers and peace and must find it not only with the people of the island but also with each other. Jack Driscoll is a man who is friends with the Denham family and even when the odds of survival looks grim he still never gives up. Captain Englehorn we are to guess has died on the island as besides issue # 0 he never makes an appearance. The Storyteller and Kara as well both have a purpose to the story as they are tools to share the past as well as share forgiveness and fear as Kara is clearly fearful of what the white man can bring to their island. The Holy Man and most of the Sailors from the past as well show that greed and power can make people do sinister and evil things to benefit themselves. Gaw the giant god lizard was also a very evil beast who ruled Skull Island with an iron claw and seemed to get joy out of killing, so its fitting that he is killed by Kong by being impaled! What worked for this comic mini series based on a book is the fact it had a fun story that opened up the past and history of King Kong as well as Skull Island plus most of the characters are likeable and all feel like golden age Hollywood stars. The downside of this series is that in some parts is boring, not enough King Kong and some issues the art is blah! This issue has yet another amazing cover but the inside art was done by Scott Larson and is a little weak for the final fate of our characters. To sum this up this comic mini series based on King Kong and a book is a good read for fans of Kong but does have flaws that distract from what could have been an epic four star comic adventure. Check out the artwork below to see the styles used in this comic series for King Kong and Gaw that has both artists work.

I have always had a soft spot for Giant Monster movies and grew up watching them on TBS and shows like Super Scary Saturday and while I love Godzilla I have always had a place at the top of my heart for King Kong and with the release of “Kong Of Skull Island” to theaters this year I knew I had to revisit the giant ape here on Rotten Ink and I am glad I did as I have had this comic series in my boxes since they came out and never got around to reading the full series. But for our next update I am leaving Skull Island and heading to the golden age of comic book heroes as we take a look at the one and only Red Demon a sadly mostly forgotten hero from the late 1940’s! So until next time read a comic or three, watch a movie or two and as always support your local Horror Host, see you back very soon for our look at Red Demon.

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Horror Host Icon: Dr. Morbius

In Cedar Rapids, Iowa on Channel 9 fans of late night horror films tuned into Saturday Nightmare and was treated to the antics of a goofy bolding vampire named Dr. Morbius and his show not only entertained but also inspired those who were the Monster Kids of the 80’s. One thing about the world of Horror Hosting is that it’s filled with many Doctors, Barons, and werewolves and of course Vampires! Dr. Morbius fits in both the vampire and doctor categories and is also a Horror Host that I don’t think gets the respect he deserves, so for this second update to the countdown to Thanksgiving I am very proud to present Horror Host Icon Dr. Morbius! Now I need to also say that this was a very hard Icon update to do cause sadly not much information is out their about Dr. Morbius and some that is out in the world conflicts with each other so what I have done is try my best to research him not only on the web but also talked to fans who grew up watching him during his run. So sit back and enjoy this wild zany ride of the bolding vampire Dr. Morbius.

Dr. Morbius 1

Saturday Nightmare started out hostless in early 1986 and KCRG Channel 9 decided that when they launched the show they would also hold additions for a permit host and held auditions on August 26 1986 that had hopeful ghouls, ghosts and witches come out of the wood work to be considered for the host gig, this included Slime the Hosting hopeful we interviewed back on the Marvel Lifeform update. The audition tapes would air during a broadcast and by vote from fans the new host would be selected and while Slime might not have gotten the votes, Dr. Morbius did and became the shows permit host for the shows run from 1986-1988. Saturday Nightmare would show a single Horror or Sci-Fi film and would have the good Dr. hosting the film from inside his castle that he named Castle Mare, his shows opening theme was Toccata and Fugue in D Minor by Bach and his castle was lit with candles. Dr. Morbius himself is a vampire from Transylvania who moved to Iowa in order to get away and retire, and finds fun ways to pass the time by hosting Horror Films and teaching the viewers not to trust anyone besides their Doctor…meaning himself. His appearance was a long black cape with red lining, a button up white shirt, black pants, a thick mustache and sometimes his face would be painted green while other times it was flesh colored. His accent was thick and sounded like your typical impersonation of Count Dracula and helped add to the idea that Dr. Morbius was truly a vampire from that part of the world. While is time on air was short his iconic memory lives on for fans who grew up watching him and new ones who have watched his clips on Youtube.

Dr. Morbius 2Dr. Morbius 3Dr. Morbius 4

Bruce Gantenbein aka Bruk Gant was the man behind the cape who was born in September 3, 1951 in Iowa and was always an entertainer at even in High School he played basketball and was the Captain his senior year in 1970. Bruce also was a singer and played the guitar for many bands and solo music projects of the years that include being members of Kelly And The Komb-Overs, Gambler, Last Chance and for solo work went by the names Bruk Gant and Big Bruce, music was his passion and by all accounts he was good at playing it. Besides music and being a Horror Host he also was a Stand-Up Comic and was a regular performer at Penguin’s Comedy Club in Cedar Rapids and tickled the funny bones of all that came to see him. Think about all the ways he entertained people he was a Horror Host, a Musician, a Basketball Player and a Comedian. Another interesting fact is that Bruce was an officer for Iowa City Police Department from 1978-1980 as well became a Campus Officer for University of Iowa and later a Security Officer for UI Department of Public Safety. Sadly on August 10, 2013 at the age of 61 Bruce “Dr. Morbius” Gantenbein passed away and the world lost a very talented entertainer. This update is dedicated to the memory of Bruce Gantenbein as well as his family, friends and fans who he has touched with his performances and friendship.

Dr. Morbius 5Dr. Morbius 6Dr. Morbius 7

In 1986 Dr. Morbius alongside The Invisible Band teamed up with KCRG Channel 9 to releases a 45” Record that featured two rap songs written and sung by Morbius that sold for $2.75 via local shops and over the air orders. The first song was called “Morbius Rap” and was about how great the late night host was at showcasing cheesy films on his show Saturday Nightmare, you know the typical kind of song you would expect from a Horror Host! And on the flip side is a song called “Hawk Rap” that is a tribute to the Iowa Hawkeyes College Football Team and is equally filled with cheesy lyrics and a goofy beat, just think of the Chicago Bears Superbowl Shuffle song. Funny enough many Horror Hosts have tried their hands at Rap Music in the 80’s like Commander USA, Elvira Mistress of the Dark and Dr. Morbius! I can imagine that all through the late 80’s and early 90’s that Hawk Rap was played at the games as well as on local radio to amp up players and fans. The 45” is a collector’s item now but for those fans wanting to hear them they are both on Youtube, so make sure to check them out in all their glory!

Dr. Morbius 8Morbius Rap vinylDr. Morbius 9

On March 15, 2016 at Horrorhound Weekend Dr. Morbius was inducted into the Horror Host Hall Of Fame with the honor going to Baron Von Porkchop to induct him! As always we looked at this induction as an honor and Baron did lots of great research and delivered an amazing speech, sadly with Dr. Morbius being passed away he was not able to accept the plaque but I am sure he was looking down with a smile on his face. Before Baron’s induction speech they rolled a classic clip of Dr. Morbius and the crowd seemed to dig what they were watching, once more I would like to thank Halloween Jack and the HorrorHound Weekend for allowing Baron Von Porkchop to have the honor of inducting a classic and well loved Horror Host like Dr. Morbius! Below is some photos taken from the induction and showcases the plaque that was given in his honor.

Dr. Morbius Hall Of Fame awardBaron Von Porkchop holds the Dr. Morbius Hall of fame award

So we are now at the time of the Icon update that we take a look at the episodes I own of Dr. Morbius and break down not only the Movie (write up taken from IMDB) and the zany adventure of the host. I searched high and low for episodes of Saturday Nightmare I checked trade sites, download torrent sites, contacted fans and sadly was only able to come up with one episode for this update and for the one found I need to thank my brother Bryan for it as he was able to hook me up. So with that lets get our cheap vampire cape on and take a look at Dr. Morbius at work in this classic episode taken from it’s broadcast showing!

Saturday Nightmare Creature From The Black Lagoon DVD

Saturday Nightmare:  Creature From The Black Lagoon
Starring – Rico Brown & Julie Adams   Not Rated   1954

Host: Dr. Morbius is relaxing by fishing out his window and trying to catch whatever he can from the moat below, only to be pulled from his chair! Dr. Morbius then spends time making cheesy jokes and ushering back to the film or commercial breaks. Morbius then reads some fan mail and answers the questions his fans have for him. And closes the show with more jokes and tells us all that next weeks show will be Bride Of Frankenstein.

Movie: A scientific expedition searching for fossils along the Amazon River discovers a prehistoric Gill-Man in the legendary Black Lagoon. The explorers capture the mysterious creature, but it breaks free. The Gill-Man returns to kidnap the lovely Kay, fiancée of one in the expedition, with whom it has fallen in love.

Dr. Morbius 10

One thing I must point out is that Dr. Morbius and his show Saturday Nightmare loved them some Pizza Hut as almost every commercial break showcased that greasy pizza joint, or should I say Pizza Hut loved Dr. Morbius and paid for advertisement to air during it. This was a very fun episode and was a nice way to see just how Dr. Morbius hosted and now I understand why he entertained the masses of late night viewers in Iowa! While his time on air might have been short his fans still remember his late night hijinks and this was a true honor to pay him respect. But our next update will take us away from Horror Hosts and into the world of Greek Mythology as it has become a tradition for me to cover the one and only Hercules on Thanksgiving and this year we will be taking a look at the Marvel Comics Version! So make sure to visit back for that Holiday Update, so until next time Support your local Horror Host, read a comic or three and have a safe and fun lead up to our Holiday season.

Marvel Hercules Preview Logo

The Failed New-Verse Of Marvel: Spitfire

Marvel Comics has always been my favorite comic company as they had characters that captured my imagination as well as stories that were simple yet highly entertaining and also well placed real life drama into them from death of a loved one to drug addictions making the stories seem more real no matter how over the top the heroes and villains were. Characters like Spider-Man, The X-Men, Captain America and Iron Man all made impacts on the youth reading them and even held on to readers who were growing up with this kind of storytelling style.  What was nice was each character had history and each had baggage and drama that shaped them into the hero they became up to that point. In modern comics from Marvel, in my opinion, when it’s convent they just hit the restart button if they back themselves into a corner or build up too much history for the character or sometimes they just want to sell yet another # 1 issue of a character fans love. But Marvel in the 80’s still was holding on to the 60’s and the true history of each character created by the likes of Jack Kirby, Steve Ditko and even Stan Lee. So enter Jim Shooter and his idea of creating an all New Marvel Universe that would feature new heroes who didn’t have over the top powers and would be set in real time. For this update, I looked through the list of New Universe characters like Justice, Star Brand and Nightmask to name a few and decided to cover Spitfire, a giant red robot whose covers caught my eye many years back but I never read till this very update.  So I’m pretty hyped to finally see what the character is all about. So forget about all you know about the Marvel Universe and let’s dive deep into the New Universe.

On a side note Juliet’s look at Star Trek: The Next Generation was late being turned in and will be posted when done some time in the future, I want to say sorry to you readers who where looking forward to it.

Marvel New Universe Banner Logo

Jim Shooter started reading comics at a young age but stopped when he was 8 years old.  His love for them started up again when he was 12 and was in the hospital for minor surgery began reading the comics the hospital provided and found that Marvel was better at telling stories than DC (who he had read more of in his past) and found himself more into the Marvel characters as well…at that moment he knew that DC “needed the most help” and spent a year reading as many comics from both companies he could get his hands on. At the age of 13, Shooter sent DC some drawn out stories featuring the Legion Of Superheroes.  They loved his stories and bought them hiring him to do a few more for Supergirl and Superman.  DC hired him to become a writer for them full time a little while later. Shooter took the job to help his low income family and began working on titles like Action Comics, Adventure Comics and Legion Of Superheroes to name a few and even created the characters Karate Kid and Superman bad guy The Parasite! He was also one of the main brains behind the first race between Superman and The Flash! By 1969 Shooter had graduated high school and applied for a job at Marvel Comics as he would be going to college at New York University.  While Marvel hired him as a editor and co-plotter, Shooter decided to not go to college and only lasted a short time at Marvel as he had no money and lived at a YMCA! Shooter moved back to his home town of Pittsburgh but got the bug to work in comics again and returned to DC for a short time writing Superman and Superboy And The Legion Of Superheroes. But after a feud with the editors of DC and a phone call from Marvel’s editor-in-chief Marv Wolfman, he returned to Marvel and this is were he became a legend! Shooter rose to power within the company pretty fast and by 1978, he became the 9th Editor-In Chief for Marvel that was growing and becoming the top comic company in the world.  With this Shooter started doing some great things for artist including royalties for great selling issues, the return of original artwork to artists and even help bring Star Comics to life in that showcased comics based on toys and cartoons like Thundercats and Star Wars: Ewoks! Shooter also did some amazing big crossover events for Marvel like Secret Wars, Secret Wars II and Contest of Champions. He cleaned up the Marvel Universe comics that hit shelves that were stale and had low sales.  He allowed Frank Miller to really bloom on his Daredevil line.  He allowed comics like Dazzler to be sold only at comic shops.  He wrote the second Spider-Man and Superman crossover comic and so much more that helped put Marvel truly as the king of comics! But for all the good Shooter did for Marvel, he also lead to lots of drama and turmoil in the Bullpen as he was a little over controlling and set rules that had to be followed.  Rumors also spread that he wanted to kill off many of the companies top heroes like Captain America, Spider-Man and Thor and start over with them so that they didn’t have all the old history to remember for the characters. This idea pissed off lots of the old workers at the office and this lead to what was known as New Universe that was launched for Marvel’s 25th Anniversary and was Shooter’s baby that had no ties to the ongoing Marvel Universe and would have no over the top superpowers, no hidden races, gods, mythological beings, super technology and magic in the books that included Star Brand, Spitfire, Kickers Inc. and many others. The New Universe was met with mixed reviews and many of the titles struggled, and after the Marvel workers and Shooter falling out of favor with each other he was fired in 1987. Shooter went on to do some cool things after Marvel like helped create Valiant Comics and Defiant Comics among lots of other great creative things. Say what you will about Jim Shooter, but I will say what he did for Marvel and comic readers in his time as Editor-In-Chief is top notch stuff. I would have loved to see what he would have came up with if he would have gotten to stay at Marvel past 1987. Before we move onto Spitfire, let’s chat a little about some other stuff shall we?

Jim Shooter 1Jim Shooter and Stan LeeJim Shooter 2

Did you know that in 1986 New World Pictures was the owner of Marvel Comics? This is something very fascinating to me and explains why Marvel did comic adaptations of such films as “House II”, “Elvira Mistress Of The Dark”, “Pinocchio: An The Emperor Of The Night” and even comics based on the TV Show “Sledge Hammer”. At the time of New World buying Marvel, they were an expanding movie company who were using profits not just to make more movies but to consume other companies and that’s where Marvel came in as they knew they could option the characters for films and TV as well as have comics made around their properties. But this also makes me wish they would have made comics based on many more of their films like C.H.U.D., Godzilla 1985, Children Of The Corn and Creepshow 2 to name a few. Man, the missed opportunities of cool horror Marvel titles is sad.  Could you imagine a three issue run based on the C.H.U.D.’s or even an adaptation of Creepshow 2! But by the early 90’s, the New World Pictures owning Marvel came to an end and none of these films that should have gotten the comic treatment did. I should also note that Pinhead and the film he’s from, Hellraiser, that was one of New World’s top Horror properties, got comics from Marvel’s sub branch Epic. What New World Pictures movie or TV Show would you have liked to have seen turned into a Marvel Comic?

Godzilla 1985 PosterNew World Pictures LogoCHUD Poster

Since I started Rotten Ink over three years ago, I have had one tiny little cat cheering me on as I not only read the comics or wrote the update but also as I watched the horror host shows and did the research.  That cat is Leslie my 10 year old calico cat that I have had since she was a tiny kitten. Leslie was a gift from my girlfriend at the time Jennifer as a way to help me deal with losing my job and not finding one right away, Leslie was at a pet store called Jack’s Aquarium and Pets, and as I was walking by, her tiny little paw came out of the cage and grabbed me.  She started talking and doing all she could to get my attention and after taking her out of the cage I knew she had to be mine…and for $60, she was! I named Leslie after the character Leslie Graham played by Lisa Orgolini from the 1986 horror film “Trick or Treat” and from the moment we bought her, she became my best friend as she would follow me around meowing (something she still does to this day) and would sit in my lap and watch horror films throughout the nights. Leslie is not a people kitty and for the most part will avoid all others besides Juliet and myself, but she does warm up fast to my cousin Stephen Alexander. She has a very strong dislike for our other cat Streets J, who we rescued from the streets of Dayton, and her birthday I say is July 4th as I tell her the fireworks are also in her honor! Juliet for some reason gave her the nickname Beans and calls her Leslie Beans. Leslie is such a great cat and one of my favorite pets I have ever owned.  I am writing all this because as I am working on this update, Leslie is right here cheering me on, or wait maybe she is screaming because she wants wet food with extra gravy….but whatever the reason she is meowing, thanks for always being a great sidekick, Leslie!

Leslie The Cat

So after my “Matt Goes To The Movies 2015” update in January I had lots of you readers and friends ask me why I cut the best survival horror games of the year ranking from it.  The reason I cut it was I felt that it slowed down the pace of that update….but for those who are wondering about that, I will chat a little about it on this one, better late than never right? This year I upgraded from a PS3 to a PS4 and throughout the year bought a few games and got a few games as gifts with titles like WWE 2K16, Mad Max and Batman Arkham Knight to name a few. And a total of three survival horror titles that will be my list here! So let’s get our controller in hand and see what horrors PS4 had in store for me! I should also note that I did buy Resident Evil: Revelations 2 for PS3 this year!

Best Horror Games 2015

# 3

Godzilla PS4

Godzilla lets you take control of the giant King of the Monsters as you smash your way through Japan fighting off the military as well as fellow Kaiju like Rodan and King Ghidorah and growing bigger and more powerful in size. The game also offers just monster battles as well as VS. mode that lets you and a friend fight it out. The game is simple and fun and is a total no brainer, but that’s also its downside as it’s not too challenging and can get boring after an hour of gameplay. While this might not be the best Godzilla game ever made, I will say Bandai really tried to make a game that felt as if you were indeed Godzilla stomping around town. Plus you can upgrade your Godzilla and get other skins, changing his appearance. It’s worth checking out if found cheap enough and you’re a fan of the Godzilla movie series.

# 2

Zombie Army Trilogy PS4

The Nazis are losing World War II and unleash their ultimate weapon, black magic and Zombies! Choose your fighter and make your way across Europe as you fight off the hordes of the undead. This game is lots of fun and for some reason made me super nervous when I was playing it.  I am sure it’s due to the sounds of and the hordes of zombies and weird voices chanting. The game is a spin-off of the Sniper Elite series and allows you to sniper off zombies as they approach with direct kill shots to the head showcasing the X-Ray effects of the hit! Zombies might be overdone in the world of movies, comics and video games, but this one was lots of fun and worth playing if you’re looking to kill some time and if you like sending Nazi zombies to hell!

# 1

Until Dawn PS4

A prank goes terribly wrong and leaves two sisters missing in the mountains. Sometime later their brother has a reunion with 7 of his closest friends, all of whom were there the night his sisters went missing, but something wicked is in the air as friends start to be attacked by a masked killer who seems like he is out for revenge! But all things are not as they seem as the game takes twists and turns and leaves you as the player in control of the fate of the playable characters as your choices have effects and you must choose wisely! What made this game really great was not only the atmosphere but also the characters who some are really likable while others are jerks and this makes you become attached to some of them and forces you to choose wisely. This is hands down the best horror game I played this year! For those wondering, my two favorite characters are Sam and Ashley, both of whom I was trying my best to keep alive.  One survived; the other sadly did not…and I am not sharing who was who.

Until Dawn Screen Shot 1

We have covered Jim Shooter, survival horror games of 2015 and my cat Leslie up to this point, and I think it’s time that we take a quick look at Spitfire, the hero of our selected New Universe comic series as I am sure many of you readers like myself are not too familiar. As I said above, I selected Spitfire to be my pick for many reasons that include the fact that it’s a robot comic from the 80’s (and I’ll say this till I am blue in the face like a Smurf: kids of the 80’s love robots).  The covers for the series looked interesting and eye catching too even though I knew nothing about Spitfire and The Troubleshooters.  Lastly and most importantly, it had a good run that did not last too short or too long. When looking up and reading the first issue of this series, the first thing that took me by surprise was that Spitfire is just a suit worn by a female professor. I had no clue that this series was about a female hero and that made it seem like an even better choice to start my travels into the Marvel New Universe. So really quick, these are the basics of what you need to know: Professor Jenny Swenson is well liked by her students and the school she teaches at.  When her father is set up and killed, she along with some rebel students that call themselves the Troubleshooters try and get to the bottom of the crime and unlock a whole world of secret societies and people pulling the strings! She is opposed to war and acts of violence and wants to only use her father’s technology for the betterment of mankind. Those are the basics of who Jenny aka Spitfire is and below is some art of what her suit looks like as well as what she looks like.

Spitfire Armor 1Spitfire Armor 2Jenny in Spitfire

So are you ready to dive into Marvel’s New Universe? Are you ready for comics based around non-gods or super beings? Are you ready for a world where the Amazing Spider-Man does not exist? Well I know I have some curiosity to see just what this comic universe is like, and I must admit I have owned some of these New Universe comics for years and never have read a one of them! I should thank my friend Eric Shonborn for lending me the audio book of “Marvel Comics The Untold Story” by Sean Howe that sparked me to want to do an update about the New Universe as well as a thanks goes out to Bookery Fantasy for having the whole run of Spitfire in stock for only a dollar each issue! I also like always want to remind you that I grade these issues on a standard 1-4 star system and am looking for how well the comic stays to the source material, it’s entertainment value and it’s art and story. So let’s get to these reviews and see how Spitfire stacks up to the main Marvel Universe comics.

Spitfire 1

Spitfire # 1  **1/2
Released in 1986   Cover Price .75   Marvel Comics # 1 of 13

The Massachusetts Institute Of Technology is the place of learning for a group of students called The Troubleshooters who are super smart but also pranksters! Their young red headed teacher is Professor Jenny “Spitfire” Swensen whose father has just been killed in what was ruled an accident while working at his lab. At the funeral, Jenny meets Mr. Fritz Krotze who was her father’s boss who informs her she must come and get her father’s stuff from the lab in 24 hours! When at the lab, Jenny is being watched by security as she quickly checks her dad’s computer and finds a hidden message that informs her who killed him and why! But before she can finish reading, she is asked to leave as her time is up.  She returns to school and gets the help of The Troubleshooters to break in and read the rest of the message. Mr. Krotze, meanwhile, is showing off a mech-suit called M.A.X. 1, and it’s clear that Krotze killed her father who created a better suit called M.A.X II nicknamed Spitfire! Jenny and Troubleshooters succeed in breaking into the lab and finds the message that tells them Krotze was indeed his killer.  Jenny wears the Spitfire armor, and together they move the lab that can transform into trailers! In the end Spitfire beats M.A.X. I and lets Krotze know that once she has 100% proof he will be going down for her father’s murder.

Going into this comic, I had to throw out all the thoughts of classic Marvel and go in with a fresh mind and a realization that Spitfire was not going to be a larger than life hero like Iron Man and would be more rooted in technology that would and could be more possible.  So with that said, I must say that issue # 1 of Spitfire is an average comic adventure set around a C list comic hero. The plot is generic and has a young and cute professor having her father murdered by his boss over technology that later falls in her hands.  Throw in some youths as her sidekicks and some small time action, and you have this issue. Jenny Swensen is a hip cool Professor who is not only a good teacher but also is well respected by her students as she is fun and fair with them.  She is cute and a red head, and she comes from a family of very smart people as her dad was a inventor.  Her father is also the one who gave her the nickname of Spitfire. The downside, besides the fact she wants revenge, is that she don’t have much of a personality that shows through.  I’m so looking forward to seeing her grow as a character. The Troubleshooters are a bunch of smart kids who as well are okay but have no personalities besides that they like to pull pranks and are loyal to their teacher. Mr. Krotze comes off as a generic rich bad guy who wants to take research projects and turn them into a military weapon and will kill and screw over whoever he can to make money and get power. M.A.X. II or called Spitfire is a cool suit that is bright red and is supposed to be used for construction, and while not equipped with guns or lasers, it does have some killer buzz saws and super strength. As I stated, this issue is just average yet fun, and I am looking forward to seeing what the next issue’s has in store for me. I should also note that Herb Trimpe did the art for this issue, and he is one of my favorite old school artist who worked on Incredible Hulk issues in the 70’s! His classic style art helps bring this story to life for sure. I also must say I really like the cover for this issue as it showcases all the main characters.

Spitfire 2

Spitfire # 2  **1/2
Released in 1986   Cover Price .75   Marvel Comics # 2 of 13

Jenny and Troubleshooter member Andy are in the woods testing the limits of the Spitfire suit when some hunters in a pick up truck lose control and almost fall off a cliff till Spitfire saves them causing a news story that leaks back to Fritz Krotze who wants the suit back bad and tells his assistant Richard Faylen to bring in a top secret government project called “Behemoth.”  It’s also clear, as Faylen leaves, that Krotze is not in charge as he is taking orders from a group that calls themselves The Club. Meanwhile The Troubleshooters lead by member Eddie Giotti with a pair of metal arms raid Krotze’s labs to try to find out what he knows about the whereabouts of Jenny, and when they find out, Faylen and lots of the guards are taking a train to Jenny’s location, Eddie jumps on the train to see if he can find out the plan as the other Troubleshooters follow. Eddie finds himself being taken into the train and beat up badly as Behemoth turns out to be a Super-Tank that goes head to head with Spitfire in a battle of metal and power. In the end The Troubleshooters save Eddie from the train and guards, but his ribs have been broken and Spitfire destroys Behemoth and decides that she is no longer hiding and is going to take the war to Krotze!

This second issue is as fun as issue # 1, and sadly also just as average in story and characters. The major downside is what I like to call the Shooter Trick that has plot elements that took place in another New Universe Comic series forcing the reader to have to buy other comics in the series to get the full story.  Jim Shooter sure did love this trick and used it not only with the New Universe but also the normal Marvel Comic series. The plot has Jenny and her Spitfire suit battling the idea of limiting how often she uses it as it’s by all accounts a stolen piece of equipment.  Krotze wants and needs to regain the suit for not only himself but the secret group knows as The Club. Most of this issue is drama as it has Jenny battling her own mind on right and wrong as well as Troubleshooters going on their own and trying to be heroes but really just adding more stress to the all ready bad situation Jenny is in. I love the odd addition of student Eddie Giotti wanting to make mad monkey love to his teacher Jenny, such an odd subplot. I do also like the idea of a secret society being the true bad guys and wanting the suit as they see the power it has and with some modifications how it could be a major weapon. Jenny as a character has changed slightly as it’s clear she wants to be a hero, but hates that she must hide away from the world as she is wanted for the suit that’s stolen technology. Krotze also shows how evil he is by stopping at nothing to get the suit back, but they do a nice job of showing fear in him as The Club clearly owns his soul and pulls his strings. Behemoth The Super-Tank is not really a threat once Spitfire figures out that its nothing but a tank controlled by a thin wire…yeah, the super tank is a remote control weapon…yeah, once the line is cut it stops….terrible. Eddie Giotti of The Troubleshooter’s stands out this issue as not only a man with a great mind who creates super strong metal arms for himself but also shows he really is hot for teacher and makes dumb mistakes to play hot shot. I really dig the Troubleshooters as they are great side characters who do add to the story and drama of this comic series. The cover is again well done, and the art is done by Herb Trimpe again as well and looks fantastic. I am hyped to see how Spitfire takes the war to the bad guys so I am going to wrap this one up and move onto issue # 3!

Spitfire 3

Spitfire # 3  **1/2
Released in 1986   Cover Price .75   Marvel Comics # 3 of 13

Jenny is planning her attack and wants to find illegal dirt on Krotze to report him to the police, but she herself is under investigation for the taking of her father’s lab and the Spitfire suit! While Eddie Giotti heals up in the hospital after the terrible beating he suffered at the hands of Krotze’s guards, the rest of the Troubleshooters build cyber body parts that allows them to run 140mph and even use their mind to hack into computers and phone lines. Jenny also notices that Theresa, the only female Troubleshooter, seems to have a dislike for her as she clearly does not fully stand behind them breaking the law to prove Krotze guilty. Meanwhile Krotze is being blackmailed by Bronson, the goon who wore the M.A.C.K. I suit that was beaten by Spitfire as well as the one who killed Jenny’s father, is himself killed in cold blood by Krotze who knew he had to cover his tracks of all wrong doing after the government is mad about him destroying the Behemoth Super-Tank! Spitfire goes alone to Krotze’s lab and by accident shoots a solider.  This causes her to second guess the mission and leaves her open for an attack that almost leaves her dead, but with the help of the new and cyber improved Troubleshooters, she is able to escape the lab with her life. Krotze is upset that he was not able to kill Jenny and get the Spitfire suit but soon gets a visit from The Club member Steel Hawk who is there to help.

The struggle of Jenny continues as she really wants to put an end to Krotze and his corrupt company, but once more her fears and doubts stand in the way as she wants to do so in a law abiding way. The plot is just as the others and has Jenny/Spitfire going toe to toe with Krotze and his men, but this time her own fears and doubts leave her open for a massive attack that almost leaves her a dead roasted chicken in her suit of armor. Jenny in this issue has way to many doubts and also is so filled with rage that its making her unstable and leaving her open for attacks and for looses to the hands of her enemies. But also it seems she talks a good talk as in the last issue when she found out Giotti was hurt she acted as if she was going to blow Krotze’s lab up and kick his teeth out in the process, but we find her in this issue wanting to sneak in again and just steal files from his computer. The Troubleshooters once more prove that they are needed as they build new helpful technology as well as save Jenny’s fat from the fire when she chokes during a fight. Krotze in this issue really does prove he will do what ever he can to save his own butt as he murders a man with no real remorse and worse uses a high power laser to do the deed. Over all this is a pretty good issue and while some things change with the plot and characters it still feels the same as the other two issues, the cover is pretty dang cool and the art this time is done by Ron Wagner who also worked on comics for Marvel like G.I. Joe, The Transformers and Morbius: The Living Vampire and it’s pretty solid work. Good issue that’s adds more drama to the story and makes me want to see just how Jenny is going to deal with the fact she shot a US Solider and she almost died, so lets head to issue 4.

Spitfire 4

Spitfire # 4  ***
Released in 1987   Cover Price .75   Marvel Comics # 4 of 13

Fritz Krotze is missing, and his company is now under investigation into selling weapons to terrorist and the star witness is Jenny who explains how she wants to prove he killed her father and even exposes the fact he works for The Club on live TV! The Troubleshooters are nervous watching as they don’t want to be dragged into this political mess as Steel Hawk is enjoying it all as he has already killed Richard Faylen with a car bomb and had kidnapped Krotze and has tortured him and finally kills him with a metal bat and drops his body into a river hoping it will be uncovered.  It’s all part of a trap and set up for Jenny to take the fall. At a party hosted by the Senator, a bomb is found and Spitfire comes to the rescue but also finds Steel Hawk waiting for her.  The two fight and Hawk’s weapons are just too powerful for the suit to handle and just as all looks grim and Steel Hawk is about to put a bullet in Jenny’s head, she breaks his leg and the police show up and chase him off. In the end Jenny is looked at as a hero to some but finds herself under arrest for the murder of Krotze!!

Wow, this issue really rocks its packed with action, drama and murder and shows that setting this New Universe in a real world environment can work with the right writer. The plot of this issue has an assassin setting up Jenny with a murder he committed in order to get her off the trail of The Club, only to find that while it worked, it also brought his actions into the light. In this issue, Jenny seems to have her act together and is helping the government catch Krotze for his terrorist activities.  Plus she shows that she is really building a superhero attitude and wants to save innocent people when danger is near. The fact that she gets her butt handed to her in this issue by Steel Hawk and then gets arrested for a murder she did not commit makes me really hyped to read issue 5! Fritz Krotze, who was shaping up to be the series’ main bad guy, finds himself beaten and killed all for the amusement and punishment of The Club, and when he’s killed, I mean he is killed by a metal baseball bat! Poor Richard Faylen as well is killed by a hit from The Club that leaves him blown up thanks to a car bomb! Steel Hawk is one badass killer who takes joy in the kill as well as enjoys the set ups that go along with his evil deeds. I really can’t wait to see him return and go toe to toe with Spitfire again! The plot of this comic series is starting to really progress with this issue, and that’s cool as I did not see the murder of Faylen & Krotze coming at all! The art in this issue is done by Spawn creator Todd McFarlane who also did work for Marvel on Spider-Man, Hulk plus a few others, and I must say his style worked well for this issue! The cover as with all the others so far is well done and eye catching.  Over all, this is the best issue so far and shows that this series might have some life in it after all!

Spitfire 5

Spitfire # 5  **1/2
Released in 1987   Cover Price .75   Marvel Comics # 5 of 13

Jenny Swensen is in jail for a murder she did not commit and her Spitfire suit is now in police custody and everything looks real grim as everyone is quick to find her guilty. The Troubleshooters are all wondering what their fate is as they want to help Jenny, but they also can’t tip the police off to their involvement in the theft of the suit and breaking into the labs. Giotti however can’t give up on his crush Jenny and along with a few others decide to break into the police station and spring Jenny from jail! Meanwhile Steel Hawk who is nursing his broken leg and gets a new assassination job from The Club as they want him to kill the Prime Minister of England who is visiting the USA in a few days.  He of course takes the hit. Jenny gets a visit from Star Brand, a super powerful man who has special powers and who had warned her in the past not to use the suit, as it would cause her issues, and as he points out..it has! Giotti steals the suit and is unaware that the core pack is about to blow up and act like a nuclear bomb killing many innocent people in the process.  Star Brand tries to talk some sense into him, but the two end up fighting that leaves Spitfire suit down and out and Star Brand able to get rid of the core pack. In the end, Jenny is happy to hear that the danger is past and finally is able to get a night’s sleep in jail.

This issue should be called “Jenny Goes To Jail” and at some point in the comic they should have shown Ernest P. Worrell dressed as his grandma…yeah! But to be serious, this issue’s plot has Jenny in jail waiting to be cleared of the crime of murder that she didn’t commit, but things don’t look good for her. For extra drama throw in Star Brand and The Troubleshooters trying to steal the Spitfire suit and you have a fun and entertaining issue. Jenny in this issue tries to put up a tough as stone attitude, but is clearly shown to be scared and emotional over what her life faces ahead. Very nice growth for the Jenny character, and I am starting to really like her as a comic character! Star Brand who had his own series running at the same time is a hero who likes to hide his power and not show it off.  This makes him come off as a little cocky as he judges other people who do use their abilities. The Troubleshooters are shown to care for Jenny and would even rob a police station for her but they are also really scared that they will be caught up in her crime of stealing the Spitfire suit that could also get them blamed for the murder. Really cool to see Giotti in the Spitfire suit try and fight Star Brand only to loose and almost blow up the city in the process, I mean I know Giotti wants some booty from Jenny but he also needs to listen and not be so reckless in his attempts to impress her. Another fun issue and once more makes me wonder how Jenny is going to clear her name of the crime and get out of jail to bring down The Club. Herb Trimpe did the art again as well as the cover that’s pretty eye catching, so with that lets move onto issue six.

Spitfire 6

Spitfire # 6  **
Released in 1987   Cover Price .75   Marvel Comics # 6 of 13

Jenny is set free from jail and the charges dropped when they could not come up with enough evidence to convict her of murder. Steel Hawk is back in town and ready to kill the U.K Prime Minister and is also now on the polices radar as they think he is the one who killed Krotze and want to find him for questioning. Meanwhile Terry cant take it anymore and goes off on Giotti about how he is drooling over Jenny, and how if he could get his head out of his butt he would see that she is in love with him, she is upset and embarrassed by her remarks and runs and hides in the courts restroom, were she over hears the cops talking that Jenny could be on trail again soon if they cant find Steel Hawk. The Troubleshooter decide to use their mock up smaller versions of the Spitfire suit and hack into the police computer files and track down the hideout of Steel Hawk and find Krotze’s blood and the metal ball bat that killed him! They also find the plan to kill the Prime Minister as she lights the Christmas Tree downtown, Steel Hawk has a bomb that will go off killing many…as the issue comes to an end The Troubleshooters are rushing downtown as the Prime Minister is pushing the light up switch.

She’s Free! This issue takes Jenny out of jail and back into the drama of The Club and it’s evil ways, well sort of as this issue she sits out on the sidelines as The Troubleshooters are the ones trying to track down Steel Hawk and stop the assassination of the Prime Minister of England. Terry shows that she is torn between wanting to help find the truth and hating Jenny who she is clearly jealous of. The Troubleshooters in this issue are the main focus and they act like a bunch of kids who are getting a thrill of breaking the law for good as well as having drama amongst themselves. In fact in this issue they more they were used the more I found myself not liking them as they all came off kind of annoying and bratty. Steel Hawk on the other hand is crazy and shows that while The Club might be the puppet master of evil, he has no strings to hold him down as his idea to kill the Prime Minister is to blow her up!!! So what I learned for this issue is that Jenny is the true star and The Troubleshooters are better as bit players and not the main focus as I found this issue kind of bad, with the only highlights being Steel Hawk. The art is good and done by Vince Giarrano, who worked on mostly DC Comics like Batgirl and Manhunter.  The cover on this issue is also pretty lame and reminds me of a independent 90’s comic that would be found in a quarter bin at the local comic shop. So I am ready to move past this issue and hope Jenny makes her comeback as Spitfire in the next issue, and I hope this is not the start of The Troubleshooters taking over the series.

Spitfire 7

Spitfire # 7  ***
Released in 1987   Cover Price .75   Marvel Comics # 7 of 13

The Troubleshooters have saved the Prime Minister of England but now have a hit on them placed by The Club and to be carried out by Steel Hawk! The Troubleshooters decide to retire from being heroes and visit Jenny to tell her the news. Jenny Swensen is dealing with all the pressure of her dismissed trail for murder as well as the fact her students are running around playing hero is technology her father created.  This leads to her wanting to talk to her one time boyfriend Bernie about the news she just got about being fired from the collage next semester. Steel Hawk, however, is on a path of murder as he uses a rocket launcher to blow up Tim and his steel legs that leaves him near death’s door and both of his legs needing to be amputated, and kills Andy with his own laser beams, and tells the others he will see them soon! On her way home, Jenny is kidnapped and pulled inside a van leaving us wondering what is happing next…

This is a good issue that mixes action and drama really well, and man I did not see Troubleshooters being killed off like this coming at all! The plot is really just that Steel Hawk is pissed about failing to killing the Prime Minister and takes out his rage on those who stopped him. Steel Hawk is super cold blooded and his murderous ways are highlighted in this issue as he kills a homeless man, Andy and cripples Tim all with a gleam in his eye. I can’t wait to see Jenny put on the Spitfire suit and go toe to toe with this assassin. The Troubleshooters are dropping like flies, and the worst part is they were trying to retire from the hero game but got out at the wrong time. Tim may live, and I am guessing if he does he will have metal legs.  Andy is sadly dead with no coming back after taking a full laser blast to the back and through the chest. Jenny Swensen is down and out, and she clearly is snapping under the pressure. I am sure when she finds out her students are being killed, her rage and fire will return, and I feel sorry for The Club and Steel Hawk as I think she will be gunning for them. This series took a really bold step by killing off two of the main Troubleshooters and as I stated before, I did not see that coming at all. I wonder if any more of them will die in the next issue, as well as who kidnapped Jenny? The art is done by Alan Kupperburg and Tony DeZuniga and is well done.  This time I think the cover is a little generic and so far is the weakest of the bunch. This is a great issue that shows this series does have life, and I can’t wait to see what happens next.

Spitfire 8

Spitfire # 8  **1/2
Released in 1987   Cover Price .75   Marvel Comics # 8 of 13

What’s left of the Troubleshooters meet at the hospital. Tim has just gotten out of a surgery that took both his legs below the knees.  This makes Giotti very upset that one of his friends is now crippled and another is dead, and he swears revenge on Steel Hawk. Meanwhile Jenny Swensen wakes up in a dark room and finds that she has been kidnapped for what she knows about M.A.X. suits.  The kidnappers want her to build them one and use a fighter named Brick to rough her up into doing so.  They give her 12 hours to build a suit to defend herself from Brick, and she spends it building a stun gun that does not work as a counterattack against Brick. You soon find out that the people who kidnapped her are betting on if she will break and tell them what she knows of her father’s work or die before doing so. While Eric is done being a Troubleshooter, Giotti and Terry hack into the F.B.I computers and find out all they can about Steel Hawk as they want him to pay for his crimes. In the end Jenny was not in any real trouble as it seems that her tests and kidnapping were done by the government.  Giotti finds Steel Hawk and almost beats him to death until he is saved by a unknown ninja.

Giotti finally gets his metal arms on Steel Hawk and delivers a massive beat down that I cannot say for sure but sure looked like it broke Hawk’s back. This issue’s plot is about revenge and self control as Giotti gets his revenge for his friends and Jenny learns that she is strong willed and in control of her own life. Jenny Swensen this time around is mentally and physical abused throughout the issue all by some government tools who want to see if they can break her into telling them the secrets of the M.A.X. suits. I really wished when they came out and told her it was a test, she would have kicked one of them in the head. Steel Hawk is on cloud nine after taking out two of the Troubleshooters but soon learns that what he thought were easy targets have the guts to fight back! Terry and Giotti stick together and use their suits to track down and deal with Steel Hawk.  I think this might lead them to the path of wanting to be heroes again. I can’t say for sure, but I think Eric who was a Troubleshooter is done, and I would be shocked if we see him again. The Ninja who saves Steel Hawk from his beat down is a mystery, and I am not sure how they will play into the future of this series. And I am sure this is the only time we will see dumb old Brick who spends his time in the issue beating up a woman.  To be honest, there sure is a lot of woman beating in this issue! Still no Spitfire suit and at this point I am not sure when it will make its comeback, but I am hoping soon as I want to see it tangle with The Club! Alan Kupperburg and Tony DeZuniga once more did the artwork, and it looks great.  The cover this time around is back to being eye catching and solid, and to be honest has a Amazing Spider-Man feel to it just replace Jenny with Mary Jane, Steel Hawk with Kraven The Hunter and Giotti with Spider-Man…go on and look and tell me you don’t agree! Well let’s move onto issue # 9 and see where our journey takes us next. I should also note that the comics title starting in this issue changed from Spitfire And The Troubleshooters just to Spitfire.

Spitfire 9

Spitfire # 9  **1/2
Released in 1987   Cover Price .75   Marvel Comics # 9 of 13

Terry and Giotti have decided to fully retire from being Troubleshooters, and they both destroy their suits and vow never to become crime fighters again! Meanwhile Steel Hawk is in a hospital with multiple broken bones and possible brain damage after the beating he took from Giotti.  His savior Varna is trying to nurse him back to health to get revenge. Meanwhile Jenny is set free by The Government run buy a man named Roth who sends her home on a private jet alongside and man named Jake Travest who is also being watched and forced to do things for Roth.  They both soon find out that they are not being sent home but to Afghanistan to see if Russia who is invading that county has M.A.X. suits, and they soon find that they do as our issue ends with one about to grab Jenny and Jake from a horse.

First thing I must say is that this issue is pretty slow moving and most of it takes place on a plane were Jenny and Jake get to know each other and talk slightly about the past and how they both dislike Roth who acts like a evil puppet master. What’s odd about all this is Jake seems to be a Manchurian Candidate and does what he is told once the name “Slash” is brought up.  Plus not sure if I trust Jake as he knows a little too much about Jenny and her past as well as the whole deal with The Club. Jenny in this issue seems just pissed off and fed up with how she is being treated and is growing to hate the fact her father made these metal suits. Terry and Giotti seem to really mean that they are out of the Troubleshooter game and would rather focus on school and not crime busting. Steel Hawk looks like a mummy as he is covered in bandages and has pure hate in his eyes.  I’m not sure who the woman Varna is, but I am sure we will find out sometime in this series. Roth is such an ass and uses his rank and power to make people do what he wants them to do.  He’s not a likable guy, and it’s shown he can make fake VHS recordings of people like Jenny’s father and make them say what he wants. Over all, this was a slow paced issue that seems more like it should be a James Bond issue and not a New Universe title, a good read just slightly boring. Alan Kupperburg does the art, and it looks good while the cover on this one is average and has nothing to special besides it could be mistaken for a John Carter Warlord of Mars or Doc Savage cover. Let’s see if issue 10 brings back the action or brings on more of the zzzzz’s.

Spitfire 10

Spitfire # 10  **1/2
Released in 1987   Cover Price .75   Marvel Comics # 10 of 13

Jenny and Jake are stuck in Afghanistan helping the rebels fight off the invading Russians and their black market M.A.X. suits. Jake is losing his cool a lot and seems to not be bothered when having to kill and injure the Russians, and this is making Jenny uneasy about his mental stability. Jake is able to attack a Russian Solider in a M.A.X. suit and break his arm in three places and leaves him for dead while taking the suit back to the rebel’s home base.  There Jenny, unaware it’s Jake, shows them all how you can bring the suit down with a well timed bullet to a weak spot on the suit. When they find out it’s Jake in the suit, they have a plan that is much like the Trojan Horse that will allow the captured M.A.X. suit to enter the Russians’ hideout with a device Jenny made that will render the suits unusable, but the rebels have other ideas as they place a bomb in the suit and not only blow up all the M.A.X. suits but also all the Russians at the base. In the end Jenny is upset that men had to die, while Jake tells her that’s what war is and Roth comes to get them and informs them he wants them to join a elite group.

This is clearly no longer a superhero comic and has made the leap to secret agent spy comic.  While its still good, it’s also a major letdown as I enjoyed the fact that Jenny was a woman who wore a metal suit and fought off attacks in her hometown. Spitfire is no longer the suit and her nickname, it is now her code name as a tech spy. This issue has the horrors of war as Jenny first hand sees all the terrible things that go on. She seems fed up with all the drama her father’s creations have caused her and really is pissed off at the Government and how they have tricked her into doing their dirty work. Jake is shown to be a man with split personalities as one moment he is fine joking and the next he is snapping people’s arms and being an ass to whoever is in his way. If I read this issue right, “Slash” is his other side…and Slash should not be confused with the Guns N Roses guitarist or the evil turtle from Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. The Russians seem pretty dim and open themselves up for lots of attacks and are dumb enough to take in the M.A.X. suit after it had been missing for like two days. While only in it for a few moments. Roth is as pushy as ever and forces them into joining his little spy game group. The cover of this issue is a little weak, but the art inside, done by Alan Kupperburg, is pretty good. Over all I wish more would happen in the action department, and while the story is changing, I am not sure if it’s going in the right direction as I feel the secret agent route they are taking Jenny down just might not work. Also take a note that starting with this issue ,the comic is not just called Spitfire but is now Codename Spitfire…ugh! Well let’s see what issue 11 has to bring to this spy dance.

Spitfire 11

Spitfire # 11  **1/2
Released in 1987   Cover Price .75   Marvel Comics # 11 of 13

Jenny starts this issue being pulled out of the ocean wearing a new Spitfire suit by Roth and some Navy workers.  She is rushed to surgery as she is badly hurt and her legs burnt. Meanwhile Jake is seen as a prisoner of a Russian general who is torturing him and enjoying doing so! We flashback and see how Jenny and Jake were on a mission that went wrong that lead to Jake’s capture and Jenny being roasted in her own M.A.X. suit. Back to current time and Jenny is weak and burnt and is told by Roth that the government wants them to leave and not go after Jake and that’s an order.  Jenny doesn’t listen and musters up all her strength and climbs into the now repaired Spitfire suit and beats the bad guys and saves Jake from a certain death. When returning to the Navy ship Jenny and Jake are taking to sickbay where they are told this new secret squad might already be facing retirement!

This issue has the effect and cause set up and shows how Jenny and Jake fail at their first secret mission as a team with the goal to save a hostage who is killed.  They each come close to death’s door making it a true failure. Roth seems annoyed and yet also proud of his new team who are a rag tag bunch of misfits. Roth has grown as a character from an unlikable government agent to a well rounded respectable kind of agent. Jenny has gotten her desire back and it’s clear now that she is going to use her father’s work for good as her new Spitfire suit is built for war.  Also she seems to have come to terms with the fact people die in war as she murders soldiers to save Jake. Speaking of Jake, this issue he starts is mission out being G.I. Joe but ends up being a whipping boy for the enemy.  The cheesiest thing about him is how he says one-liners even after being beat up! Once more this takes the spy route and only has a dash of superhero, and I am not sure how I am feeling about the change in feel and direction of the series. The cover for this issue is great and eye catching. I really like the aerial combat scene, and it also lets you get a good look at the new Spitfire costume. The art this time around is done by Grant Miehm who is known for his work on the Marvel series Namor: The Sub-Mariner, and its great stuff and is second best in line behind the work of Herb Trimpe so far in the series. To sum it up, this issue is okay but feels like a filler issue when looking back at it.

Spitfire 12

Spitfire # 12  **1/2
Released in 1987   Cover Price .75   Marvel Comics # 12 of 13

Jenny is watching tape of a failed test she just ran in her new Spitfire suit, and while upset she drops a picture of her father and finds a computer hard disk that has a program that is the attitude and beliefs of her father! Meanwhile, something wicked is going down as an air force base is attacked by terrorist Evan Reinger who steals a top-secret jet and kills all witnesses.  The government call on Spitfire to take it back and to bring in Reinger dead or alive. As Spitfire engages the jet being flown by Reinger, the hard disk of her father’s beliefs takes over the suit and almost gets his own daughter killed as his anti war feelings get in the way of her being able to defend herself as he tries to shut down the suit! Lucky for her, Roth and crew are able to eject the disk, and this gives her enough time to blow up Reinger and the jet and save her own skin. In the end Jenny says her goodbyes to the disk as she deletes the program and embraces what she is now doing with her life.

This issue is close to the end and has Jenny having to come to terms that she is now using her father’s work as a means of war.  This causes her to also have to let go of the ghost of her father whose own beliefs have impacted all her decisions her whole life. For some reason in this issue Jenny looks like a character from the cartoon Jem or could have been a woman in a Hall and Oates music video, but with her odd appearance aside, she has made another step in growing as a character and is now a fully fledged agent who wants to do the right thing. It’s a shame that the character takes the next turn of growing and it’s one issue before the final. Jake and Roth take a backseat in this issue and act as supporters who play a key part in why Jenny turns the page on using the tech for war purposes. Evan Reinger is a killer who does not seem to mind killing and his main focus is getting that plan to use for bad purposes, and when he is blown up it comes to no real loss for the world. The action and drama mix well in this issue, and I am finally glad to see that Jenny’s father will be out of the picture in the next issue we can hope. The cover is okay and is just a more chaotic version of last issue.  The art inside this time around is done by Javier Saltares who is known for his Ghost Rider work for Marvel and is a style that I am not a super fan of, but I guess it works. Well, we are at the final issue of Spitfire, and I for one can’t wait to see how they are going to end this series! So let’s get to the 13th and final issue of Spitfire.

Spitfire 13

Spitfire # 13  **1/2
Released in 1987   Cover Price .75   Marvel Comics # 13 of 13

Celia Cliff is an agent who goes missing during a mission in the middle of the jungle, and this leaves Jenny alone with a new tech whiz partner named Willy.  The pair, along with a new version of the Spitfire suit, head out to find the missing agent and try to bring down the evil St. John who is kidnapping the local children and turning them into half human and half robot slaves! Jenny gathers information from the locals and heads to the castle that holds St. John’s empire and along the way she defeats one of his robot henchmen and finds out that they all have very little control of their own minds! When at the castle Jenny and Willy find out that Celia is becoming one of his robot soldiers.  As two of his robots attack Spitfire and St. John is keeping Willy at bay it’s the last dying breath of Celia in her new robot state of mind that is able to bring down St. John as they both die. In the end Jenny and Willy head back home, an agent down but a world safer.

The final issue of Spitfire leaves lots of questions unanswered as well as many storylines unfinished, and that takes away from the over all appeal of this series as we as readers get no closure and it just ends with a story that has no real build up! Jenny in this issue becomes a James Bond type and travels to a hostel land to rescue a fellow agent and to take down an evil mad super intelligent doctor that is also building robot suits that will be used in wars against America and our allies. She has a kick butt attitude in this issue and wants to save the agent as well as help the small town that is being terrorized by this madman. The Spitfire suit is once more redone and this time is less bulky and is lightweight and ready for hand-to-hand combat. Willy is a tech nerd who wants to follow this mission through even though he’s only really good at building and redesigning metal suits.  Plus we only know him from this issue so it’s hard to build a real opinion of him. Roth is only in the issue for a few pages as he delivers Jenny to Willy and then disappears.  Jake does not appear at all, and this was a lame move as this is the final issue and he is her partner. The remaining Troubleshooters never make an appearance, and we have no clue if Steel Hawk healed up and murdered them as this is a plot that they just dropped. St. John, who works for the Club, becomes the main focus bad guy and he for some reason reminds me of a super villain that would have made an issue appearance in Captain America comics from the late 70’s that would have gotten beaten by the end, much like what happened to him here. I mean he wears a cape and has crazy hair…I thought they said the New Universe was breaking away from the cheese of the Marvel Universe. The thing about this series is that it had so much potential, and each issue for the most part was very entertaining and was a nice break from the normal comics I had been reading like Amazing Spider-Man and Conan The Barbarian, but as a series it was a total mess as the creative team clearly had no direction as the comic’s name changed three times in the 13 issue run and the storyline as well changed and had so many holes in it that Swiss Cheese would have been envies of all those holes! I can also safely say that I liked the character of Jenny “Spitfire” Swensen as I found her very likable and enjoyed that over the issues she did grow as a character and became more tough and worldly. The final issue’s art was done by David Hoover and is well done, and the cover is pretty cool but a little cheesy. This is my first major step into the New Universe, and I can say for the most part it was enjoyable and I will take a look at another character sometime in the future.  So if you like Marvel Comics from the 80’s or are curious about the New Universe than Spitfire is worth checking out for sure. Check out the art below that showcases Spitfire in all her glory.

Spitfire Art 1

That was a fun read yes, but one thing’s for sure, The New Universe is not even in the same league as the Marvel Universe as I feel the need to read some Incredible Hulks or Captain Americas from the 80’s after I am done writing this last part of the update! And one a side note, I do know that Spitfire does appear in other books in the New Universe line and maybe just maybe one of those issues has the answers to the plot holes and questions. Our next update will take us far away from Marvel and once more into the world of Dell Comics and more important will be another look at a classic Looney Tune character! We will be taking a look at the icon of swine, Baron Von Porkchop’s favorite cartoon character, the one and only Porky Pig so make sure to comeback for that as it will surely be a great time. Until then, read a comic or three, watch a movie or two and as always support your local horror host and enjoy this March weather.

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