Motorcycle Riding Rodents From The Red Planet

Welcome back to Rotten Ink! If you grew up in the early 1990’s then I am sure you knew just how tight of a grip Teenage Mutant Ninja had on the youth, but then you also know how many knock offs flooded the toy and cartoon market the years that followed.  Who could forget Street Sharks, The Toxic Crusaders, Cowboys Of Moo Mesa, Creepy Crawlers, Extreme Dinosaurs, SWAT Kats and of course The Biker Mice From Mars! While all these had their own charm, they still were very much inspired by the Turtles’ popularity, and the one we will be focusing on today is Biker Mice From Mars. Growing up through the 80’s and 90’s I was around for the huge boom of popularity of the Turtles, and Biker Mice From Mars was the butt of many jokes between me and my friends who just laughed about the silly name and the idea of alien mice on bikes saving the day. I can remember that you were made fun of if you said you watched the cartoon, and no one I knew admitted that they had any of the toys as they were afraid of being mocked. While I never owned any of the toys, I did watch the cartoon and thought how wonderfully cheesy it was.  At the time I was the proud owner of pet mice so of course I was going to check out a cartoon about ones that rode motorcycles! So you could say I was living a double life as at home I watched the cartoon but at school I made fun of it as if it was garbage left in the bottom of a Burger King trash can. So I admit it now; at a young age I watched Biker Mice From Mars.  Now at age 35, I am going to do an update about them here at Rotten Ink so let’s jump on our bikes and have some adventure, shall we?

The Biker Mice From Mars

In 1993, Biker Mice From Mars was released by Saban Entertainment to the syndicated cartoon market and had many companies behind its creation that include Galoob Toys, Marvel Productions and Worldwide Sports & Entertainment. The series followed three anthropomorphic mice that came to Earth from Mars after their planet was stricken by a harsh war and their race was wiped out.  They are Throttle, Modo and Vinnie, and they love to ride motorcycles.  They crash land in Chicago where they meet garage owner and mechanic Charlene “Charley” Davidson. Each of the mice have serve injuries that they got on their home planet and each have a different personality and color of fur. Throttle has tan fur and is the leader.  He is noble and driven to save Earth as well as his fellow mice men.  His injury is his eyesight that was damaged in an accident. Vinnie has white fur and is a smooth talker.  He has a crush on Charlene and had one side of his face burned off in the accident and must wear a metal mask to hide and protect it. Modo has grey fur and is the team’s powerhouse and lost one of his arms that is replaced with a metal one. Their friend and ally is Charley Davidson, the owner and mechanic for a small garage in Chicago called Last Chance Garage.  She is tough as nails and pretty to boot. But things are not all well as they find that the owner of one of Chi-Towns biggest industries is a Plutarkian named Lawrence Limburger, the same fish-headed smelly race that ruined their planet and worse, he has allies with him like dumb as a box of rocks henchman Grease Pit, evil scientist Dr. Benjamin Boris Zachary Karbunkle and weirdo Fred The Mutant to name a few. Now on Earth, the Biker Mice must try and stop Limburger from trashing their new home. The series lasted for 3 seasons and a total of 65 episodes. In 2006, The Biker Mice From Mars made a small comeback and had new episodes made for one season with a total of 28 episodes. So one thing’s for sure, while they might have been the butt of jokes at school, they still had an impact on the world of cartoons.

Biker Mice 1Biker Mice 2 logoBiker Mice 3

In 1993 to go along with the cartoon Galoob started to make action figures to push Biker Mice From Mars toward becoming a name in children’s entertainment.  The figures stood a little taller then Ninja Turtles and came with all types of weapons as well as vehicles and playsets that could be bought separately. All the main characters were made into the toy line that lasted till 1994, but before the toys were canceled, many different variations of the biker mice themselves were made and released. Besides the action figures there were also bendable figures, 12” figures as well as Micro Machine versions of the bikes. Growing up, I didn’t know any kids that had any of these figures, nor did I, but to be honest by 1993 I was older and not really buying a lot of toys as girls were more on my mind than buying an action figure. Over the years, I have seen lots of Biker Mice figures at local thrift stores and flea markets showing that somebody bought them back in the day.

Biker Mice Toy 1Biker Mice Toy 2Biker Mice Toy 3

Like all good cartoons of the time, it was turned into a video game for the Super Nintendo, and for the re-launch a game was made for PS2 and Nintendo DS. But let’s focus on the SNES version as it’s the classic of the bunch and was released during the height of Biker Mice Mania. In 1994, Konami released a racing game based on Biker Mice From Marsfor the Super Nintendo that would allow the player to choose a character and race around different tracks. The game was over all praised for its game play and is somewhat of a cult classic in the world of SNES games. I can remember seeing the game for rent at K&L Video years later and never renting it.  Maybe I’ll see if Game Swap in Kettering has it in stock.

Biker Mice SNES 1Biker Mice From Mars SNESbiker mice snes 2

So we took a look at the cartoon, toys and video game attached to Biker Mice, and we even talked a little about the uncool factor it had from my former classmates so now I think it’s time we take a look at the Marvel Comic mini series based on it. I want to thank Half Price Books and Lone Star Comics for having these issues in stock and allowing me to read them for the first time here on Rotten Ink. So before we hop on a chopper and go for a ride, I want to remind you that I grade these issues on a star scale of 1 to 4 and am looking for how well the comic stays to the source material, its entertainment value and its art and story. So let’s hit the road and see what adventure we can have with The Biker Mice From Mars and Marvel Comics.

Biker Mice From Mars 1

Biker Mice From Mars # 1  **1/2
Released in 1993      Cover Price $1.50     Marvel Comics    #1 of 3

In space aboard a ship the biker mice Throttle, Modo and Vinnie are relaxing and even a little bored when they are attacked and shot down by evil, smelly, fish faced Plutarkians and crash land in Chicago during a baseball game. The Biker Mice mount their bikes and avoid security.  While leaving the ball field, Vinnie even stops a robbery of a hot dog dealer, and they ride off and notice how the place they are at now looks as run down as their home on Mars. Meanwhile in a big skyscraper Lawrence Limburger, the town’s bigwig business man, is talking to his henchman Grease Pit about his plans to drain Chicago of all its natural resources in a week.  He needs a location to complete his task, the Last Chance Garage, and sends Grease Pit there to rough up its female owner Charley Davidson. As she tries to fight off Grease Pit, the Biker Mice arrive and save the day by making a fool out of Limburger’s henchman and send a message that they are here to uphold justice.

This comic series clearly would have been a Star Comic if Marvel would have let the company stay open long enough. This mini series is clearly just based on the first couple of episodes in the Biker Mice cartoon series, and this first issue shows how they crash land on Earth and how they become friends with Charley and get on the radar of Limburger. The Biker Mice come off as noble rodents who love to ride and relax and most of all love to stand up for good and justice. Vinnie is the one who comes off more reckless and focused on fighting than the other two.  It’s clear he in is the Raphael as he follows his own set of rules and is the first to jump in a fight. Throttle and Modo don’t get to shine as brightly in this issue and very little of their personalities shine through.  All we really get is the basics. Charley Davidson comes off as an independent woman who is not afraid to stand up to those trying to bully her and take what she has worked hard for. Grease Pit is a muscle bound goon who is dimwitted and covered with motor oil and uses his muscles to try and push around those he views as weaker. Limburger is scum and is a big business man all the way as he doesn’t care about people or environment when a quick buck can be made.  Plus it shows he has no guts as he sends others to do his dirty work. So far despite giving some of the lamest lines in kids comics history, the Biker Mice are likable characters and ones that I think translate very well to comic books. The art in this issue is done by Rurik Tyler, and he does a great job of making it look like the cartoon.  The cover is also fantastic and very eye catching. So let’s move on to issue # 2 and see how this mini series plays out, shall we?

Biker Mice From Mars 2

Biker Mice From Mars # 2  **1/2
Released in 1994     Cover Price $1.50    Marvel Comics    #2 of 3

Charley Davidson is confused and amazed by her new friends and rescuers The Biker Mice who explain that they are from Mars and that they are the last of their kind because a race called the Plutarkians raided and stole all their natural resources and wiped them out.  Charley tells them she thinks the same thing is happening there in Chicago.  Limburger is mad at Grease Pit for not getting the garage and is even more upset when he hears that he was stopped by the Biker Mice who he knows all too well as they were his prisoners sometime back.  So he gets the crazy mad scientist Dr. Karbunkle to build an ultimate mouse trap, and they set out to capture the Mice. Charley works on the mice’s bikes and even adds new weapons.  This leaves her open to be kidnapped by Grease Pit and placed on the twisted mouse trap as bait, but once more Grease Pit is outsmarted and The Biker Mice send him back to Limburger, save Charley, and destroy the mouse trap. In the end The Biker Mice are on the way to Limburger’s to take the fight to him as Karbunkle is bringing in an enforcer from another planet!

This second issue is used as a quick back story of Mars and all the bad stuff that happened that forced the Mice to live a life on the run.  It also shows that Limburger is already at his boiling point, and he wants those pesky rodents dead. I also like how it shows that Limburger has many oddballs working for him and each is as crazy as the next. Once more The Biker Mice come off as major good guys, and finally Throttle comes off as a leader and is clearly smart in his “war” tactics. Vinnie comes off a little more goofy in this one, always talking about how good looking he is and how his body looks.  He’s a little silly and makes you wish he would have stayed more like the brooding kick butt type. Limburger is as sleazy as ever and bullies his own men and wants to make short work of this planet so he can move on and pillage the next city. Grease Pit is as dumb as ever, and Karbunkle is super crazy and seem to be getting his kicks in torturing some strange little man who’s getting off on the abuse…it’s kind of creepy. At one point they ask Charley if she wanted to be rescued by Turtles, showing that they were aware that many kids compared the two. This second issue is pretty entertaining, and I found it to be on par with issue # 1 making this a good read for fans of the cartoon and characters. The artwork is done by two artists this time with Rurik Tyler returning and Gary Fields helping out.  Tyler’s work is better, and you can tell when Fields is working the pencil. The cover on this one is kick butt and eye catching, and I am it was appealing to kids who spotted it on the newsstand. Well let’s get to the third and final issue in this Marvel series based on a cartoon.

Biker Mice From Mars 3

Biker Mice From Mars # 3  **1/2
Released in 1994     Cover Price $1.50    Marvel Comics    #3 of 3

The Biker Mice are on the way to Limburger’s building and are greeted by armed guards and must fight their way to the top where they come face to face with Grease Pit and Limburger who cower to the Biker Mice. But when Limburger calls on Dr. Karbunkle who is the man responsible for the injuries to the Mice, they are filled with rage and are ready for a fight.  Instead they’re greeted by a killer robot called X-Terminator who knocks them out the window.  A chase on Motorcycles ensues that leaves Throttle knocking The X-Terminator into boiling metal and the Biker Mice win a big victory. In the end they meet up at the baseball field and decide that their base will be inside the scoreboard and out of the radar reach of Limburger and his goons.

This third and final issue is good but it’s clear that everyone who worked on it knew that this was the final issue.  Many pages are large art splashes with little to no dialogue.  That said, I still found it to be a very fun and silly good read. The story is that The Biker Mice get to the location of Limburger and come face to face with the evil doctor who has scarred them for life.  They tangle with a robot man who is programmed to kill them and in the end destroy their robotic stalker and find a new place to live at the baseball field. The part of the story I really liked is that Dr. Karbunkle is the one who did some horrible things to The Mice while they were prisoners and he gets joy when he sees his dirty work up close again – sick serial killer kind of stuff. This time around The Biker Mice are more fleshed out as we see Throttle really show leadership skills.  Vinnie is still ego driven but ready to kick some fish men butt, and Modo is a powerhouse who beats up anything that gets in his way. While Grease Pit takes a backseat in this final issue, Dr. Karbunkle moves to the front and shows he is a man with plans and cruel ideas. While X-Terminator has the weapons to kill the Biker Mice, he seems more into delivering one-liners taken straight from Terminator 2 then killing them off, not to mention he goes down like a chump at the hands of Throttle. Limburger, while loud-mouthed and very mean, sure is a coward when having to come face to face with the Mice. The comic was a nice treat for fans of the cartoon, and I can’t help but feel that if Star was open when this was released, the series would have lasted a little longer than three issues.  Much like Camp Candy, I feel Marvel just put little to no care into making this series work while the people working on the comics put time and care into making a quality kids comic for readers. The art for the final issue was Rurik Tyler and like the others, the cover is fantastic. To sum it up, if you enjoyed the cartoon when this was released, I am sure you had a great time collecting and reading these issues, but TMNT super fans might find the series to be a rip off of their favorite heroes in a half shell. Check out the artwork below to see how good it looks compared to the style of the cartoon.

Biker Mice Art 1

So The Biker Mice have just rode off on the forgotten highway into a sunset as our time with them has come to an end.  I will say that the comic series was pretty good and was a nice way to help promote them at comic stores and on newsstands. Our next update is a subject very special to me as well as I am sure many horror host fans from the Dayton, Ohio area and beyond/.  I will be taking a look at the one and only Dr. Creep in a new Horror Host Icon update! So until then, make sure to read a comic or three, watch a classic cartoon or two and as always support your local horror host.  See ya next update for a Shocking good time…

Dr. Creep Horror Host Icon Logo

The Real Deal STEEL Of DC Comics!

Welcome back!  It’s been a very long time since I took a look at a DC comic series.  In fact, the last one, and for that fact only one, I did was for Sherlock Holmes back on March 28th 2013. I did talk about some of their characters when I covered the Marvel and DC crossovers that took place in the 1970’s, but that was not all about one of their homegrown heroes so I think its time to give them another look. Growing up I was a comic reader as I am sure you could have all guessed by now, but I always found myself reading more Marvel than DC.  Given the option back then of reading Superman or Spider-Man, I would choose Spider-Man hands down.  It’s not to say I didn’t read my fair share of DC issues, I just couldn’t get into the characters as much as I could Marvel’s. So one year when I was in my mid 20’s I decided to go out and buy a bunch of DC comics to read on a trip I was planning with my then girlfriend, Jennifer, who was from a small village called Oswego in Illinois.  We were going to see her family who all still lived there. So I went to Mavericks and Bell, Book And Comic and grabbed some older issues of Batman, Superman, Wonder Woman and found an issue # 1 for a super hero I had never heard of called STEEL The Indestructible Man that was only .50.  So I took the chance on it and packed them with the rest of my luggage and looked forward to a great trip with my girl. I met Jennifer at work as both of us worked for Blockbuster Video at the time.  While at different stores, we met up thanks to the fact BBV wanted to use the actual cover art for the DVDs they were renting out and not just generic logo inserts like they had been.  So they had a team of two employees from every store in the district go from store to store and change them over. I worked at the store on Smithville and was chosen to be one of the team as was Jennifer from her store, and from the start I was considered the MVP of the team because I was a fast scanner and cover changer and hit it off with everyone else selected including Jennifer.  By the end of the change over we went on our first date to see the movie Fantastic Four. But anyways, I always looked forward to our trips to Oswego as the car ride was a fun time that we would make late at night with music on the radio from mix CDs I made and trips to 24 hour Starbucks for a quick coffee fix, all great memories. The town was also a really cool place and had the very small town feel to it were high school sports were important and small locally owned businesses were all over downtown. But it was also in the small town that I read the first issue of STEEL and found myself really liking the character who I would say was DC’s version of Captain America. So in this update I am going to revisit STEEL # 1 and read the other 4 issues in the series and see how in 2014 at the age of 34 I feel about this character. And while Jennifer and I split up we still remain close friends to this day, and I still look at her in great respect and still have great memories of all the trips and adventures we went on.

Jennifer Perkins OswegoStarbucks Drinks

Before I get into STEEL, I have to share with you readers a film I saw for the first time in April 2014 that could be one of the best/worst low budget horror films I have ever seen called Night Of The Demon.  The film is not about Demons at all; it’s about a pissed off Bigfoot who murders anyone who dares get in his way! The film was released in 1980 and was directed by James C. Wasson, who on IMDB only has this film linked to his name, and stars Michael Cutt, Melanie Graham and stuntman Shane Dixon as The Bigfoot. Dixon went on to do stunts for many other great films like Lethal Weapon 1, 3 & 4, Rambo III, They Live, The Hunt For Red October, Maniac Cop 2-3, Death Warrant, Night Of The Demons 2, Godzilla and so many more.  The guy was all over the place in Hollywood but this role as Bigfoot for me is his crown jewel. Sadly Dixon passed away in 1999 from cancer so while he may be gone his film work will live on for the world to enjoy. The film follows a professor and some of his students going into the woods where people have gone missing and a Bigfoot has been spotted, but they should have never have entered those woods because Bigfoot is on the prowl and doesn’t like it when people enter his homeland. The film ends with a clash between the humans and the Bigfoot that will leave you breathless with horror and laughter. The film is so over the top that I found myself drawn into it and truly enjoying every blood soaked bad acting moment. In the film Bigfoot does so many messed up things.  From yanking a person’s penis off to ripping out someone’s guts and swinging them around a room, you realize that this Bigfoot plays for keeps. I don’t want to give away to much of the “plot” of this film because I really think if you like cheesy horror films then you should check this one out.  For those wanting a little more push to see the film, watch James Rolfe’s Monster Madness review of the film for his 2010 line up that dealt with Campy Cult films. At some point I am hoping that I can get a custom comic book made that would act as a sequel to the film, and if I can pull it off, keep your eyes open because I will 100% review it for Rotten Ink. The film was also part of England’s Video Nasty list for all the blood and guts and here in the US can be found on DVD and VHS for those wanting to watch its amazing goodness. So this summer if you’re walking through the woods, for God’s sake please keep an eye out for Bigfoot because if this film has taught me anything, it’s that he hates it when people mess in his woods!

night of the demon logonight of the demon VHSnight of the demon bigfoot

Now it’s main event time. We have talked about Jen and Oswego as well as a killer Bigfoot, but now it’s time for STEEL! As I said I have read issue 1 in the past and found it very entertaining so I am very hyped to read the rest of the series and see how his story pans out. I want to remind my readers I grade these issues on a star scale of 1 to 4 and am looking for how well the comic stays to the source material, it’s entertainment value and it’s art and story. And I want to thank an Ebay seller for having the full set for sale dirt cheap. So with that let’s go and fight the good fight with STEEL. 

Steel the Indestructible Man 1

STEEL: The Indestructible Man # 1  ***
Released in 1978   Cover Price .35   DC Comics   #1 of 5

Hank Heywood along with his soon to be father in-law Dr. Giles are in Germany in 1939 as part of a medical conference and are run out when Hank saves an old man from Nazi thugs and Giles claim to make artificial organs gets sneers. When returning home Hank finds that his fiancé Gloria has bad news as Hitler’s army has invaded Poland, and this sets Hank off who goes and joins the Marines in order to help out in the coming war. During his time at boot camp Hank stops some Nazi spies but during the attack he is blown up with dynamite. Hank is in bad shape with broken bones, a lung gone and bad burns all over his body. He turns to Dr. Giles and his artificial organs and is rebuilt.  Hank gets a new robo-lung, steel for bones, mechanical joints and even a devices to help his heart. When returning to the military, Hank must keep Giles’ secret that he used him as a test subject and is forced to take a desk job. Hank can’t just sit by knowing that he now has all these powers and makes a red, white and blue steel suit and calls himself STEEL! Meanwhile the Nazi’s have sent over a super powered goofy suited super solider named Baron Death who is to try and see if some new weapons could help defeat the Americans. Hank, dressed as STEEL, sneaks into an armory to take some weapons to upgrade for his one man war on Nazi’s and finds a group that was there to steal from the army as well and makes quick work of them, and by doing this he makes an oath to himself that he will do all he can to defeat Hitler’s crazed army and defeat Baron Death!

I have to start off by saying STEEL is just as good as I remember it, and in fact issue # 1 is even a little better than I remember. The plot in issue one is pretty standard World War II stuff and has an American who wants to do what he can to help in the war with the Nazi’s.  After an accident he is left broken until, by a medical miracle, he is fixed and is better than before cause now he has super human strength. In fact the best way to describe this plot is just mix Captain America, RoboCop, Six Million Dollar Man and a touch of The Weapon X Project into a DC Comic stew and poof, out would pop STEEL. Hank Heywood is a strong headed college student who really wears his heart on his sleeve as he acts when he sees that something is wrong, even after being blown up and is at deaths door he still was more worried about helping in the war than his own health. As STEEL, he is a little more cocky and knows that his body can take all types of damage and almost seems as if when dressed up he doesn’t even fear death. STEEL is pretty strong and can easily lift half a ton as well as hold his breath under water for 30 minutes. Dr. Giles is your typical old scientist/doctor who has discovered a “cure” for many medical issues but is laughed at because it all seems too extreme.  He also clearly loves his daughter Gloria and respects his soon to be son in-law. Gloria is a complainer and seems to be on Hank’s need to be a hero like white is on rice.  She is kind of annoying and my least favorite character. Baron Death is a goofy looking bad guy with a yellow and purple suit on and a black and yellow mask.  He is only in this issue for a few panels, and I look forward to seeing STEEL stomp him into the mud. The comic’s art is done by Don Heck and really has that classic 70’s looking DC comic style, making it feel just right.  Heck’s work is great in this issue as is the cover that I find very eye catching. I can’t wait to read issue two for the first time and hope it holds the charm and old timey feel of this issue.  So with no more wait let’s charge into issue # 2! 

Steel the Indestructible Man 2

STEEL: The Indestructible Man # 2  **1/2
Released in 1978   Cover Price .35   DC Comics   #2 of 5

Lots of things have been going on in Hank’s life since he took on the alter ego of STEEL.  For one he is trying to keep it a secret from Gloria and her father, and second he is trying to show the Army that as STEEL he could help them win the coming war with the Nazi’s. Meanwhile across town a scientist is ambushed by Baron Toten and Bruno, two Nazi spies living in America who shove him into a machine he created that gives animated life to objects like rocks and jewels. After falling into the machine, the scientist is turned into a blue skinned monster that can animate matter all around him into creatures.  His name is The Mineral Master! While trying to impress the army with his skills STEEL is treated as a joke and a showman by the ones he is trying to impress and is left alone with his own angry thoughts, but his thoughts are broken when he finds Mineral Master in a hanger.  The two have a fight that leaves STEEL one the losing end.  Returning to desk work as Hank he hears Mineral Master’s voice over the radio as the crazed miracle maker has taken over a radio show.  He changes to STEEL and rushes to the station and has a battle that in the end leaves Mineral Master weak and STEEL wondering when the time will come when he has to pick war or his love for Gloria. 

This second issue is good but not as good as the original.  While the first issue had a full fledged classic superhero feel to it, this second issue while good seemed a little forced and things changed in a kind of goofy way. Dr. Giles seems to have an issue that if Hank is STEEL, that’s a bad thing,  Now if Giles is as smart as he is supposed to be, I cannot see how he couldn’t know that they are the same person. Plus in this issue Dr. Giles takes a back seat and is barely in it. Gloria is as annoying as ever just whining about war and how she doesn’t want Hank near it. Hank/STEEL is as noble as ever and really wants the green light from the army so that he can go overseas and kick some Nazi butt.  Plus I do like in this issue while he plays the straight laced superhero for a brief time, he is telling jokes and making fun of his foe to anger them. Speaking of foe, Mineral Master is much like Doctor Doom in the aspect that he knows what’s good for us all and what’s good is not fighting a war with The Nazi’s. Mineral also seems to hate the government but yet loves the United States and wants it to live in a perfect world. The first fight between STEEL and Mineral shows just how powerful they both are and how while they both have different strengths they are very much equals.  That’s why the second fight is more suspenseful as it makes you wonder just how STEEL will beat him. The only major downside to this issue is the fact that it’s getting a little eye rolling at this point with Gloria’s anti war feelings and the pro-war we have to stop them speeches of STEEL.  We get it and know how each of them feels and don’t need to be force feed it over and over. I also would like to note that in issue # 2 I had many spots where the words are hard to read due to the ink being smudged and this made for some frustrated reading. The cover is pretty cool and shows action and almost has a monster comic feel to it. The art is done by Don Heck again and looks fantastic. Over all while not as great as the first issue, this one still was a fun and entertaining read. So let’s see what Issue 3 has to offer, shall we?

Steel the Indestructible Man 3

STEEL: The Indestructible Man # 3  **1/2
Released in 1978   Cover Price .35   DC Comics   #3 of 5

STEEL arrives at a building that he has been called to by a newspaper owner named Edward Runyon just in time as a group of Chicago mobsters show up to end the guy’s life! STEEL makes short work of the gangsters that is until their giant fisted boss nicknamed Sledgehammer shows up and knocks STEEL into a bus and leaves as the police come to the rescue. STEEL gets free of the bus and has a talk with Runyon who tells him that once upon a time he and Sledgehammer were friends until the giant fisted freak was arrested for killing another kid on accident. STEEL tracks Sledgehammer to a rundown motel and takes him down and finds out the truth that he was there to kill Runyon because he is the one who turned him into the cops that lead to his arrest. Returning to base, Hank is upset and finds that Runyon is just as scummy as Hitler and questions why he even helped him, but his anger turns to sadness as he finds out the Dr. Giles has suffered a heart attack and he rushes to be by his bedside. Meanwhile Runyon is going on a date now with his girl but once more has caught the eye of a bad guy who has all types of gadgets and calls himself The Gadgeteer who robs him and his girl of all their wealth.  After the crook leaves, it’s clear that Runyon’s woman has a crush on STEEL who she thinks will stop Gadgeteer and get her jewels back. When Hank gets to the hospital and talks to Gloria he finds out that her father had a heart attack while reading a story about STEEL that seemed to upset him and his final words before collapsing was Hank’s name!

Issue 3 is another fun issue that breaks the mold finally of WORLD WAR II drama and focuses on mobsters and home grown super baddies. STEEL this time around shows off some Batman type guns and even questions why he has given so much of his life to being a costumed hero. I love that aspect of the issue seeing how Hank is dealing with all the pressure of being STEEL and knowing that he has to save scumbags like Runyon from punishments they lead themselves to.  I also like how the issue ends with a cliffhanger of Dr. Giles heart attack might be because of him finding out Hank and STEEL are the same person. Dr. Giles and Gloria both take a back seat in this issue and only come into play towards the end when Hank finds out he is in the hospital. Runyon is an ass who is a big shot around town that made his money by ratting out his one time friend for the reward money, and while a bad guy, he is not evil and for the most part has everything he wants money, power and women. Sledgehammer, the mob boss, is a pretty cool character that reminds me a lot of some Spider-Man villains like Hammerhead and Tombstone.  Too bad he is beaten pretty fast and I am sure will never make another appearance in this short lived series. The second baddy is a waste. The Gadgeteer is soooooo lame.  He wears a green spandex costume and has all types of silly little gadgets that he uses….I just can’t even waste my time talking about this goon. Speaking of Spider-Man, even the cover of this issue reminds me of a Spidey comic.  I wonder if in some ways DC was trying to make STEEL a cross between Captain America and Spider-Man…makes me wonder. The issue’s artwork is once more done by Don Heck who does a fantastic job and makes the character come alive. Over all issue 3 is pretty good but nothing special and is getting closer to being just a plain silly comic with stuff like Gadgeteer leading the way to sudden dumbness. Well let’s see what is going to happen in issue four where we are going to find out about Dr. Giles’s heart attack as well as how will STEEL stop The Gadgeteer.

Steel the Indestructible Man 4

STEEL: The Indestructible Man # 4  **1/2
Released in 1978   Cover Price .35   DC Comics   #4 of 5

At the hospital Hank finds out that if Dr. Gilescan make it through the night, he should be okay.  He goes back to the base and gets caught in his STEEL outfit and is attacked by soldiers who think he is stealing government weapons! He breaks away and goes to Runyon’s office and makes a deal with him that if he takes out The Gadgeteer and gets back his and his girls riches, that in his paper he would run a pro-war piece about why America should get involved in the war against Hitler. Runyan agrees but has no intent of keeping his promise as STEEL goes after The Gadgeteer and finds him robbing an armored car.  The two fight for a moment but the gadget using baddy gets away and the Cops blame STEEL for the robbery. STEEL breaks away and chases The Gadgeteer and once more fights him and just as he beats him The Gadgeteer tosses a grenade at our Hero, but things get bad as it explodes on his chest, and while he is alive the massive blows brings the Indestructible Man to his knees.  It’s clear he needs help and his only hope is Dr. Giles who is in the hospital still! 

This issue is a good solid comic, but the problem is that while good, it’s lost the classic hero charm that the first issue set in place. STEEL spends most the issue running around trying to find The Gadgeteer and once more goes to Runyon for a favor that he thinks he will actually honor. I will say that once more it’s nice to see STEEL doing something else besides talking about Hitler and the Nazi’s and focusing on a super villain that is a homegrown terror. STEEL also shows that he truly does care for Dr. Giles and his daughter Gloria as the Dr’s heartattack seems to really bother him. I can’t tell you how much I hate The Gadgeteer.  He is a terrible character who reminds me of the worst Batman or Spider-Man villain whose only power is lame silly gadgets he uses. Even his back story is just so oh hum.  I don’t understand why this character has been in two issues so far but Baron Death has only had a tiny part in the first issue and was never spoken of again. Once more Gloria and Dr. Giles have a smaller role and seem to take a backseat once more.  While they are a big part of the over all story, I am fine with the smaller roles given to them. The art is done by Don Heck again and looks amazing, but this time around the cover is just so-so and not all that eye catching. This issue is good just not as good as the others in the series so far.  The next issue is the end of STEEL’s solo run at DC and I can’t wait to see how they end the series..so let’s get to it. 

Steel the Indestructible Man 5

STEEL: The Indestructible Man # 5  **1/2
Released in 1978   Cover Price .50   DC Comics   #5 of 5

STEEL is injured and hitching a ride on a truck that has Olivia on board.  She’s a young woman he went to college with who has a some medicine that can be used to help not only STEEL with his wounds but also help the now dying Dr. Giles. But the ride is cut short when a giant white furred swamp monster attacks the truck killing the driver, beating STEEL up and leaving him in quicksand and finally kidnapping Olivia. STEEL wakes up sinking deeper and deeper in the quicksand, and after freeing himself, he follows the track of the swamp monster to a mansion in the woods that belongs to the Hawk Brothers.  Once inside, he finds it’s like a funhouse that has dangerous traps. Once he gets to the end of the line, that he gets to once he kicks out the glass to a giant aquarium he is stuck in, he finds that the monster is in fact one of the Hawk brothers who was once a silent film actor and now a mishappen monster and that the doctor down there is the other brother who watches after his brother hoping to find a cure. STEEL tangles with the beast and snaps its weak back with a well places karate chop and saves Olivia as the mansion comes falling down around them killing the brothers once and for all.

Well DC pulled the plug on this series and didn’t give it a full last issue as this one leaves itself wide open for an issue # 6 and nothing is settled with Dr. Giles at death’s door. The issue holds a little monster comic feel to it, and its nice to see a super hero fight a swamp monster and once more this formula reminds me for some reason of Marvel’s Man-Thing. STEEL in this issue is not as unbeatable as he has been in the past issues and for the most part is the underdog in the fight with the Hawk Swamp Monster. I also really liked the idea of him being trapped in the quicksand and having to use his special guns in order to save himself. The Hawk Brothers are more of the sad kind of bad guys as one brother is tormented by the accident that left the actor brother mangled and later a monster.  While they are “bad,” they don’t have evil intentions. While mentioned Dr. Giles and Gloria do not appear in this issue, and by the end of this series all we really know is that he is going to die unless STEEL can get him this medicine. I really do hate the fact that DC just decided not to continue the series after this issue and find that when comic companies do this kind of stuff, it really shows a lack of respect to those fans who have bought every issue and are invested in the characters. I really wonder why they canceled the series.  I am leaning toward poor sales.  I just don’t think kids of 1978 really cared much for old style heroes who had a bone to pick with Hitler. I also find it funny that Baron Death is built up to be the series’ main bad guy and never even meets STEEL once.  Sadly the only villain to show up twice in this series was the lame Gadgeteer. But out of all the baddies he fought in this series I would say my favorite would have to be The Hawk Brother Swamp Monster, just because well he was a white furred monster who put up a good fight till his spinal cord was karate chopped by STEEL. The whole series was drawn by Don Heck.  I find myself really liking his style and feel he was perfect for making this comic come alive. The cover on the last issue is great and could have drawn in not only the super hero fans but also the horror comic kids. Over all I really enjoyed the series a lot and found that issue one really held up well after all these years of my first reading of it and that all the issues that followed while not as good were still very solid and fun. If you’re a fan of older school super heroes and are into World War II comic stories, then this comic would be up your alley, but if your looking for fast pace action and plots than I would say you would probably not enjoy this series at all. Below is some of Heck’s artwork that I find sums up the mood and feeling of the series pretty well.

STEEL ART 1

So I would say that STEEL is a great comic series that holds lots of charm of classic super heroes and is filled with the American Pride and just old school Americana. So for those of you wondering what ever became of STEEL, let me sum it up for you real quick: he went on to join a team called The All-Star Squadron and did indeed made it and fought in World War II and was called Commander STEEL. When Hank retired as the hero, his grandchildren took up the mantel and after one of their deaths he returned as STEEL and died a hero setting off a device that killed the Super Villain Eclipso. So that was the dear old fate of this patriotic super hero. So next up we are going to cover a real life Egyptian feast so make sure you’re not late to dinner because it’s going to be a Blood Feast! Until next time, read a comic or two and enjoy life.

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