New Reviews of Old Comics
I’m a real middle of the road science fiction fan. Love Star Wars (except “Phantom Menace”), not a big fan of Star Trek; I like aliens-visiting-earth stories, not so much on aliens-versus-aliens type stories. I can appreciate the imagination that goes into creating an entire world and society out of nothing, but sometimes they go so far out that I loose interest. When I found this issue I actually debated buying it because it is a science fiction title. I love the Michael Kaluta cover and doomsday tales always pique my interest, so eventually those overrode my reluctance with the science fiction.
“Union of Steel” written by Paul Kupperberg with art by Don Newton & Steve Mitchell kicks off the issue with the story of an uber-wealthy chap who is blown up in an unfortunate chemical accident. Because he was so rich doctors were able to plant his brain into a robot body. Because he’s a freak now he builds a new world on a planet far, far away leaving behind the woman who loves him. On this world he has designed a computer (named ‘puter) to destroy all organic material near the planet. So what’s the catch, our experienced sci-fi readers ask? Well, the brain needs blood and solar radiation is destroying his blood. He flies back to Earth where his woman friend sacrifices her life to save his, and gives up her blood. And what is the ironic ending, you ask? Well, I hate to give it away, but let’s just say our “hero” must have eaten an English muffin with a stick of butter on each half and not washed his hands before picking up his container of life sustaining blood.
Next up is an actual time warping kind of story called “…Until I Find A Way In Time” written by Sheldon Mayer with art by Dick Ayers and Jimmy Janes. This is the classic time travel to the past, make a slight change that has big ramifications on the future type story. There are a couple nice science fiction type twists to make it interesting though. I particularly liked where the time traveler was joined by a supposed air-headed woman who was actually a “time cop” trying to entrap him.
George Kashdan wrote the next story “Earth or Exile” which was a four pager with art by Edgar Bercasio. A space traveler visits another planet and must decide if he should travel back to Earth as a lizard type person or stay on the alien planet as a human never to return to Earth. It’s a four page story, how in-depth do you think this can get?
The subsequent nine pages are filled with “The Antaeus Strain,” a story about a virus that over takes a spaceship, with the twist that the virus also houses a race of not-so friendly aliens. One person is sent to Earth, leaving his fiancée behind on the doomed ship, to explain the situation. Of course the military wants to destroy the ship so it can’t infect Earth, and you know there’s going to be a twist to end this story by Wyatt Gwyon with art by Fred Carrillo.
“The Vengence of C-92” was written by Arnold Drake with art by Vicatan. Yes, that is the actual title of the story. Either the editor didn’t notice or care that “vengeance” was spelled incorrectly. Basic English aside, this is the story of a computer that falls in the love with its creator and gets really jealous when he makes time with his scantily clad assistant. This was no iPad mind you, but a computer that took up the better part of a city block. Hey, it was 1980, when 64k was a lot of memory (this review is about 25% of that).
Another time travel story is next. “Numismatist” was written by Mimai Kin with art by Charles Nicholas & Armando Gil. Here we have a guy who travels forward in time and finds someone who wants to trade dimes for gold because in the future gold is plentiful, but dimes are rare. This would seem like the perfect win-win situation, but of course someone has to be greedy and everyone pays a price.
There is a three page story called “Brief Encounter” that wasn’t brief enough and not worth commenting on (though it was also written by Mimai Kin; how did this person land so many stories one issue).
Finally we have “To Conquer the Sun” by Elliot S. Maggin and Jerry Bingham where a family man takes on a mission near the sun, but winds up becoming a living sun. He looks a lot like Marvel’s Human Torch.
There were quite a few stories in here with a wide range of success. A couple of them were good while others were just kind of there. In most cases the artwork outshined the writing. For a buck it wasn’t a bad deal, but anything more and I probably would have felt disappointed.