Thursday, December 5, 2013

Mysterious Wu Fang 4 - The Case of the Suicide Tomb

Mysterious Wu Fang 4 - The Case of the Suicide Tomb
by Robert J Hogan
Mysterious Wu Fang 12/1935

Wu Fang is a Fu Manchu clone, down to the moustache.  He has an army of seductive femme fatales, mindless henchmen, and maybe a gorilla.  He's bred rat lizard creatures that eat out his victim's stomachs, and he's in Arizona to seek out a white bat that spreads a plague  that turns its victims bones purple and cause them to bash their heads into the nearest wall.

Hogan doesn't do a great job recapping for new readers.  The good guys for the series seem to be newspaper reporter Jerry Hazard and government agent Val Kildare.  Supporting characters include a newsie Cappie and Mohra, the love interest.

It plays out like a Republic serial, down to the cliffhanger between chapters.  Hogan reuses way too many plot elements.  Everybody is saved by having another character walk in at just the right moment, and three of Fang's fatales pretend to ask for help escaping his clutches.

The racism isn't as bad as it could have been, with only a Chinese cook talking all thankee vely solly.  For some reason all the Mexican characters exclaim in French.  What annoyed me more is the warning in the Wildside Press edition, which warn that they may not be
"'politically correct' by current standards"
Most of the recent pulp reprints have a similar warning, but this one seems a little snide.  Like this whole "not calling Asians yellow slant-eyed devils" thing is just some silly passing fad.

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