Thursday, January 14, 2021

Gary Gygax's Cyborg Commando Book 1: Planet in Peril by Pamela O-Neill & Kim Morgan

Gary Gygax's Cyborg Commando Book 1: Planet in Peril
by Pamela O-Neill & Kim Morgan
1987 New Infinities

Earth 2035 is invaded by giant bug-like creatures from outer space. Cris Holman's family is slaughtered, and he finds himself evacuated to a military base where he volunteers to put his brain in a cyborg body to fight the invasion.

The first of three parts, and plotted as such, with Chris barely engaging in a skirmish before the end. The cyborgs are described only as wearing armor, and that they can be mistaken as human except they talk out of speakers. They can move at superhuman speed and shoot lasers and microwave rays.

The cyborg-making process seems resource intensive considering the microwaves are all that get the job done. Would seem more effective to use those on jeeps or shoulder mounted human troops. Normally I wouldn't take my RPG based cyborg vs alien fiction that seriously, but the book is written more seriously than it needed to be.

This is one of those books that has prose that stuck in my craw for the first few pages, but then I got used to it. Literate in places, but way too slow. Not padded, just took it's sweet time and was more serious than the premise deserved.

Paperback from Amazon

Tuesday, January 12, 2021

Marvel 1964: Iron Man

Iron Man gets another makeover, slicking down his pointy eyebrows and giving him more face rivets

He loses the center column of rivets before the end of the year. Ol' Shellhead has largely stopped tinkering with transistors in the middle of fights as his gadgets are internalized.  Iron Man officially becomes Tony Stark's bodyguard, and is in charge of the factory when Stark is "away".

We also see more of Tony the playboy

I'd argue that the real reason Tony goes through women is less to do with the shrapnel in his heart and more that he's an a-hole and rich enough to get away with it. This still being a child friendly comic, the womanizing consists of him sitting at tables in fancy places.  We see his first and, to date, only drink.

I forgot to keep track of this last year, but Stark Enterprises always seemed like the number one source of supervillains, with most of his rogues gallery consisting of disgruntled employees.  This year his business practices inspired Wonder Man's brief stint as a villain, and his mere existence inspired Hawkeye and the Scarecrow.

The Watcher starts hosting the monster B story until he's joined by Cap in issue 59.

Tales of Suspense 49-60

Available from Amazon collected in Iron Man Epic Collection: The Golden Avenger

Thursday, January 7, 2021

Hook 1: Whirlpool Of Stars by Tully Zetford

 Hook 1: Whirlpool Of Stars
by Tully Zetford (Kenneth Bulmer)
Nell, 1974

It's the 100th Century, and the ship Ryder Hook is travelling in has an emergency evacuation. Most of the passengers are rescued, but if you weren't part of an interstellar Econorg the cost of flying you planetside would result in indentured servitude.

Ryder takes matters into his own hands and crash lands the escape ship.  The corrupt customs department demands cash or Hook has to work it off, and he fights his way out.  We get a few cycles of Hook, along with Pera, a stranded corporate secretary he's hoping to use financially, robbing, running, trying to get off planet, and getting screwed by corrupt authorities before slaughtering everyone and starting over.

Hook is captured by an alien Econorg leader and forced to infiltrate a rival's headquarters.  While there, he senses that this org is run by one of the dreaded Booster Man.  Hook is a cyborg with boosted strength, speed, and reflexes. He didn't finish the experimental process, but those who did turned evil and have infiltrated high positions of intergalactic society.

When Hook is in the vicinity of a Booster Man, also called a Novaman, he gains the ability to supercharge his speed, entering a hyperspeed mode where everything else almost stands still. He kills the Boosted Man, escapes, and with Pera's boss' help he finally gets off planet.

Some books you can tell didn't work off an outline - this one read like someone goofing around playing Grand Theft Auto before finally going on a mission.  Not a bad thing, but this runs out of steam even with the short page count.

The worldbuilding was ok, some neat aliens and almost cyberpunk corporate society. Where it really shined was the extreme violence with future weaponry. Rays that instantly burned bodies to a crisp, ballistics punching out spines, sausage shaped grenades that drained all the fluids from a body, and rays that melted bodies into piles.

Paperback from AbeBooks

Wednesday, January 6, 2021

TV Obscura: The Last Precinct

 The Last Precinct
1986 NBC
8 Episodes

Hour long Police Academy knock-off with an amazing pedigree: created by Stephen J. Cannell
Frank Lupo, starring Ernie Hudson, Adam West, Wings Hauser, Keenan Wynn, and Randi Brooks from Hamburger: The Movie.

Tuesday, January 5, 2021

Marvel 1964: Hulk

We're still not at "you wouldn't like me when I'm angry", but starting with Tales to Astonish 59 excitement will cause Banner to change into Hulk, and strangely, more excitement changes Hulk to Banner.  Narratively speaking this is a bit of a mess, as presumably a big boss battle would be constantly exciting.  We'll see if this gets actively changed or just forgotten about.  

Still no exact measure on his strength, but stronger than the Thing, and he gets stronger the angrier he gets.

At one point he absorbs the entire blast of a gamma bomb, which was enough to kill him as the Maestro decades later.

Tales to Astonish 59-62

Available from Amazon collected in Incredible Hulk Epic Collection: The Hulk Must Die

Sunday, January 3, 2021

Series Shadow: Swordsman of Mars vs Warriors of Mars

The Swordsman and the Warriors were very similar.  More characterization from the Swordman, but better action from the Warriors, and that's what I'm here for.  The Eternal Champion moves forward.

Thursday, December 31, 2020

Warriors of Mars by Michael Moorcock

 Warriors of Mars aka City of the Beast
by Michael Moorcock (as Edward P. Bradbury)
1965 Compact

Michael Kane is an Olympic level fencer and physicist who creates an experimental matter transmittal device that teleports him to ancient Mars. He involves himself with the locals, defends a city from an invasion of blue-skinned giants, and rescues a captured princess.

Fun, unpretentious, and well written action, with a great siege scene.  This is my first Moorcock, and lacks the depth and trippyness of his later works.  Kane is supposed to be an aspect of Moorcock's Eternal Champion, and Kane is definitely an archetype, if by that you mean incredibly generic.

Paperback from AbeBooks