FOR PART ONE OF BALLADEER’S BLOG’S EXAMINATION OF THIS OLD, OLD MARVEL STORYLINE CLICK HERE The revisions I would make are scattered throughout the synopsis below. Marvel still rules current Pop Culture.
AMAZING ADVENTURES Vol 2 #25 (July 1974)
Title: THE DEVIL’S MARAUDER
Synopsis: Don McGregor is beginning to really click as the writer for this post-apocalypse series, so my revisions will be very limited this time around. Rich Buckler is the new artist, further improving the series compared to the past few issues.
Somewhere in the ruins of Indiana, like most of the Earth, nearly leveled in the war against the alien invaders 18 years earlier, a stolen Dyna-Glider flies through the skies. Aboard are Killraven and his Freemen: Hawk, Old Skull, Carmilla Frost, her creation Grok and M’Shulla, who pilots the craft.
REVISION: My Freemen roster is the same except for Grok, who would instead be Deathlok, Carmilla Frost’s creation. I would have Carmilla piloting the aircraft since she is the scientist of the group.
The Freemen spot a Martian tripod pursuing a human who fled their enslavement at the nearby Martian testing grounds/ proving grounds for their war machines: the old Indianapolis Speedway. Piloting the Tripod is Skar, a mysterious inhuman figure who works for Earth’s alien conquerors but who makes it clear he is neither human nor Martian. (NOTE: His exact nature will be revealed during a future clash with the Freemen.)
REVISION: As always, I would have dropped the ridiculous Martian angle along with the tenuous War of the Worlds connection and just had it be regular aliens – Zetans in my revisions – who had conquered the Earth. Skar is such a bland name I would have livened it up a little as “Warscar” or “Battlescar” or something similar.
Killraven foolishly leaps from the Dyna-Glider to attack Skar’s Tripod. He is defeated and left for dead, since Skar considers all humans beneath contempt. He pilots his Tripod back to the converted Indianapolis Speedway.
REVISION: I would, as ever, have the Tripods really be Triphibian craft and the Dyna-Glider would have been shot down by Warscar/ Battlescar after he thought he killed Killraven. The explosion in the distance would make him assume all hands were dead and he would return to the Speedway.
Quick thinking on Carmilla’s part would have saved her and the Freemen, and she would have ejected them all before the crash. Killraven would rush to their aid but find them recovering.
M’Shulla and the others pick up KR and that night around the campfire dialogue establishes that after finally leaving Washington DC they headed for Yellowstone National Park in a Dyna-Glider stolen from the Martians by them and Mint Julep’s group of rebels. Killraven wants to go there because the Martian fortress there is where his brother Joshua is being held according to the Martian High Overlord.
REVISION: I would have the armored High Overlord be named Abraxas instead of the slave auctioneer in Washington having been named that. “Abraxas the High Overlord” has a certain oomph to it that the mere title the High Overlord lacks.
Before resting for the night KR would mention his desire to get revenge on Skar, prompting another argument between him and Carmilla. This time she accuses him of sidetracking his cause in the name of fleeting vengeance. (I disagree, since sabotaging an alien Proving Ground for their mobile weaponry IS beneficial to that cause.)
The argument gets out of hand and Killraven grabs Carmilla by the arm. She and M’Shulla are an item by now, remember, and he angrily addresses KR – as Killraven, instead of by their usual fond nickname for each other, “mud brother.”
Killraven is shocked both by that fact and by the way M’Shulla tells KR that arguments between him and Carmilla over their group’s goals may be unavoidable but if he ever tries to harm her again the two of them, and presumably Grok, will go their separate ways. KR, feeling the loss of his once-unshakable bond with M’Shulla, gives in. (M’Shulla – black – and Carmilla – white – are a mixed-race couple just like Don McGregor would use in his later comic book Sabre. In a 1974 comic book this was a bold move.)
REVISION: The only change I would make would be to have Carmilla chewing out KR for impulsively getting their aircraft destroyed and for THAT to be the cause of their argument. Further fueling his distrust of her would be her status as a scientist since the first two parts of the Killraven saga established how plenty of surviving humans were wary of scientists after so many of them sold out humanity to the aliens just so they could continue their research.
Back at the converted Indianapolis Speedway, Skar proves to be a holy terror to the human slaves, including Hobie, who was a friend to the escapee killed by Skar earlier in the story. The next morning Skar plans to run his current vehicle, called The Devil’s Marauder, against another craft being engineered by the human scientist Quislings for the Martians. Killraven mentally observes this while The Power lets him invade the mind of a Martian at the site.
REVISION: Back at the Indianapolis Proving Ground, Warscar/ Battlescar would get chewed out by his alien superiors for not making sure the humans he encountered were really dead, since from his description the leader was definitely the notorious rebel Killraven. A handful of Triphibian Craft would be sent out to look for remains.
The search party would find only the crashed and burned Dyna-Glider. Killraven would, as usual, be using The Power to keep himself and his Freemen cloaked to the sensors of the aliens’ craft.
Come morning, KR infiltrates the Indianapolis Proving Ground alone, where he befriends Hobie. Hobie provides the first example of a human slave talking about how inspired he was by the way Killraven turned the tables on the Martians weeks earlier when they broadcast what WAS to be his execution around the world via the Mural Phonics System.
Hobie helps KR sneak aboard one of the Tripods going up against Skar’s Devil’s Marauder on what used to be the racetrack. KR promises to take Hobie with him to join his Freemen after he avenges himself on Skar.
REVISION: My only revision would be that KR is leading ALL of his Freemen in infiltrating the Indianapolis Proving Ground and they all get to meet Hobie.
KR in his Tripod outpilots Skar and defeats him but the destruction caused by the toppling of The Devil’s Marauder wound up killing poor Hobie along with a few Quislings and Martians. Killraven flees the area to rejoin his Freemen, but Carmilla’s words about his sometimes random and uncoordinated attacks haunt him. Since he was once again carelessly acting as a “Devil’s Marauder” himself, a man who admired him, Hobie, is now dead.
REVISION: I’d have had ALL the Freemen getting some of the action, not just Killraven, although he would be the only one piloting a commandeered Triphibian craft of the Zetans. Otherwise the whole finale, including KR being forced to face his periodic inadequacies, would be the same.
FOR PART NINE CLICK HERE
I’LL EXAMINE THE NEXT ISSUE SOON. KEEP CHECKING BACK FOR UPDATES.
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