FOR PART ONE OF BALLADEER’S BLOG’S EXAMINATION OF THIS OLD, OLD MARVEL COMICS STORYLINE CLICK HERE The revisions I would make are scattered throughout the synopsis below.
KILLRAVEN GRAPHIC NOVEL (1983)
Chapter Two: Cocoa Beach Blues
SYNOPSIS: Killraven and his Freemen continue their guerilla war against Earth’s alien conquerors. It’s February 2020, or “37 years in the future” as it would have been to 1983 readers. As we ended Chapter One last time around, an older but not quite elderly woman with a plasma-ray rifle entered the camp from which the Freemen were planning their assault on the alien-updated Cape Canaveral. She identified herself as a surviving astronaut from the era before the alien invasion 19 years earlier.
The astronaut has identified herself to KR and his Freemen as Jenette Miller and while leading them to her hideaway lair in the ruins of Cocoa Beach she fills them in on her past. She was a female astronaut 3 decades earlier.
Jenette had grown up adoring astronauts and the dreams represented by space travel. As an adult she got to live that dream but, as she recounts, had to endure the annoyance of feminists of her time trying to make her a symbol.
Those same figures would insist on being seen with her but never got her jokes, because, as she and Killraven note, she has a sense of humor about herself, unlike certain others.
As Jenette says “They’d all get mad if I didn’t attend all their seminars. ‘You’ve gotta help the sisters, they’d wail.’ Hell, they knew how to instill as much guilt as a church.” Eventually Jenette lost herself in her space missions as a haven from the public pressure of being seen as a hero and “role model”.
Old Skull puts in that many people around the world consider “Mister Killraven” a hero as they all wait for the day he will lead them as one army against the aliens. (Martians in the original but Zetans in my revisions.)
As Miller mentions some of the astronauts she looked up to as a child their names stir Killraven’s mind for reasons none of our heroes understand. It is not the first such time he has shown memories of pre-invasion Earth.
NOTE: To avoid confusion I will point out once again that Killraven has access to humanity’s collective memories as part of his possession of The Power, a pre-Star Wars variation of The Force. (Killraven and “The Power” debuted in 1973) He and his Freemen have not figured out, yet, that that is where these memories come from.
REVISION: I would make Jenette Miller instead be Melissa Siren, the artificially created woman in Don McGregor’s Sabre series. Part of my revised look at the Killraven stories treats them as if the 1973-1976 series had not been canceled, causing McGregor to transfer many of his ideas for KR over to his 1978 Sabre graphic novel.
Melissa/ Jenette would still be a pre-invasion era astronaut but would have been gone on a decades-long mission and in suspended animation there and back, making her still “young” and fit. When the aliens first conquered Earth 19 years earlier, some of the recorded transmissions from Melissa Siren and her crew’s journey would have tipped off the Zetans/ Martians to their enigmatic discovery of something that killed one of her crew members.
Though Earth scientists would not understand what it was, the more advanced aliens would immediately know what it was and how valuable, too. One of the reasons they would have simply upgraded Cape Canaveral instead of trashing it or leaving it abandoned would be because they were waiting for the return of this space mission’s craft.
The primitive Earth science did not pinpoint the craft’s location on its return journey the way the aliens’ tech would have in one of their own spaceships, so they had no choice but to await the vessel’s return so they could confiscate the on-board telemetry to isolate where the craft encountered the deadly Enigma Blue which killed a crewmember.
In the meantime they also used Cape Canaveral as one of their many fortresses scattered around the Earth. At last the vessel returned from space and touched down at Cape Canaveral. When Melissa Siren and her other surviving crew member, another woman, emerged from suspended animation, they encountered Earth’s tentacled conquerors and their human quislings as they were stripping down their space craft.
The aliens were already carting away the dead crewman for study along with the Enigma Blue substance. Melissa and her surviving crew member tried to escape, with the other crew member getting killed in the attempt and the lone Melissa escaping, leading to her meeting with the Freemen last issue.
Back to the unrevised story – Jenette ends with her recap of Cape Canaveral’s history and how it was called Cape Kennedy for awhile. JFK’s name rips open another flood of memories in Killraven that Jenette confirms really ARE from the pre-invasion time and are not just vague “visions.”
Jenette further relates that since the alien invasion 19 years earlier, she fled Cape Canaveral but hid out in Cocoa Beach, periodically venturing forth to watch what the aliens were doing at the Cape and to steal an occasional weapon.
REVISION: Either in Cocoa Beach itself or on the journey TO Cocoa Beach Killraven, M’Shulla, Old Skull, Carmilla Frost, Deathlok, Didymus and Melissa Siren/ Jenette Miller would have to battle enormous sand-crabs like the kind Don McGregor had attack Sabre, Melissa Siren and Deuces Wild on the beach near their Florida rebel colony in the last few issues of the 1983-1985 Sabre series at Eclipse Comics.
Back to the unrevised story, Killraven and Jenette make detailed plans for an assault on Cape Canaveral to stop the aliens’ Project Regenesis. (NOTE: This “project” saw Don McGregor “self-Rian Johnsoning” the past Killraven stories. Originally readers were told that Earth was conquered because the aliens’ homeworld became incapable of supporting life. As of the previous chapter Don retconned it to be that the Martians are just mining out a bunch of oil and minerals and then will return to their own planet. But will still use humans as food.)
REVISION: As I stated last time around, I would instead have the Cape Canaveral plan NOT be Project Regenesis but rather Project: Enigma Blue, which would be the aliens’ genocidal plans to exterminate all human life following the tragic events of Red Dust Legacy in the original Killraven stories.
While plans are being formed, KR fills in Jenette Miller about the armored High Overlord. Last chapter Killraven learned the High Overlord was visiting Cape Canaveral to take charge of the finale of Project Regenesis. (We also get an erroneous reference to the High Overlord as “the Overseer,” the name of the main villain in Sabre.)
It has become obvious that Jenette is attracted to Killraven, since she is openly flirty with him but not quite as flirty as Volcana Ash, who left the Freemen months earlier.
At any rate, Killraven tells Jenette – and new readers – how the High Overlord long ago told him his older brother Joshua was still alive and being attended to by Keeper Saunders in the aliens’ fortress at Yellowstone Park.
As another sign that Don McGregor’s mind was mostly on the new Sabre series that he would be writing at Eclipse Comics, he wrote this huge mistake: Even though KR saw that Keeper Saunders was in Cape Canaveral WITH the High Overlord he didn’t react to his presence OR to the fact that it might mean his brother Joshua is there WITH Saunders. Nor did he even think about abducting Saunders to ask if Joshua was still at Yellowstone Park.
(The quest to reach Yellowstone Park was a major story element for more than half the run of the 1973-1976 series.)
The following night the Freemen – Killraven, M’Shulla, Old Skull, Carmilla Frost and Jenette set off to carry out their sabotage raid. (In my revisions the Freemen are KR, M’Shulla, Old Skull & Carmilla plus Deathlok – my substitute for Grok – and the two-headed, androgynous being called Didymus – my substitute for Huey and Louie. As stated above, Jenette would be Melissa Siren.)
Again, McGregor’s “one foot out the Killraven door” frame of mind showed in the way he had Carmilla Frost wait until they were all ENROUTE to Cape Canaveral to tell M’Shulla she’s pregnant with his baby. (Just as the 1978 Sabre ended in 2020 Florida with Melissa Siren pregnant with Sabre’s baby.) She had all day to do it but waited for NOW.
The pair argue with some cliched and uninspired dialogue more fit for a soap opera than for Don McGregor’s usually poetic output. Carmilla and M’Shulla ponder what to do, since bringing a child into the hellish world of alien-occupied Earth might not be fair to the kid. Plus it would sideline Carmilla – the scientist of the group – for several months.
If the 1973-1976 Don McGregor had written this argument it would no doubt be very well done. Instead it’s General Hospital 2020! Abruptly, Killraven, Jenette and Old Skull – far ahead of the still-arguing M’Shulla and Carmilla – see a moustachioed man being attacked by a human-sized wolf.
Yes, a dull, unimaginative, larger than normal wolf, after all of the inventive, grotesque mutants, mutates and Lovecraftian creatures KR and company fought in the original series. McGregor was clearly saving his best ideas for his upcoming Sabre series over at Eclipse Comics.
With Killraven trying to save the moustachioed man and locked in a life-or-death battle with the wolf, we get this chapter’s cliffhanger ending.
FOR THE NEXT PART CLICK HERE
FOR MY LOOK AT HOMBRE, SPAIN’S POST-APOCALYPTIC COMIC BOOK FROM THE 1980s, CLICK HERE
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