Tag Archives: Comic Books

KILLRAVEN THIRTEEN: THE DAY THE MONUMENTS SHATTERED

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 day monuments shatteredAMAZING ADVENTURES Vol 2 #31 (July 1975)

Title: The Day The Monuments Shattered 

Freemen: Killraven, M’Shulla, Old Skull, Carmilla Frost, Hawk, Volcana Ash, Adam 3031 and Eve 3031 and Carmilla’s creation Grok (Deathlok in my revisions)

Synopsis: This is the 4th and final part of the Death-Birth storyline. It is April, 44 years from now. Killraven and his Freemen, a band of rebels fighting Earth’s alien conquerors, have arrived in the ruins of Gary, IN, along the southern shore of Lake Michigan.

It is nighttime and Killraven has chosen to set up camp in a cave on a nearby hill. This will give him and his Freemen the high ground and a defensible position as they await the final battle with their pursuers.

sacrificerThose pursuers: Atalon – white-shirted human quisling administrator of Death-Birth, the now-destroyed alien fortress where they raised humans like cattle since they eat human flesh – and the Sacrificer, green-clad medical madman who used to prepare those cannibal meals for the aliens, including their favorite delicacy – human infants carved out of their mother’s body shortly before they are due to deliver.

Backing up Atalon and the Sacrificer are dozens of Death Breeders, their armed troops in uniforms resembling skeleton outlines. 

Eve 3031, one of the human “breeding stock” liberated by our heroes last issue, is about to give birth, so the aforementioned cave will help shelter her and her baby as her mate, Adam 3031, attends her.

NOTE: Writer Don McGregor would later recycle this tableau of a final battle taking place around a woman giving birth in his post-apocalypse comic book Sabre. In that book the villainous Joyful Slaughter (real subtle, eh) and his troops attacked the rebel settlement where Sabre’s wife Melissa Siren was giving birth. Continue reading

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GRAVEYARD SHIFT: JON MALIN AND MARK POULTON’S HALLOWEEN HEROES

Graveyard Shift vol 2Halloween month continues here at Balladeer’s Blog with a look at the first two volumes of Graveyard Shift, the “monsters as superheroes” sensation drawn by THE Jon Malin and written by Mark Poulton.

The introductory Graveyard Shift graphic novel presented the team’s “senses-shattering origin.” To quote the creators: “Scientists Vladimir Blud, Lillith Mayhew and her husband, head of security Mick Mayhew are working on advance human regeneration for the mysterious ATLANTIS CORPORATION. Betrayed, murdered and put into their own experiments they are reborn with super human abilities, they are the GRAVEYARD SHIFT and they are all that can stop a rising supernatural evil from taking over the world!”

Graveyard ShiftGraveyard Shift Volume Two featured the team taking on the reborn menace of Dracula himself and his legions. The first two installments raised six figures each on Indiegogo and it is presumed that the third volume, expected in 2020, will continue that trend.

Malin is one of the comic book “Outlaws” going their own way to pursue their vision free of the corporate influence of the Big Two publishers. He has also worked with fellow Outlaw Richard Meyer on his indy superhero team called Jawbreakers. Continue reading

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KILLRAVEN TWELVE: THE HELL DESTROYERS

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 the hell destroyersAMAZING ADVENTURES Vol 2 #29 (March 1975)

Title: The Hell Destroyers 

Synopsis: April, 44 years in the future. We pick up where we left off last time around, deep in the heart of Death-Birth, a combined fortress and breeding farm run by Earth’s alien conquerors. Killraven, leader of a group of Freemen fighting the aliens and their human quislings, stands alongside three of his followers: Hawk (Native American), Old Skull (the big, bald, brawny one) and Volcana Ash (a woman genetically engineered into a mutate capable of generating and shooting fire).

The four of them have taken a moment to relish the reunion of Adam 3031 with his very pregnant “breeding partner” Eve 3031. The couple infuriated Earth’s conquerors by falling in love despite their degrading status as livestock for the extraterrestrials, who eat human flesh.

Facing all of them from across the futuristic operating room stand two human quislings, the main villains of this 4-part story. (This is Part 3) Atalon is the sadistic man who serves as the administrator of Death-Birth. He is hideous but has an obsession with cleanliness, especially regarding his white uniform. (Obviously a reference to Dr Mengele from the Nazi death camps.)

sacrificerThe other quisling is known only as the Sacrificer, clad in green and gold. Like Atalon he is ugly but his ugliness is amplified by his metal cybernetic jaw with jagged steel teeth. His amputated right arm has been outfitted with assorted cybernetic blades which can be used as weapons or as surgical tools in the perverse “operations” he performs.  

Eve 3031 has now been saved from the fate of having the Sacrificer carve her unborn baby out of her womb to serve as the piece de resistance in another of the feasts of human flesh which he prepares for the aliens (Zetans in my revisions, Martians in the original comic book).

Our heroes know that more of Atalon’s shock troops, called Death Breeders, will be arriving at any moment so they decide to vacate the area. They are still intent on freeing the thousands of Adams and Eves imprisoned in Death-Birth and then destroying the fortress itself. Continue reading

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THE COFFIN (2000): HALLOWEEN SUPERHERO

Balladeer’s Blog’s 31 Days of Halloween continues with this neglected horror hero.

CoffinTHE COFFIN (2000) – Written by Phil Hester and drawn by Mike Huddleston, The Coffin was originally a four-part serial before being collected into graphic novel format. I’ll provide details below but right up front let me point out that the horrific but intriguing premise is that the Coffin is a dead scientist whose soul is trapped within a polymer techno-suit of his own creation.

Dr Ashar Ahmad, the brilliant scientist in question, is employed by Heller Technologies, whose eponymous owner is a vile and amoral tycoon. Heller himself is a figure straight out of a horror film.

He’s incredibly old and his withered, wrinkled body is still functioning only because of all of the legal and illegal organ transplants he has had. His body is a battleground of scars from all that surgery. Obviously immortality is what our power-mad plutocrat longs for.

Coffin bAnd so Heller Technologies recruited Dr Ahmad to devise strong, lightweight polymers for medical purposes. To that end Ashar has developed polymers that can be used to form an artificial membrane that is perfectly impermeable and incredibly durable.

Extensions of that technology result in masses of polymers – literally thousands of layers – some of them only a few molecules thick. Dr Ahmad has managed to make it so that these polymers react to electronic pulses like the kind from a human brain to its body’s muscles, making the polymer “skin” or membrane expand or contract in response to those electronic pulses. Continue reading

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KILLRAVEN TEN: THE DEATH BREEDERS

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.

Death BreedersAMAZING ADVENTURES Vol 2 #27 (November 1974)

Title: The Death Breeders

Synopsis: The narrative tells us it is now March of 2019 (lol) but you can just tell yourself that it’s March of 45 years from now, as it would have been to readers in 1974.

Since their clash with the Survivalists of Battle Creek, MI Killraven and his Freemen at some point commandeered an abandoned ice-ship. This craft is basically a traditional ship complete with sails but with runners on the bottom like a sleigh. The wind in the sails lets the ship “skate” across frozen Lake Erie on its ski-like runners.

Up in the ship’s crow’s nest the Native American Freeman called Hawk warns his comrades on the deck below (Killraven, M’Shulla, Old Skull, Carmilla Frost and Carmilla’s creation Grok) that a pair of gigantic lampreys have sensed their vessel and have burst through the ice to attack them.

The lampreys are nearly Kaiju-sized, having been mutated over the years by pollution (the 1970s go-to explanation) and presumably the widespread after-effects of the biological warfare agents unleashed during the war against the Martian invaders.

REVISIONS: As always, I would have eliminated the tenuous connection to War of the Worlds and just had Earth’s conquerors be regular aliens, preferrably from Zeta Reticuli. In addition I would still have it be Deathlok as a Freeman instead of Grok. See previous installments for my justification.

Returning to the story, the Freemen battle the attacking lampreys – Killraven with his sword, photonuclear pistol and explosive star-grenades, M’Shulla with his crossbow and indestructible bolts, Hawk with his photonuclear rifle and Old Skull with his brute strength. Continue reading

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CYBERFROG: BLOOD HONEY – CONQUERING THE COMIC BOOK WORLD

cyberfrogCyberfrog and Heather Swain are back in action! In the tradition of other great duos like Rocket Raccoon and Groot, Howard the Duck and Beverly Switzler, Rocky and Bullwinkle or Crusader Rabbit and Rags the Tiger, everyone’s favorite frog/ full-grown woman pair have returned in their first new adventure since the 1990s.

Legendary comic book artist and writer Ethan Van Sciver regained the rights to his old characters and returned them to action in his hot new work Cyberfrog: Blood Honey. Cyberfrog, spawned by alien technology, fights huge extraterrestrial hornets and other menaces on a post-apocalyptic Earth.

Human blood is a necessary ingredient for the “honey” that the hornets dine on, hence the title. The adventures of Cyberfrog and Heather Swain – plus supporting character Salamandroid – are sort of a blend of the best elements of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and the Guardians of the Galaxy.

Mastermind Ethan Van Sciver has already promised Cyberfrog’s adoring fans a followup, to be be titled Cyberfrog: Rekt Planet.  

anna that star wars girl picVan Sciver, after legendary runs at Marvel and DC, is the leader of the comic book “outlaws” pursuing their own projects free from the corporate influence of the Big Two publishers.

Popular reviewer Anna, That Star Wars Girl (pictured) offers a much more in-depth review.

For that review just click  Continue reading

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DOCTOR MENSANA: AUSTRALIAN SUPERHERO

One of Balladeer’s Blog’s biggest hits was my examination of Australian-made comic book heroes like Dark Nebula, Vixen, Crimson Comet, Niteside and the super-team called the Southern Squadron. Here’s another, and for my full look at Aussie super-types click HERE

Doctor Mensana

Dr Mensana in one of his two super-powered forms.

DOCTOR MENSANA 

Debut Year: 1941 

Secret Identity: None. He openly used his real name, but the public often tagged him with nicknames like “the Samson of science” or “the man of Mind Plus.”

Origin: Sporting both an MD and a PhD the good Doctor Mensana used his unrivaled genius to create pills which could make him super-strong AND endow him with telepathic powers in addition to even greater intelligence than he already possessed. 

Powers: When our hero swallowed one of his M-Plus (M+) or Mind-Plus pills his already formidable brilliance was multiplied many times over. His cranium would grow and he would also boast telepathic and psionic powers. When Dr Mensana swallowed one of his S-Plus (S+) or Strength-Plus pills he would instantly bulk up with muscles and possess incredible super-strength. Continue reading

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