Tag Archives: Science fiction

KILLRAVEN EIGHT: THE DEVIL’S MARAUDER

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. 

Killraven eight devils marauderAMAZING 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.    Continue reading

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KILLRAVEN SEVEN: FOR HE’S A JOLLY DEAD REBEL

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.

Killraven seven For he's a jolly dead rebelAMAZING ADVENTURES Vol 2 #24 (May 1974)

Title: FOR HE’S A JOLLY DEAD REBEL

Revised Title: The Legend Assassins. Since I would have saved the attempted execution of Killraven for this final part of this 3-part Washington DC story I would have used that title here instead of last issue.

Synopsis: Writer Don McGregor had not yet found his stride for Killraven’s post-apocalyptic adventures. This issue was more of the same with an escape, recapture, and escape AGAIN because the High Overlord of the Martian invaders fails to slay Killraven immediately but plans to make an example of him.

And yes, the helmet of the armored High Overlord looks like Darth Vader’s helmet but remember, the Killraven stories came YEARS BEFORE STAR WARS

Killraven cornerREVISION: Picking up on the cliffhanger from my revised storyline last time around, Killraven, Mint Julep, M’Shulla, Hawk, Old Skull, Deathlok and Carmilla Frost are using the breathing gear that scientist Carmilla built for them to explore the submerged ruins of the Library of Congress.

Killraven plans to salvage as much of the library as possible and preserve it for future generations, since Earth’s alien conquerors (ZETANS in my revision, not ridiculous Martians) keep conquered humanity ignorant and are trying to obliterate mankind’s cultural heritage from before the alien invasion.

In the winding hallways of the submerged ruins, the rebels were attacked by the mate of the huge extraterrestrial monster that killed the female rebel Arrow two issues back. As the battle goes on, Killraven winds up riding the injured creature’s back and his breathing apparatus gets torn off while trying to work his way to the monster’s mouth. Continue reading

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KILLRAVEN SIX: THE LEGEND ASSASSINS

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.

Killraven six legend assassinsAMAZING ADVENTURES Vol 2 #23 (March 1974)

Title: THE LEGEND ASSASSINS

Revised Title: Since I would save the attempted execution of Killraven for the next issue instead of this one, I would use For He’s A Jolly Dead Rebel as the title for this part and save The Legend Assassins for next time.

Synopsis: Killraven and his Freemen (M’Shulla, Old Skull, Hawk, Carmilla Frost and Grok) continue to battle against hopeless odds at the Lincoln Memorial Slave Market, where the Martians buy and sell humans as either slave labor or to be used as food.

Battling at their side is their fellow rebel Mint Julep, the green-skinned plant/ human hybrid created by Martian science and her unnamed Freewomen. Both bands of guerillas have freed their comrades who were being auctioned off and are trying to fight their way free of the increasing numbers of Martians and their human quislings closing in on the area.

Killraven has no trouble killing the mob of actual Martians that he was thrown to at the end of last issue. Their sluggish movements in Earth’s greater gravity negated the advantage of their superior numbers and their many tentacles. KR fights his way clear with his sword and photo-nuclear pistol and the Martians slink away to shelter since, even now, they have only LIMITED immunity to Earth germs.

A pair of Tripods manage to snair Killraven and carry him off before the other rebels can free him. Mint Julep convinces KR’s Freemen to escape with her since she and her Freewomen have hidden lairs all around this territory of theirs.

Mint JulepREVISION: Writer Don McGregor had not yet hit his stride writing about Killraven’s adventures and I feel he messed up the story structure to this three-parter. I would have had ALL the Freemen – including KR – escape with Mint Julep and her band.

The quisling Sabre (no relation to the later Don McGregor figure) would, like in the real story, salute the fleeing Freemen with his sword, wishing he could be one of them. 

With Killraven using The Power to keep all of them undetected by the sensors and alarms of the aliens (Zetans in my revisions, NOT ridiculous Martians) the rebels all escape to the subterranean hideouts of Mint and her people. They follow abandoned subway lines to a sub-level of the Pentagon, one of their lairs.

Dialogue will make it clear that she and her Freewomen practically rule the comings and goings through the old subway system beneath the city because they know them inside-out and massacare any human quislings like Sabre and his men if they try to pursue them there. And, for reasons not known YET, the aliens themselves are too terrified to personally venture into the old subways OR the sub-levels of the Pentagon.     Continue reading

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KILLRAVEN FIVE: WASHINGTON NIGHTMARE

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.

Killraven five washington nightmareAMAZING ADVENTURES Vol 2 #22 (January 1974)

Title: WASHINGTON NIGHTMARE

Revised Title: Since this is Don McGregor writing, let’s go with something absurdly melodramatic like Reflections in a Night-Dark Mirror

NOTE: This story introduces the popular female rebel called Mint Julep. 

Synopsis: This issue begins an unknown number of days or weeks after the conclusion of the previous chapter. Killraven and his Freemen – M’Shulla, Old Skull, Hawk, Carmilla Frost and Grok – are traveling along the Potomac in a boat they commandeered from human quislings sometime after the end of our previous story.

REVISION: In my revision Killraven’s band of Freemen consist of M’Shulla, Old Skull, Hawk, Carmilla Frost and Deathlok – replacing Grok but still a creation of Carmilla’s – and Arrow, a female member. Like KR, M’Shulla, Hawk and Old Skull, Arrow is a former gladiator from the arena circuit run by Earth’s alien conquerors.

Just like Dagger – the female Freeman killed off last issue – Arrow was one of the bland, faceless Freemen introduced in the first two parts of Killraven’s comic book run. Arrow and Dagger were just dropped from the narrative with no explanation so I made them both female to add some variety to the Freemen. Just as Dagger was killed last time around, so Arrow will be killed this time, but at least in my revision their characters will have had some impact on the story AND emphasized the danger of Killraven’s rebellion.

Killraven cornerBack to the story: Rising up from the Potomac to attack the boat is a monstrous subaquatic lifeform – one of the many creatures brought to Earth by the Martians. Our heroes battle the tentacled creature, eventually killing it, but their boat is trashed upon the rocks and is now useless.

REVISION: In my revision the underwater creature kills Arrow during the fight, before our heroes succeed in killing it, furious over the death of their comrade.

Back to the story: Sabre, a Hispanic quisling servant of the Martians (no relation to Don McGregor’s later, more famous character Sabre), attacks the Freemen with his own band of followers. While the battle rages, dialogue makes it clear that Sabre and his men are among the many groups of quislings who round up other human beings for the Martians, who feed on human flesh.

Sabre relishes facing targets who can actually fight back, instead of the usually easily-subdued humans he captures for his Martian masters. After Grok in particular manages to wipe out a large number of Sabre’s men he and his remaining troops retreat with Hawk and Old Skull as their captives.  Continue reading

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THE HISTORY OF TIME TRAVEL (2014)

The History of Time TravelTHE HISTORY OF TIME TRAVEL (2014) – This is not a bad movie, it’s simply a weird movie and I mean that in the best possible way. It’s a low-budget affair done as a faux documentary and since those have been done to death this film has not gotten the kind of attention it deserves.   

Writer and director Ricky Kennedy has managed to combine the fake documentary approach with well-established time travel motifs to tell a story that is so touching I was literally in tears at the end. I’m not going Kevin “The Kryer” Smith on you readers, I’m just saying that if you pay attention to the tale unfolding in this enjoyable but challenging movie you can’t help but feel very moved.

The emotional impact has caused me to elevate The History of Time Travel above my previous favorite time travel film, Primer. Just like Primer, this Ricky Kennedy creation requires a viewer’s full attention to be appreciated. If you’re not in the mood to devote as much focus to THOTT as you would to reading a book then save it for a time when you ARE in such a mood.

The movie begins as a seemingly straightforward documentary about a scientist who pioneered actual time travel but that’s just the narrative device for examining the way time travel would enable changes to “history” without the larger world even being aware of what changes have been made. And yes, I know plenty of time travel stories have addressed such issues but THOTT combines it with a powerful emotional punch that sets it apart. Continue reading

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MAY THE FOURTH-A-PALOOZA: STAR WARS ITEMS

Mascot sword and pistolMay the Fourth is upon us once again. First up are some links to my previous Star Wars blog posts plus my full-length review of The Jet Benny Show, a Star Wars parody.

STAR WARS MEETS THE GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY: THE MICRONAUTS – Click  HERE

THE HUMANOID (1979): THE WORST STAR WARS RIPOFF EVER – Click HERE

MY REVIEWS OF THE LAST JEDI AND SOLO – Click HERE 

STAR WARS SPOILERS – Click HERE

STAR WARS SPOILERS PART TWO – Click HERE 

Jet Benny ShowTHE JET BENNY SHOW (1986) – Buy this for the Star Wars fan in your life … but only if you strongly dislike the Star Wars fan in your life. Buy this for the Jack Benny fan in your life … but only if they’re too old and feeble to be capable of inflicting grievous bodily harm on you.

I was glad to finally see this video curiosity after having heard tantalizingly little about it over the years. It was not remotely worth the wait but it was good to see it and check it off my list, bird-watcher style, like I did with Ganjasaurus Rex years ago.

Yes, I know this overlong, under-entertaining Star Wars/ Jack Benny Show parody won a Kasdan Award in the 1980s but I think that winning that award says less about this project than does the fact that the people involved went on to do virtually nothing else afterward.

Jet Benny Show backRoger Evans directed The Jet Benny Show from a script by Mark Felch. Steve Norman stars as Jet Benny, a take-off on the real-life comedy legend Jack Benny. Norman does not do nearly as good a Jack Benny impression as we’re led to believe by the few positive remarks this pant-load of a film receives.

Steve’s rendition of Benny’s voice is reasonable but wouldn’t stand on its own without the aid of his more than reasonable facial resemblance to the late comedian. The mediocre nature of Norman’s imitation might not have stood out so much if he wasn’t expected to carry almost every moment of the 77 minute run time. Continue reading

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ADAM WARLOCK: THE MAGUS – CHAPTER LINKS

Tom Fleming WarlockAdam Warlock, one of the Marvel Comics superheroes who are not that well known to the public at large right now, will probably be a household word soon like just about every other Marvel character who gets thrown at the big and small screens.

At this point if Marvel tried launching film versions of It, The Living Colossus or Fin Fang Foom they’d probably take over Kaiju leadership from Japan & Godzilla. Recently Balladeer’s Blog did an examination of The Magus, the seven-part 1975-1976 Adam Warlock story by Jim Starlin. If you missed it here are chapter links:

Magus 1PART ONE – ENTER: THE MAGUS – Includes my quick recap of Adam Warlock’s fictional history from 1967 to 1975, including his encounters with the Fantastic Four, Thor and the Incredible Hulk.

Then it’s on to Adam’s first clash with the galaxy-spanning Universal Church of Truth and the mad god it worships – the Magus. CLICK HERE 

Magus Part TwoPART TWO: DEATH SHIP – Adam Warlock gains a new ally in Pip the Troll when he is taken captive by the Church’s starship The Great Divide.

While participating in a prisoner uprising to seize the vessel he also learns more about the atrocities perpetrated on over a thousand worlds by the Magus and his Universal Church of Truth. CLICK HERE   

GamoraPART THREE: THE TRIAL OF ADAM WARLOCK – *** FIRST EVER APPEARANCE OF GAMORA *** Overcoming even more Black Knights of the Church and another battle with the Soul Gem, Warlock at last confronts the Matriarch, the worldly leader of the Universal Church of Truth.

She puts Adam on trial for heresy as part of her plan to seize control of the Church from the Magus. CLICK HERE

Magus fourPART FOUR: ONE THOUSAND CLOWNS – Pip the Troll and Gamora, the most dangerous woman in the galaxy, try to free Adam Warlock from the Pit of the Sacred Palace.

Meanwhile our hero resists the Matriarch’s surreal attempts to indoctrinate him into the Universal Church of Truth. CLICK HERE   

Magus 5PART FIVE: THE INFINITY EFFECT – Face to face with the real form of the Magus, Adam Warlock learns the horrific fate that lies ahead for him as he will transform into the Church’s god while being tortured over a period of 5,000 years.

Gamora’s mysterious secret is revealed. CLICK HERE

Magus 6PART SIX: THE REDEMPTION PRINCIPLE – While evading the Black Knights of the Church Adam, Gamora and Pip encounter the dying Matriarch.

Thanos reveals Gamora’s mind-bending, paradoxical origin and the In-Betweener draws ever closer in order to steal away Warlock and transform him into the Magus. CLICK HERE

Magus 7PART SEVEN: HOW STRANGE MY DESTINY – The story’s final mind-boggling developments unfold as Adam Warlock struggles to fight his fate.

Plus Thanos’ real motives for helping our hero are revealed in the final battles with the Magus, his Black Knights and the cosmic being called the In-Betweener. CLICK HERE  

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