Monday, July 30, 2018

All-American Comics #9

Moving on to #9...

In Gary Concord the Ultra-Man, we see more of the future of the 22nd century, when Gary Sr. wakes up from suspended animation (remember that Gary Jr., reading all this, is still in 2239).  Cities in the future are domed, with bridges and subway tubes all situated well above the tree line. The environment surrounding Washington, D.C. is now heavily forested. The atmosphere is safe for trees, but poisonous for humans (too much carbon dioxide?). This condition is not natural, but induced by the warlords of Rebborizan as a sort of chemical warfare.

Their airships are "energized" by cosmic rays, allowing them to easily exceed 600 MPH. Despite their technological advances, no one in the future is prepared for Gary's invention of ...incendiary pellets.  Is this the big secret weapon that will bring peace he was bragging about last issue?? The incendiary weapons are unusual in that Gary can generate a Wall of Fire out of them.  Oh, and thinks get dark too...he marries the daughter of the Ming-like warlord Rebborizan (good luck figuring out what nationality that is), she gives birth to Gary Jr., but Reb kills her and then Gary Sr. strangles his father-in-law to death.

Reb's warlords come up with a defense against the incendiary pellets. We never see it; maybe it's water.  Later, Gary Sr. beats them by reversing the effects of the foam that made him big and strong and makes the warlords and all their people "weak, meek, and docile."

Red, White, and Blue's installment takes place at the Port of Dutch Harbor on Unalaska Island -- which sounds completely made-up, but is an actual place! But first, it begins at the Seattle office of G2. I believe the West Coast G2 HQ was in California in a previous issue; now there are two offices. Since Dutch Harbor and Unalaska Island are real, I had to check to see if Brent University is real too, but it does not appear to be. Red, White, and Blue have to travel 12 hours by plane to Unalaska, which also seemed incredulous to me, but I checked and Los Angeles to Unalaska is 10 1/2 hours by plane these days in jets, so 12 hours in a monoplane is actually not unreasonable.

The three of them are attacked in the night by four Japanese spies. Red just happens to be awake and spoils their ambush (save vs. plot to be awake, followed by a normal surprise roll?). The spies take advantage of the darkness, both being harder to hit, but also harder to identify later when half of them escape. The boys don't even bother interrogating their two prisoners, because they it's easy to figure out why they attacked given the scenario; this is a race against time between the two nations to lay claim to an island that has risen among the Aleutian Islands.

One of the spies who got away is much more interesting than your run-of-the-mill foreign spy. Shiroku is a giant of a Japanese man, standing almost 7' tall, and he uses a bow and arrow and claims to "never miss." I would definitely attach some levels in Fighter to this character. Shiroku is even an authentic Japanese name!  I love how much more research went into these Red, White, and Blue stories than in the average 1940 comic book. Sabotage (the running theme in this feature) causes one of the pontoons on their seaplane to leak, and three panels are spent on how they have to unbalance the plane to get the pontoon in the air so they can fix it (good problem-solving details for players who enjoy that sort of thing). No mention is made of how they fix the leak in the oil tank.

The scenario continues past them reaching the island first; now they have to hold it. A Japanese plane shows up and bombs their seaplane, then lands and the crew gets out to look for Red, White, and Blue, while leaving one guard behind at the plane. Blooey sneaks up and takes out the guard, who's rifle shot brings the others running. Red uses a tripwire trap and falling prone to lessen their numbers by one more, so they only have to take out four soldiers in melee combat.

Later, in an anti-climactic epilogue, the boys return to Dutch Harbor, encounter Shiroku, and Blooey takes him down with a lucky sucker punch. Boo!  Poor Shiroku!

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