Thursday, September 22, 2011
The Yang Reports #6
Yang Volume 3, Number 6 is dated February, 1975 and was published by Charlton Publications Inc. The editor is George Wildman, and the cover art was done by Warren Sattler. Sattler also did the interior artwork, and the script was furnished by Joe Gill. Here's an amazing link to see what else was on the stands when this issue landed.
"The Sacred Jade Buddha" begins in San Francisco's Chinatown where Yang is watching Chao Ku being carried down the street in an elaborate chair which hides a stolen Jade Buddha from the temple of An-Yang. Yang attempts to intercept the villain but runs into his thugs. A fight follows and Yang ends up throwing a sword into the body of his foe. Yin Li is distraught as Yang leaps out of a window and goes to the home of Chinatown's leader Wu Chan who gives Yang some help and they intercept the carriage of Eugene D. Bellows, a rich man who controls his own town in Nevada. Bellows is transporting the stolen Buddha to be used as an attraction in his proposed opera house there. The carriage proves to be too fast and Yang is forced to merely follow after it.
Bellows arrives in his the town of Bellows, Nevada which is guarded by his own uniformed militia and inhabited by people who are utterly loyal or at least fearful of the rich man. When he arrives at his lush Victorian mansion, he meets the Italian prima donna named Cerini. Yang runs after on foot and encounters a gunman named Pippin Kramer, one of Bellows men. Yang overpowers him and takes his horse. Next Yang is next assaulted by a sniper named Dutch. Again Yang is triumphant and takes Dutch's rifle. Entering town, the people realize he has beaten these men and two men named Smitty and Mikos are careful to arrest him at gunpoint. Yang allows himself to be arrested to get to the center of the Bellows operation which happens to be the gold mine. Yang is taken captive into the mine and given a ball and chain to restrain him. He is placed among the many other men made slaves in the mine and forced to work.
"The Death Pit" begins when Yang stops a guard from whipping another prisoner. He yanks the man off his feet with his own whip and beats down a few others before grabbing a gun and shooting one of the guards. Using the gun, he demands that he and the other slaves be freed. They use dynamite to booby-trap one of the ore cars which tips its load into the great stamp mill and blows the operation to smithereens. Yang then leads the slaves out of the mine but allows himself to again be captured. He is tied and taken to Bellows who vows vengeance for all the money Yang has cost him. He plans to drop Yang into his great smelter and obliterate the hero. But then Cerini reveals that she is not only a singer but a federal marshal and that Bellows is under arrest. Bellows gets the drop on her and she is caught up in a great crane bucket to be dropped into the smelter, but Yang is able to overpower Bellows and holds him helpless above the smelter's roiling heat. Bellows orders that they be freed and then getting the stolen Buddha and taking Bellows too into the carriage Yang bolts out of town. The people of the town are glad to see the tyrant leave and take no action. The Buddha is returned, Bellows is taken into custody and Cerini gives Yang a kiss to show her gratefulness.
"Yin-Yang Mail" offers up two letters this time. Both are complimentary and one looks forward to Sanho Kim's Wrong Country but is told that no decision has been yet made to start new books. A writer from Canada wants some back issues and a subscription and is told how to do the latter and that sadly no back issue can be had from Charlton directly. It's a wistful note from a time before comics shops when old comics were difficult to locate.
This comic has not been reprinted to my knowledge.
This is a solid issue of Yang, if it has a rather lackluster cover. Bellows is a worthy opponent and a nice break from Chao Ku and his cronies. Leaving Chao Ku pinned to the wall with a sword makes an interesting mystery for the next issue, if it is indeed dealt with. Captain Keegan returned this issue and he looked pretty bad off last time after being thrown into a canyon by Bigfoot. Yin Li makes a cameo admittedly but for once the woman in the story turns out to be a good character and actually helpful to Yang's cause. Charlton has stated a few times in the letters pages that they don't adhere to the aspects of Yin-Yang which regard women as inherently evil but this is the first time they've demonstrated that in the stories themselves.
All in all a solid and entertaining issue with a great pace. The henchmen in this one are nicely distinctive and Sattler's artwork gets better and better as the series continues.
More to come.