Monday, November 24, 2014
Amazing Adventures Of Killraven!
One of the truly outstanding ideas was when Roy Thomas decided to follow up on H.G.Wells and co-created the Killraven series, called throughout most of its run "War of the Worlds". Essentially the notion is that after the Martians lost the first time, they returned a hundred years later and succeeded. Then in 2017 (coming right up it's hard to believe) they have established their rule on Earth, one populated with people and other things who work for and against the Martian masters. One of the greatest foes is Killraven, trained gladiator who escaped in Sparticus fashion and leads others in a guerrilla war against the invaders.
The debut issue which is the eighteenth issue of Amazing Adventures (which earlier hosted The Inhumans, Black Widow, and The Beast) is plotted by Thomas and scripted by Gerry Conway and the first part is drawn by superstar Neal Adams who does a bang up job. With some polished inking Frank Charamonte, the pages positively glow with energy and verve. Take a look.
But apparently he couldn't get it finished on time and up and comer Howard Chaykin stepped in to finish the story for it to see publication.
As you can see, in the story Killraven confronts the "Keeper" who kidnapped him and killed his mother so many years before and learns the history of the Martians and also that he might have some gifts which will help to defeat them.
In the second installment, written by Gerry Conway with Chaykin returning on pencils. Frank McLaughlin steps in to offer up some sleek and exceedingly good inks. In this one Killraven and his men M'Shulla, Hawk, and Arrow confront Martain-mutated women called Sirens who can control men. Killraven is taken back to the gladiatorial ring but fights his way out and they even manage to bring down a Martian walking machine with the Staten Island Ferry during their escape.
Set in the environs of New York City in the initial chapters, the saga offers up the usual post-doomsday scenery of a sunken Statue of Liberty and other broken icons of 20th Century existence. The scenario painted is a grim one with the Martian masters firmly in control of a shattered Earth and people all too willing to work alongside their conquerors who we all know have a special taste for humans.
But this initial burst is a brief one. The series will stumbled during its early days and by the next issue Conway and Chaykin are gone, and Killraven even gets a costume change thanks to writer Marv Wolfman and artist Herb Trime, though the design looks like the work of John Romita to me. Later Don McGregor partnered with Craig Russell to make some lush and vivid comics in this run.
But these earliest adventures, especially those first several pages by Adams have a really raw sci-fi adventure quality which later installments will give over for a more super-heroic feel to the series.
More to come.