Thursday, July 5, 2018

Dojo Classics - Yang #3

Yang Volume 2, Number 3 is dated July, 1974. It was published by Charlton Publications Inc. The editor is George Wildman. The cover was done by Warren Sattler, who also did the interiors of the book with the guidance of a Joe Gill script.

The story opens with a reprise of the situation between our hero Yang and Yin Li, the daughter of the villain Chao Ku. It is assumed that Yang was killed after jumping from a speeding train in the previous story, but Yin Li is certain he is still alive since she would know in her heart if her beloved were dead. She vows not to make the same mistakes she has made in the past, but what those mistakes were is uncertain. Chao Ku has put a $10,000 dollar bounty on Yang's head and he is certain that if he is alive that will solve the issue. Yang on the other hand is stealthily entering Chao Ku's lair at that moment and confronts the evil Slaver in his main chamber.

"The Impossible" is a one-page text piece which tells of a village named Kuan-Chioh which fears a pirate named Liu-Mien. They go to a wise man to seek counsel about what to do when the pirate appears and he tells them to get all the metal in the village and create a multitude of fish hooks. They do so and when the pirates appear they are captured in vast elaborate nets and the hooks in those nets kill most of the enemy. The rest are taken prisoner and the boats burned to keep others from becoming pirates. As the wise man says, the difficult takes a lot of time to accomplish and the impossible only a small time longer.

"Prisoner of Evil" begins as Yang throws a spear into the body of Chao Ku, but it turns out it is only a dummy decoy placed in the chair by Yin Li to draw in out her opponent. She kisses Yang but he is leary of her poison ring, but she has gotten rid of it and instead Yang is distracted and finds himself trapped inside an iron cage dropped from the ceiling. Chao Ku and A.J.Hartley, the railroad robber baron have drinks and enjoy their prisoner's plight and intend to kill him quickly. Yin Li takes the gun and shoots Yang point blank, but when he is inspected Yang fights back and escapes. He knocks out Yin Li with a nerve punch and carries her unconscious to the roof, fighting off thugs all the while. The pair slip into a secret passage which leads to ready horses and escape into the city of San Francisco. Yin Li takes Yang to a warehouse of opium, but it turns out she has betrayed him yet again and Chao Ku is waiting.

"The Fireship" begins when Yang escapes this most recent plot, setting fire to the warehouse and dodging bullets from Chao Ku and his henchmen. He takes Yin Li and dives out the window into the water of the bay. He swims to the very clipper ship which brought him to America captained by Keegan. The ship cuts anchor and slips out of the harbor to avoid the fire which is spreading. Safely out of harms way, they drop anchor again and then Yang and Yin Li climb to the deck, but they are immediately waylaid and Yang finds himself chained to a wall. As he is about to be shot Yin Li again demands the honor and shoots at Yang four times point blank, but instead of killing him, she fires at his bonds and frees him. He battles the smugglers and then frees others who have been taken into slavery from China. The clipper comes under attack by another boat led by Chao Ku, but Yang fends it off with a great cannon found on board. Yin Li though cannot allow her father to be killed and attacks Yang and their battle knocks over a lamp setting the boat on fire. The clipper ship burns as well as its cargo of opium, Yin Li returns to her father, and Yang slips into the bay where sharks gather.

This issue was reprinted twice, once in 1977 under the Modern Comics label and again in 1986 as Yang #17, the final issue in the run and one of the final Charlton comics ever. Notice how when they flip the cover art, they conveniently have the UPC symbol placed to obscure Sattler's signature.

The battle between Yang and Yin Li gets stranger and stranger. Despite what he understands about their dual natures, it's getting harder to understand why he keeps falling for her nonsense. At some level he is gambling her good nature will always win out, and so far it seems to be the case, but it makes him seem foolish to keep tumbling blindly into the same pitfall. On the plus side, Yang does keep scoring victories against Chao Ku, this time destroying much of his opium stores.

About this time, the Charlton Portfolio by the CPL Gang hit the stands and it had an article on Charlton's martial arts heroes Judomaster and Thunderbolt titled "From the Mystic East" by Doc Larry Brnicky, with Yang getting a mention, and the artwork for issue four's cover being included. Here is that article and the artwork.

Check out Yang on the back of the wraparound cover above. He looks quite different rendered by Don Newton and Bob Layton.

More to come.

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