Tuesday, June 28, 2022

Doc Savage - The Sky Stealers!

I continue my look at the Black and White Marvel magazines featuring Doc Savage and his team. Beneath another dynamic Ken Barr cover is a story titled "The Sky Stealers" by Doug Moench and Tony DeZuniga. 

The saga begins with an old prospector running into the town of Plainville, Utah and screaming about the sky being stolen. The people dismiss him but later the town is wiped out and everyone seemingly suffocated. Cut to New York and we meet Monk Mayfair's comely secretary Monica who is invited to meet Monk at Doc Savage's headquarters. But news of the destroyed town causes Doc and Renny to investigate and they find the town's bank ransacked and all the uranium in the mining town missing. A mysterious ankh symbol is found on site. Monk and Ham are feuding when Monica appears and seems most interested in Ham's gentlemanly ways much to Monk's chagrin. We cut another Utah town which is suddenly enveloped by darkness and the people begin to strangle as the air is gone. Bizarre figures descend from the sky looking for all the world like ancient Egyptian gods and these figures rob the bank and ascend into their zeppelin and leave. Cut to Renny investigating the ankh symbol at the museum when he is attacked. Cut to the headquarters and Doc's men have found news of one Johnathan Wilde, an archeologist dismissed for his wild theories about the power-giving traits of pyramids and such. 

Doc and his team become worried about Renny and investigate only to be confronted by a walking mummy possessed of immense strength. It turns out to be a hypnotized Renny. Doc defeats and revives him. Meanwhile the Egyptian "gods" have returned and are attacking New York and it is up to Ham to destroy the zeppelin before anyone suffocates. Doc at the same time defeats one of the gang, the crocodile-headed god Sebet. The team then heads to Egypt at the same time analyzing the equipment which makes the "gods" possible. They explore the pyramid of Cheops and find a hidden high-tech operation inside. The surviving zeppelin returns and the "gods" attack. Doc and his men put on oxygen masks and survive. The "gods" bring a kidnapped Monica into the pyramid headquarters and apply the treatments which give them all super-strength to her. Seeing his girl captured is more than Monk can stand and the battle begins. Doc confronts the leader Horus who wants Monica as his bride and after much confusion and mayhem they rescue Monica and flee the pyramid complex which is destroying itself. The gang led by Wilde is left for dead inside the now defunct criminal operation. Monica on the other hand still possessed for a time with super-strength gives both Ham and Monk more than they bargained floor when she snatches both of them up in the story's final panel. 

Also in this issue is a text piece by Bob Sampson on Renny. It's very detailed and covers his whole career. It's illustrated with art by Frank Cirocco and Bill Anderson. There's a poster-shot of Doc by Mike Nasser. There's a wonderfully evocative drawing of Doc and his team on the inside front cover, but it's not attributed. Anyone know the artist for this? This story began great, but kind of fell apart at the end with the visual storytelling becoming somewhat clumsy. There's a blurb saying that the next issue will have a guest artist to give DeZuniga some more time, but on this issue he seems to have been rushing it quite a bit. 

 More next time. 

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