War of the Worlds 2: Electric Boogaloo.....Killraven Apr 4, 2019 15:23:52 GMT -5 shaxper, Roquefort Raider, and 4 more like this
Post by codystarbuck on Apr 4, 2019 15:23:52 GMT -5
Killraven. Still one of the most under-rated series from 70s Marvel and one that really should be turned into a movie or tv series. It has everything you could want: a sequel to HG Wells, a dystopian future, a gladiator-turned-freedom fighter (I am Spartacus!), creepy tentacle-y Martians, scary death-Breeders, inter-racial kissing, subliminally gay characters, hot babes and equally hot men, and the proving ground for one of the most iconic of comic book artists, with a capital A for Art, P Craig Russell. What started out as a riff on the War of the Worlds, with the Martians returning, with cold medicine, soon became a metaphor for all kinds of things, once Don McGregor took over and stabilized things. There was a lot of turnover in creative teams, at the start and young writer McGregor slid into the driver's seat and got them pointed down the road. Then, he was joined by Russell and they turned this into something both truly beautiful and nightmarish, at the same time. So, let's dive into John Raven and his fight to free Earth. It will be longer than you think, though it kind of didn't get its conclusion. We'll also look at some Killraven crossovers, the Joe Linsner one-shot and the Alan Davis reboot mini.
So, let's kick it off.
Amazing Adventures #18
Cover by Romita, with what appears to be a pro wrestler in thigh boots and armed. Kinky!
Creative Team: Roy Thomas-plot & editing, Neal Adams-plot & pencils (pgs 1-11), Gerry Conway-script, Howard Chaykin-pencils (12-20), Frank Chiaromonte-inks, John Costanza-letters, Petra Goldberg-colors
Roy Thomas conceived the idea, though neal was heavily involved in the early stages of development. he saw Killraven as the son of a Doc Savage type of hero, who was working to rebuild civilization, after a Martian re-invasion. he also only wanted to work with Roy, which had been a caveat on his Avengers run, after Roy didn't script an X-Men story and Neal was disappointed. He felt more in tune with Roy. So, when Roy turned the script over to Gerry Conway (probably due to workload), Neal bowed out, which brought in Howard Chaykin. So, the beginning of this is going to feel rather confused and it continues for an issue or two.
Synopsis: Our wrestler is battling goons on derelict streets. he slashes his way to Scrapper, leader of the men and takes him out, on his way to confront the Keeper.
He fights through mutants and skewers the Keeper himself, who thanks him, as he is now free of Martian control. he then recounts how the Martians conquered the earth.
The Martians came as Wells told and conquered Britain. However, they finally fell dead, victims of viruses and bacteria in our environemnt. man moved on, then developed the H-Bomb. The Martians noticed and returned, destroying nuclear arsenals. Then, man tried biological warfare, with disastrous results...
We then see later, as Maureen Raven and her son Jonathan flee the Martians, gaining the help of Dr Ann Carver. They apepar to be saved by two humans, who kill Maureen and Ann, then take Jonathan as a prisoner. he is dumped into a Martian training camp, to become a gladiator. He excels at killing; but, rebels and escapes, living in the wilds of what was once Queens.
We learn of bands of freemen, some fighting to survive, others preying on the weak. Killraven takes over a ferry and learns of the Keeper and leads us to where we are now. In the end, he learns he was chosen by the Martian keepers for a reason, that there is something special to him. The man dies and another mutant attacks. Killraven slays it, then comes face to face with a trio of sirens, Martian experiments who can alter minds.
Thoughts: Roy later elaborated on his concept. He was inspired by the chapter of War of the Worlds, "The Man on Putney Hill," which speaks of people under Martian domination, fighting for survival, some turning to base instincts. An artilleryman talks of going underground to build a society of the strongest, to fight off the Martians. Roy was further inspired by Hunt Bowman, a character from The Lost World, in Planet Comics. It fit with neal's ideas of the Doc Savage scavenger. However, Roy and Neal were at odds about Martian technology, which, in part, led to the split. Conway took over as scripter and Howard Chaykin starts on art with the arrival of Maureen and Jonathan raven, in the story. He's well into his Kane and Adams phase; so, it's not too jarring. However, you can tell it is no longer Neal, as the shots are a bit tamer, the art rougher. A lot gets thrown at you, in this section, with Killraven training as a gladiator, escape, dealings with other freemen, the concept of the Sirens, martian servants and more. Probably a bit too much, if you ask me. There is a lot crammed in her. These days, this one issue would make for at least the first trade collection, with more time spent on John Raven's training, evolution into Killraven, and escape.
Things are pretty chaotic, at this point, with no real purpose for Killraven, except to fight Martians, as we explore this nightmare future. Within it, you can see things like the future Thundarr the Barbarian concept (escaped gladiators fighting wizards for the freedom of humans), though this has all been done before, in the pulps and sci-fi novels. Things will progress like this for a few issues, before Don McGregor brings focus to the plots, building upon ideas.
One weird not to all of this. Marvel UK would rework this material as Apeslayer, in Planet of the Apes Weekly.. Yep, apes were added to turn this into a POTA story. Um....Martian apes.
We still haven't seen the Martians yet; so, I don't know if they look like this guy...