Friday, August 29, 2008

Twilight Book II of III (1990)

Prologue: Homer Glint continued to futz about with his seeing-eye cat F'tatatita and reminisce about the expansion of the now immortal human race under the worship of the former Karel Sorensen. He's aided by more text pieces and transitions stolen from Alan Moore.

Tommy Tomorrow: Eventually revealed to be Tommy Parker from the "Space Museum" in an issue of Legion of Super-Heroes.

Space Museum: "An unusual series in that the only recurring characters were the narrator, Howard Parker, and his son Tommy... on every visit to the museum, Tommy picks up an object and his father furnishes him, and us, with the heroic space-faring tale behind it... With plots of unfailing ingenuity, beautiful art, and never a false note, Space Museum may well have been the most consistent product of the Schwartz stable." -Will Jacobs and Gerard Jones in "The Comic Book Heroes"

Knights of the Galaxy: "30th century do-gooders, patterned after King Arthur's Knights of the Round Table, were ready at the drop of a hat to hop into their individual spacecraft and rocket off from their base on the planetoid Gala, to right wrongs wherever they may be found... Lyle was the only Knight of the Galaxy who was at all developed as an ongoing character, and thus the only one for whom the reader had anything resembling sympathy..." -Don Markstein's Toonopedia

Tommy Tomorrow: "His partner, who shared their two-man spacecraft (The Ace of Space), was Captain Brent Wood. Tho they had officers' titles, Tommy and Brent spent their days out in the field, pursuing suspects and wearing their Planeteer uniforms..." -Don Markstein's Toonopedia

Knights of the Galaxy: Brent Wood now commanded the Knights of the Galaxy in various wars between worshippers of Karel Sorensen regarding methods by which to worship her, as well as against those who renounce her and the plague of immortality. He's one of the few knights to honor a millennium-long vow of celibacy.

Tommy Tomorrow: "Created by Schiff and Weisinger in 1947 (for their educational Real Fact Comics) as a forum for real scientific speculation, but transformed during the 1950s into a minor backup strip about an interstellar police force called the Planeteers. The stories (mostly by Jack Miller) avoided bug-eyed monsters in favor of little mysteries..." -Will Jacobs and Gerard Jones in "The Comic Book Heroes"

Tommy Tomorrow: Driven completely mad, if he wasn't already, by his immortality and lack of divinity in a universe shared with Karel Sorensen. "The scourge of a hundred planets-- the bogeyman of a hundred more... A man who had wiped all memory of all the other murderous psychopaths of mankind's illustrious history... Maybe Hitler was a monster in his time... Attila... or Nero... or Stalin... Maybe they were all Class-A horrors... but by sheer weight of numbers... by utter, gross immorality... none of them hold a candle to that monster-- period."

Star Hawkins: "From Star and Ilda's association emerged the basis for the strip, the humorous interaction between the two; virtually every story revolved around one of the two protagonists getting him or herself into some wacky jam, from which he or she was eventually bailed out by the other in some mock-heroic feat of physical prowess or cleverness. Star Hawkins was a charming and boisterous entry in the Schwartz stable..." -Will Jacobs and Gerard Jones in "The Comic Book Heroes"

Star Hawkins: "And while Tommy was microwaving Knights of the Galaxy, there were other lunatic heretics to deal with... a job handled with far too much gusto by Star Hawkins... a fellow who never quite adjusted to the idea of animals and machines receiving equal rights under Karel's benign rule..." Axel Starker was shielded from gunfire by his loving robot assistant, allowing his prey to escape. The bounty hunter let loose a litany of verbal abuse. "I should have junked you years ago... Help what-- to screw things up again... You're always sorry-- you've cost me a small fortune in bounty... If I weren't contractually bound to keep you around, I'd melt you myself... Get it through that iron skull-- you're obsolete--"

Manhunter 2070: Starker, never given a first name, was probably the greatest bounty hunter of the year 2070. Orphaned when his miner father was killed by claim jumpers, the young Starker managed to survive as a cook's helper on a pirate ship. Training in secret, Starker finally grew old and skilled enough to turn the tables on the motley crew. From then on, through bounty and wise investment, Starker amassed a sizable fortune. Though he was routinely asked why he continued in the profession, Starker's passion to defend the innocent against piracy kept him going. Starker was aided by Arky, a clunky box robot who arranged his jobs and other tasks.

Manhunter 2070: After a first issue repeatedly referred to as "John Starker," brother of Axel "Star Hawkins" Starker, it's now "Jon Starker." A shame the character was by writer/editor Mike Sekowsky, as if it were a Miller/Schiff feature, forgetting the lead's name might seem like an homage. Anyway, Jon Starker is an alcoholic drifter as in love with sexy Ilda (not to be confused with the original incarnation, whose head looked like a punch bowl) as Ilda was his hateful brother. To make ends meet, he took a job lining suicidal immortals lacking courage up against a back alley wall to shoot them for a nominal fee. "When I heard months later what Jon had been reduced to... I wept for the first time in years... I mean, how many times could he kill himself... and continue to live in torment...?" Why does Starker do it? For the unrequited love of robot booty...

Star Rovers: "The brevity of its career was just as well, for it was far and away the weakest of Schwartz's series... Gardner Fox built the entire series around one plot trick: Three space-faring adventurers experience three almost identical action-packed mysteries, retell them later to each other, and discover a single explanation for all." -Will Jacobs and Gerard Jones in "The Comic Book Heroes"

Star Rovers: With Rick Purvis dead, Homer Glint was nearly always at the side of the deified Karel Sorensen, writing her bible in her temple abode. Confronted by Tommy Tommorow's ex Brenda with the knowledge that the Methuseloids were the servants of another powerful race, and that their souls knew no rest, Karel Sorensen agreed to forsake the immortality of herself and a weary mankind to lay the Methuseloids spirits down.

Star Hawkins: "Like most fictional private eyes, Star had been battered by life, and his well-lined face showed it. He was basically a good guy, but with a cynical attitude brought on by years of crawling around the seamier portions of society... despite the fact that he was very good at detecting, he wasn't all that good at making a living. In fact, he sometimes, during periods of especially bad cash flow, had to pawn essential pieces of equipment just to keep the rent paid... Ilda was just like the average fictional private eye's secretary — tough, smart, good at her job, and amazingly willing to put up with the hardships that come with working for a guy who doesn't always succeed in keeping up with the bills. In her case, that meant frequent incarceration in the pawn shop. But he always redeemed her, and always promised it would never happen again — which, of course, she never believed. It was his equivalent of being late with her paycheck... Star finally (year 2092) got a lucrative case, and even made a permanent connection with the last of the many women in distress he'd encountered over his career, heiress Stella Sterling. Even Ilda got a happy ending, as she hooked up with Stella's bodyguard, an incredibly ancient robot named Automan..." -Don Markstein's Toonopedia

Star Hawkins: Alone, Axel Starker continued to hunt his bounty off-world. Guided by a cat-man, Axel found the bloody corpse of his prey, drained of life by giant humanoid vampire bats. Attacked by same, Axel used his Magnus, which now looked and functioned like a gun rather than last issue's baton. Axel killed all the bats, but faced the cat's condemnation for use of an unlicensed weapon. "You talk this 'hard world' [expletive deleted,] but when it gets down to brass tacks, it's all romance that counts-- You keep your romance-- I'll keep my skin..."

Star Rovers: Karel, Homer, Brent and Brenda were all on one big ship, part of an armada meant to take the "goddess" to the Methuseloids' distant masters to release their immortality. Just as Brenda was in the process of seducing the formerly chaste Brent, Tommy Tomorrow launches an attack. Karel was killed and Brenda wept as Tommy assumed her "divinity." Homer also saved the kitten who would grow to become F'tatatita during his escape.

Twilight: A book in which Howard Chaykin wrote a mediocre science fiction story, then plugged in the names of minor DC science fiction heroes where whatever he'd called these foul-mouthed cretins had been. He couldn't even bother to keep the professions straight.

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