Monday, December 31, 2018

Wednesday, December 26, 2018

Monday, December 24, 2018

G. I. JOE - Endings without Worlds, Part I


Download the final volume in my G. I. Joe series for free, in any format, over at Smashwords. Below is Part I of the novel (in which I try to cover for forgetting, in the first book, that Zandar wasn't also a master of disguise).

PART I: BROTHERS IN ARMS




PROLOGUE




TO THINK HE’D GIVEN UP ON MIRACLES.
He saw it with his own two eyes, his personal hero laid low by that Cobra lowlife. Stabbed through the heart with an alien dagger, losing too much blood in the next two minutes, slipping into a coma.
Duke pulled through, though. Beat the odds, found a way out of the darkness, just as Lt. Falcon was joining the Joes’ climatic battle in the Himalayas. He’d spend the next week sleeping in that hospital room, keeping an eye on his older brother. Asking questions the doctors couldn’t seem to answer; witnessing with horror Duke’s slide back into pitiful health.
Another coma followed. Neurological readings were borderline nonsense. Eventually, the Joes’ legendary medic Doc came through with the diagnosis. Gave the brutal news to Falcon as firmly and respectfully as any Joe could expect from Doc.
“Your brother’s been poisoned,” Doc told the lieutenant. “And considering we have no access to the bio-technology utilized by that dagger, and no means of collecting any other sample, we face incredible barriers to treatment.”
Weeks passed before the call came. Falcon had agreed to a mission, infiltrating a Benzheen aerospace facility overrun by the snakes. Was in the midst of letting off some steam when he got the news.
For any other family, this would’ve been the end of the story. A service, a few days bereavement leave, time alone with the relatives, neighbors delivering cold potato salad and forced smiles. An aching loss to carry with you, until that day comes when you’re reunited with all lost blood.
No final farewell for those Hauser-Falcone boys, though. The dreams began a couple of days after the funeral. Falcon couldn’t discern what the heck they were saying at first. To his great embarrassment, he had to admit it took him a few weeks to piece it all together.
The venom that felled Duke? A pure Cobra creation. Of course they’re the only ones to understand it. To know exactly what the poison was doing to Duke’s bloodstream. What was a “death” in the doctors’ eyes was merely the next step in the snakes’ plan.
They spirited the body away from the hospital morgue, gave Duke the injection that restored him to life. In his place, one of those creepy synthoid contraptions. Thing probably turned to goo the second Duke’s coffin lid shut.
Wasn’t a bad plan, really. Assuming you had no soul. Demoralize the Joe troops, force them to face a loss they always thought unimaginable. While they’re distracted, rebuild your empire, win a few propaganda victories and prepare for the next fight.
And their nefarious plot for Falcon’s older brother? A rigorous round of brainwashing, squirreled away in their secret base in the northern Caribbean. Given his weakened state, they might’ve had a shot at finally breaking Mama Falcone’s oldest boy this time.
Duke was a clever one, though. Found a way to use the snakes’ indoctrination tech against them. He subdued a blueshirt one evening, got access to recording equipment and an assortment of subliminal conditioning cassettes. Tapes Cobra was preparing specifically for Joe prisoners.
Falcon’s hero wasn’t able to escape the island; got spotted by a guard tower only twenty seconds after he tunneled his way past the barbwire fencing. Still, he’d managed to win a sub-rosa victory against those snakes. Managed to find some way to get a message out.
And for Falcon, of all the Joes, to be the one to receive that message? To be the one to crack Duke’s subliminal code, to storm through Camp Alpha and free his bloodkin? That was a miracle, no doubt.
And he’d need a miracle now, with two members of the Joes’ experimental android infantry unit lying before him, bullet holes blemishing their cybernetic chest cavities and sparks shooting towards the ceiling. Duke had insisted the androids lead the charge, undergo the risk while the two flesh-and-blood Joes crept in behind them. Falcon, grudgingly, acknowledged Duke had a point. This facility—a nondescript office space hidden out in the California boonies—was housing a prized Cobra intelligence gathering operation. One the snakes couldn’t afford to lose, given the current state of their organization. The brothers couldn’t imagine just what awaited them inside.
“Can’t trust a robot to do a man’s job, anyway,” Falcon spoke with confidence. He offered his brother cover, as Duke rushed forward, nailed Major Bludd with a front jab that sent him to the floor. Ripper and Torch of the Dreadnoks flanked him on both sides; Falcon humbled one with a shoulder shot, maneuvered just in time to fling the other into a nearby wall. Spent too long recovering from the move, however; didn’t notice the shadow of that approaching brute.
The inhuman beast smacked the pistol from Falcon’s hand. Followed up with a slap that sent him against the wall, landing on top of that Dreadnok. The lieutenant rose, lifted his dukes, offered his best wisecrack.
“You ready to rumble, ugly? I say bustin’ up that mug of yours could only be an improvement.”
That’s when Falcon gained a good view of his opponent. When he was able to digest its height, like something from the Old Testament. Its physique, reminiscent of Jack Kirby. And those hideous bat wings, like the worst nightmare of the most deranged dime novelist.
The creature charged forward, lifted Falcon in a bear hug. He could feel a rib pop, less than one second after impact.
This was another specter from his dreams. The representation of that time reality went haywire, when beasts from prehistory revealed themselves, made their move to rule the Earth. This was the gnarled expression of the monster of his nightmares.
This was Nemesis Enforcer.

Tuesday, December 18, 2018

Micro-Reviews: G. I. JOE, Vol. 5, Part One

The final Marvel collection of the original G. I. JOE comics. Serpentor enters, dividing fandom (who had no clue Cobra-La was coming.) 
Funny that the cover features Joes Hama never showed much interest in. Sunbow fans would probably respond to this, tho. With the possible exception of Airtight, these were prominent Sunbow characters. Serpentor is also in his Sunbow colors; his cape (and often cowl) was always green in the comics, for some reason.

Monday, December 17, 2018

G. I. JOE: Season 3.5 -- Endings without Worlds


My final G. I. Joe novel is available for free download right now. I speak about it over at Gentlemen of Leisure, explaining my latest exploration of the Sunbow canon. The title should give you an idea of which episodes inspired the closing volume. Hopefully, I've pulled all of these threads together. If now, feel free to yell at me and call me a hack. Check the book out for free over at Smashwords!

Justice League: How Aquaman Became an Animated Namor (Twice)


This week, I'm revisiting "The Terror Beyond" at CBR, a classic from Justice League's second season.

Monday, December 10, 2018

How Spawn Transitioned From Comics to (Very R-Rated) TV


I'm going back to the pilot for Todd McFarlane's Spawn this week on CBR. It's very possible I'll cover the entire six-episode season, if there's interest.

Monday, December 3, 2018

When Batman: The Animated Series Confronted ... the 1990s


This week on CBR, I'm going back to the debut of the most '90s of the Animated villains. Plus, his official canon appearance, not long after. Watch as I attempt to avoid calling him "Lockdown," as I am wont to do for some reason.
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