Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Space Western Comics: The The Return of The Aztecs

No, that's not a typo.

Don't believe me?

The the Return of the Aztecs is the "Strong Bow and his Warriors" feature from Space Western Comics #42.

We start with Hank Roper dropping Strong Bow off at an isolated cliff village. (That Hank Roper is always driving a jeep. Even in space.)

So Strong Bow is attending some kind of secret tribal ceremony. Presumably, they're touchy about this kind of...

...then again, perhaps they're itching to mention it to everybody.

We learn that Strong Bow's tribe (who at least here seem to be some form of cliff-dwellers, or related to such) encountered another group, this one greatly displaced, many years ago...

Of course they're Aztecs. You wouldn't expect there to be none in a story called the the Return of the Aztecs, would you?

Anyway, the Aztec dudes claimed that their sacred book (which they call the Popol Vuh, which did not have a single thing to do with the Aztecs, by the way) warned them to go north, and that there would be an eclipse. And it showed them how to build rockets.


Because Space Western Comics, that's why.

Of course, Hank Roper has to put his cowboy boot in his mouth.

Dude! Aren't you guys supposed to be buddies?

The ceremony involves various stuff, but I'm going to be more culturally sensitive than the authors and drop straight to the end of it, where they fire arrows into the sky at the eclipse and-

-coincidentally hit the Aztec rockets, which are returning.

Gee, what are the chances? (One finds that ancient junk is always coincidentally happening at stupidly convenient times-for instance, the Stone Men of Sirius.)

Anyway, the Aztec Fire Gods, who amazingly enough apparently speak English, capture the tribe members, while Hank Roper sees the trouble and goes for help. They shoot arrows at him, which is scarier than it sounds.

Ooh, self-propelled explosive arrows...

You'd think that they'd have weapons that were a bit better than that after all these years (not that the arrows are unimpressive), and they do-"brimstone blasters."

And in that heavily expository piece of dialogue, they reveal that they come from Vulcan. No, not that Vulcan. If it was that Vulcan, they'd have brought phasers instead. They're talking about the hypothetical Vulcan. (What's scary is, I remember reading other old junk that took Planet Vulcan seriously, too.)

So Hank Roper goes and gets help, right?

Do you get the feeling this won't end well?

Meanwhile, Strong Bow uses a rock to knock out one of the Aztecs and steal his "uniform" for purposes of infiltrating them. When the tanks show up...

...they give the good ol' fire attack.

It doesn't work, and the brimstone blasters destroy the tanks. (Which don't look much like tanks.)

What's worse is that Strong Bow gives himself away by his ignorance.

What's even worse:

Wait, whaaaat?

If you guys are immune to explosions, how come Strong Bow can keep knocking you out? Explosions have all this nasty stuff like shrapnel and things? Immune to explosions presumably makes you immune to bullets, too.

(Also, Lamarck was right?)

And Strong Bow promptly knocks the guy out and calls the others to make a break for it.

And he suddenly turns into Reed Richards. ...Well, no, not really, he just looks uncannily like him for the rest of the story for no apparent reason.

Hm, could there be any significance to that other guy objecting to his statement?


Why would he lure the Aztecs into a cold, cold cave?


...That's not very nice, dude. (Of course, logically speaking, they ought to be dead. But maybe their atomic blood protects them.)

It gets worse.

You cruel, cruel so-and-sos.

-Signing off.

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