Today's vict-er, subject is the Spurs Jackson (and his Space Vigilantes) feature of Space Western Comics #44, "meet the menace of Comet X." (Give or take a bit on the title.)
We open on Palomar observatory (again?), watching a "Planet X."
...Wait a minute...
Oh, okay, since it's gone flying off course, it's now Comet X. I get it. (Although that doesn't make it less dumb.)
Why is he on Mars?
Because there, he's Prime Minister. I am so not making this up.
He's not a very responsible prime minister, though. Though I suppose that might be okay-Winston Churchill was quite the rascal in his youth...
He brings some backup, although they're never named and they disappear.
I don't know what's up with that.
I guess the guy who wrote this must have read somewhere that comets break into clumps, but this is not at all how it works.
As usual, they've got it about as wrong as could be. And it also looks kinda unsettling.
Then, confusing things happen. I guess maybe those nameless Space Vigilantes might be dying?
They're forced down to the surface, and then ushered into the tower they noticed, where they meet guys they've seen before, but we haven't! (Unless you've been reading other issues of Space Western Comics without me. Shame on you.)
I love Vodor's design, by the way. Nothing says goofy alien like a cyclops cactus man.
Anyway, they're planning on using Comet X to destroy Earth. Sounds dangerous.
And then, these two seemingly unarmed men whisk off a tough cowboy to a jail cell. (Well, there actually are guards around, it just looks that way.)
The guard is hilarious, by the way.
Yes, they are fools IN SPACE.
Anyhow, Spurs wasn't completely disarmed, and he uses a whip to grab the guard's pistol. No, that's not what I meant, despite, well, what we can kinda see in the image.
Anyways, he's got the gun, and when the guard asks for it back...
...he gives it to him.
Now here's a bit of major stupidity:
Guys, you don't even need the stupid keys. You can vaporize the doors! Why are you bothering paying attention to them?
Also, if you're running a prison, and you have access to an indestructible metal, why are you making a set of keys out of it instead of the parts that, you know, hold people in?
Anyway, then Spurs makes lots of trouble for the baddies. He releases the badguys' supply of "hydrogen gas," which ought to be invisible and all but undetectable (until you light a match and die), but isn't.
They just didn't do the research, that's all, I'm sure...
Also, I only realized right here that Thola's jacket is, well, kinda seasonal.
Fascinating that I'd pick this one for the first day of December by accident.
Anyhow, they can't find their own ship, so they get into some old thing they find on the surface.
That ship sure is orange.
Also, this panel disillusioned me severely.
How come Vodor so consistently appeared at such an angle that we could only see one eye, and that one eye looked bigger and more central before? I miss the "cyclops cactus man" descriptor; that was catchy. (Also, this way, he resembles either Swamp Thing or Cobra Commander. Weird.)
Anyway, they take their attack ships out to chase down Spurs and Thola in the little slow ship.
Spurs is able to escape by retreating to Earth; Korok and Vodor incorrectly conclude that he's planning on luring them to the doomed Earth, and let them be.
Just for reference, based on this statement, and on the statement in the next panel that Comet X will "catch up in half an hour," Comet X is traveling at 100,000 miles an hour, or 27 (point seven repeating) miles per second, or almost 45 km/s. For reference, this is considerably faster than the speed of the impact that created the Chicxulub crater, AKA the meteor impact that (may or may not have) killed the dinosaurs. When one also considers that Comet X is visible in the sky already, that puts it at about the size of the Moon. (Incidentally, these figures also suggest that Space Western rocket ships are absurdly fast.)
Which is a somewhat fancy way of saying that Earth is in some deeeeeep trouble.
Thola's petty statement here cracks me up.
"Yes, Spurs, let us hide on the other side of the planet, where we will be somewhat safer!"
Then, for some reason, the comet starts making noise.
Then it blows up.
Aside from odd choice of sound effect word, what is going on here?
Okay, okay, I suppose that's a relatively honest mistake compared to some of these...
Well, a series of relatively honest mistakes.
First off, hydrogen burns. Sure, it would burn once it hit atmosphere at that speed. But burning does not equal hydrogen bombs.
Second, Comet X is the size of the Moon, give or take some. A hydrogen bomb can't destroy it.
Third, even if Comet X was miraculously vaporized by a simple hydrogen bomb, it would still cause catastrophic harm to the planet-a huge cloud of rather hot gases would descend on the Earth, blocking out sunlight for a protracted length of time and just generally causing trouble.
Korok's and Vodor's reaction is amusing.
Vodor is definitely more of a Cobra Commander than a Swamp Thing.