Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Space Crazy Comics: Prisoners on Solar

From the same issue of Space Action that brought us Double Menace on something or other comes Prisoners on Solar. (Which would be a good name for a rock band.)

I like this one rather better for reasons that probably will become clear.

We open on a solitary confinement bubble in deep space, where a two-seater rocket ship is about to drop off a prisoner... and had two other dudes in it. Um... Let's just move on, and assume that the ship was supposed to be bigger than it looked.

"Black" Bartow is some kind of pirate, and he's desperate to not go into solitary. Wouldn't you be if solitary meant being shut in a little independent space station that they probably don't visit often?

Not that it can be very secure all alone out there, as is momentarily demonstrated by Bartow's highly skilled brigands coming to rescue him.

Those brigands are good shots. Maybe better than Buster Crabbe. (I might explain that joke in a later post.)

So they start chasing Bartow to keep him from escaping (it never bothers explaining how he got separated from his band in the first place), and chase him towards Solar.

What is Solar?

Well, in this rather crazy SF setting, the Sun got dim about 600 years before, and stopped producing enough light to serve the apparently already very well-colonized solar system. So they built an artificial replacement for the Sun: Solar.

They loose points for confusing Latin-speakers, but it's a nifty idea, and while not especially artistically polished, it's a visually interesting space station.

Bartow gets really close to it. How close?

Too close.

The space patrol dudes take the opportunity to mindlessly vomit exposition, thinking their job is done...

But that very same day, things seem to be cooler than they should have been. And within mere days...

Aside from demonstrating the horrible engineering skills of the time period, it reveals just how reliant they are on a distant generator. Really, really reliant.

Seriously, have they forgotten how to make sun lamps and space heaters in the past few centuries?

The patrol dudes from earlier take a look at Solar's beams to see if there's anything wrong, and find (DUH) that something's off.

"Lindstrom units?" Yeah...

Just then, they discover a stowaway. (Note that this means it took them like half an hour to get out here, especially if their rocket is as small as it looks.)

The stowaway is an inconsistently drawn chick.

It's almost like watching a Disney curse fall off or something, especially with the next panel...

Also, yes, I know that the male characters go through similar shifts in appearance, but I don't care, because it's less jarring for me personally. So there.

Anyway, the revelation that Erica Lindstrom, descendant of Eric Lindstrom, is the stowaway, and she has inside information makes him change his mildly annoyed and very skeptical tune.

I have no idea how that's supposed to work.

He then takes the opportunity to make a sexist remark. What a guy!

They get in there, and find Bartow is waiting for them, along with his Space Brigands.

And they're better armed than the patrol ship, so they're forced to surrender.

The patrol dude tries to shoot Bartow, but Erica stops him, and he gets knocked out.

And then, it turns out that Bartow's already issued his demands.

Oh, no, what next?

Notice that one guy in the middle of the crowd? He seems happy about all this.

So the solar system's council of TV-screen dudes decide that they have to give in to the demands.

Meanwhile, Bartow reveals why Erica protected him:

The Lindstroms must be terrible at naming their children. Apparently, they name all their kids after famous ancestors, or give them terrible names that make them go insane.

Fortunately, all is not lost.

And if you're wondering why Lindstrom didn't just fix the Sun 600 years ago if he was so awesome, one can suppose that he couldn't be sure if it would work, and Solar seemed the more reliable option.

So, one cliched escape later, we learn just what they need to do in order to use Solar to restart the Sun:

The Superman Method.

Then, as with the previous story's climactic panel, we have critical art failure.

It can be forgiven...

And of course, then comes the obligatory cheesy epilogue panels.

Why do I like this particular cheesy story? Well, if nothing else, it proves that there's at least one alternative use for the Death Star, doesn't it?

-Signing off.

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