Monday, January 31, 2011

Space Crazy Comics: The Man Who Stole the Moon

Some of these stories are a little less worthy of talking about than others... at least, they are until one gets a little creative imagining real explanations for them.

This story from Outer Space #25 is rather dull in most respects, but has an event that is intended to surprise the reader:

Note that, while the events of this panel-the Moon being shrunken down to hand-held size and being displayed by a man who proudly proclaimed his purloinment of it before a club-actually occurred in the main body of the story (this is an introductory splash panel from the first page), the true chronicle of events within the story are quite different from how the self-alleged thief presented them.

(The club, by the way, is an adventuring and rare oddities club. The Moon-thief also apparently poached the last surviving unicorn, if his fellow club members are to be believed. No joke.)

No, instead, a couple of aliens show up and take him into their saucer. While there have been a lot of aliens that were pretty crazy described by people who believed they were real, these guys are human aliens who probably aren't entirely right in the head.

Why do I say this?

Because they reportedly don't like to "startle" Earth people, but then they pull this stunt.

My conclusion: These jerks who shrank the Moon (and admittedly later restored it) were drunk off their butts.

"Oh, those guys on the planet, they won't care (hic!) that the big shiny thing in the sky will vanish for two weeks! That won't startle 'em! Hee hee!"

So remember, kids-never drink and abduct.

-Signing off.

Friday, January 28, 2011

Attack of the Slitha Monsters #4

Part One.
Part Two.
Part Three.

And here we have the final section of this post series, with the exciting (by which I mean "frustrating") conclusion.

When last we saw Skysurfer One and Cybron's daughter Serena, they were trapped in a huge pit with a giant, totally crazy looking worm monster that apparently will eat humans.

As the monster threatens Serena, who after that fall she took into the pit should by all rights be the worm pit equivalent of street pizza (she bounced top-first off of the big metal pillar that was being used to lower in victims), Skysurfer One gets in its way and uses his fire sword to get its attention, shooting off flames and shouting "You like your meals hot and spicy, do you? TRY THIS!" or something to that general effect...

...and it sounds for all the world to me like he's indirectly hitting on Serena, because the emphasis was on him drawing attention away with his fire sword.

The worm spits fire/acid/something at him with little effect, and then wounds him with its tail and makes him drop his sword, but after Serena tosses his weapon back to him, he causes a cave-in that apparently kills the beast.

However, he's bleeding from the battle (which was actually quite a bit more common in cartoons of the era than before or since), and Serena decides to bandage his wound.

With a piece of her diaphanous dress.

Meanwhile, Cybron's bioborg Chronozone/Chronozoid (I think it's been rendered both ways) goes and wakes Cybron up, amusingly by pushing a button on his face.

He's pleased to hear that Skysurfer One is apparently dead, but very peeved to hear that Serena apparently suffered the same fate. He orders the immediate launch of the bioborg worm fleet.

And so it happens.

The Skysurfers and Netheron rebels plan to immediately launch a vengeance strike/counterattack.

Meanwhile, Skysurfer One and Serena have broken out of the pit. This is notable, if for no other reason than this face.

Meanwhile, the bioborg worms are devastating Los Angeles.

They seem to have a bit more firepower in the form of similar lasers to the normal ones, plus the ability to rapid-fire spit fireballs.

The army responds with a pair of civilian-model helicopters.

Let that sink in. The army responds with exactly two unarmed, unarmored helicopters.

One of them disappears off camera, and the other opens its side to reveal... three soldiers carrying assault rifles, who fire on one of the worms.

It doesn't go well, and soon they're firing on the worm from a rooftop. (The pilot apparently died.)

Dargon and his posse are pleased with the performance of the new worms, and from the comfort of their presumably climate-controlled cockpit are pleased to take on the challenge of the rebels' robot worm.

Meanwhile, there's all sorts of rather random and kinda dumb fighting.

At one point, Sliced Ice falls off her board and hangs from a building whilst being menaced. (Although don't get the impression this happens to her more often than anybody else-out of all of them, Air Enforcer falls off his board randomly more than any of the other characters combined just in these two episodes.)

Crazy Stunts lassos one.

Ultimately, though, it seems that these bioborg worms have the same weakness as their predecessors-their cockpit canopies are easily shattered-and no particular advantages beyond a slight increase in firepower. If they'd been given some of the same crazy abilities as human bioborgs, they might have been pretty dangerous, but overall, they're actually statistically less impressive than their predecessors, with one exception (which I'll touch upon when I get to it).

Replicon and the other bioborgs are watching the fight from an assault helicopter nearby, and Replicon gets bored and impatient and decides to attack, despite orders from Cybron to only observe.

This helicopter's quasi-military design makes the earlier weirdness with the army's choppers all the more baffling, especially when Replicon uses it to take down Air Enforcer and Sliced Ice in short order.

Unfortunately for them, Soar Loser gets an idea.

The view inside the bioborg worm's cockpit is pretty interesting, by which I mean, it's silly and amusing. Check out this control.

Specially made for dyslexics, apparently. Soar Loser also has the amusing line "Looks like Cybron must've hot-wired their nervous systems!"

Anyway, it's pretty predictable what happens to the bioborgs in the helicopter at this point.

Here's where the bioborg worms show their chops-fighting enemies similar to... themselves.

The rebels' robot worm doesn't endure being shot by seemingly identical lasers to the ones that didn't harm it before too well, and, well, it seems to burn out.

Then the Skysurfers, whom Skysurfer One has rejoined by this point (oops, skipped that bit in the screenshots), fly up and blast the cockpit right off of the bioborg worm.

Into a hole.

Apparently to the center of the Earth.

Whoever else is in charge of stuff calls a general retreat, and the bioborg worms flee down the same hole.

Darkstorm's rebels and the Skysurfers have a brief parting of the ways, and that's that-we never hear from any of the Netheron character set ever again.

What happened to all the bioborg worms, who would need regular maintenance from Cybron just to survive? (Which is one of the major reasons why his bioborgs never seem to have any intention of rebelling against him.)

For that matter, if Cybron can turn any living thing into a bioborg, why hasn't he experimented with things like dogs, or horses, or even elephants or whales? (No cats though, because as much as I love cats, that'd be asking for trouble.)

And does Cybron ever find out that his daughter and his worst enemy probably did something in a cave?

Dunno. Why? Because this series was more episodic than the original He-Man cartoon.

I probably ought to do up some profiles for the series regulars; if I do, I'll link to them from these posts. It'd probably make bits of these less confusing for those who never encountered the series.

-Signing off.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Attack of the Slitha Monsters #3

Part One.
Part Two.

So last time, the bad guys and then the good guys teamed up with each other.

Cybron announced his intentions during their previous meeting to combine the power of Dargon's "slitha monster" giant worms with the power of his bioborg technology (which created various powerful goons such as Replicon and Grenader, both mentioned in part two).

So Dargon has some worms and huge handler scientists sent up to initiate this conversion.

Seriously, based on the size of the worms in other scenes and how big they are relative to the one they're loading into the giant tube, those guys must be at least thirty feet tall, and probably more like forty.

Animation errors aside, the process is completed with lots of bright primary color magic chemicals, and momentarily...

So what kind of capabilities will the new bioborg worms have?

Well, they don't show up for a while after this (not until the next post, in fact), but I will tell you that for some reason, their roars sound more like sheep than giant monsters.

Yes, really.

Anyway, the new worms are apparently enough freakier than the plain old ones that it scares the bejeebers out of Cybron and company.

While I'll admit that the second mouth is amusing, it's not really that scary, though.

Now comes the most annoying part of this particular story: The stupid, unconnected side plot out of nowhere.

Well, it'll be here in a moment. First, comic relief dopey guy antics!

Soar Loser and Crazy Stunts (boomerang guy and cowboy dude) are apparently trying to impress this unnamed random redhead from the Netheron rebels.

Somebody has to infiltrate the enemy base, and in order to impress this chick, they both want to go in alone.

So Soar Loser suggests the natural solution: A coin flip.

Now, here, I actually have to give kudos to whomever directed and animated this part. This series often has rather stupid animation errors, but the animation here is quite sharply designed (though still typical low-budget stuff otherwise) and actually shows something that is rather difficult to demonstrate in animation: Soar Loser cheats using a double-sided coin, and it's actually obvious if you pay attention to the animation that the coin really is double-sided.

He goes to the rather comical enemy base in Netheron...

Now it's back to the stupid side plot.

A little background info: In the first episode of the series, it's revealed that the team leader, Skysurfer One, is the son of a scientist who built all sorts of advanced computer stuff, including a virtual reality helmet that records people's memories and a supercomputer brain which is now affixed to the top of Cybron's head-because Cybron apparently was a more mundane criminal of some kind who stole the darned thing and somehow merged it into his own nervous system.

The helmet that they show here appears to be the virtual reality helmet from the earlier episode, which was damaged severely there so that the memories recorded on it couldn't be used against Cybron (they may have revealed something about Cybron's "real identity," which over time has become one of the lamest excuses for stupid plot maneuvering ever).

However, either it isn't, and they're just recycling a design, or the writers had no idea what the heck they were doing, because what this helmet does has nothing to do with the other episode at all.

Here, they talk about this helmet being an unfinished prototype that also is for some reason a failsafe measure for use against Cybron's brain.

No, I don't know why it would suddenly pop up in this episode from rather late in the series completely at random in the middle of an unrelated plotline and interfere with a much more interesting plot that doesn't require it at all.

Supposedly, he'll be able to use the helmet to read Cybron's mind or something.

Cybron realizes something's wrong when he's standing there, just hanging out and crowing, and suddenly the lights on his head start blinking more than usual.

In effect, I guess they're registering increased network activity.

It apparently starts to hurt.

A lot.

Back at Skysurfer headquarters, Skysurfer one is "locked in psychic combat" with Cybron.

Which apparently means "face melting contest."

Cybron is doing quite badly, so he has his daughter, Serena/Cerina, hit his emergency off switch on his back, and he falls to the floor, seemingly lifeless.

(A note on Cybron's daughter's name-for some reason, Wikipedia renders it "Cerina," but I'm inclined to render the name by a more traditional spelling, "Serena." So I'm going to do so.)

Serena is pretty furious over what happened to Daddy Headbox, so she plots to trick the Skysurfers using a microphone plugged into Cybron's brain.

Yes, really.

Predictably, Skysurfer One immediately tries to use the helmet again once his face has stopped melting.

He hears Serena's message (delivered in Cybron's voice in some of the creepiest lip-syncing ever), which is about how they're planning on executing Soar Loser, but I can't imagine why this is relevant, because he should have found out by now that he had been captured anyway, right?

Eh, whatever.

Then Serena crows over her daddy.

Which is just as creepy as it could be.

Skysurfer One gets to rebel headquarters, and is shown a huge screen with the tactical information they have on it.

Basically, they still need to know where the next attack will be, because they basically know nothing.

Skysurfer One and Air Enforcer eventually go off on a rescue mission. In the meantime, we see that Soar Loser has been tied to the same fetish execution device that Lazerette got tied to in part one.

When the rescue team arrives, the trap flies into action, including Replicon's signature attack: Turning his head into a projectile-firing device of some kind!

Skysurfer One promptly tries to rescue Soar Loser from the execution device, which is lowering him into a pit with this thing in it.

It has a name, but I can never make it out. It's probably just as well-it'd probably drive me insane.

Anyway, Serena goes over to watch the final new type of worm monster chow down, but...

...well, she kinda falls in.

Soar Loser manages to escape, but Skysurfer One stays behind to rescue Serena. And then the door closes up top. Uh-oh.

What a perfect place for a cliffhanger, huh?

-Signing off.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Attack of the Slitha Monsters #2

Part One.

Picking up where we left off, the good guys have gone to the mayor's office to try to explain that there's apparently a bunch of giant worm monsters stealing Denver's buildings.

They are not, in fact, successful, because they of course sound completely insane.

Elsewhere, Cybron and Dargon, the two "great" evils, meet each other in Cybron's huge underwater base, and chat each other up.

Because the people watching the series presumably know more about Cybron than about Dargon, Dargon of the not-so Shining Realm is now contractually obligated to explain just where in the blue heck his underground civilization comes from.

It turns out that his underground realm, Netheron, was founded when a bunch of cavemen fell into a hole in the ground made by a meteor and were then buried by a cave-in. And then they grew fangs, because SCIENCE.

They advanced incredibly in technology despite living underground, and apparently got by through eating common earthworms.

Then, they used SCIENCE! to make those worms bigger, I guess so they could have more food.

But naturally, giant worms also had another useful purpose, as huge war beasts with gun turrets somehow attached to them.

Eventually, Dargon appeared and conquered the place.

Unfortunately, he's been having problems with rebels, which is why he's trying to conquer the surface-he, um, wants more resources to conquer underground with? Or something?

At any rate, the rebels are apparently really tough, because they used spears and hand tools to steal blasters and worm things.

Then, Cybron and Dargon start complimenting each other so badly that it sounds like they want each other, if you follow my meaning. "I admire your resolve, which is almost as great as my own," and stuff like that. (Yes, they actually talked to each other like that.)

Then, Cybron says that Dargon should, as a gesture of good will, help him set a trap for the Skysurfers. Dargon says okay.

So, a little while later, Cybron's thugs Grenader and Replicon are riding around in their hilarious self-themed vehicles and attacking a train.

Apparently, it's a train full of disaster relief supplies headed for Denver, which makes the Skysurfers really mad when they inexplicably show up in under a minute. Also, when the engineers jettison the train cars to try to get away, Grenader and Replicon just keep chasing and shooting at the engine for some reason.


Anyway, even though Grenader is indestructible and Replicon is pretty close (he once had his head exploded and simply shapeshifted it back to normal), they flee at the sight of their eternal foes, and end up... a box canyon.

It's pretty obvious that it's a trap-

-but how do Dargon and Cybron expect to actually trap flying guys in a box canyon?

With a firing line made up of giant worms, apparently.

The cartoon writers thought this was a great place to put a cliffhanger...

...though I personally wasn't that impressed.

Fortunately for you, I'm moving right on to the next scene, where they are rescued by a giant robot worm.

Wait, what?

Yes, they get saved from giant mutated worms wearing vehicle bits by a giant robot worm.

And that's not even the only other "worm variant" that shows up. But more on that later.

Here, Sliced Ice calls the worm a knight in shining armor, which is pretty hilarious.

Of course, as one could probably tell, it's a piloted giant robot worm, and was obviously created by Netheron...ians, because, well, a couple of them are sitting in its head.

It turns out that these are the rebels against Dargon, and their leader is one of them: Darkstorm.

This is the only reason why I wonder whether Dargon having the same name as the leader of the Sectaurs isn't actually a coincidence: Darkstorm was the name of the leader of the Spectral Lords in Visionaries.

Why yes, I am a huge nerd, why do you ask?

Darkstorm explains an even shorter summary version of events to the Skysurfers, states that he's a rebel against Dargon, and that he hates Dargon. They try to persuade him to help against Dargon's attack on the surface world and also against his alliance with Cybron, but Dargon doesn't really want to, and stares down his nose at them from atop his huge metal worm robot.

But then he changes his mind, and points dramatically at them while saying "Agreed!"

So now the alliances have been forged, and we're not quite halfway there.

-Signing off.