Archive for January, 2012

New Year’s Resolution Scorecard — Week 04

Read­ing: I dis­cov­ered the Doc Sav­age sto­ry “The Green Mas­ter” at the local used book store, as I was perus­ing the stacks in prepa­ra­tion for jury duty the fol­low­ing week (which nev­er hap­pened.) It was a rel­a­tive­ly quick read, a much short­er sto­ry than the oth­er Doc Sav­age sto­ries in the collection.

Research: This week I give cred­it to pas­sive research. I mon­i­tor a blog enti­tled Dr. Her­mes Retro-Scans (now in its sec­ond incar­na­tion, with More Retro-Scans). The author of the blog peri­od­i­cal­ly reviews pulp era fic­tion, par­tic­u­lar­ly the sto­ries of the Shad­ow, the Avenger, Doc Sav­age, the Green Lama, among oth­ers. This is where I am dis­cov­er­ing a num­ber of Doc Sav­age sto­ries that fea­ture hyp­no­sis-relat­ed mate­r­i­al beyond the cou­ple of sto­ries that I was orig­i­nal­ly aware of. One of those is “The Green Mas­ter” which is the sub­ject of this week’s reg­u­lar blog posting.

“The Green Master” by Kenneth Robeson

In a secret fortress high in the Andes, Doc and his crew are enslaved by a race of extrasen­so­ry super-blondes who wor­ship a green stone with a life of its own!

In this Doc Sav­age nov­el, Doc and his aides Ham and Monk face a race of beings with the pow­er to influ­ence any­one they meet, and who are in New York with a mis­sion that brings them into con­flict the the Man of Bronze!

⇒ Con­tin­ue read­ing ““The Green Mas­ter” by Ken­neth Robeson”

New Year’s Resolution Scorecard — Week 03

Read­ing: I dis­cov­ered a nov­el in the SF sec­tion of the local book­store with the provoca­tive name “Trance” which did indeed involve a char­ac­ter with trance-induc­ing pow­ers. I was a lit­tle dis­ap­point­ed with some the details of the sto­ry but there was enough addi­tion­al mate­r­i­al to include it with the Col­lec­tion. (You can read more about it in the reg­u­lar post­ing this week.)

Writ­ing: Three entries this week! Grant­ed, two were pret­ty short but even that is bet­ter than I’ve been doing. Plus there is anoth­er short entry in the works for release soon.

Research: Only a minor bit on a rather long blog entry regard­ing a major super-vil­lain, as I asked the advice of anoth­er comics fan regard­ing one of my propo­si­tions about the indi­vid­ual. (For what it is worth, he agreed with my proposition.)

“Trance” by Kelly Meding

[amtap book:isbn=1451620926]

Fif­teen years ago, Tere­sa “Trance” West was a skilled telepath and a proud mem­ber of the Ranger Corps. But ever since the Rangers were inex­plic­a­bly ren­dered pow­er­less at the cli­max of the dev­as­tat­ing Meta War, she’s bounced from one dead-end job to anoth­er. Now her pow­ers have reap­peared just as mys­te­ri­ous­ly as they van­ished— only they’re com­plete­ly trans­formed and more potent than ever. And they’re threat­en­ing to destroy her.

It was a bat­tle decades in mak­ing: the Ranger Corps, gov­ern­ment spon­sored Metas (peo­ple with super-pow­ers) bat­tling the Banes (any­one else with sim­i­lar pow­ers.) It all came down to a run­ning bat­tle in down­town Man­hat­tan, as the more numer­ous Banes slew the Rangers, reduc­ing their num­bers until only the youngest mem­bers remained, which includ­ed Trance, ‘ten-going-on-eleven’ with the pow­er to hyp­no­tize peo­ple by look­ing into their eyes, which was­n’t much help dur­ing the run­ning fire­fight. It was all reach­ing the end, their com­rades and fam­i­ly down, noth­ing left to pro­tect and defend them.

And then it was over. All the Metas lost their pow­ers at once. The gov­ern­ment stepped in to remove the remain­ing under­aged Rangers and try to return them to soci­ety, leav­ing the Banes to stay on the ruined island. And the world went on with its business.

But it was­n’t over. Some­how, the mys­te­ri­ous process that caused the Metas to lose their pow­ers stopped sev­er­al years lat­er. The bat­tle, left on hold for so many years, was back on again. Their old ene­my, Spec­tre, was already tar­get­ing them before they can re-unite.

Com­men­tary: Alas, the only scene seen with Trance using her hyp­not­ic pow­ers is in the first few pages, so the poten­tial of the book’s title was essen­tial­ly wast­ed, but it still is wor­thy of being an entry in the Col­lec­tion because of the pow­ers of the oppo­nent, Spec­tre, which are tele­path­ic and tele­ki­net­ic con­trol, which he uses to con­trol inno­cent vic­tims and force them to attack the Meta heroes.

His­to­ry: I saw this title at the book­store last week and felt tempt­ed to get it, if only for the pos­si­bil­i­ty that the ‘trance’ as described involved some form of hyp­not­ic con­trol. I was not dis­ap­point­ed when I dis­cov­ered this line with­in the first few pages:

My abil­i­ty to hyp­no­tize peo­ple and alter their thoughts worked only if I looked them in the eye.

There­fore I was dis­ap­point­ed when at the end of the first chap­ter, every one of the Metas lost their pow­ers, and lat­er, when they got them back, Trance got her grand­moth­er’s ener­gy con­trol pow­ers instead. Such a waste …

And I did have my doubts about the book, because it had the (exter­nal) hall­marks of being part of the ‘para­nor­mal romance’ genre, but I found that this was­n’t the case. There is a strong roman­tic ele­ment to it, but its not as strong as the genre I men­tioned would indi­cate. For my part, I see the ‘para­nor­mal romance’ genre con­sist­ing of hot chicks with para­nor­mal back­grounds (vam­pires, demons, were­wolves, etc.) involved equal­ly with hot&heavy sex and vio­lence. This was­n’t the case here, as the sex was pret­ty non-exis­tent and the romance angle as a ratio­nal part of the char­ac­ter development.

Rec­om­men­da­tion: I can’t real­ly rec­om­mend it for the hyp­not­ic angle but it was a fair­ly good read.

This Week in Comics — 2012/01/18

Birds of Prey #5

“Mind Control … and Murder!

The team (Black Canary, Poi­son Ivy, Katana and Star­ling, plus guest Bat­girl) dis­cov­er they are miss­ing the time they con­front­ed the mys­te­ri­ous voice, yet they all have dif­fer­ent mem­o­ries of what mem­o­ries were miss­ing. Plus Bat­girl her­self is miss­ing. Against that kind of con­trol their oppo­nent seems to have, can they con­front him? Well, they think they can.

It takes a day for things start com­ing back togeth­er: Bat­girl rejoins the group as Black Canary makes a discovery:

I think Choke’s made ordi­nary cit­i­zens into sleep­er agents. We already know he can turn peo­ple into walk­ing bombs and trans­mit­ting devices, so why not full-on soldiers?

If we find one of them, we can fol­low the trail back to Choke, and then pound some answers out of him.

There’s just one prob­lem: Star­ling is miss­ing. She (appar­ent­ly) got the same loca­tion for the meet­ing but the place she reads is not the same place as before. And she’s been set up. Not Good.

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