Friday, November 10, 2023

If you've been to the comic shop recently, you might've seen Giant Robot Hellboy #1 on the racks, which is fun even if the first issue seems to be mostly set-up: Hellboy gets abducted and his brain seemingly transplanted into a giant robot version of himself, which then gets slapped down in a kaiju fight. Neat, but weirdly enough; I just picked up another book with unexpected giant-sized monster fighting: from 1972, Magnus, Robot Fighter #33, reprinting from 1968, Magnus, Robot Fighter #21, "Space Specter" Story and art by Russ Manning. Cover by Vic Prezio.
Although the robots are on the ball, the titular Space Specter is able to cloud men's perceptions, and frees two imprisoned baddies: Xyrkol and Dr. Laszlo Noel. Specter quickly forces them to start harnessing "ectothere," which it describes as the force behind sorcery, ghosts, and poltergeists. Sort of a unified-field theory for the supernatural, there; although I should definitely read more books that go "WHUMP!" With some "C'thulhu" name drops, they build the Ecto-Rob, but that's just the start of their scheming: spells are cast over food distribution centers, to sap the wills and fighting spirit of any who eat it...not that North-Am had a lot of that, but Magnus ate there, too! A weakened Magnus makes a good effort against the Ecto-Rob, but is also hit by illusions and his arms turned to feathers, and gets beat. Magnus is thrown over a railing, while Xyrkol (Circle?) and Noel order nearby bots, specifically do not take that guy to a doctor.
Magnus is saved by young Willo and her father, Director Talltree, who were Blackfoot, and ate locally grown food that hadn't been hexed. Magnus heals up, and Talltree explains the bad guys were tapping into what would have been considered magic, so the same needed to be used against them: it depended on belief. Magnus suggests they share their food with the rest of North Am, to get them out from under the spell, and the people rebel. Magnus fights Ecto-Rob again, this time resistant to the magic, and televised: as more of North-Am believes in him, he gains more power, until the two combatants seem to be a mile high! Defeated, Ecto-Rob vanishes with Space Specter, leaving Xyrkol and Noel to the mob. Talltree has a final note for Magnus, with who might be behind this...Maleev-6, the robot planet Magnus had believed destroyed!
Also this issue: "The Aliens," a Captain Johner story from Magnus #1.

1 comment:

Mr. Morbid said...

You had me at “Giant Robo Hellboy.”