Erick Von Erich
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Joined: May 13th, 2005, 9:06 pm

September 14th, 2018, 3:24 pm #61

Scout #20-21
A lot going on, so I may miss some details. With the help of New Mexico's Senator Craig Creek, Scout, Monday, the Swords of Texas, plus Beau La Duke and his biker friends all gather together at "Big Mountain". They plan to expose the current regime and broadcast the truth.

Another "new" White House is set up in the 90's boomtown of Las Colinas, TX (a completely fictional town). President Carver has become docile and given in to the rest of the government, so VP Bill Loper is basically running the show. The decline of Pres. Carver is kinda' glossed over, as it all happened "off-screen". From the beginnings of this title, Loper was always intended to be the main bad guy, so it works out.

The mysterious cargo that was mis-smuggled out of NORAD turns out to be a nuclear warhead. Scout, La Duke and Banner (leader of the Swords of TX) go to retrieve it from Las Vegas, but they're ambushed and captured. While flying on a cargo plane, Scout and friends fight back against their captors, but the bay opens up and the warhead falls over Las Vegas and detonates. The plane is traced to Senator Creek, as part of a frame job by Loper. 

This riles up the "Communists in Mexico" and they storm across the border, near El Paso. Rosa Winter and her Rangers arrive, but disobey Loper's orders and decide to fight with Scout and the resistance .A big conspiracy is unfolding, as Loper apparently wants an invasion and World War 3.

Okay, this has book finally gotten back to form and this final arc has me excited. It's gotten back to the political "Cold War Fears" drama that it started out as. A minor nitpick, but Scout hasn't pulled down his headband to make a mask in quite awhile. Just personally thought that was a cool look for him. He'd only do it when going into action, so I thought it was a cool effect. I also miss the Gahn.

A fan with a medical background writes in to complain about the use of Xanax. For one, Truman had the actual application of the drug incorrect. The fan says that it's proved helpful for patients, when administered properly. Truman takes the info to heart, but also shoots back that he's spoken to veterans who have damned the drug and that HIS information is accurate.

Each issue also has a PSA satire. The first is about how the SDI plan will supposedly eliminate "95%" of missiles and that it costs $71 million per day. The second is about the US Justice system allowing students to protest... but without armbands. So yeah, some of the governmental fears that we have in 2018 were there in 1987. 
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Erick Von Erich
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Joined: May 13th, 2005, 9:06 pm

September 18th, 2018, 5:22 pm #62

Avengers #7 (2018)
Origin issue of the "Pre-historic Ghost Rider". He was an evolved cavekid, until a stranger wandered into his camp and slaughtered everybody. The kid survived, but the stranger deemed him of no consequence and dubbed him a "ghost".

While chasing the stranger, the kid almost freezes to death... until he makes a deal with an enchanted snake, who turns out to be Mephisto. After several years, the kid catches up to the stranger...who turns out to be the Wendigo! As the Spirit of Vengeance and riding a woolly mammoth, he fights off the Wendigo.

Yes, I usually despise "alternate" takes, but I was perfectly fine with this and enjoyed it. I actually thought the stranger would be Sabretooth, or someone tied into Odin and the Norse gods. As I mentioned before, I love the concept of the "ghost" riding a woolly mammoth. Really liked the art in this issue, too. What's not to like? Next issue is back to the modern Avengers and I have to say I'm happy to be on-board for the foreseeable future.

Until a crossover comes along to mess with my fun.
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Erick Von Erich
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Joined: May 13th, 2005, 9:06 pm

September 19th, 2018, 11:55 pm #63

Scout #22-24
As Scout and friends hold off the attacking Mexicans, World War Three breaks out, all over. Israel has become a superpower to oppose Russia, as conflicts escalate. Avner Glanzman quells the Texas/Mexico battle as the Israeli air force and warships arrive. There's a lot of extra stuff hinted at, such as a new American Civil War between the Southwestern States and "New America".

VP Bill Loper assassinates President Carver with a lethal injection, and it's all caught on tape, thanks to an Israeli hidden camera. But Carver wrote a love letter to Rosa Winter, before she died.

The biggest swerve arrives when Monday the Eliminator reveals he's part of the ancient order of Samothrace (a Greek island that had some mysterious religious pilgrimages in ancient history). They've been at war, literally forever, with the "Legion of Man"--- a counterpart EVIL secret society, of whom Bill Loper seems to be involved with.

Using his Samothrace secret society contacts, Monday is able to use a space shuttle to fly him and Scout to Russia's Skybase 5-- the worst fear of 80's SDI scenarios, as it's a big satellite station armed with tons of nukes. Monday takes over Skybase 5, then sends a worldwide broadcast, ordering everybody to stand down. If not, he'll blow 'em to hell. WW3 doesn't necessarily end, but simmers into more traditional (non-nuclear) conflicts. 

Pissed off at Monday and the current situation, Scout returns home and decides to disappear into the mountains, once more. But he'll be back, in about 6-8 months with "Scout: War Shaman", a new ongoing title, set roughly 10 years later. In the meantime, there are two mini-series to keep everyone engaged: "The Swords of Texas", and Rosa Winter in "New America".

So yeah, this is a very hard-hitting political and social allegory for the 80's. All the fears about Ronald Reagan, the Cold War and even extreme religious groups infiltrating the government. Even the secret society conspiracy that surrounded groups like the Free Masons is worked in. Everything's on display and, for the most part, it works. One thing I was curious about was the re-organized KKK as the "Knights of America", from the first few issues. There's a lot of "world building" in this final arc and it actually makes me want to track down the spin-off books, plus "War Shaman". Scout had almost become a supporting character in his own book, so it's good to take a break, do the spin-offs and come back in a bit.

Visually, Timothy Truman does a great job with his close-ups and military armaments. He gets better as the series rolls on. Some panels of the worldwide conflicts and armored columns seemed to be borrowed from real photographs with some sort of printing/copying process. But they're worked in well and when it comes time to actually draw, Truman nails it.

Oh, and Lone Star beer gets a few plugs in the final issues.

Overall, I think when the book focuses on Scout/Emanuel Santana, it works very well. Problems arise when it tries a little too hard with "world building"....plus the self-indulgent blues/New Disciples nonsense that really had nothing to do with Scout. If you're keeping score, this means the book starts off well and ends well (although, I could've done without Monday the Eliminator in the final arc... but he does fit the purpose of being an immortal eye-in-the-sky with nukes). So, I'll give this book/series a recommendation. You just have to be ready for the bumpy ride in the middle. It's also fun to read all the hippie editorials from the Eclipse crew.
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