Hi I'm John M. Kahane. I was Born in England, I ama a translator, freelance editor and writer, amateur palaeontologist, avid book reader, roleplaying gamer, and music fan. I post and updates about RPGs.
Fifty years ago today. On July, 20th, 1969 at 10:56pm EDT, Neil Armstrong set foot on the moon and became the man who uttered the immortal line that everyone who watched it on their black & white televisions or who has seen it since on broadcasts of the events knows.
I can't remember where I was at the time of the moon landing, but I was 14 years old and living in Montreal, and I do remember sitting in my family's living room on a very hot day and watching the historical moment late at night (my mom let me stay up late for this world history making event) on the family's black & white tv set. Being in love with astronomy at the time, I *had* to watch this happening, even if the images were grainy and the sound was typical of the time, full of the buzz and time delay of the words being spoken on the Moon and coming back to the Earth and its waiting, breathless population. I remember dreaming at the time of lunar cities and further jaunts into the solar system, colonies on Mars, that sort of thing. Everything that science fiction had theorized in various tales, though I knew that I wasn't fated to be able to go to the Moon or Mars...much as I wanted to.
It's fifty years later, and we all know how *that* turned out. Man hasn't been back to the Moon a lot since, and that colony on Mars is something of a pipe dream these days, I guess, but back then it was a time of hope, a time of dreaming of a bright future in space. However, that doesn't diminish the accomplishment of Neil Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin and Michael Collins n the least. Years later in an interview, Armstrong praised the hundreds of thousands of people who worked on the project, and he couldn't have been more right. It was a huge team effort. One for the ages. And one to be remembered for all time.
The Ottawa valley is in the middle of a heatwave, and today has been brutally hot once more. There's actually a heat warning for the Ottawa valley for the today and the weekend. The temperature has hit 33 degC with a humidex of over 40 degC. I'm very tired, have made a dedicated attempt today to stay hydrated, but still have a bit of a headache. Definitely going to make sure I drink a good amount of water from now until I go to bed. (And I intend to keep the gamers this evening hydrated as well.)
In the meantime, the Friday night group is gaming this evening, and they are quite looking forward to tonight's session. The Friday night gamers will be continuing their John Carter of Mars Roleplaying Game campaign of sword & planet adventure on the world of Barsoom created by Edgar Rice Burroughs this evening.
I'm rather looking forward to running the game this evening, though I am tired, hurting, and a bit... wheezy, for lack of a better term. Must be the heat, the humidity and my allergies and asthma.
In the meantime, I need to carefully go upstairs and make something relatively filling for supper. Have a good evening, folks. :)
Superboy starring the Legion of Super-Heroes Vol 1 #200 January-February (February), 1974 “The Legionnaire Bride of Starfinger!” Writer: Cary Bates Penciller: Dave Cockrum Inker: Dave Cockrum Letterer: Ben Oda Colourist: Uncredited Cover: Nick Cardy Editor: Murray Boltinoff
Mission Monitor Board: Bouncing Boy/Chuck Taine, Duo Damsel/Luornu Durgo (both leave the Legion), Brainiac 5, Cosmic Boy, Saturn Girl, Superboy, Mon-El, Shadow Lass; Lightning Lad, Phantom Girl, Chameleon Boy (cameo), Invisible Kid (cameo), Sun Boy (cameo), Element Lad (cameo), Dream Girl (cameo), Star Boy (cameo), Colossal Boy (cameo), Ultra Boy (cameo), Timber Wolf (cameo), Light Lass (cameo), Shrinking Violet (cameo), Supergirl (cameo), Chemical King (cameo), Princess Projectra (cameo), Karate Kid (cameo), Matter-Eater Lad (cameo), Chameleon Boy (cameo).
Guests: The Legion of Substitute Heroes, The Heroes of Lallor and The Wanderers (all appear as wedding guests).
In the self-titled Part 1, in the Legion medical wing, Bouncing Boy/Chuck Taine is told by Brainiac 5 that the diagnosis is clear and unmistakable - Chuck has permanently lost his bouncing powers. To cheer himself up, he goes to the library and watches a certain holovid on visitape of himself and Duo Damsel during happier times. He comes to a decision, and goes after Duo Damsel, who’s returned from a month-long mission in deep space. He learns from Chameleon Boy that she’s gone to the Metro-Center and goes after her there. Chuck tells Duo Damsel his bad news and then asks her the Question - to which she replies “Yes!” Before they can seal it with a kiss, she takes off to save two escaped Eaglox birds. She attempts to split in two to save the birds but finds that she can’t. She is able to save one of the two birds, and fortunately the second bird is saved by Superboy who has arrived for the monthly Legion meeting. Duo Damsel is concerned over her lack of being able to split in two and Superboy learns that Chuck has permanently lost his powers. Luornu and Chuck tell Superboy that it’s all right, because both of them are quitting the Legion - and are getting married! In Part 2, “This Wife is Condemned”, while Bouncing Boy is congratulated by several Legionnaire on his impending nuptials, Brainiac 5 runs another diagnostic and discovers that the reason Duo Damsel can’t split into two is because she already has. He uses a memory probe on her, and see through the probe that a huge, roc-like bird kidnapped her other self during her latest mission. Because of the connection between the two Damsels, the shock of her loss caused her to block out the separation and what happened from her conscious memory. The next morning, three Legion cruisers warm up and prepare to depart for Nix Olympica on Mars, the site for the wedding, with all the Legionnaires on-board except for Mon-El and Shadow Lass, who remain behind to keep the home fires burning. As Shadow Lass and Mon-El walk on the Legion grounds, a nameless energy being follows them, saying that it can confront the Legion a second time soon, and take’s what is its. Chuck Taine and Luornu Durgo/Duo Damsel get married (with Saturn Girl and Phantom Girl as bridesmaids and Lighting Lad as best man), but once more they don’t get to kiss. Duo Damsel collapses after she starts to glow, and Brainiac 5 informs the stunned Legionnaires and guests present that she’s dying. An uninvited guest, Starfinger, calls from above confirming this, as he holds the other glowing Duo Damsel. He says the only way they can recover is to hand him the bride so that they can be merged and cured. In Part 3, “Secret of the Starfinger Split!”, Superboy picks up the bride and prepares to take her to Starfinger, but Chuck (Taine) resists the idea. Brainiac 5 knocks him out with a nerve press, saying that “Bouncing Boy’s forgotten he’s a civilian now.” Superboy takes their half of Duo Damsel to Starfinger, but tells him that if either Duo Damsel dies, he’ll have to answer to 23 Legionnaires. Starfinger reminds the Boy of Steel that he once fought the Legion single-handed, and then blast Superboy with a crimson bolt (a red sun ray). Superboy plummets downward, and Starfinger catches the second Duo Damsel and takes off with the pair of them. As he flies, Starfinger gloats to himself about how long he’s planned for this. He hit both Duo Damsels with a poisonous mist during their mission, thus ensuring that the Legion would have to hand over the second Damsel to him or both would die. Meeting up with his monstrous bird, called Warxi, the villain has it hold the two Damsels while he rides it back to his space-craft. Meanwhile, Saturn Girl is able to track down Duo Damsel from the brain waves stored on wafers that Brainiac 5 and she recorded earlier. Saturn Girl, Brainiac 5, Cosmic Boy and Superboy go after the Duo Damsels. Starfinger informs the reader that his plan is to learn Duo Damsel’s secret to splitting into multiple bodies, thus allowing him to create an army of Starfingers to conquer the galaxy. The Legionnaires find Starfinger’s space-craft, designed to be a giant replica of himself, and Saturn Girl picks up the villain’s thought and tells them what he plans to do. Superboy takes off at super-speed, without telling the others where he’s going. When Starfinger believes he has just created the first twin body for himself, he’s surprised when his other self attacks and takes him out. As Starfinger flies out of the spaceship with the two Duo Damsels, he is blasted by Cosmic Boy and is revealed to be Superboy. Superboy tells them he went back to Earth and Legion HQ to get the life-size replica of Starfinger’s costume that they keep in the Trophy Room and then return to surprise Starfinger. The four Legionnaires are taken by surprise when Starfinger’s giant bird arrives, and much to their surprise, teleports away with the spaceship and Starfinger. Back on the ground, Superboy and the others discover that Brainiac 5 has helped the two Damsels merge, and she’s fine now. Looks like it will be a happy wedding day. Back on Earth, Legion leader Mon-El decides to ask Superboy to rejoin the Legion full-time now that both Duo Damsel and Bouncing Boy have left the team. However, unknown to both Mon-El and Shadow Lass, the invisible floating energy form wants to take back what he feels they owe him.
Commentary: Effective this issue, Superboy starring the Legion of Super-Heroes went from being published monthly to being published bi-monthly. From this point forward, I list the two months covered in the copyright listing of the issue as well as the cover date. The reasons for the bi-monthly switch were apparently a shortage of paper at the time as well as doubt as to whether the Legion could hold a comic for a monthly schedule at this time. Now, on to the issue itself...
*sigh* While I was thrilled that Bouncing Boy and Duo Damsel were getting married in this tale, the story was really annoying for several reasons. First off, this is the swan song of two Legion characters (Chuck and Luornu) but neither of them are the stars of the issue. The two characters are both reactive, rather than pro-active, in the story, though I have to wonder whether writer Bates was trying to show how superfluous the two characters are. There’s no justice to how the two Legionnaires leave the team. The second thing that annoyed me was the first six pages of the issue. Bates is trying to create artificial drama, for lack of a better term, here (what’s wrong with Bouncing Boy, is he dying? What question did he ask Duo Damsel? What’s happening with her powers?) but this is all marred and spoiled by the title of the story, you know. I also find it hard to believe that Duo Damsel wold have suffered the hysterical breakdown she did here with the “death” of the other Luornu, given she’s already experienced the death of one of her selves when she was Triplicate Girl. Another thing that bothered me about the story is that with some 20 Legionnaires present for the wedding, only *five* Legionnaires react? And why doesn't Lightning Lad take an interest in the business, given the relationship he has with Dr. Lars Hanscomb aka Starfinger??? Sheesh! But if nothing else, you have to admire a villain who goes to a wedding where at least 20 super-heroes are... that takes guts - and sheer author stupidity! *sigh* Bouncing Boy loses his super-powers and leaves the Legion in this story. Duo Damsel then leaves as well to marry him, as the Legion Constitution at this time forbid married members. All that said, the story was an enjoyable read, despite the plot issues I had with it. Dave Cockrum’s artwork is stunning once more and the faces of Bouncing Boy and Duo Damsel run the gamut of emotions in this one. According to this story, Duo Damsel and Bouncing Boy's wedding will be on October 28, 2973. So set your calendars for that one. I was really sad that Chuck and Luornu never got to kiss in this tale. Lack of a pay-off, for lack of a better term, really didn’t help reinforce the idea that they’re getting married.
Just want to wish Brad a Happy Birthday. May the Goddess bless you with good health, happiness, prosperity, and a warm breeze at your back for the coming year.
Here's hoping today is a terrific day for you, that you have a good birthday celebration, and that there's some excellent cake (if that's too your liking!). :) And here's hoping the next year is a terrific one for you. Happy Birthday, mate! :)
Superboy starring the Legion of Super-Heroes Vol 1 #199 November, 1973 “The Legionnaires Vs. The Gun That Mastered Men” Writer: Cary Bates Penciller: Dave Cockrum Inker: Dave Cockrum Letterer: Ben Oda Colourist: Carl Gafford Cover: Dave Cockrum and Nick Cardy Editor: Murray Boltinoff
Mission Monitor Board: Superboy, Brainiac 5, Princess Projectra, Star Boy, Dream Girl, Chameleon Boy, Saturn Girl (flashback), Timber Wolf (flashback).
Superboy and Brainiac 5 narrate the story of how Tyr and his mysterious, sentient weapon planned their revenge on the Legion after taking on the Legion in Superboy & the LSH Vol 1 #197. A couple of days after the Legionnaires defeated Tyr, and his gun-hand took off into space and Earth’s orbit, as Superboy departs after saying farewell to his friends, Tyr’s gun-hand fires at Earth, surrounding the Legion Headquarters in an impenetrable force-field. The five Legionnaires are the only ones at HQ, Mon-El having led the others away to a mission on his homeworld of Daxam. Brainiac 5 and Star Boy attempt to analyze the force-field, but it is an unknown energy type. They open up the Legion arsenal and try to break through the field, but the beam seems to have fortified the Legion HQ walls and made them impenetrable. Brainiac 5 points out that they’re trapped in their own headquarters, and he can’t help but think that Tyr and his gun have something to do with it. Meanwhile, Superboy sees the attack starting in the midst of his beginning to time travel back to 20th Century Smallville, and returns. However, he is unable to break trough the beam from outside either. He heads to the source, and discovers that it is Tyr’s computer gun-hand. He attempts to give it a crushing “hand shake” Superboy style and there is a massive explosion. Back inside, Dream Girl has a vision of Star Boy flying towards the ceiling with open arms, but she can’t figure out why. Brainiac 5 uses one of the weapons to blast the ceiling grate, and Tyr falls out after the grate turns red-hot and loosens. Star Boy flies up to the ceiling ad captures Tyr, restraining him with the help of Chameleon Boy. Tyr boasts that his weapon hand will not rest until he is free and the Legionnaires are dead. Princess Projectra has a minor meltdown, claiming that the five members are the weakest Legionnaires and have no chance, but Brainiac 5 says that’s right, but they do have their wits. Moments later, the force-field around Legion HQ drops away and Chameleon Boy determines that Superboy did not go back to his own time, and must have defeated the gun-hand. When Superbly arrives, however, the gun-hand reveals that it surprised the Boy of Steel with a cosmic blast and then adapted its circuits to plug into Superboy and take over his brain. The Boy of Steel strains to prevent it, but the gun-hand seemingly annihilates the five Legionnaires with a massive blast. In the aftermath of the attack, with Superboy bemoaning having killed his friends, Tyr attacks wearing a glove coated with artificial Green Kryptonite. With the gun-hand weakened, it releases Superboy since it no longer has the power as it was siphoning the Boy of Steel. When the gun-hand is grabbed by Tyr, the alien transforms into Chameleon Boy, who reveals that he was masquerading as Tyr (who has been re-imprisoned) and the Legionnaires are alive, Princess Projectra having cast an illusion of the group of heroes to make the gun-hand think it had killed them. Princess Projectra’s confidence is restored, and once Superboy has headed back for the 20th Century, she tells Brainiac 5 that working together they can defeat any enemy. Brainiac 5 tells her that’s right, since teamwork is what the Legion is all about.
Commentary: This story is the sequel to that story about Timber Wolf and Tyr’s original attack on the Legion told in Superboy starring the LSH Vol 1 #197, and like that story, is enjoyable to read but isn’t a great tale. While the story is certainly dynamic and filled with action, it falls flat from two things. First, why doesn’t Tyr’s gun-hand attempt to take over Chameleon Boy when he grabs it, or (as the gun says) is it because it has been drained since it was relying on Superboy’s powers? Secondly, Princess Projectra’s lack of faith in herself and her four Legion friends is, frankly, not something that I expected of Orandoan royalty and I’m finding the number of Legionnaires questioning their worth and their powers’ usefulness to be somewhat tiring already. And I thought it was interesting that Projectra’s powers of illusion worked on the gun-hand (an artificial or robotic creature). I also found it hard to believe that the Legion just keeps an artificial Green Kryptonite glove on hand lying around for Chameleon Boy to use on his friend (though he did apologize for that near the end of the story. Tyr (and his gun-hand) make for an interesting adversary for the Legion, and it’s a sad thing that he did not return to the series for something like ten years or so to challenge them again. One highlight of the story is Dave Cockrum’s designs for the new costumes for Prinncess Projectra (though she may have worn this one in her most recent appearance), Dream Girl and the fabulous Star Boy. Just excellent artwork.
And then we have the issue’s second story...
“The Impossible Target!” Writer: Cary Bates Penciller: Dave Cockrum Inker: Dave Cockrum Letterer: Ben Oda Colourist: Carl Gafford Cover: na Editor: Murray Boltinoff
Mission Monitor Board: Bouncing Boy
Bouncing Boy is travelling on a one-man cruiser on his way back to Earth from checking a Legion tracking station on the rim of the solar system when he is captured by what appears to be a meteor storm but are actually man-made, controlled satellites. They surround his mini-cruiser, drain its energy, and then drag it off to a nearby semi-deserted planetoid. He discovers that he’s been captured by the son of Otto Orion, the famous hunter who tried to bag the greatest game of them all, the Legionnaires, but was killed through his own plan of evening the odds. Otto Orion’s son shows him his fate - to be tossed into a zero-gravity chamber and then shot in cold blood by the hunter. Otto Orion’s son gives Bouncing Boy a “fair chance” as he releases him onto the jungle-covered surface of the planetoid and gives him until he circles the asteroid once before coming after him. Bouncing Boy tries to hide, but not knowing the lay of the land appears helpless when Orion returns and quickly tracks him down. Thinking fast, Bouncing Boy jumps into an icy pool, but Orion fishes him out. As he does so, Orion’s son explains that Bouncing Boy was his first target because he was "the weakest, sorriest, most slow-witted Legionnaire of them all!”, though he does lament that he expected the Legionnaire to put up a better fight. Once Orion’s son places him in the zero-gravity chamber, Bouncing Boy puts his plan to work. Having caught cold in the icy water, he lets out an explosive sneeze and using his knowledge of the “angles”, ricochets off the wall and into Orion’s on, knocking him out. He tells the villain that he has to admit he was no match for a Legionnaire.
Commentary: This story is a sort of sequel, as it brings back the son of the man that the Legionnaires faced in a take on Richard Connell’s “The Most Dangerous Game” back in Adventure Comics Vol 1 #358, this time having the son of the original Otto Orion seeking revenge on the Legionnaires and starting with the one he perceives as the weakest of them all. Bouncing Boy has been a joke with the Legion of Super-Heroes for years, and has questioned his value and worth to the team over the years several times. In this story, Bouncing Boy convinces himself that he is a Legionnaire, but more importantly he shows that bouncing around and into objects not only isn’t a bad power to have, but it’s a worthwhile power in the right circumstances. Cary Bates’s story works much better here, as both tales in this issue have Legionnaires, Projectra in the first and Bouncing Boy in the second, doubting themselves. That said, Otto Orion’s son is, to put it bluntly, an idiot. He dresses like a bad imitation of Kraven the Hunter, and doesn’t realize that the “weakest” Legionnaire that he should have started with is likely Matter-Eater Lad. Dave Cockrum’s artwork in this story is stellar, with the space scenes, the building and jungles on the planetoid, all being quality work.
Superboy starring the Legion of Super-Heroes Vol 1 #198 October, 1973 “The Fatal Five Who Twisted Time!” Writer: Cary Bates Penciller: Dave Cockrum Inker: Dave Cockrum Letterer: Ben Oda Colourist: Uncredited Cover: Nick Cardy Editor: Murray Boltinoff
Mission Monitor Board: Superboy, Brainiac 5, Element Lad, Princess Projectra, Karate Kid, Mon-El, Colossal Boy, Chameleon Boy; Cosmic Boy, Shrinking Violet and Chemical King appear in cameos.
In the self-titled Part 1, Clark Kent and Lana Lang are enjoying a travelling carnival outside of Smallville. Though, truth be told, Clark’s mind is actually on the unusual UFO that’s been spotted over Smallville, shooting out a beam that seems to have the effect of being an x-ray slicing through the town. Clark becomes so distracted that he fails to realize that Lana’s in real danger from Gorpo, an escaped gorilla. He manages to knock the gorilla out without Lana being any the wiser. The two go back to walking the carnival grounds, and Lana convinces Clark to come with her to see the gypsy fortune-teller. Using his x-ray vision, he realizes her crystal ball is the Emerald Eye of Ekron and that the fortune-teller is the Emerald Empress. The Empress attacks Superboy, and the Persuader is alerted, causing him to join in. The Emerald Empress and the Persuader are too much for the Boy of Steel. They taunt him with the fact that the Time-Sorter has sealed his doom. The Persuader’s atomic axe fells Superboy, and the Emerald Empress encases him in a force-field that puts him in permanent suspended animation. Moments later, Mano arrives. The Empress and Persuader tell him they’ve installed the Time-Sorter in Smallville and then they all disappear together. In Part 2, “Prisoners of the Time Lock!”, a time bubble containing four Legionnaires - Brainiac 5, Element Lad, Karate Kid and Princess Projectra - arrives. The Legionnaires are there to warn Superboy, but hearing a commotion from the carnival fear it is too late. Lana explains to the Legionnaires what happened, and the mention of the Time-Sorter, but the four Legionnaires are content that only two of the Fatal Five are in the past, and that two others are imprisoned in the 30th Century. Meanwhile, in the 30th Century, Mon-El and Colossal Boy discuss the fact that Validus has broken Tharok free, while the others stole a time-bridger and travelled back to Smallville in Superboy’s time. Suddenly, the Legion Headquarters and those Legionnaires on-site fade away into nothingness. On the empty site where Legion HQ stood, Tharok boasts to Validus that the Time-Sorter planted in Superboy’s era has created a domino effect as planned, causing the Legion to cease to exist! Back in Smallville, Emerald Empress, Persuader and Mano attack the Legionnaires, who have split up trying to find them. They destroy the Legion’s time bubble and gloat to them how the Time-Sorter warps the time/space continuum. The Time-Sorter made sure that Superboy lost the fight against the Persuader and Empress in Smallville and the device also cancelled the events leading up to the formation of the Legion. The Empress explains that the four Legionnaires are without a Legion in the future. Karate Kid attempts to destroy the Emerald Eye, but it reforms from the shattered pieces. The fight goes as well for the Legionnaires as it can, but they realize that they need to retreat. When the four Legionnaires get back together and compare notes, they realize they’ve been stranded in the past, possibly forever. In Part 3, “Countdown to Catastrophe!”, back in the 30th Century, a surprised Tharok and Validus are joined by Mano, though he’s supposed to be in 1950s Smallville. Mano explains he was detained by a police posse in another galaxy. Back in 20th Century Smallville, the Mano there convinces the Empress and the Persuader that they should guard the Time-Sorter to ensure that its effects become permanent in the next 20 minutes of the 24-hour adjustment period. They head into downtown Smallville, where it’s revealed that the Time-Sorter is concealed inside the statue of Superboy that stands there. Mano fingers a concealed switch on his belt... and the relieved Brainiac 5 receives the signal on his force-shield belt. The Mano in Smallville is revealed as Chameleon Boy, as he’s discovered to be a fraud when his battery-charged glove that duplicates Mano’s disintegrator hand has run out of power. Princess Projectra saves Chameleon Boy with an illusion of Validus, and Chameleon Boy tells Karate Kid the Time-Sorter’s in the statue of Superboy. Karate Kid splits the statue open, to reveal both the Time-Sorter and Superboy. With only seconds to spare, Karate Kid destroys the Time-Sorter. With time restored, Brainiac 5 tells the villains that it’s over, but the Empress and the Persuader escape into the time stream using their time-bridgers. Back in the future, Legion Headquarters starts to reappear around Tharok, Mano and Validus. Validus manages to escape, but Tharok and Mano find themselves imprisoned where they were standing in the Legion jail.
Commentary: This is, I’ll admit an enjoyable story, and is the first appearance of the Fatal Five since they took on Karate Kid back in Adventure Comics Vol 1 #378 back in March of 1969 and Mon-El and Saturn Girl took on Tharok and Validus in Superboy Vol 1 #190; it’s actually the first time since the Adventure Comics Vol 1 days that the Legion has taken on the entire Fatal Five team, albeit in two different time periods. The division of the story into three discrete parts was quite interesting, and made the sections of the tale feel distinct. The fight sequences in the story are truly beautifully rendered by Dave Cockrum, with some real dynamics involved, and Cockrum really handled the artwork in the first chapter set in Smallvile rather well; it had a distinct feel to it, to be sure. That said, if one looks at the story too closely, there are some definite flaws here... How did Chameleon Boy know where and when to infiltrate the Fatal Five as Mano? Mon-El mentions at one point that all three of the Five - Emerald Empress, the Persuader and Mano - disappeared into the past together, so why wasn’t he there to fight the Legionnaires? Furthermore, since Mon-El mentions that he sent four Legionnaires back to Superboy’s time, Brainiac 5 obviously sent Chameleon Boy in advance without telling the Legion leader. Typical Brainiac 5, I’d say. Perhaps a sign of things to come, huh? However, the real glitch with the plot is this... If the Time-Sorter prevented the Legion from ever existing, it should have also prevented the Fatal Five from existing! The Legion was the reason the Fatal Five formed in the first place. Funnily enough, this is the second issue in a row where a Legionnaire dives towards a countdown device with seconds to spare, and stops it. Last issue it was Timber Wolf, and this time out it’s Karate Kid. Costume-wise, Element Lad, Princess Projectra and Colossal Boy all wear their new uniforms in this issue. Colossal Boy's brown and orange uniform from Superboy Vol 1 #195 is gone and forgotten. A nice, humorous part of the story was that Element Lad wanders the carnival eating cotton candy.
Superboy starring the Legion of Super-Heroes Vol 1 #197 September, 1973 “Timber Wolf: Dead Hero, Live Executioner!” Writer: Cary Bates Penciller: Dave Cockrum Inker: Dave Cockrum Letterer: Ben Oda Colourist: Uncredited Cover: Nick Cardy and Dave Cockrum Editor: Murray Boltinoff
Mission Monitor Board: Superboy, Timber Wolf, Mon-El, Lightning Lad, Brainiac 5, Saturn Girl; Ultra Boy, Duo Damsel, Shrinking Violet, Bouncing Boy, Chameleon Boy, Chemical King, Matter-Eater Lad, Cosmic Boy, Phantom Girl, Sun Boy and Karate Kid all appear in cameos.
In the self-titled Part 1 of the story... One spring afternoon, Clark Kent is sitting under an apple tree with Lana Lang, who has romance on her mind. He receives an urgent call from the Legion of Super-Heroes. Using his heat-vision, he contrives to get a pair of apples to strike Lana, temporarily knocking her unconscious. Quickly revealing his Superboy togs, he breaks the time barrier to the 30th Century and joins his LSH friends. He is surprised and shocked to find that Timber Wolf is alive. In flashback, we learn that Superboy and Timber Wolf were on Asteroid X52 tracking down a fierce Astral Vulture when the asteroid suddenly exploded, killing the vulture and Timber Wolf. Superboy reported to the Legion that he’d been killed in action, but now he’s back. Timber Wolf doesn’t remember what happened the last six months, his memory is blank - but someone who *does* now what happened during that time is travelling towards Earth in a spaceship! That night, Mon-El observes Timber Wolf sleeping. He tells Superboy that he’s afraid some drastic event must have occurred to Brin (Londo) to cause such a memory loss. Superboy says that he’s sleeping like a baby, not a care in the world. The next day, the President of Earth arrives to award Timber Wolf the Valor Star as a commendation for actually still being alive. Timber Wolf has the sudden, irresistible urge to kill the President! When Timber Wolf snatches up the President and whirls him around, threatening to let go, Mon-El grabs Superboy’s infinitely stretchable cape to catch him when Timber Wolf hurls him away, and then Mon-El grabs Timber Wolf in his own cape; Brin is now a snarling madman. In Part 2, "The Sinister Secret of Timber Wolf!”, it is the next day, and Brainiac 5 subjects Timber Wolf to the Mento-Rehabilitator, (supposedly) curing him of his brainwashing. Timber Wolf remembers being transported to another dimension before the blast on the asteroid. He also remembers an alien that towered over him, but remembers nothing else. Feeling matters are wrapped up, Superboy bids his Legion friends farewell and returns to the 20th Century and a Lana Lang who should be recovering about now. That night, Timber Wolf sneaks around Legion HQ but Saturn Girl senses he’s up to something and follows him into the main hall of the HQ. It turns out Timber Wolf has deactivated the HQ’s defenses, allowing the alien’s vessel to land without triggering the alarms. Saturn Girl follows Timber Wolf as he goes to the central Control Complex, and activates the secret self-destruct timer. The HQ will be destroyed in 90 seconds. The alien warrior, who calls himself Tyr, attacks, shooting Saturn Girl, though she partially avoids it, and then ricochets and strikes Timber Wolf. Tyr admits to Saturn Girl that he is the one who destroyed the asteroid and saved Timber Wolf, protecting them both with his dimensional shield, in order to brainwash him into destroying Legion Headquarters. He concealed that plan behind another brainwashing plot to kill the President. As Tyr looms over her, Timber Wolf attacks the alien, knocking Tyr out. He then quickly switches off the self-destruct mechanism with only 5 “ticks” remaining. Turning their attention back to Tyr, however, they notice that his gun-hand is missing, and has launched itself into orbit...
Commentary: Before commenting on the story, I just want to say: This is the first issue of Superboy Vol 1 that features the Legion of Super-Heroes in the main title on the cover of the book. While the Legion has certainly come a long way from their back-up days starting in Action Comics Vol 1 #378 and then into the Superboy Vol 1 run starting with #172 in March of 1971, I personally think that artist Dave Cockrum had a lot to do with this. While the title of the book is still officially “Superboy”, and would remain so for several more years, it’s important to note that from this issue onward the Legion as a series would be published continuously for some 40 years or so. As a group, they will be published every month from this issue until the seventh volume of their own title was cancelled in 2013. Now, as for the story...
This issue features the debut of the super-villain Tyr, who will return numerous times to battle the Legion over the next decades or so. The story, however, while enjoyable as a read, does have a few gaping plot holes. I mean, let’s face it, Saturn Girl should have been a dominant figure in this tale. After all, a Legionnaire goes missing, presumed dead, for six months and then returns, but can't remember anything about the missing time - and you don’t ask your resident telepath for help? With Timber Wolf as a focus character, Cary Bates uses quite a few other Legionnaires in this tale, but where’s Brin’s love interest, Light Lass/Ayla Ranzz in all this? Nowhere to be found. Sheesh! Also since Timber Wolf hasn’t been seen since the Doctor Regulus story in Superboy Vol 1 #191, it would have been nice somewhere in the stories in between if it had been mentioned that Timber Wolf was missing, presumed dead, since six months had gone by. Hmmm... were the Legionnaires looking for his replacement when they interviewed Drake Burroughs/Wildire back in Superboy Vol 1 #195? The other real plot hole is the mission that Timber Wolf and Superboy had gone on. Since Superboy is a Legion Reservist, why send him on the mission? Perhaps this story was a last minute tale of sorts, and it had originally meant to have Mon-El or Ultra Boy in that position, but with the new prominence of the Legion and their taking over the comic, Superboy was “plugged in” to that slot. Hmmm... So, overall, a bit of a clunker in places, but a story that brings the Legion of Super-Heroes into the forefront of a DC Comics title that was about to reach its (first) stride in LSH history. Costume-wise, there are some interesting aspects to this story. First of all, Dave Cockrum seems to have decided to postpone new costumes for most of the Legionnaires. Although Timber Wolf's new look and costume are spotlighted here, he actually has a more feral look back in Superboy Vol 1 #191. Karate Kid is back in his orange/beige jump-suit, discarding his high-collared yellow, white and black uniform that he wore in Superboy Vol 1 #193. Dave Cockrum apparently changed his mind about using that costume and discarded it. Lighting Lad's classic Bronze Age (if memory serves me right) costume quietly makes its debut in this issue. Oh, and Element Lad is shown on the cover (complete with flying belt from the old days before the flight rings), but he does not appear in the story.
For those who have not heard, the Legion of Super-Heroes will be returning to current DC Comics continuity with a new series.
As a long-time Legion of Super-Heroes fan, I started a re-read of the comics from the beginning in late March and early April, but things got put on hold for some time due to other things going on in my life. I started off posting about the issues, starting with Adventure Comics #247 (the first appearance of the Legion in 1958), on my Twitter blog but...
...I've come to realize that it's too time consuming to do the posts there. So have decided to write them here on my blog. I won't be starting with the run from the beginning (so if you want to see those posts, you'll have to check my Twitter feed!), but will start with the first issue of the Superboy title when the Legion took over with Superboy starring the Legion of Super-Heroes #197 (September, 1973).
Hope everyone enjoys my blog entries about the Legion of Super-Heroes and the re-reads of the Legion's glorious (and at times, not so glorious) past! :)
On Sunday, the Sunday gaming group met up for their as can be regular weekly scheduled gaming session (barring illness, weather, or working). The Sunday afternoon gaming group continued on with their John Carter of Mars Roleplaying Game campaign in the sword & planet science fantasy world of Barsoom, created by Edgar Rice Burroughs. You can read about the previous session by following this link. This post is somewhat long, so I've put it behind a cut for those who don't want to read about my roleplaying game campaigns.
Kartos of Pakku (StevenR) - Adaptable Explorer Jaxti Jarr (Tammy) - Canny Scientist
Padan 1 (Late), Teean 1, Ord 1
As the servant girl, Jwa, returns with some refreshments, Dwar Selmm Jakka asks the player characters what they have been told about their assignment so far.
FLASHBACK Padan -3: Jaxti Jarr is summoned to the office of Lara Jhoris, the Guild Mistress of the Institute of Science in the city of Saradin. Jaxti is impressed with the splendour of the office, and the massive collection of written works, and after the two share refreshments and engage in a bit of banter, Lara Jhoris gets to the point. Jaxti is being sent on a scientific expedition that is being sent from Pakku in 2 padans. The institute will be paying for her commercial airship transport to Pakku the next padan. She is to meet in Pakku with Korvis Than, a Zodangan scientist, there. She will learn more about the assignment from him. Lara tells her to make what arrangements she needs to, though she tells Jaxti in answer to her question that she doesn’t know now long the assignment will be.
Meanwhile, in Pakku, Kartos of Pakku is asked to come visit noted scientist and explorer Alme Sarr. Upon his arrival at Sarr’s home, he is escorted into the explorer’s office. Sarr tells Kartos that there is an exploratory mission that offers itself, departing from Pakku in three padans. He suggests that Kartos would be perfect for the job, and tells him that he is to meet with Zodangan scientist Korvis Than the next evening, where is will be able to learn more. Kartos asks why Sarr thought of him for the mission, and the scientist/explorer says that he seems to have the right skill set for the job. Kartos thanks him for his time and for thinking of him, and departs.
Padan -2: At the appointed time, Kartos arrives at the mansion of Korvis Than on the outskirts of Pakku. It is obviously the home of a diplomat and envoy, its wealth being somewhat ostentatious and with a bit of a martial flavour to it. On arriving, Kartos is met at the door by a manservant, Halm, and when he introduces himself Halm takes him straight to a “small” antechamber that is filled with the Zodangan’s weaponry and other assorted gifts and items he’s received hanging on the walls, decorating several tables, and in bookcases and tapestries. He’s impressed. A servant, Jadd, enters and says that they are waiting on another invitee, and that in the meantime, he offers Kartos some refreshment. The explorer accepts some water.
Shortly thereafter, Jaxti Jarr arrives at the mansion by personal flier, somewhat tired still from the trip to Pakku from Saradin. As she walks towards the extravagant mansion, she wonders about the security in place but doesn’t see anything obvious. At the main entrance, she is surprised and astonished by what at first appear to be two large pillars, but realizes they are ancient robots of some sort, well covered in patina, facing away from the entrance itself, and standing around 7 sofads tall. She is so occupied with the robots that she fails to hear the door open. The manservant Halm greets her, and takes her to the antechamber where Kartos of Pakku is already waiting.
The two talk about matters after introducing themselves to one another, and it is obvious that Jaxti is sizing up Kartos. (Perhaps finding him somewhat wanting?) She tells him about herself, but he is somewhat secretive and doesn’t reveal that much. They are curious as to why they’ve been asked to the Zodangan scientist’s home, and Jaxti expresses some concern with all the martial items and feel of the place on display. She walks around, looking at some of the wondrous items on display, and wonders what sort of diplomat he can be given the martial nature of the place. Halm interrupts them, but before he can speak, Korvis Than enters the room.
Than is a somewhat tall (for a red Martian) man with very dark skin but muscular and physically fit. Jaxti notices that he’s wearing a radium pistol attached to his harness, which bears the livery of Zodanga and something else that she presumes is a scientific symbol from his home city as well. They sit, Korvis Than behind a large, ornate desk, and after exchanging pleasantries, the Zodangan envoy gets down to business.
Korvis Than informs the characters that a set of ruins was unearthed by a Barsoomian sandstorm some 3 ords ago, in the buffer zone between the Principality of Karakh and the Baltan Confederacy. The ruined city of Tharsis lies some 2,100 haads from Johor of the Principality and some 1,400 haads from Jacca in the Confederacy. Jaxti and Kartos recall that Johor was founded by Principality dissidents who settled at the closest range to the Baltan Confederacy but still being part of the Principality. It is known as a central trading post with the red Nomad tribes. By contrast, Jacca is said to be a veritable thieves den where anything on Barsoom can be found for a price and has a famed slave market. Kartos adds that the area where the ruins are is also part of the territory claimed by the Thoxx horde of green Martians. When asked whether other expeditions have been to Tharsis, Korvis says that he was one of the team of (independent) diplomats who negotiated a deal between the Principality and the Confederacy to share what’s found in Tharsis and observe the peace while there. That took 3 years to negotiate, but Kartos feels there’s more that Korvis Than isn’t saying. Korvis Than tells the characters they have the rest of the evening and the early part of next morning to prepare and make their arrangements. They are to board their transport at the Pakku airship docks, at Berth 22, the next day around mid-morning. With that, Korvis Than dismisses them. FLASHBACK ENDS
Padan 1 (Early evening): Back on board the Hantaas, Dwar Jakka asks if the player characters have any other questions that he can answer. When asked, he tells Kartos and Jaxti that the Hantaas will remain at a high altitude, hopefully out of surveillance range of other parties that might be interested in the ruins of Tharsis. He says that he’ll provide them with hand mirror communications equipment, adding that the altitude being maintained will also allow for bringing the radium cannons to bear on matters if necessary. Jaxti says she knew about the forward cannon, but Jakka surprises her when he tells her they also have an aft cannon on the Hantaas. Opening the map case that he brought with him, he shows them the hand-drawn map of Tharsis made by the explorer Val Drys. Kartos recalls that Drys is an eccentric, brilliant, famous explorer who was born in the Confederacy but now dwells in the Principality. Jakka tells them that he was the lone survivor of an expedition that came back from Tharsis - but that his mind was broken. Both Kartos and Jaxti examine the map at Dwar Jakka’s invitation, but there is no scale and the map drawing is crude. Jaxti points out the pillar that seems in the heart of the ruins. Since Val Drys emphasized the pillar or statue, perhaps it has some importance...
The Ruins of Tharsis map
Dwar Jakka mentions again the presence of the Thoxx, since it is likely they have made their presence felt in the ruins of Tharsis the last three ords. He asks if they want a capable swordsman to accompany them, but both Kartos and Jaxti veto that, since there’s obviously some reason why a small party was desired in the first place. Looking at the map, Jakka asks them if they have a particular place where they’d like to put down at or near the ruins, but Kartos says they’ll wait to pick a landing spot when they get closer to the ruins so they can see the actual lay of the land.
The next few padans pass uneventfully, the player characters and the crew of the Hantaas eager to spot the ruins and see the lay of the land. Late on the afternoon of the fourth padan, Freeia finds Kartos and Jaxti in their quarters and tells them that they can see the ruins pretty close now, but still in the distance. Both Kartos and Jaxti go up on deck, approaching Dwar Jakka, who gestures ahead of the airship. Kartos peers ahead with his field glasses, but can’t make out any detail at this distance still - though he sees a light of some sort emanating from the ruins. Whatever it is must be very bright to be seen this far away. Jaxti borrows his field glasses, and see the light as well but doesn’t sense any form of movement. She spots what might be four-armed figures in the direction of the hills, and she and Kartos both comment on “green Martians” at the same time. [She spends 3 Momentum to ask questions here.] She also says that she can see some wreckage in the northwest part of the ruins but can’t make out clearly what it is. Dwar Jakka tells them that there’s still some zodes of travel to reach the ruins, so they had best get some rest. The Hantaas continues to fly on during the night.
Padan 5: The player characters awake around mid-morning, and learn that they are approaching the ruined city of Tharsis. After their morning ablutions and a quick breakfast, they go on deck, Kartos remembering to bring his field glasses. The two see that the majority of the crew not engaged in their duties are looking at the ruins of Tharsis, which are still in the distance. They talk for a few moments with Dwar Jakka, and then concentrate on seeing what they can of the ruins ahead of them. They wait somewhat longer as the Hantaas gets closer to the ruins, though still at the high elevation, not talking, just observing.
After a while, both characters see that the ruins of Tharsis are much larger than they had expected, though they cannot make out too many specific details at this distance. Kartos uses his field glasses [and spends a Threat], and can make out the pillar in the centre of the city ruins though he does not see any light at all. He estimates the ruins are roughly the size of perhaps Holl or even Karakh itself, but can’t be certain. There is some movement that he can make out, but nothing that stands out. The riverbed is revealed as canals, though long since dried up. He can see there are quite a few intact, or semi-intact, structures. Jaxti borrows his field glasses, and is able to see quite a lot [she spends 2 Threat and 1 Momentum, and generates 6 Momentum!]: she sees movement in the ruins, that she claims are banths, and spots another furtive movement near a building that might be a white ape. Looking to the northwest, she sees what is indeed wreckage at the edge of the ruins, and believes it to be a downed flier! Turning her attention to the hills, she sees what looks like a sea of green on the side of the hills near the ruins - a green Martian horde. Kartos suggests that this is the Thoxx, the dominant horde in this part of Barsoom, and highly intelligent. He tells the Dwar what he has seen, and Jakka is not all that happy about this. As the Hantaas comes within range of the city ruins, they also find themselves in range of the green Martian weapons! As the Dwar and his padwar, Samja, take evasive maneuvers the ship is struck once and then again. The Hantaas tries several maneuvers, but the green Martians are getting the range, and eventually two shots cause Dwar Jakka to take dangerous evasive maneuvers that cause several crew members, including Jaxti, to nearly go overboard.
As the Dwar starts to move the Hantaas to higher elevation and slightly away from the ruins, a barrage of radium rifle shots from the green Martians damage one of the 8th ray projectors and storage tanks. The Hantaas lists dangerously, and one of the crew starts to go overboard. Jaxti heroically goes to the edge of the rail and reaches out and barely manages to grasp the falling man’s hand [she spends 2 Momentum and a Threat, but rolls 3 successes and a Complication]; however, the yawing of the airship causes her to start to tip over the edge of the railing even while gripping the crewman! Seeing what’s about to happen, Kartos risks his life and manages to grab Jaxti before she and the crewman go overboard [he spends 1 Threat, 2 Momentum and a Luck point], and by sheer strength of will pulls them back onto the Hantaas, which slowly starts to right herself and head for open air. The crewman, Ferd, thanks them both for rescuing him, as he wasn’t really to meet Issus just yet. Jaxti merely nods in Kartos’s direction, acknowledging his efforts as well. Radium shots from below continue to be fired, but miss the airship (though some narrowly).
Once the Hantaas reaches altitude out of range of the green Martians, the wobbly vessel is evaluated by two of the crew. Kartos and Jaxti are nearby when Samja reports to the Dwar that one of the storage tanks for the 8th ray is leaking badly, impinging on the ray device to support part of the airship. Hence the wobble, and the listing of the vessel to starboard. Jaxti surprises herself, when Dwar Jakka asks for knowledgeable volunteers willing to go over the side and under the airship at this altitude and with the fierce winds to repair the damage, and she does so. [Her Talent to Fix It makes her the logical candidate.] She admits to never having done anything like this before, but Freeia re-assures her that she’ll be quite safe. With a descent rope and a safety line attached to her, Jaxti goes over the side, swaying in the strong wind [she spends a Momentum], and makes her descent. Using the equilibrimotor she’s been given, she moves under the hull and finds the damage a bit more extensive than expected. She starts work [spending a Luck and a Momentum] and manages to finish within 1-1/2 zodes. As she rises back to the deck of the Hantaas, she can feel the airship stabilizing somewhat and the lift of the vessel becoming steady.
Once on the deck of the airship, Jaxti receives the thanks of Dwar Jakka and the rest of the crew of the Hantaas for her hard work. She doesn’t say much, but does admit that it was exhilarating but that it’s not something she wants to do on a regular basis. Jakka tells her and Kartos that after she’s cleaned herself up and recovered somewhat, he’d like to see the two of them in his cabin. They need to reevaluate matters and discuss things.
Sunday's game session of the John Carter of Mars Roleplaying Game campaign was a decent session of the game, had a little bit of everything, and gave the players and their characters some action and a bit of drama in the last hour of the game session. Both players were pretty pleased at the game session's conclusion, but there will be some discussion about whether to give the players an NPC fighter type (perhaps a panthan?) to aid in their endeavours in the ruins of Tharsis.
A fun session of the game and I'm looking forward to running the next Sunday session of the John Carter of Mars Roleplaying Game campaign. However, Tammy is working the next two weekends, and she's not sure what August will bring yet work-wise, so I'm not sure when the next session will be!
Yesterday (Sunday) afternoon, the Sunday gaming group met up for their as can be regular weekly scheduled gaming session (barring illness, weather, or working). The Sunday afternoon gaming group re-started their John Carter of Mars Roleplaying Game campaign in the sword & planet science fantasy world of Barsoom, created by Edgar Rice Burroughs. You can read the post about the characters created by the players by following this link. This post is somewhat long, so I've put it behind a cut for those who don't want to read about my roleplaying game campaigns.
Kartos of Pakku (SteveR) - Adaptable Explorer Jaxti Jarr (Tammy) - Canny Scientist
Padan 1, Teean 1, Ord 1
[With the departure of Keith from the Sunday group, Tammy and SteveR decided that they wanted to start the campaign over again, though they did both decide to play the characters they had created originally. For now, the two players are on their own with their characters, but I may bring a (permanent) PC as NPC in at a later time if I feel it is necessary.
Since we were starting the Sunday campaign over from scratch... I started the session off with a quick review of the basic game rules and mechanics (excluding combat for the moment). I then proceeded to talk to the players about life on Barsoom, customs, culture, and the like and then proceeded to talk to them about basic knowledge that they have about the area of Barsoom they are playing in - the Principality of Karakh, located 3,500 haads northeast of the Forest of Lost Men, and its rival, the Confederacy of Baltan. We then proceeded to some sample combats (since Tammy had missed those), using the Momentum rules as written with a minor alteration. The sample combats were pretty basic, first the players taking each other on, then facing an increasing number of minions. Once that was finished, we started in on actual game play and the new beginning of the campaign.]
The player characters begin their first adventure in the city of Pakku, which lies the furthest southeast of the habitable areas of the Principality of Karakh. The red Martian scientist Jaxti Jarr travelled from the city of Saradin, at the cost to the Principality, to get here, and she’s still not sure why she did so. Red Martian explorer Kartos of Pakku, as his name implies, is a native of the city and is looking forward to getting out into the Barsoom wilderness once more. It is early morning, and the dry air is beginning to heat up, promising a hot day. The two characters are standing at the airship docks of the city, and have been directed to Berth 22. They make their way along the docks, seeing various airships of varying types and sizes, and eventually reach the appropriate berth. The two find themselves looking at an airship that appears to be a ten-man vessel, does not seem to be obviously armed, and is flying the colours of Pakku and the Principality.
There is a good amount of activity around the airship, and Kartos and Jaxti see several crew loading various crates and other materials aboard the airship. The vessel is hovering some 3 sofads above the ground, with the boarding ramp that can accommodate one or two persons at a time angled up to the ship. They can make out several people on the main deck, and various crates and packages that have already been loaded aboard. Kartos and Jaxti go over to one of the fellows loading crates aboard the ship and introduce themselves. He replies with a friendly “Kaor!”, tells them his name is Halle, and welcomes them aboard the Hantaas. He says they should get right on board, as Dwar Jakka is expecting them.
The two player characters carefully board the Hantaas, and look around. The main deck is a hive of activity, but they see what they take to be the Dwar standing in the forecastle, near the control and steering columns. He’s an attractive, almost swashbuckler-like red Martian with full, wavy hair and wearing a bright coloured yellow scarf around his neck. Kartos and Jaxti go over to him, and introduce themselves. He returns the introduction, Dwar Selmm Jakka, welcomes them aboard his vessel, and asks if they have an experience aboard airships. The two say they have a little, and Jakka tests their worthiness by yawing the ship some 25 degrees. Caught off guard, Jaxti goes flying to the other side of the deck [taking 2 Injury stress] and Kartos is tossed to the ground [taking 1 Injury stress]. The Dwar calls for one of the crew, and Toma shows up; Dwar Jakka has him take the characters and their belongings below decks to their quarters for the trip. Before they leave, the Dwar says that he’ll tell them their mission when they dine with him that night.
Toma takes them below decks and to their quarters for the trip. Kartos’s cabin is two doors down to the aft from Jaxti’s cabin. He leaves them at their quarters, and departs. The characters find that their cabins are quite spacious for such a vessel, but very spartan and functional. There is a bed, wardrobe for putting items and clothes, a small chest for valuable (with a key in the lock), a desk with a chair made of a dark wood, and a small toiletries area. On the desk in Jaxti’s cabin, she finds a small, quality made map case. She opens it and finds nothing within, though she does spot the craftsman’s mark and initials just inside the rim of the case. It reminds her of the map cases found in the universities and scholarly establishments in Saradin. Jaxti goes wandering about the ship for a zode, and finds the radium cannon that is concealed behind the bowsprit of the Hantaas. She thinks this is one of the surprises that the Dwar mentioned earlier when he spoke to them, and is somewhat relieved the ship does have weapons.
The two hear the siren that signals preparation for departure, and both Kartos and Jaxti head up to the deck. A hive of activity, the two find themselves an out of the way area near one of the large coils of rope, and settle in just as the Hantaas starts to rise in the air. She quickly moves away from Pakku and heads higher, eventually reaching 500 ads (app. 4,500 feet) altitude. Dwar Jakka comes over to them, and says they are well on their way for their destination. Jaxti praises the smoothness of the Hantaas’s 8th rays, and Jakka is quite flattered. Toma and a young women, who is introduced as Freeia, come over and Dwar Jakka tells them that if they have any needs or whatever, Toma and Freeia will take care of them. The Hantaas flies on.
After a half zode or so, with Pakku left far behind, Freeia comes over to the characters and asks on behalf of Dwar Jakka if either of them would like to try and fly the Hantaas. Suspecting that it is some kind of test, Jaxti vigorously refuses but Kartos says that he’d like to do so. Freeia takes him over the steering and control column in the forecastle, and meet the co-pilot[/padwar], Samja. Samja gives him basic instructions and an overview on the control mechanism, and then hands Kartos control. The Hantaas drops 2 ads, and then quickly compensating, Kartos raises it back up the same distance, but other parameters are now off. Samja retakes control, and sets the ship to moving smoothly once more. The Dwar demands to know who was responsible for what just happened and while Kartos takes the blame, Samja says it was his fault but that he was acting under the Dwar’s orders. Jakka accepts this, but tells Kartos that he is *not* to fly the Hantaas again.
Several zodes later, the Hantaas passes Saradin to the southeast, and is now some 550 ads up and moving at her maximum flight speed. Seeing where they are, Jaxti asks why the Hantaas didn’t just pick her up at Saradin, rather than her having to come to Pakku to meet the ship. From behind her, Dwar Jakka says because too many people would have seen the Hantaas at Saradin, and questions might be asked. Not to mention the surveillance. And the Principality is insisting on some secrecy for this mission. Three zodes later, the characters see the city of Selaam off to the southeast, and realize the ship is making good time.
Some time later, Freeia finds the player characters in their cabins, and summons them to dinner with Dwar Jakka. They find Samja waiting there, as well as a red Martian servant girl, Jwa. Samja says that the Dwar will be joining them shortly. Soon after, Selmm Jakka enters the small dining room, carrying a map case. When he puts it down, Jaxti sees that it’s a twin of “her” map case. The dwar sits, invites the others to sit as well, and then tells Jwa to serve up the drink and the appetizer. When she leaves, Jakka turns to the player characters and says, “So, you want to know what going on, right?”
Sunday's session of the John Carter of Mars Roleplaying Game campaign was pretty decent I felt and accomplished what I set out to do. I'm not going into the reasons for re-starting the Sunday campaign here (you can find them at the beginning of the material behind the cut), but I do agree with the players' reasoning on this. The purpose of this intro session was to once more set the stage a bit, do a few sample combats (which Tammy had missed out on originally), and give the players and their characters a chance to interact a bit together, and meet the crew of the airship they were going to start on. I thought this worked out very well, and the players had a decent session of it. There was some interaction with the crew of the Hantaas, but SteveR was once again somewhat quiet and a bit withdrawn. I hope that's not a continuing trend...