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M&M Campaign Report – LA Stars Vol 2, Issue 2

21 February, 2011

L.A. STARS Volume 2, Issue 2 (Mar, 1967)
Assault of the AfriApes!

Cover: The four heroes in a line facing a row of apes wearing fatigues and holding assault rifles.  In a star in the lower left hand corner, a picture of Rebel flashing a thumbs up and the caption “Guest Starring Rebel!”
Our Heroes: Bald Eagle, embodiment of American patriotism and agent of OLIVE.
Hi-Q, size-shifting scientific genius.
The Indestructible Man, who is indestructible.
Legionnaire, cyborg super-soldier created as part of a secret US Army project.
Appearing in this issue: Heroes: Rebel and Reggie the Talking Gorilla
Villains: The AfriApes, their Warlord, and Sifu Simian.
Supporting Cast: Dr. M Black, UCLA Professor of Chemistry, Max Million, government liaison, and Cinnamon Washington, community activist.

Opening page: The team on the Rebel Show’s interview set with Eagle, I-Man and Legionnaire on the couch, Hi-Q shrunk down to doll size sitting on Rebel’s desk and Rebel behind his desk.

The opening splash page is a view of the entire Rebel Show studio.  Seven gorillas, six armed with AK-47s, have stormed in.  Two of the apes firing bursts into the ceiling to get everyone’s attention.  The largest proclaims “You are all hostages of the AfriApes!  Cooperate and no one gets hurt.”  Our heroes look shocked.

Next page: “Earlier that day.”  Back at the LA Stars base, the new team is investigating, trying to find some clues as to what happened to the previous team.  While they are poking around, having only found a clue that they may have been going to or near the ocean when the elevator opens revealing a man in a dark blue suit and glasses.  He introduces himself as Max Million and produces an identity card showing that he is the acting government liaison for the LA Stars, he promises a proper receptionist will be in place soon and that Dr. Black of UCLA’s chemistry department wished Hi-Q aid in a matter of some urgency.

Bell UH-1

Bell UH-1

The team hops into the LA Stars helicopter (a modified and garishly painted Bell UH-1H Iroquois) and flies to UCLA.  There they go to speak to Dr. M. Black, an African-American professor of great repute for his work with inherited diseases.  Hi-Q talks with him and finds that he had been treated a group of young men in Watts who had been treated with some chemical causing a “de-evolutionary effect” but that they had gone missing before he could devise a counter-agent.  He asks for their help.  Meanwhile Legionnaire is being photographed with the team’s copter and the Bald Eagle gets into an brief, and unsettled, argument with some student anti-war protestors.
The team then takes the helicopter to Watts.  Upon their arrival they are mobbed by children and adults.  I-Man passes out candy.  The Bald Eagle, Hi-Q and Legionnaire try to look around.  Before things can go wrong Cinnamon Washington, a community organizer, came to their aid.  Cinnamon takes them back to her office, where she has been tracking strange occurrences, including the disappearances of the young men.  When asked if anything unusual had been seen, Cinnamon mentioned that an unmarked white van had been spotted in the area of the disappearances.  Bald Eagle takes to the air, grabs an unmarked white van and flies it back to where the others are.  The van driver is upset and is only delivering carpets, Cinnamon tries to smooth things over, and Eagle promises that the government will pay.  At the edge of the crowd are two young men in black berets watching intently before they can be investigated further a radio call from Max Million reminds them that they are needed at the DBN studios for the pre-show check.

At the studio, they are prepped for the show.  Reggie the Talking Gorilla, Rebel’s Ed  McMahon, gives them advice for what to do.  The heroes show off their talents: Bald Eagle, flies and juggles a trio of Mongolian acrobats.  Hi-Q, shrinks and grows.  I-Man takes a cannonball to the chest and is knocked back through a brick wall.  Legionnaire shows his strength by breaking boards and demonstrating his inbuilt machine gun.

Then . . . we are back to fighting the AfriApes.  Rebel is taken out the fight by a rocket propelled grenade and Reggie takes cover.  The LA Stars leap into action.  Combat ensues.  I-Man takes a lot of hits to keep his teammates safe.  Bald Eagle and the Warlord trade blows.  Hi-Q using her size to take down some of the apes.  Legionnaire and Sifu Simian have a long fight, ending with Legionnaire tossing Sifu up for Hi-Q to finish off.

The AfriApes are carted off.  It is discovered that they are the missing men who have be “de-evolved” by some mysterious chemical process.  Hi-Q hopes to discover some means of reversing the effect.

The final panel is with everyone in the same places as the opening panel, except the desk is riddled with bullet holes, the Black Label Variety Hour sign is hanging at an angle, and Rebel’s leather jacked has a huge hole in it where the RPG impacted.

World Notes: The Black Label Variety Hour, or as it is more commonly known “The Rebel Show”, is a variety/talk show hosted by the hero Rebel, who is also the spokeshero for Black Label Cigarettes.  Rebel is a classic flying strongman, but also a minor singing sensation, film star and a reserve member of Heroes Inc.  Rebel was part of my original 1960s campaign and ‘retired’ to the entertainment industry when his player moved.

Notes: The AfriApes are not meant to offend while they could be read as racist (and the 60s did not lack racism) it is not my intention to encourage such attitudes but to acknowledge that they did exist.  Primarily they are designed to reflect the Silver Ages fascination with gorillas and crazy technology, the fear of radical groups and the total failure of the comics of the 1960s to engage the issue of race in any meaningful fashion.

Photo by daikiki used under Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic.

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