Monday, June 16, 2014

Swampmaster #01 - Swampmaster

The 'Swampmaster' series consisted of three books all written by Jake Spencer (real name Jerome Preisler). This one was released by Diamond Books in 1992. From the synopsis and look of the cover one would think this is a hybrid of Native American western stuff super imposed over a 'Doomsday Warrior' sort of nuclear wasteland. No, not really. In fact, the cover and synopsis is really just a farce.

It turns out John Firecloud has been raised by his Seminole father Charlie and taught the way of the warrior complete with martial arts training and archery. Remember all of those kung-fu movies about Seminole Indians in Florida? I don't. Charlie also raised Firecloud's white brother Bill Coonan, a man who shows up early in the book and never makes another appearance until the last page. I'm not sure what purpose his role was here but it seems rather clear that Coonan has a good role in the second book. America has been nuked ,and what is left isn't described as the typically battle scarred wasteland that traditionally paints these landscapes. Instead, this America has its share of marauders and mutants but it just seems few and far between. In fact, Firecloud's village is actually growing crops and eating some semblance of a normal diet. 

The book introduces us to the new regime of America, a faction called The National Front. This government is made up of sadists and racists and wages war with the Free States or territories that have ceased from The National Front union. Early on we catch a glimpse of Firecloud using a compound bow to take out a helicopter of baddies hellbent on rape and debauchery. Using just his feet, hands, bow and the occasional firearm he quickly disposes of seven heavily armed men...and what amounts to be an Apache helicopter. This guy is the king of my kickball team. Soon, Firecloud is at the bedside of his licorice eating father who passes on some spiritual nonsense about leadership. He passes away and now, apparently, Firecloud has turned the corner and officially become....Swampmaster. 

I'm reading this sort of paperback adventure trash to get barrel chested warriors doing battle with hunchbacked radiated ogres. Instead, this story involves a planned bombing in Atlanta that will bring chaos to The National Front and the Free States. We get pages upon pages of babbling nonsense about the planned bombing, who is carrying the briefcase, where it is being dropped at and somebody in a car accident. At one point I questioned whether Swampmaster was going to make another appearance and if his Seminole Kung-Fu fighting was just all talk. 

Around the 120 page mark Swampmaster is introduced to the bombing exhibit through a third party; a female swat team member and her two martial arts dwarfs. Really? The three approach Swampmaster in the midst of his capture by a horny female mutant called Itchy Peg and her two inbred brothers. Swampmaster takes a beating and then is in the process of being raped and boob smothered by Peg when the dwarfs show up to lend a hand. From there they form a plan that involves going up the Florida coast to hijack a train full of carnival oddities so they can fetch a pilot there that can fly the Apache helicopter that was left behind in chapter two. I'm not making this up. 

Once they get Zeno and he agrees to jump in as pilot they hatch another plan that involves Swampmaster boating to a fort on the water in St. Augustine, climbing barehanded up a thirty foot wall to C4 a jail cell and rescue a scientist that apparently is key to the survival of the Free States. He does all of this in the midst of missiles, bullets and a horde of baddies that spend their spare time eating faces and sewing extra limbs on their captives. Swampmaster defeats them all and rescues Zeno. Along the way we find that the baddies are still alive and they want Swampmaster dead...and they will use his brother as a pawn. Boom. Story sequel coming.

"Swampmaster" is 232 pages of absolute nonsense. You and I love this stuff simply because it is over the top fun. Three fourths of this book is utter nonsense about planting a bomb in Atlanta and has no real connection at all with what Swampmaster is doing in the Everglades or the train full of carnival performers. Very little action, a ridiculous hero and bad guys that are middle of the road. I'm avoiding the other two books in this series and I'm begging - no pleading - for you to do the same.

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