Wednesday, January 10, 2018

The Enforcer #01 - The Enforcer

Lancer released “The Enforcer” in 1973. It was the debut of a series that lasted four volumes with the publishing group before Manor purchased the line and released two more (including reprinting some with better art). The series was written and created by Andrew Sugar, who would later contribute for Argosy as well as books in ‘The Israeli Commandos’ line. After one stand-alone title, “Yank”, the author seemed to retire from writing around 1979.  No other published works are known. Oddly, there’s some mystery behind this particular creator. Some have speculated that Andrew Sugar was actually a woman named Andrea Sugar. However, according to the Glorious Trash blog, a fan and former Sugar colleague states this is false. Blogger and author Paul Bishop discovered evidence from a court case (her lawsuit over naming rights of ‘Dirty Harry’ film franchise) that he lived his later years as a woman – Andrea Sugar.

While “The Enforcer” appears to be another entry in the popular “vigilante revenge” sub-genre, don’t let the cover fool you. There are very little comparisons contrary to the book’s obvious knock-off of ‘The Executioner’ styled covers. The cover suggests this is a “great new series”. It’s not. It also shows us a Mack Bolan clone holding a handgun. That’s not in the book. The tagline of, “The contract’s out from the Mafia masters – get the Enforcer before he gets us!” has absolutely nothing to do with this book. There’s no Mafia, no contract and the Enforcer isn’t out to get anyone. The book’s jacket is a scam just begging for you to spend your hard earned .95 cents on this guy instead of Bolan. I hope you didn’t.

Alex Jason is a successful author and lives in a nice apartment complex in New York. In the book’s opening chapters, we learn that Jason is in the final stages of stomach cancer and weights roughly 100-pounds. He’s not exactly in tip-top fighting shape regardless of his martial arts background. Aside from controlling his pain using inner self-control called Ki, he spends his dying days depleting his funds and having heavily detailed sex with his girlfriend (who at one-point wishes Jason had two penises to please her with). Jason entertains an offer from a mysterious hologram – he can live an additional two years if he can contribute his services to the John Anryn Institute. How is this possible for a terminal Cancer patient? Simple. A guy named Flack has invented successful body growing (and cloning). Frankenstein influences in a men’s action adventure tale?

In what of the most outrageous storylines of any genre series, Flack can simply place Jason’s mind in perfect bodies that he has grown from cells. While these bodies are healthy, strong and enamored with ginormous penises, they do have a flaw. After about 90 days the body will essentially melt and Jason will need to be replaced in a new body. Each time this happens…the brain waves become a little duller. It’s not a flawless process but Jason understands the risks. Soon Flack and his institute has Jason in laser beam training, an important part of his first mission – destroying oil wells in Cuba to spur a dictatorship’s downfall. After meeting, and screwing, a trainer named Brunie (also a cloned body), Jason is off to Cuba (?) to shoot the oil well with a laser beam. Unfortunately, his raft sinks along with most of his supplies. Considering Jason has no prior military experience and writes books for a living, he is soon captured by the dictator and forced into a three-month prison sentence of torture and penis flicking (by another man).

There are so many things wrong with this book that I can’t possibly outline them all here. First, why would the institute want Jason to do these things? It’s 1973, why not some Vietnam specialist or other military trained professional? Second, the author spends a bulk of the middle of this book just doing day to day stuff at the prison – very mild torture, hotbox occupancy, penis flicking – with very little payoff. How does our paperback warrior escape? Brunie and his laser beam trainer, Tutley, show up to spring him from the camp. However, the book continues for another 40 pages as the team learns there is an “Island of Dr. Moreau” thing happening in some secret laboratory on the island. Without proper supplies and arms (the laser beams have a max capacity of 15 shots), they literally walk into the laboratory and threaten the commander with a spider in a bag. No shit. I’m not making this up. Utterly ridiculous…and fascinating. The book’s finale, which can’t come soon enough, circles back to the novel’s opening pages of Jason melting away on a Caribbean beach. It’s hard to imagine where the series’ will go from here – but I’m hoping less spiders in a bag, less laser beams and much, much better writing.