Thursday, September 6, 2018

Killsquad #02 - Mission Revenge

Along with plenty of Bolan affiliated action, Dan Schmidt wrote two military team-based series' – 'Eagle Force' and this one, 'Killsquad'. It launched in 1986 with the debut “Counter Attack”, eventually running through nine total installments on the Avon publishing label. This novel, “Mission Revenge”, is the second of the series picking up just 18 days since the events of “Counter Attack”.

The Hangman John Smith is recuperating with his half-dozen killers after the shake-downs in Algeria and Syria. While the World Strike Force is running the show, Killsquad is ultimately a trickle down effect with Smith commanding his team. As the series promises, we know “Mission Revenge” is just another assignment for Killsquad. The reader wants fireworks and Schmidt concocts a familiar story to set the tone.

Eli St. Judas is called The Preacher. He's a TV evangelist taking money from the poor and gullible and building his New Order Church regime in West Virginia. Coincidentally, this same set-up was used by Rich Rainey for his “The Protector #2: The Porn Tapes” using a vile character named The Reverend. Or by Norman Winski for his “Hitman #3: Nevada Nightmare”. Turns out placing a crooked, perverted preacher on the pulpit is a sermon action-adventure readers love to hear. The Preacher has built a mountain fortress in West Virginia and hired an ex-Green Beret team called Charlie Company to protect it (similar to Schmidt's use of Eagle Force vs Phantom Plague in “Eagle Force #3: Flight 666”). We know Charlie Company is going to fight Killsquad...but how much of The Reverend plowing his Queen from behind do we need before we get to the inevitable confrontation? Sadly, this one takes a great deal of patience.

Sometimes this author swings for the fences and lands the perfect combination of action and dialogue. With “Mission Revenge” it just all falls flat. There's a side-story of Russian soldiers being kidnapped and held for ransom...but by this point no one cares. Sure, it is Killsquad invading the religious compound to capture The Preacher but it's just a failed plot that's redundant and more convoluted than its own good. It's a hard pass from me. I carried that cross so you wouldn't have to. 'Killsquad' may not get a resurrection from me anytime soon. Stay away!