Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Executioner #17, "Death Stalk"

DEATH STALK was Executioner creator Don Pendleton's return to the character after a brief contractual tiff with publisher Pinnacle. That led to 1973's SICILIAN SLAUGHTER, the series' 16th book, being written by William Crawford using the pseudonym Jim Peterson.

When Pendleton put out #17, 1974's JERSEY GUNS, he chose to ignore SICILIAN SLAUGHTER completely--it is said that he never even read it--and picked up where #15 left off. Unfortunately, that meant we never got an adventure involving Mr. Molto, the intriguing villain who popped up in the epilogue of SICILIAN SLAUGHTER.

A wounded Mack Bolan ends up in New Jersey, where he is found passed out and near death in a stream bed by Bruno, a medic who served under Bolan in Vietnam, and his younger sister Sara, nineteen years old and a widow, thanks to that damned war.

Despite their knowledge of what will happen to them if the mobsters searching for Bolan find him in their barn, the siblings are good people and nurse him back to health. Of course, both are eventually captured by gunsels working for Mike Talifero, returning from earlier Bolan adventures, and Bruno is turned into "turkey meat" (you don't want to know).

As he was wont to do, Pendleton often goes off-subject with ramblings about war and humanity that allowed him to express his worldview without having to mess with his characters (as opposed to Joseph Rosenberger, whose Death Merchant was just as crazy and racist as he was). Skip those chapters and enjoy the pages where Bolan mows down dozens of bad, bad guys without compunction. If nothing else, Pendleton knew how to tell an action story, and JERSEY GUNS does it as well as ever.


Grant said...

I notice that on your "Last Movies I've Seen" list there's the 1987 version of The Spirit. I know that it's not really famous OR infamous, but do you have any plans to review it?

Marty McKee said...

I did over at Letterboxd. I liked it.


Grant said...

Thank you.

Stephen Mertz said...

"Pendleton often goes off-subject with ramblings about war and humanity." WYF!?! Dude, those "ramblings" are what the books are about! Stick with DM, Sharpshooter and Marksman if all you want is a body count. DP is for readers who prefer something a bit more substantial.