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Fleetway Picture Library Classics Presents Jet-Ace Logan (graphic novel review)

September 20, 2019 | By | Reply More

I have to confess that I haven’t heard of ‘Jet-Ace Logan’ but am aware of one of its artists Ron Turner who drew the final two stories in this volume. The first two are drawn by German artist Kurt Caesar. Only the third story has a writer acknowledgement for David Motton.

If you thought someone being called ‘Jet-Ace’ was odd, his wingman is named Plum-Duff Charteris, presumably for his liking for pudding. This reality has man in space and the RAF flies rockets as well as planes so the British Empire was still alive and going strong back in 1961.

With the opening story, ‘Jet-Ace Logan And The Piebald Men’, originally published in Thrilling Picture Library # 383, it is 2061 and a minute alien life-form literally infects the Earth spreading out quickly killing anything alive along the way and disrupting radio communication. While bombing these creatures on Earth is carried out, it is discovered that an old rocket fuel, hydrazine, used in early rocketships can kill it. The few remaining early rocketships are still in use but the people who make it are the human colonists in Mars who have Martian malaria giving them a piebald appearance and their leader, Sangerman, sees a way to implement blackmail. Into this mix are Logan and Charteris to sort things out. In many respects this is more a human condition story with a heavy dash of SF with art that is chilling in not holding back on the dangers of this alien menace. I should point out that the areas of London bombed are already mostly desolate.

The second story, ‘Evil In Orbit’, originally published in Thrilling Picture Library # 410, is set on Uranus where a survey suffers mind-bending illusions before vanishing. Logan and Charteris are amongst the people sent to investigate. They aren’t supposed to land on the planet but disobey orders and discover not all the illusions are false. They discover an alien invasion is in progress and, well, you need to buy to find out what happens next.

With the third story and the switch to Ron Turner’s art is a definite change in style. Nothing wrong with Caesar’s art just a cleaner line. ‘Times 5’ was originally published in Thrilling Picture Library # 418. It’s an interesting contrast in art style. Both are good but Turner’s style is more definitive. While watching a comet on a research ship, there is an observation of something in its tail. Logan and Charteris are ordered to take scientist Aldis to investigate and discover it’s an alien spaceship. Inside, the aliens show off a duplicating machine. Actually, it isn’t so much a duplicator but produces five of everything. They don’t seem to mind Aldis stealing one of the machines. He, in turn, steals a rocket to return to Earth but loses the machine when he breaks up the atmosphere. The machine falls into the hands of rebels in a South American republic who have a duplicating or multiples of five moment. However, it doesn’t just produce more of them but releases chlorine, the gas the aliens breathe, into the atmosphere. Logan is sent to sort it out.

The final story, ‘Power From Beyond’, originally published in Thrilling Picture Library # 442 in 1962, for space restrictions was cut to 64 pages and it wasn’t until 1981 when re-published in a ‘Holiday Special’ was the missing 8 pages restored. Logan and Charteris are the pilots of a spaceship designed to go faster than light. Amongst the three crew there is a last minute replacement Reichert and you can tell from the start that he isn’t what he appears. However, with a pressing launch window, Logan has no choice but to take-off from the space station. The science of this is quite interesting as they use different engines for continual acceleration and finally go into suspended animation for the year’s flight to the speed of light. However, deceleration is a lot harder and the rockets burn out and they see themselves doomed to coast along forever. That isn’t so long when they encounter an alien flying saucer, looking suspiciously like it was based on the George Adamski design with its three nacelles on its belly which were thought to be real at the time. The aliens rescue the crew and after showing something of their side of the galaxy, offer a spaceship of their own and their own pilot to take them home. From there is spoiler but you also get a demonstration of relativity.

Considering all four of these stories are period piece Science Fiction, they do hold up rather well, helped along by good characterisation and not altogether gung ho attitudes. Its only when you think about it that there aren’t any women crew. Even so, the adventures are solid and logical and sometimes scary and undoubtedly sent some teens to their beds with nightmares from time to time. Definitely worth a look.

GF Willmetts

September 2019

(pub: The Book Palace, 2019. 271 page softcover limited edition of 500 copies. Price: £25.00 (UK). ISBN: 978-1-907081-80-4)

check out websites: www.bookpalace.com

Category: Comics, Scifi

About the Author ()

Geoff Willmetts has been editor at SFCrowsnest for some 15 plus years now, showing a versatility and knowledge in not only Science Fiction, but also the sciences and arts, all of which has been displayed here through editorials, reviews, articles and stories. With the latter, he has been running a short story series under the title of ‘Psi-Kicks’ If you want to contribute to SFCrowsnest, read the guidelines and show him what you can do. If it isn’t usable, he spends as much time telling you what the problems is as he would with material he accepts. This is largely how he got called an Uncle, as in Dutch Uncle. He’s not actually Dutch but hails from the west country in the UK.

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