Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Shogun Warriors, Part 6: Giant Robots vs. the Yakuza

Shogun Warriors #15 (April 1980)  is a filler issue, with Steven Grant (writer) and Mike Vosburg (artist) taking over for Doug Moench and Herb Trimpe. (Trimpe still did the cover.) But it's a really good filler issue, telling a truly exciting story.

The Shogun pilots are all back in Japan, getting in some training together. But all three of them are awkward in their control of the robots.

There's a good reason for this. Richard Carson isn't really Richard Carson. He's a member of the Yakuza--the Japanese mafia--wearing a Carson mask. The real Carson has been kidnapped.

The fake Carson has been slipping neurotoxins into Savage's and Genji's food, which is making those two groggy and uncertain when they pilot their Shogun Warriors.

The plan, of course, is for the Yakuza to gain control of the robots, since heavily-armed giant robots can be an enormous benefit to a criminal organization. If the local shopkeeper isn't paying his protection money, a visit from a 300-foot tall metal monster will probably get him to cooperate pretty quickly.

This story, by the way, is apparently a flashback, as the next issue will pick up right after the end of the Dr. Demonicus story arc.

The Yakuza plan begins to unravel when they decide to tie Carson to the seat of a car and drive the car off a cliff to crash on top of the Shogun base. Carson, remember, is a stunt driver. So, even though it means driving with his feet, he manages to steer the car away from the cliff and down a road.

I really enjoy that scene. Vosberg does a great job choreographing the action and it shows Carson being clever as well as having fast reflexes.

Carson's escape blows his double's cover, which leads to a straight-on fight between the robots. Unfortunately, the two good guy pilots are still groggy from the toxins they've been fed. The Yakuza begins to wipe the floor with them.

But if the good guys can't win the fight on their own, they can at least distract the villain. This allows Carson to get on board Raydeen and, after getting punched around himself for a few panels, finally get the drop on the Yakuza. After that, it's pretty easy to catch the remainder of the gang.

So Shogun Warriors #15 is indeed a filler issue--a break from the usual robot vs. monster stories with guest writers/artists stepping up to the plate. But it's what a filler issue should be--telling an exciting story in its own right that remains true to the characters and spirit of the book.

Next week, we'll travel with British commandos through the Sahara desert.

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