Friday, December 12, 2008

Weekly Dose Of Weird!

Mysteries Of Unexplored Worlds #5 -- This is the weirdest bar mitzvah I've ever seen.

I. "Live For Reunion" -- Young Hal goes on vacation to coastal Plandome with his parents, but they are warned of the Green People who abduct visitors.  Hal's parents laugh it off, but that very night disappear in front of Hal's eyes.  Hal spends every moment studying to learn how to destroy the Green People, then returns to Plandome during "Green People Season."  When the apparitions appear, he is ready... but not ready to see his spectral parents, beckoning him to join them in their wonderful new home.  

II. "Stranger In The House" -- A peaceful, happy family is suddenly invaded by a cruel soldier, who orders them to serve his every whim!  But when the family is pushed to the breaking point, the husband stands up to the soldier... only to have him disappear entirely, removed from the young girl's doll house he was mischeviously placed in.

III. "The Mirage" -- A prisoner makes a daring nighttime escape, and now is determined to cross the desert surrounding the prison and make everyone pay for locking him up.  The next day he finds that his canteen of water is empty, damaged in his escape.  Running out of time, he spots an oasis, like something out of a storybook.  Dismissing it as a mirage, he crawls onward, while the masters of the oasis bemoan that modern man is trapped behind an impenetrable wall of disbelief, and their paradise will always remain unentered.

IV. "Aucas" -- (Text Story) An American reporter and photographer head up river in Ecuador and encounter the primitive Auca Indians.

V. "Stowaway" -- A young boy stows away on a space ship and soon finds himself, wonder of wonders, in space.   The skipper and the crew treatly him harshly, never letting him forget about the stupid decision he made.  When a space storm damages the engine, only the kid is small enough to go EVA and fix the problem.  When his tow-line snaps and the ship pulls off, he thinks he is a goner, but the skipper was turning the ship around to save him.  Inside, the skipper tells the boy that he is proud of him and the kid tells him, "Thanks, Dad."

VI. "A Dreamer's World" -- Test pilot Al Gibbons is piloting an experimental four-stage rocket booster, the fourth of which seems to take him to a bizarre dream world.  There he meets Helen, a chemist, an old sea captain, and other strange residents, all of whom have "broken through a forbidden barrier" of some kind.  When the dream worlders try to get them to stay, Al and Helen flee back to the test jet, but when he wakes, Al is alone.  The Air Force chalks it up to oxygen starvation and has him grounded, but Captain Gibbons rushes to the University and finds Helen, having blacked out from a chemical spill.

VII. "Our Atomic Future" -- Detailing the wonders of atomic power.

Overall Weird Rating: 3.5 (out of 5).

A mid-50s Charlton, this one is all over the map.  The first, second, third, and sixth features are all very strong, and definitely push the right Weird buttons for me.  But the others end up being more filler than anything else.  Of note is that all of the art (except possibly the last feature) is by Steve Ditko, which really holds up nicely.  Not only is the cover unrelated to any story inside (not uncommon), but a story even remotely similar to what they describe doesn't appear!

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