On my final day at the Phoenix Comicon this past May, a minty fresh copy of Shogun Warriors #1 found its way into the pile of bronze age beauties for which I paid one buck per book. [Colgate™ smile]
Published by Marvel Comics between February of 1978 and September of 1980, Shogun Warriors boasted the enormous exploits of a triumvirate of giant robots whose names and likenesses were licensed from Mattel Toys for use in comics by Marvel. The series ran for 20 issues and featured stories by writer Doug Moench and illustrations by artist Herb Trimpe.
As this first issue opens, the giant robot Raydeen, a "servant of good," is locked in an epic tussle with the equally enormous and polar opposite servant of evil, Rok-Korr. After having been stored away for unknown eons under a secret base in a remote part of the far east, it is Raydeen's first time on the battlefield and it is showing. Fortunately, this clash of titans takes place on the outskirts of the been-there-done-that-wearing-the-I-survived-t-shirt side of Tokyo.
Riding in the catbird seats of Raydeen's on-board control center are his three newly recruited handlers: Japanese aircraft pilot, Genji Odasu, African marine biologist, Ilongo Savage, and American stunt car test driver, Richard Carson. Before being abducted by aliens and tossed into the fray with Rok-Korr, the three were given a roughly 20-minute crash course on the art of robot rope-a-dope.
Despite landing a few well-placed blows and nearly putting the big bad guy down, team Raydeen is in over their heads. They have managed to lead the destructive Rok-Korr away from the city, though, and choose to try loosing him in the nearby mountains. After doing so, and seeing this as small triumph in an overall failure, Savage suggests a tactical retreat: He who fights and runs away lives long enough to sign up self-defense classes.
How and why were Genji Odasu, Ilongo Savage, and Richard Carson chosen for team Raydeen? Who are the Followers of Light and from what strange world do they originate? Whose big orange silhouettes are those flanking Raydeen on the cover? Who is Lord Maur-Kon and why does he wanna wreak havoc on our peaceful planet Earth? The answers to those questions and many more are to be found inside the pages of the first exciting issue of Shogun Warriors !
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