Book 2 - The Arsenal of Wonders
By Dwight R. Decker
In 2019, writer Dwight Decker delivered “Astroman Book One –
The Secret Citadel,” the first part of his rollicking homage to all the great
comic book heroes including the Man of Steel himself, Superman. In that volume,
Matt Dawson, a young physicist from our world is hurled into an alternate Earth
where villainy and injustice is battled by a super being from another world
named Astroman. As if that wasn’t spectacular enough, Dawson then discovers he possesses those
self-same super powers as some kind of reaction of his being transported to
this “other” Earth. Eventually he meets Astrogirl, the beautiful cousin
Astroman. She confides in him that she and Astroman actually came not from an
alien world, but the future where mankind has colonized another planet in a
If that was shock enough, she confesses that Astroman is
dead, a fact she has been keeping secret from the public. He was murdered by a
genius evil scientist named Garth Bolton. By now astute readers translate that
to Lex Luthor. Bolton has invented a weapon
that can kill super being and if Astrogirl and Dawson have any hope of
defeating him, they must travel back to the future to obtain an even more
powerful weapon. Thus ended book one.
With book two, “The Arsenal of Wonders,” Dawson and Astrogirl arrive back at her
homeworld and there experience several adventures. It’s all too clear Decker is
giving us a grand tour of all the alien worlds that were prevalent in sci-fi
paperbacks of the sixties and tips his hats to such authors as Edgar Rice
Burroughs, Gardner Fox and Edmond Hamilton, among others. Eventually our heroic
couple get the Super Neutralizer and return to Astro-Earth in time to stop
Bolton from taking over America.
Battles ensue and when Bolton commandeers an
orbiting space station, things truly look bleak for our heroes.
If, like this reviewer, you grew up reading sci-fi paperbacks and comics in the 50s and 60s, “The Arsenal of Wonders” is going to be a truly pleasurable trip down memory lane. Yes, it is overly long in some places and could have been trimmed, but one can’t fault Decker for truly loving his subject and not wanting to leave anything out. In the end, we’re only too happy to give this a jolly thumbs up. Again, not for the everyone, but if you know who Ka-El really is, go grab a copy and enjoy.