THE AVENGER – The Sun King
By Matthew Baugh
Pulps were by no means a strictly American experience. All
one has to do read is the stories of the French Arsen Lupin or England’s
Bulldog Drummond to realize action adventure novels proliferated across the
glove from their inception. Whereas one of the most notable such heroes, dare
we say notorious, was Germany’s
own Sun Koh; who was their version of a Doc Savage styled science-genius
adventurer. Later much was made of his being the poster child for the Nazis’
blonde-haired, blue-eyed Aryan superman.
That Sun Koh continues to fascinate readers is evident by
how many of the best New Pulp writers have brought him into their tales. Joshua
Reynolds, Derrick Ferguson, Art Sippo, Frank Schildiner, Barry Reese and Win
Scott Eckert have all taken their turns in interpreting this unique fictional
character. Most opted to paint him clearly as a villain except for Sippo, who
offered us a more complex figure echoing back his early heroic roots.
In “The Avenger – The Sun King,” Matthew Baugh clearly gives
us another bad-guy Sun Koh, though in doing so he purposely explores the deep-rooted, seductive allure of bigotry. That it is impossible for Sun Koh to
conceive of true equality among the races is the tragic flaw of his supposed
brilliant intellect. It is this weakness that Richard Benson, the Avenger,
understands and ultimately exploits in his campaign to stop the Atlantean from
causing a catastrophic global disaster.
Baugh knows pulps and his story is beautiful fast-paced and filled with action. He portrays the Avenger’s team wonderfully. Nellie, Smitty, Mac, Josh and Rosabel are all here. Then he sets his adventure right in the middle of the magazine run between issue # 12 and #13 which formally introduced Cole Wilson to the cast. This is a first rate Avenger yarn and we’re thrilled to have finally gotten around to enjoying it. So, what are you waiting for?