THE LAST RANGER #4 THE RABID BRIGADIER BY CRAIG SARGENT

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Copyright 1987.

Martin Stone wakes up after passing out after escaping and blowing up the Dwarf’s resort. He finds out the whores that he rescued rolled him and took all his weapons. So he has to fight some scavenger types that come around to loot the bodies. Fortunately Stone was trained by his father and he has no problem taking them out and escaping. He comes to his hidden motorcycle guarded by his pitbull Excalibur. So he takes off to find his friend Dr. Kennedy and his sister April who also escaped from the Dwarf’s resort.

Along the way he gets caught up in a flash flood but fortunately his Harley can turn into a flotation device. Still he is in danger of going over the falls on the Green River when an army helicopter comes along and pulls him out. He is taken to Grand Junction and Ft. Bradley. There he finds an organization called the New American Army under General Patton III. He is organizing to take back America from the mobsters, biker gangs and cannibals that now rule it. At first he feels this organization is offering hope for a shattered country and gladly lets himself be drafted. He proves to be an exceptional recruit over the hicks that they usually get. He also has a romance with the nurse that first treated him the blonde Elizabeth Williamson who is the girl on the cover with the provocatively open blouse.

He gets to meet the man himself General Patton III who he impresses so much that he is given a colonel commission and command of a detail to take out some local cannibals. His mission is a success but is horrified when the men massacre surrendering women and children. He soon finds out that Patton III is actually a man with a goal of imposing a fascist rule that would kill off the undesirables and racially impure. He has a plan to use one of his nuclear missiles to take out a nearby criminal gathering at Glenwood Springs. Stone decides to turn against the madman and warns the scum gathering. He forms a temporary truce with them and leads them on a successful attack of Ft. Bradley. He destroys the missile but Patton III escapes and leaves a message on his murdered girlfriend’s body that he has other missiles and followers.

So the fourth book introduces probably the most colorful villain that Stone has to face. This one at first seems like a force for good. His NAA is restoring law and order. Only the guy is a nut case. If the kooky blood rituals and fist salutes weren’t enough of a tip off then the fact that the guy thinks he’s Patton’s descendant should have done it. The guy is just over the top nuts. He plans to use his ten megaton ICBM and damn the liberal ecology bullshit. Also is oblivious to the fact that his base is in the blast radius.

He also has the obligatory chapter devoted to his sex scene with the local hot chick. A whole chapter to his size and shooting of volcanic lava etc. etc. This is the first time he loses one of his girlfriends but a guy like Stone has no trouble finding others so its an acceptable loss. Also while it isn’t ever mentioned I think Patton has made himself a full General so the Brigadier in the title is not really accurate. I guess the author found it better sounding that Rapid General.

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THE LAST RANGER #3 THE MADMAN’S MANSION BY CRAIG SARGENT

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Copyright 1986.

Stone is ambushed by some remnants of the Guardians of Hell on his way to Utah. He is captured and dragged around behind the bike of the leader Scalper. Luckily his pitbull Excalibur comes to the rescue and cracks open the biker’s skull. Stone manages to take out the others. Later he goes back to the family bunker to resupply and rest. He also rewards his dog with a feast of canned food until the pitbull is about to burst from gluttony. Then its off to rescue his sister April in Utah.

At an inn run by the kindly but badass old woman named Mom, Stone meets up with Dr. Martin Reagan Kennedy a snake-oil salesman. He travels the country in his truck giving magic shows and selling his elixir guaranteed to cure all ills. Stone finds out the man is going to the Dwarf’s place and he agrees to help him infiltrate the place. So hiding his bike and Excalibur in the bushes the two go to the Last Resort. He dresses up Stone in a pink pimp suit and passes him off as a Mafia boss from New Jersey.

So Stone finds a place filled with the scum of the country come to partake of every imaginable and some unimaginable debauchery. Gambling, drugs and sex is available. Stone has a run in with a Mafia crimelord and later has the obligatory chapter dedicated to his sexual encounter with a beautiful prostitute. He finds his sister on the auction block and wins the bid for her. But its a trap and the Dwarf captures him. At a cannibalistic feast he sees such wonderful stuff as a woman being bled dry and another fed to a giant snake. Kennedy manages to come to the rescue and the two blow up the resort. Stone throws the Dwarf out the window into a frozen lake but the evil Dwarf survives. Kennedy manages to take April to safety as Stone rescues a truckload of prostitutes before the whole place blows up.

So the third one has our hero once again take on the sadistic scum that rule post-nuclear America. The Dwarf the insane quadriplegic has a resort that caters to the elite scum. Staffed with former inmates of an insane asylum they give the place its excitement because you never know when they might kill you as a guest. So you know that it must be the apocalypse if Utah is known for its drinking, gambling and sex. Of course there is the chapter devoted to Stone’s sexual encounter. Personally they do start to get a little boring. I mean how much can you go on about filling holes if you know what I mean. I would like the see the potholes filled were I live. The winter was very brutal on the roads this year.

So the Dwarf will return. Along with Stone, his dog Excalibur and the continuing quest for April as he battles new goofy villains in this post-nuclear 1995.

THE LAST RANGER #2 THE SAVAGE STRONGHOLD BY CRAIG SARGENT

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Copyright 1986.

Martin Stone after destroying Denver heads out to Pueblo to rescue his sister April. He gets a companion in a pitbull he names Excalibur. He first has to take out a bunch of fat cannibals who are manning a roadblock. (I suppose eating Americans would get you fat.) Then fights a pack of wolves. He makes it to Pueblo and finds that the place is run by the Church of the New Darkness. The Brotherhood of the Same are the enforces of this new religion. Basically they believe the nuclear war was brought on by people’s differences so everyone must now conform to being the same. This includes no conversations, no singing, no sexual intercourse which includes masterbation unless approved for procreation purposes and no dreaming. In fact everyone should work twenty hours so they have little time to dream.(Or masterbation for that matter.) Punishment includes various forms of gruesome forms of amputation or being nailed to a cross.

Stone pretends to be some inbred mountain man who is in town to sell furs. He ingratiates himself with the head Guardian of Hell leader who actually runs the place, a psychopath named Straight who likes to cut people with an assortment of razors. Straight plans to marry Stone’s sister. Stone is eventually exposed by the Dwarf that kooky quadriplegic that somehow survived Denver. Stone barely escapes and wounded is found by the local resistance. Taken to their hideout in the mines of the hills he recovers from his wounds. Of course the leader is the beautiful Melissa who insists on having sex with Stone instead of letting him rest properly. So after satisfying the girl he takes off by himself loaded down with unstable dynamite to rescue his sister. He gets caught and about to be tortured by the Brotherhood but manages to escape and rescue his dog. Then crashes the wedding and blows up the church. At the end he is saved by the resistance who come and trigger a general uprising. Unfortunately April is taken by the Dwarf to his fortress in Utah. So Stone must once again go after his sister but not before a night of sex with the beautiful Melissa.

The second entry was as fun as the first. So now we get a name for Stone’s companion the pitbull. A dog bred to take on tigers. I don’t know about the tiger thing. I’ve seen tigers in zoos and their paws are bigger than most dogs. Still pitbulls have killed people and this dog has no problem crushing in the skulls of people. Poor Stone is just so irresistible that he is never allowed to recuperate in peace. He is shot and stabbed and beaten up but still has to satisfy the local hot chick. It must be tough to be this guy. The Dwarf is established as a major nemesis for Stone in this series. So much goofy stuff with a wacky cult and over the top fights. Plenty of gratuitous violence and sex just makes this the classic series that it is.

THE LAST RANGER BY CRAIG SARGENT

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Copyright 1986.

Major Clayton Stone was an Army Ranger for over thirty years. The morning after Pearl Harbor the army recruiter found him sleeping on his doorstep. At only 16 he found himself in ranger training and participated in missions throughout the war. Later he served in Korea and Vietnam. In Vietnam he found an army nurse who was the love of his life and had two children. After Vietnam he was disillusioned and went back to work in the families munitions business. He always knew that nuclear war was coming and built an advanced underground shelter in the Colorado Rockies. That day arrives in 1990 and the family makes it in time before the bombs start falling.

Five years in the bunker the father teaches his reluctant son Martin all his Ranger skills. One day Clayton dies of a heart attack. The son thinks its OK to leave and packs up the Winnebago with his mother and sister. Only its not OK and they are attacked by a motorcycle gang called the Guardians of Hell. They kill his mother and take his sister leaving Martin in a ditch to die. Luckily a Ute medicine man saves him. The tribe is now living an idyllic life as their ancestors did and want nothing to do with the white man. Except of course the medicine man’s young daughter who practically rapes him as he recovers.

So he takes part in a peyote induced ceremony that involves piercing his beast and getting hung up above the ground and finds out he is a bringer of death. So he leaves to rescue his sister. He picks up a Harley Electroglide from the bunker with .50 caliber machineguns mounted in the front. Packs up guns, supplies, rockets and plastic explosives and heads out to Denver.

Now Denver has fallen on some hard times after the apocalypse. The Guardians of Hell are run by a nut called Rommel. He spends his free time in the capitol building giving out his brand of justice which usually includes some form of amputations and in one instance he saws a living cow in two with a chainsaw. He surrounds himself with psychos including Queenie the leader of the female branch and a dwarf called Poet. Poet is a quadriplegic who spouts haiku poetry and rides around in an electric wheelchair with machine guns mounded on the armrests.

So Stone manages to infiltrate the gang after killing the number two man and going through the various initiation rituals like getting the crap beat out of him and eating the heart of the man he killed. So at the Tough Man games he competes to win his captive sister. Unfortunately things don’t go as planned and he ends up killing most of the Guardians of Hell and burning down the city of Denver. Only to find out that his sister has been taken to Pueblo. He also picks up a pitbull terrier he rescued as a companion.

Another wonderful post-nuke adventure series from my youth. This one was written by Jan Stacy who was one of the due responsible for Doomsday Warrior. Basically the main hero Martin Stone is a superstud. One so virile that any young beautiful woman who gets in a mile radius of him will fall in love and in his bed. Not to mention that he can take on thousands single-handed. A very eighties concept. He is the perfect man that any young teenage boy would want to be. Hell I would like to be this guy.

Being the first in the series there is a lot of setup with the father who had a very interesting life. The world is your typical post-nuke world that the eighties envisioned namely vile psychotics that are in charge in a world where society collapsed. I did find it strange that they still were using paper money. I mean a dollar has a lot more purchasing power than before the war. You would think with the government collapsed it would be worthless. A fun series and will end with some examples of its awesome writing.

With a single, powerful thrust he slammed forward and drove right through the little bit of virgin tissue that was left and into the deepest pit of her stomach. She screamed for just a second and then bit her teeth madly as the thing she felt inside her, the man organ, so big and taking up all of her. There was pain,but even as she breathed hard the sensation turned to pleasure as her muscles relaxed and the sheath of her molded like a glove around his staff of hardened flesh.

And basically a whole chapter was devoted to the deflowering of the Indian maiden. There is also this descriptive moment where Rommel tosses a guy who angered him.

He flew almost fifteen feet as the masses leaped out of the way, and then came down on his head so hard that the skull cracked open right across the top like an egg and opened up as if the invisible hand of God were about to pop it into a frying pan. The drunk’s brain slurped out in a big wet lump and slip across the floor, undulating between the legs of the drinkers at the bar like some kind of sea slug searching for a cave.

Yes this was a golden age in literature.

38 NORTH YANKEE BY ED RUGGERO

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Copyright 1990.

In this near future North Korea decides to invade the south. Transporting the heavy divisions will take time so light infantry divisions are send over. Captain Mark Isen is the leader of Charlie Company of the 25th Infantry Division. There job is to slow down the advancing North Korean forces long enough for the heavy divisions to be transported over. They manage to stop an armored force from advancing after it defeats a South Korean force in it’s first baptism of fire. Then they have to save a joy riding Colonel who gets trapped in a school. Then its on to Seoul to set up defenses. Things look grim as they are told to counterattack armored forces. Then the attack collapses and the division is airlifted north to block the retreating North Koreans from crossing the border. Here they have an epic final battle.

This was another book in the popular military books at the time. North Korea was a credible military threat when this came out so this was plausible scenario at the time. Ruggero a former captain in the Army knows his stuff. He has a real feel for the organization of an infantry company. The various people that compose it. The problems such as an epidemic of diarrhea after a logistics foul up loses the iodine tablets to purify water. The unreliability of some of the high tech gadgets. The battles are small affairs between men and tanks. Death comes at any moment such as a lieutenant who was a major character dying in an artillery barrage at the end of a chapter. He also shows us the homefront with scenes of Isen’s wife to show how a deployment would affect the family. There are also scenes from the enemies point of view. Still its mainly from the men in the divisions point of view the story is told.

This was his first book. He was teaching English at West Point where he met Tom Clancy who was visiting. He sent him the manuscript and Clancy liked it and sent to his publisher. Ruggero went on to write a handfull of books before moving on to something else. I have read another and feel that there will be future entries on this blog from this talented author.