THE LAST RANGER #9 THE DAMNED DISCIPLES BY CRAIG SARGENT

Standard

Copyright 1988.

Martin Stone and his dog Excalibur make it back to the underground bunker from their last adventure. Stone gets some food, rest and a chance to clean up while his dog gets into the food pantry and make a pig of himself. While here he gets a transmission on the radio that his sister is being held in La Junta. So being the mechanical genius he is he puts together a new bike out of spare parts and him and his dog go on a road trip. After a brief adventure with some baseball mutants he runs into some pathetic men outside La Junta. They were rejects called Broken Ones of the mind control drug that the local cult in charge uses. So Stone starts the process of teaching them to be men again before heading to the city.

In the city he does find it controlled by Guru Yasgar and his Church of the Perfect Aura. He finds his brainwashed sister but gets captured. Then they force feed him the Golden Elixir and subject him to staying in a sewer with all sorts of creatures. This turns him into the brainwashed Pod #47. As Pod #47 he lives his live in mindless devotion to stirring the vats where the Golden Elixir is made. Between that he eats, sleeps and shits when he is told to. Oh and they also feed him meatloaf made up from the ground remains of dead people. I mean they grind up everything, bone, hair and guts. Guru Yasgar doesn’t believe in wasting anything.

Well sometime later Stone manages to come to his senses and stop taking the Golden Elixir. Then he starts his fight with the cultists. He has to fight his dog who has also been brainwashed by the elixir. Brainwashing someone’s dog is so not cool. Then when his dog also comes to his senses he bits off the trunk of the elephant that Guru Yasgar was riding. Thus the elephant falls on Guru Yasgar squashing him. When it looks as if the Guru’s followers will take their revenge, the Broken Men come to the rescue. Stone tries to save his sister April but is too late as the Dwarf has come to take her away.

So by this time the author Jan Stacy was dying of AIDS. Now I suppose he was in hospitals and subjected to regular doses of drugs. So Stone’s ordeal with constantly being given drugs. Told when to eat, sleep and shit. Being fed mystery meat. That is the hospital experience in a nutshell. Now sometimes great real life tragedy can inspire some excellent fiction.

Sadly this is not the case. This book was bad. I mean painfully bad not fun bad. This was a big piece of poop floating around in the toilet. This had to be the weirdest and incoherent story I ever read. Now I know that dying of AIDS is an excuse for poor writing but this is still just bad. I mean his pit bull may be tough and bred to fight tigers but come on. Casually biting off the trunk of an elephant. That is just too fantastic to suspend belief. This was definitely the worst book in the series. Possibly the worst book ever written.

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