THE LAST RANGER #10 IS THIS THE END? BY CRAIG SARGENT

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Copyright 1989.

Martin Stone is heading to Armadillo Texas. That is where the Dwarf has taken his sister April. So when he gets to West Texas he finds a place just filled with nuclear blast craters. The state was hit hard in the war. He rescues a young biker chick who was being attacked by some gang. For this generous act of kindness the woman Raspberry Thorn forces him with a knife to his throat to take her back to her camp. The camp is home to a female biker gang called The Ballbusters. A real man hating group. They even have a mock giant penis set up in the middle of the camp so they can beat and stab it. Raspberry takes Stone to her room and the two of course have mad passionate love. Then Raspberry allows Stone to leave in spite of the rule that all men should be killed after they have been used. Seems Stone is the only man who ever satisfied her sexually. Something Stone is very good at. So he gets out just as the camp descends into civil war over who will lead it.

So he makes it the Armadillo and finds a boom town in oil. It’s controlled by a cabal known as the Freaks which the Dwarf is the leader. Stone stumbles on the to secret entrance to the underground base and immediately gets captured. So he is in the NAUASC (North American Underground Assured Survival Complex). A secret base that controls all the star war weaponry. Here he finds out the Dwarf plans to marry his sister. So Stone is given over to Doctor Wolfgang Kerhausen who was the personal physician to Adolf Hitler. The kooky Nazi likes to do many transplants of questionable scientific value like transplanting female parts onto a male body.(Maybe the guy was ahead of his time.) Anyway he wants to transplant parts from his dog Excalibur onto Stone and vise versa.

Before he can start this nutty experiment Raspberry Thorn and her gang invade the complex and save Stone. Raspberry is apparently the leader now. Stone manages to rescue his sister and the Dwarf is killed by a vengeful servant. Only not before he launches all the nuclear missiles in space and literally blows up the entire world into a cloud of dust.

So the question is this the end? Well if it means the end of the series then that is a definite yes. He blew up the whole world so not much doubt of this being an end. Now the author was dying of AIDS and had just months left. I’m sure he knew the end was coming. Jan Stacy died at only 41. I suppose that existential question was answered for him as it will to all of us at some date. What I loved was that he decided to take his creation with him and metaphorically speaking all of us. I can respect that. At least the guy gave some closure to the series. Stone found his sister April and was reunited with her. His arch enemy from the beginning the Dwarf also got his just desserts. I actually admire the man. He was dying but still kept on going and chunking out books. He kept on going till the end.

So the series as a whole was enjoyable. Sure there were a few cow pies in the lot. The quality was on the decline as it progressed and one can’t help but wonder how it would have turned out if he didn’t suffer from his disease. Now Stone was probably one of the most inept of the heroes in the post-apocalyptic genre. He was always being rescued by his dog or some person or mob of people. In fact the author seemed to have a template for writing these stories. Stone infiltrates the enemy. Gets captured and imprisoned in some sadistic torture chamber. Sometimes he was able to escape but many other times someone else came to his rescue. Then he kicked butt and moved on in the never ending quest for his sister April. Lazy writing? Perhaps but it did work for this series. Stone always came out on top and got the pretty girl. What more do you need.

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