WINGMAN #13 DEATH ORBIT BY MACK MALONEY

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Copyright 1997.

Hawk Hunter has taken off in the Zon space shuttle to capture the archterrorist Victor II and bring him back to justice. On Earth a lot of strange things are happening. Planes and people are disappearing and turning up other places. There are sighting of ghosts. The Kennedy Space Center becomes the target of the alliance of the Asian Mercenary Cult and the Fourth Reich. They have a base in Cuba that has thousands of nuclear weapons. Their plan to use the space center to launch them into orbit and threaten the entire Earth. Hunter and his crew eventually come on Victor holding up in a giant Swastika in space. Only a visit by the ghost of his girlfriend Dominique warns of an impending catastrophe. A giant 350 mile comet is headed to Earth. All life is about to be destroyed. So the Nazis and America call a temporary truce to deal with this threat. Their nuclear weapons are launched into space where Hunter and his friend Elvis Q will go on a suicide mission to destroy the comet. They also decide to take Victor with them.

This was a strange book. It basically had three story lines going on. One was Hunter in the Zon tracking down Victor II. (This is how Victor Robotov was referred to in this book.) Another was the battle for the Kennedy Space Center. We have various Nazis fighters and Cult Mercenary battleships attack. We even get the appearance of the Vikings for one chapter. The third takes place at Hunter’s farm in Cape Cod. Dominique gets visitors during a large hurricane including Hunter’s other girlfriend Chloe. Lots of mystical mumbo-jumbo goes on that eventually leads to the death of Dominique. This of course alerts Hunter to the comet and the alliance with Victor. At the end when he goes to see Hunter off and gloat, his friend decides to take him with them on the suicide mission. Now I dropped out of reading this series with the last book. So this is the first time for me in reading this. If I did read it new I would have assumed that this was the final book. It had a clear feel of ending with Hunter sacrificing himself to save the Earth. Of course I know this isn’t the last one. I will say that Maloney does take this series in a whole new different direction. More on that in the next review.

WINGMAN #12 TARGET: POINT ZERO BY MACK MALONEY

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Copyright 1996.

Hawk Hunter has arrived at Baikonur in Kazakhstan just in time to see Viktor take off in the Zon space shuttle. So he destroys the airfield and takes a fuel truck to travel to the Swiss Alps. He calculates that is Point Zero or the best place to track the shuttle. In Austria he comes on a town at war with the neighboring town. He gets involved in helping out this town which is lead by a Canadian mercenary. They only have a squadron of rebuild WWI biplanes but manages to defeat the neighboring town’s forces. Then the Zon shuttle lands and it is being piloted by Elvis. Here is where Hunter wakes up and discovers this was a dream.

He continues on to the village of St.Moritz in Switzerland. This village is a haven for the superrich and they spend their time having parties and kinky sex. Hunter meets the beautiful Chloe and falls in love with her. After a small adventure with some of Viktor’s men they find a tracking station and Hunter now knows the flight path of the Zon. So begins a journey to destroy all the airfields in it’s orbital path where the shuttle can land. They stop an attempt to take over Malta. Then destroy a field in southern Iraq. The fields in Pakistan and Rangoon are next. This all leads to a final confrontation on a small atoll in the pacific called Lolita Island. There the United Americans and the mercenary forces of Viktor clash in a big confrontation for control of the Zon shuttle and it’s advanced Star Wars weaponry.

So the old Zebra imprint was discontinued in the early nineties and Wingman found a new home with Pinnacle. This felt like three different books. The first was this dream of a war between two towns. It had some surreal stuff like dinosaurs and UFOs in it. Of course we find out at the end with Elvis piloting the shuttle that it was just a dream. The second quarter of the book dealt with Hunter and his adventures in St. Moritz. This felt more like a Fifty Shades of Grey type book. His new girlfriend likes to have all types of sex including having Hunter watch her do other guys. In fact she has sex with everyone but Hunter.

Finally we get to the second half and it read more like a traditional Wingman book. Hunter, Chloe and a sidekick from Malta named Baldi steal a Tu-95 Bear and travel around the world destroying airfields. Along the way we are introduced to the wide range of goofiness that is the world of the Wingman. A big battle ends in Hunter getting the Zon shuttle and at the end taking off to get Viktor who is still up there on the Mir spacestation. His new girl Chloe goes to a monastery in Tibet. This was a real strange book.

WINGMAN #11 THE GHOST WAR BY MACK MALONEY

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Copyright 1993.

The United Americans have successfully liberated the country and defeated the army of the Asian Mercenary Cult. Yet their fleet of battleships is still out there causing trouble. Hawk Hunter gathers an expeditionary force made up of a fleet of C-5 transports and heads off to Asia. Hearing distress calls from Vietnam they arrive and find a huge war going on for the southern part of the country. The Capitalist Communist Inc. or CAPCOM for short is trying to conquer the southern part. Hawk and his C-5 are shot down and forced to land at Khe Sanh. This outpost is defended by a small garrison of French Foreign Legionnaires and other assorted mercenaries. Thanks to the vastly superior firepower of the Americans they successfully fight off the Viet Minx(what the CAPCOM army is known as). Then building from parts of other planes manage to escape to Da Nang.

At Da Nang they are reunited with the other members of the expeditionary force and the various foreign mercenary contingents fighting for the democratic south. Once again the firepower and ingenuity of the United Americans defeat the Viet Minx armies trying to take the city. Yet they have to face the facts that the Viet Minx are overwhelming and will soon overrun the south. So Hunter devises an ingenious plan to destroy the central bank in Hanoi and thus deprive CAPCOM of financing their mercenary army. Apparently combining Communism with Capitalism they don’t know the idea of diversifying their assets. Anyway the south is free and Hunter manages to track down where the leadership of the Mercenary Cult is located. He arrives in a C-5 at Baikonur in Kazakhstan and sees the terrorist Victor Robotov take off in a space shuttle.

The goofy series continues with them now refighting the Vietnam war. This time against this combo Capitalist Communist organization. Apparently they sell individuals an army and they are responsible for conquering territory and get reimbursed for losses. You can even get a free toaster oven if you purchase 5,000 soldiers. What a goofy way to run a war. You do find out why they are mounting this expedition. Seems Hunter gives a speech after someone asks if they should be the world’s policeman. He says that as long as someone in the world isn’t free then they have to get involved. It is what Americans do to a teary eyed crowd. Yeah that didn’t age well.

So you get plenty of goofy over the top action with C-5 transports armed with Gatling guns, cannons and air to air missiles fighting off MIG-25’s, sinking battleships and blowing apart whole armies. Basically your typical kooky action in this post-WWIII world. We find out at the end that the evil terrorist Victor is still alive and going into outer space which is setup for the next adventure.

WINGMAN WAR OF THE SUN BY MACK MALONEY

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Copyright 1992.

The United Americans have defeated the Fourth Reich and liberated the eastern half of the country. The other half is still under the occupation of the Asian Mercenary Cult. An uneasy truce exists for the cult has two nuclear subs that could destroy two cities. Yet intelligence indicates that their insane leader Hashi Pushi is about to obliterate a city on the west coast. Hashi Pushi is a drug crazed nut who likes to have his own men commit seppuku over minor infractions. The United Americans lead by Hawk Hunter come up with a daring plan. Outfit an aircraft carrier and conduct a raid on Pushi’s palace in Tokyo. With his death it is hoped the cult will fall apart.

They carry out the raid and Hashi Pushi does commit suicide but the threat from the cult is far from over. His spirit is transferred to a teenage girl who continues his evil plans of world domination. On the island of Okinawa a massive factory is churning out guns, munitions and exact copies of WWII era Zeros. On a nearby island they are producing dozens of battleships. So Hunter manages to team up with a movie production group that was stranded on the island by WWIII. They are lead by the daughter of Amelia Earhart. Naturally Hunter and the United Americans easily destroy this base.

Yet the spirit of Hashi lives on in another young cult member. He manages to gather the cult’s forces at Pearl Harbor to lure the Americans to their doom. Only Hunter is one step ahead and uses remote controlled ships to lure the thousand of kamikaze Zeros to destroy empty ships. Then they destroy the islands food and water supply and trap the army to starve. Everything looks great until at the end we learn that the cult was being manipulated by the dead spirit of Victor Robotov the insane terrorist thought dead.

So this book sees the defeat of the Second Axis. I have to say that the Second Axis was a very incompetent bunch. Everyone of them was more good at killing themselves then the enemy. It is a wonder they managed to take over America in the first place. As you can read from the description of the plot this was just filled to the brim with goofiness. Which just makes it such a fun experience. Not a bit of real world grounding but plenty of fast paced action. Ends with the revelation of the evil Russian terrorist mastermind Victor now back and somehow resurrected from the dead. The action will now start going more international with Hunter and his buddies leaving America to battle evil all over the world.

WINGMAN RETURN FROM THE INFERNO BY MACK MALONEY

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Copyright 1991.

The Second Axis has conquered America. On the west coast everything west of the Rockies is under the control of the Combined Greater East Asia Divine Warriors’ Association or what will be known as the Asian Mercenary Cult. Everything to the east is the Fourth Reich a reborn Nazis empire. America now is under the brutal heel of these occupiers. Most of the United American officers are in hiding or concentration camps. Hawk Hunter the famed Wingman is presumed dead. In Fuhrerstadt the Nazis capital which was formerly St. Louis the Amerikafuhrer is about to marry the insane Elizabeth Sandlake so she can become queen of America.

Yet Hunter isn’t dead and has been quietly rebuilding the forces of resistance. A clever ruse distracts the Nazis from the real objective of the attack. With the battleship New Jersey towing barges full of tanks they make their way up the Mississippi to Fuhrerstadt during the wedding. A decisive battle frees the country but sees the brave Mike Fitzgerald sacrifice himself to prevent the destruction of St. Louis by a nuclear missile.

Back in the nineties it was a common practice to revive the old Axis after the fall of the Soviets. Either a resurgent Germany or Japan was the new bad guy. Maloney actually brings it back quite literally. Now how did the Nazis get to power. Not really explained but they apparently have a very modern army and air force. The first half of the book is somewhat slow. We never even see Hunter the main hero. It mostly consists of stuff like Mike Fitzgerald pretending to be a priest to hide from the Nazis and showing us how evil the Nazis are. The second half though we get the typical goofy over the top action that we expect in a Wingman book. You have to wonder how these Nazis managed to take over America in the first place. They seem completely incompetent and when the going gets tough they just shoot themselves in the head. They sure don’t make Nazis like they used to.

WINGMAN SKYFIRE BY MACK MALONEY

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Copyright 1990.

The book starts out with an assault on a castle in Alberta. The evil Elizabeth Sandlake has captive Hawk Hunter’s girlfriend Dominique. Sandlake who was an archeologist that was taken captive by the Canal Nazis has been driven insane and now wants to create a female dominated aristocracy with her as queen. Wow is this way ahead of it’s time. The joint United American/Free Canadian force succeeds and frees Dominique and captures many criminals. Unfortunately Sandlake her lover Juanita Juarez and Hunter’s beloved F-16 get away. You know it’s love when Hunter chooses his girl over his airplane. After this Hunter decides to retire with Dominique and live on a hay farm on the coast of Massachusetts.

Things though don’t stay peaceful for the country. A mysterious force of raiders from the sea are attacking towns and cities on the east coast of Canada and America. These raiders strike around Hunter’s home and kidnap his girl. Now he has to get out his AV-8BE Harrier and join the fight. He finds out that the mysterious raiders are Vikings in massive submarines. These unhygenic Vikings are using these massive coal powered subs complete with sea serpent heads mounted on the front to rape, loot and pillage. These Vikings are the work of a fishing magnet who took over northern Scandinavia and revived the Viking traditions after the war. Verden and his son Thorgils though are puppets to some other force. Along the way Hunter teams up with Verden’s rebellious son Wolf who wears a mask and captains the USS New Jersey battleship. The big raid against Florida is easily defeated but the United Americans are surprised by an attack from a new enemy. An enemy that possesses carriers with modern aircraft. They decimate the United American forcers as a large Asian enemy invades the west coast. Ends with Hunter going off on a suicide mission to attack the invaders alone.

So with the Soviets defeated the author has to come up with some new enemies and boy are these some off the wall ones. Naturally this book was a joy to read. The kooky Vikings that drive around in coal powered submarines. The weird feminist Sandlake who joins forces with them. The equally mysterious figure of Wolf with his Zorro like mask using his battleship against his family. Goes along with the big final battle that is a complete success for Hunter. Then it hits us with the surprise attack and defeat of the Americans at the end. The Vikings were just a distraction for this new enemy who also has four nuclear armed submarines to blackmail America into surrendering. A fun over the top book that doesn’t have a lick of reality to it but plenty of high adventure fantasy.

WINGMAN FREEDOM EXPRESS BY MACK MALONEY

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Copyright 1990.

America is now united and settling down to normal. A group calling themselves The Modern Pioneers are attempting to drive a train across the Badlands to Los Angeles. Only it gets ambushed along the way and the empty train is sent crashing into downtown L.A. Yet the United American government has decided that a rail route should be opened between the east and west. Lead by Hawk Hunter they equip a massive two mile long train that will cut a path from the east to west coast. Dubbed the Freedom Express this heavily armed train will see Hunter trade in his F-16 for a Harrier jumpjet to land and take off from the train.

They soon find out that there is a formidable enemy awaiting them. Duke Devellian and his Knights of the Burning Cross a white supremacist group is determined to stop the train. Gathering a huge army of former canal Nazis, KKK, Mexican bandits and various mercenary scum Duke plans to ambush and destroy the train at the Grand Canyon. Hunter and the United Americans have to run a gauntlet to make the journey to L.A. The train has become a symbol of a reborn America and defeat could mean the end of the fledgling new democratic government.

This installment of the series gives us a KKK type group as the main enemy. Duke Devellian is probably the most loathsome of opponents the series ever had. He is of course a white supremacist who is also a sexual pervert that enslaves young girls. He also is a psychopath who loves killing. In fact every day he kills his own men for some minor infraction whenever he is in a bad mood. Which is very frequent. You wonder why someone would work for such an unstable individual. I mean the Burning Cross can’t have that good of pay and benefits. Duke always has to take a polaroid of his killing. Naturally Hawk Hunter and the good guys come through against overwhelming odds. They take on their old canal Nazis foes, Mexican bandits, South African flamethrower unit, skinheads in Phantoms and the KKK Air Force. Duke who fancies himself a film director plans to film the whole destruction for the world to see. Only Hunter doesn’t stick to the choreographed script. Another fun if highly improbable adventure in the Wingman universe.

WINGMAN THE FINAL STORM BY MACK MALONEY

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Copyright 1989.

The United Americans have achieved some relative stability and decide it is time to seek some much needed justice. They raid Bermuda where the traitorous Vice President still runs the New Order regime. Brought back to the states a huge trial is put on in Syracuse. There Hawk Hunter and others under hypnosis have told their stories about their experiences during the war. Hunter is the main character and starts out on Christmas Eve at Cape Canaveral where he has just been accepted to the space shuttle program. Only a surprise gas attack on Western Europe cuts his training short. Joining his friends at Rota, Spain they wage a brutal air war with the forces of the Warsaw Pact. A war that is eventually won but a stab in the back by the traitor VP sees America defeated and her forces destroyed.

The trial is interrupted by the Soviets who demand the return of the VP. They have now rebuilt their nuclear capability and as a demonstration detonate a nuke over Syracuse. Now Hunter must fly a mission to the Soviet base in Kazakhstan in a souped up B-1 bomber. This mission will determine whether America is free or the Soviets dominate the world.

This installment of the series is a prequel of sorts that shows us what happened during the initial opening of WWIII. An epic fight that sees Hunter in these massive air battles. The goal to distract the Soviets enough for them to use these super hi-tech weapons against the invading army. It you want a realistic depiction of a Soviet invasion you should read Harold Coyle, Tom Clancy or Larry Bond. If you just want an over the top fun battle that sees A-10 Thunderbolts and AC-130 gunships sink an aircraft carrier. Massive air battles involving all types of fighters under the sun. Goofy types of advanced drones taking out entire divisions then this is the book for you.

This was the last hurrah for the Soviets as the enemy of Hunter and the United Americans. After this they ceased to be a threat. The new threats after this were Nazis, KKK, Asian Mercenary cults and submarine Vikings.

WINGMAN THE TWISTED CROSS BY MACK MALONEY

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Copyright 1989.

America is finally united and the Soviet puppet Circle is soundly defeated. Yet the country is a mess and the provisional United American government has its hands full rebuilding. There are rumors that the Panama Canal is still intact and Hawk Hunter goes to New Orleans to investigate. He talks to a man who claims to have been there and tells that the canal is run by Nazis that are obsessed with collecting gold. So Hunter takes off to Central America which is now known as Big Banana. There he finds the Twisted Cross a Nazis organization is extorting gold for passage through the canal. They also have mined the canal with nuclear explosives. Hunter has to find an expert that designed these explosives so they can be disarmed. America needs the canal to ship supplies from the west to rebuild the east.

So he rescues the doctor from some skinheads in Texas and finds out his daughter Elizabeth Sandlake was taken. She is a noted anthropologist who recently discovered new Mayan caverns that hold gold. The Twisted Cross needs this because they have this grand plan to corner the market in gold and from this rule the world. Hawk’s adventures find him meeting an American mercenary group known as CATS(Central American Tactical Squad) and some warrior monks. With the United Americans pretending to negotiate a mutual nonaggression pact they manage to ambush the Nazis and disarm the canal. Hunter rescues Elizabeth and once again defeats the enemies of America.

Now we move from Soviets and their criminal allies to Nazis as the main villains in this book. The Nazis would soon play a predominate villain in the series going forward. Now really explained how these Nazis came about but like most stuff in this series you just go with it. They do make excellent villains. Also introduces Elizabeth Sandlake who becomes a major villain in the series. She starts out this decent woman but somewhere along the line she goes nuts. She also develops this hypnotic power over people which we start to see develop in this book. Once again you just go with it. A strange development for a very strange series. I do love this series. It is just so off the wall nuts to be a fun and entertaining ride.

WINGMAN THUNDER IN THE EAST BY MACK MALONEY

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Copyright 1988.

Hawk Hunter is back from the Middle East after defeating Victor Robotov aka Lucifer and his invasion of Europe. Now he has the deal with the Soviet backed Circle that controls the eastern half of America. The western forces now known as the United Americans first have to liberate Football City formerly St. Louis, They first have to make sure they rescue ten thousands POWs that the Circle are using as hostages. This involves a convoluted plan to use old prohibition era tunnels to get them to the Mississippi and float them out on inner tubes. Then Hawk and his friends infiltrate the Family in New Chicago and manage to take over that organization of criminals. They then set the Family army against the Circle army and destroy both of them. Finally they move east to continue their victories.

Yet they have to hurry for the Soviets have hired a mercenary army in Scandinavia that is coming to reinforce the Circle. They also have to stop a massive iconoclasm from happening in Washington D.C. The Soviets plan to burn thousands of books, sports equipment and American flags to destroy American culture and demoralize the people. Hunter has to lead a general revolt and stop the evil Soviets from their diabolical plans.

This book sees the Circle finally being defeated and America reunited. It also has Hunter get an upgraded F-16 or an F-16XL. Once again Hunter and friends fight against overwhelming odds and come out on top. I love how they manage to come into the mafia controlled New Chicago and take over. Maloney has a real talent for making his villains so loathsome. Most are sexual perverts into underage girls. I will say that he was way ahead of his time in the whole cancel culture thing. Sure the whole plot of the Soviets is a bit goofy and seemed really so at the time. Yet destroying American culture to destroy America has never been more alive and well. This was a really enjoyable book filled with over the top action and villain. Not to mention a good dose of American patriotism thrown in.