Saturday, February 3, 2018

Jabberwocky 1914, vol. 3 review (repost)

(All rights belong to their owners. Images used here for review purposes only.)

Jabberwocky 1914, vol. 3, Masato Hisa. Grade: A-
Dart Ryuu, the earth borer, creates a massive pit under Shelty, and she starts to fall in. Samoed races to save her, but she's too far out of reach. Shelty quickly tells him what she's pieced together about the borer, and makes the boy promise to find her later as she falls into the pit. Samoed leaps in after her, but Clayton swings in and grabs him. They escape the destruction, but many of the villagers aren't as lucky - 56 dead. Samoed tells Boothloyd what Shelty had discovered, and it looks like the dinosaurs had been digging big tunnels for some time now, and putting the dirt into abandoned houses to hide their tracks. The tunnels don't go in a straight line, so there's no way to figure out where to intercept them. Boothloyd offers to help Lily when he learns anything, and he has Clayton go with her to help survive in the wild. Lily, Samoed and Clayton set out for the Dart's presumed target of Hirschbigel. After a while, they get into the woods, and Samoed keeps playing with his gun. Lily tells him to be patient, then the boy's stomach grumbles and Clayton forages for food. He captures a mountain goat. The animal tastes good, but it's not designed for surviving in the forest, and the man wonders what it had been doing there. They suddenly realize that the goat must have come through the tunnel, implying that the other end is in the Alps.

(Inside splash page of Tarzan with a goat skull.)

Shelty comes to in the Dart, and two of the dinosaurs with her start talking about killing her now against orders for revenge for Maschief's death, but a third dinosaur intervenes to maintain order. His name is Jango and he has a screw loose. Literally. Jango is of a species with weak eyesight, so he'd had his eyes removed and replaced with a big threaded pipe in order to turn him into a better fighter. He's great with a gun, but he also fights with a big screw as a throwing weapon (when he's not using it, he keeps the screw in the threaded pipe in his skull). Jango kills the two dinosaurs that challenge him, then maintains an uneasy truce with the Dart's commander, Dakkel. Jango thinks that Shelty can be used as bait to attract the egg stealing dragon, Sabata (Jango had been in charge of protecting the dinosaur egg nursery, and Sabata had fought him to steal one egg a long time ago - egg #51.) As time passes, Shelty listens to the way the Dart behaves, estimating how fast it advances with one turn of the main blade, and picking up other clues on weaknesses in the machinery. When the air turns cold, she figures they're getting into the Alps. She's talking out loud, and Jango hears her, and commends her on her deductions. They spar verbally for a few minutes, then Jango tells her their plans - the Dart is boring a tunnel between the prison camp and an underground spring. When the tunnel is completed, the floodwaters from the spring will wash the humans out of Holland. Jango then bares his fangs before leaving the room, and Shelty succumbs to the fear.

(Samoed tries to grab Shelty, but is stopped by Clayton.)

As the panic is about to engulf her, she remembers what Lily told her. If you can smile, then smile. If you can stand, then stand. If you can do anything, then do it. Shelty stands, dislocates her thumb to escape her ropes, then takes her guards by surprise and disappears into the air vents. Up in the Dart cockpit, Dakkel is reveling over their latest discovery - a huge ice wall that encases aquatic dinosaurs from the distant past, showing that what is now mountains used to be sea bed. All they have to do now is puncture the ice. Dakkel takes his drill bit helmet off to reveal that he has special feelers over his eyes. His species were burrowers, and had developed the feelers for determining where they were underground, to detect threats, and for dowsing (e.g. - finding water pockets). Right now, he detects the prisoner crawling through the air ducts. Jango pulls out his gun and shoots into the ceiling to spook the "mouse." Shelty bolts, gets to the exit hatch, opens it and runs outside into a big cavern. Dakkel orders his crew to put the Dart into "standing position," and it toys with the girl briefly, until Samoed bursts out of the tunnel on her bike and Lily grabs her arm and pulls her to safety. Everyone gives Samoed a hard time on how bad his driving is, and they race down another tunnel. Everyone briefs each other, then exchanges places. Shelty is to get to the surface and contact Boothloyd about the dinosaurs' plans. Clayton gives her his ring, which guarantees free passage anywhere in England. Then Samoed, Lily and Clayton return to the cavern to engage the enemy.

(Egg protector and egg stealer.)

Jango recognizes Lily, and Samoed tries to threaten him to keep him at a safe distance. Jango then fires three shots at the Dart's drill, and they spin around and back out to hit the boy in the arms and torso, ripping off his shirt. This reveals the metal mounting plate on Samoed's lower back, with "#51" stamped on it in big numbers. Jango is pleased because he's about to get his missing "knight in the shell" back. Lily runs in to defend her "son," and Jango bows, thanking her for taking care of the boy for him. He then shoots her in the chest. Her bulletproof vest keeps her from dying, but she now has at least one cracked rib. Clayton uses his rope on the Dart's drill to swing up and grab Samoed again and get him away from Jango. Clayton promises to help Lily, then he pulls out and eats a "jungle fruit" that turns him into a berzerker. He rushes Jango, who shoots point blank. Clayton lets the bullet go up his arm and then out at the elbow so it is slow enough that he can catch it and then punches the dinosaur in the head with his good arm. Jango pops the screw out of the threaded pipe, and Clayton finds that his good arm is now trapped in the pipe. Jango pulls a bead on Lily, so Clayton uses his strength to leap into the closest tunnel with Jango in tow.

(Dart Ryuu)

This leaves Samoed with the Dart. The boy says that he doesn't have a chance on his own here. But, he's not the only one fighting the borer; Shelty had briefed him on the machine's weaknesses when they'd been on the bike. The gear system has a series of C-shaped rings at the center of the drive chain. Normally, when the Dart is moving horizontally, this is not a problem. You can hear when any given ring makes a full rotation - there's a "chunk" sound. But, if the Dart is in standing position, and the C-rings are all aligned, the borer will break down. Saemond runs around the cavern, listening to the "chunks," and avoiding Dakkel's attacks. Finally, there is one really loud "chunk," and the boy uses his talons to race up the cavern wall. The Dart stands up to capture him, and all of the C-rings line up, and crush themselves under their own weight. The Dart crashes to the ground. Dakkel tells his men to not panic - the hatch only opens from the inside, and the machine is made of Damascus steel. They're safe where they are.

(Dart Ryuu has one weakness when standing up.)

Lily then stands up and approaches one of the smaller drill bits. She says that Shelty has brains, Samoed has strength, and she has her "alcohol." She pours the liquid from one of the bottles in her trenchcoat into a hole in the wall made by the Dart, kicks the bit into the hole, and lights the liquid trickling down the wall. The liquid explodes like a bomb, hurling the bit through the Dart and into the opposite wall. Looking into the hole in the borer, Lily tells Samoed to not look - this is not a sight for children. Inside, Dakkel has been cut in two. However, he's not dead yet. He manages to get his head feelers into one of the borer's control gloves, and fires the big drill bit into the glacier ice. Lily and Samoed crawl into one of the loose gears (it's hollow and large enough to hold two people) before the underground spring waters can start filling up the cavern. The flood picks up the gear unit and sends it rushing down the tunnel.

("Does that sting?" "A bit.")

Shelty had been driving her bike down the tunnel, until she reached a low spot that had filled up with water. Unable to go forward, she switched her tires to hooked spikes, then spotted a ventilation shaft. She takes that up to the surface, only to be captured by a German patrol that is on a secret mission. The Germans have developed a massive cannon mounted on a train car. It's been slowly inching through the mountains on the train tracks the soldiers have laid down. The commander of the mission finds Clayton's ring on the girl and she's tied up and accused of being a spy. He demands to know what she's doing there, and she tells him to look in her courier pouch. The commander pulls out a letter, and Shelty says that it's a love letter from her fiance, Eric Fonk (actually, it was given to her to deliver back at the camp). She says that Eric had been captured by the British and she was forced to become a spy if she wanted him to be kept alive. There's a rumbling in the ground and the Germans wonder what's going on. Shelty claims that it's the British - they're tunneling through the mountains, and there's nothing that can stop them. The commander points to his cannon, and says, "just tell me where to point this." It's a 210 mm bore, 28 meters long, and fires a 94 kg shell up to 48 km away. Shelty mentally backtracks the way she had come, and points at a spot on the map. The Germans aim the gun, and fire off a shell for country and the love of the girl. It slams into the side of a mountain, and a few seconds later a whole lot of water comes shooting out. The loose gear lands safely in the lake below, and Samoed assumes that Shelty saved them somehow.

The commander turns to ask the girl if she's happy with the outcome, but she is long gone. Shelty races her bike to the lake, and she and Samoed run to grab each other in their arms. Clayton arrives, and tells the two kids to grow up to be strong. In the distance, Jango smiles, knowing that the game isn't over yet. Later, Clayton returns to London and hands over a vial of Samoed's blood to Boothloyd (collected in the cavern when Clayton had picked the boy up). The leader of OHMSS congratulates him on completing his mission. He orders the blood to be analyzed to find out if Samoed is "a special dinosaur." (I.e. - if the boy has a particular potential OHMSS is looking for.)

Summary: LOTS of over the top action again. All of it is farfetched, but it's still a fun romp. Recommended if you like shooting, running, and shooting some more.

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