Astonishing Tales #23: "Conquerors Three!"

Astonishing Tales #23
"Conquerors Three!"
April, 1974

Tony (The Tiger) Isabella: Writer
Darlin' Dick Ayers: Artist
Rollickin' Richard B.: Letterer
Lovely Linda Lessmann: Colorist
Rascally Roy Thomas: Editor
Scintillatin' Steve Chung: Reviewer

Granitor, Lord of the Flying Gargoyles has just defeated It!  The Living
Colossus, perched atop the Capitol Record Building, vows revenge.  He
knows that Diane Cummings has been kidnapped by the advance force -- and
can only wonder how to stop them from taking over the entire planet.  The
mind of Bob O'Bryan continues to animate the stone body of the Colossus
-- and he hopes to have enough time to come up with a solution.

The time has come for O'Bryan's mind to return to his human body, but if
he should abandon his present location, the Colossus will be smashed to
bits on the street below.  Lacking the will necessary to fly, It! begins
to climb down the side of the building.  In one of the many offices, a
concert promoter is dictating a letter to his secretary.  His promises of
a truly spectacular rock concert pale in comparison to the stony stare
received from the descending Colossus.  Now on the street, It! sees that
the people are not accustomed to this type of rock concert, and the
Colossus decides to allay their fears.  Not in the mood for speeches, the
startled citizens choose instead to beat feet.

Two police officers are on the scene when a startled pedestrian tells
them about seeing "It!"  One of the patrolmen wonders what Joe Friday
would do in just such a situation.  The officers begin shooting at the
Colossus, when It! crumples to the ground, and lands atop a parked car.
One policeman tells the other to call for a truck, with Duffy wondering
what to do if it should start to walk again.  He soon learns that silence
is golden.  Back at the Delazny Studios, Bob O'Bryan has returned to his
own body, but Grant Marshall is still unconscious from the Gargoyles'
attack.  He is unaware that the unconscious actor was responsible for the
accident which left him in a wheelchair.  With Diane a captive of
Granitor, Bob has other things on his mind.

She is the woman he loves, and O'Bryan wants the chance to prove himself.
If he is to face off against Granitor, Bob will be needing the
Colossus's strength.  As he settles into the wheelchair, O'Bryan realizes
that he was able to remain inside It! due to the fact that he was in
closer proximity to the Colossus.  Bob O'Bryan must go to the mountain,
as it were.  In order to do so, he'll be needing a lift from one of the
"Star Lords" crew members to Los Angeles.  Mr. Delazny calls out to him,
asking about cast members Grant Marshall and Diane Cummings.  The studio
owner continues to chew on his cigar when he learns about the unconscious
actor who lost to a gargoyle.  Bob is able to wrangle a ride to the
Capitol Building from Felix Simon.  Dressed up in costume, the young lad
is naturally all ears.

Diane Cummings finds herself in a new scene -- held in the stony grip of
Granitor.  A lone voice calls out for the Lord of the Gargoyles to
release the girl, but Magnor receives a rifle butt to the side in reply.
Unimpressed by the puny inhabitants of Earth, Granitor is confident that
they've found the perfect place for Stonus Six.  The five other worlds
which have borne that name are now but devastated husks as a result of
past wars.  The rebel knows that the teleportation machine must be
destroyed before an entire army can be brought to Earth--

After she is lowered to the ground, Diane is greeted by Magnor, and both
wait for the arrival of the Colossus.  The actress remembers It!
appearing -- after Bob's accident -- and the breakup of their engagement.
She remembers being comforted by him, and how he managed to kick free of
a gargoyle.  Perhaps her fiance hasn't lost the use of his legs, but what
could possibly save their world?  There is another who covets the Earth
and would be its conqueror.  Dr. Vault and his assistant, Dr. Braun have
finished working on a device, which is a combination of magic and science
-- its purpose is to find the perfect opponent for the Living Colossus --
so that Vault may use It! for his own purposes.  Braun has never heard
the name of --

"--Fin Fang Foom!"  The ancient dragon who has appeared in China, and who
dealt with much of that country's military might.  The dragon's size has
not been accurately measured -- but there is little doubt that he could
take on It! The Living Colossus!

Dr. Vault's device has roused Fin Fang Foom from its long sleep.  The
dragon has heard the summons and with its might, plows upwards towards
the surface.  Once above ground, the ancient dragon is mistaken for a
demon, and many startled citizens call for its destruction.  With the aid
of his device, Dr. Vault is able to send Fin Fang Foom to the United
States -- where it will fall under Vault's complete control. 

The would-be conqueror frowns, as he discovers that the dragon is no
longer under his control.  Riding to Los Angeles in Felix's convertible,
Bob O'Bryan looks up in the sky, and sees gargoyles on the horizon.  With
many blocks between him and the Colossus, he must take control of the
situation.  The young actor turns to see his friend lie back on his seat.
After feeling for a pulse, and finding none, the red convertible is now
on its way to a hospital.  Although the mental transfer was simple this
time -- It! must find a way to avoid being tied up by the authorities.
Duffy sees that It! has opened its eyes, and gestures to Sgt. Patten.

It! The Living Colossus breaks free and rises to its feet.  As the police
open fire, they see the stone giant take to the air, and are unaware of
Bob O'Bryan's mind being the cause.  He has seen that the gargoyles were
heading for the cavern hideout of Dr. Vault.  Granitor has been alerted
about the Living Colossus, and orders his army to hide themselves.  It!
has seen the glowing mass land nearby, but there's nothing to be found.

It! sees an opening, but doesn't know where it leads, and what may be on
the other side.  AAGGGHHH!  The Colossus screams, as it comes under
attack from Granitor's forces.

With failure an unthinkable option, It! The Living Colossus strikes back
against its attackers.

Not content with the lackeys, It! call out for Granitor.  The Lord of the
Gargoyles stands ready to prove his superiority against the Earth
creature... KWHOOM!  Unfortunately for Granitor, he is caught off-guard
when the Colossus seizes his arm, and hurls him against the side of a
mountain.  UNNNNH!  Although its strength is awesome indeed, the Living
Colossus is no match for both Granitor and his gargoyle army.

The Lord of the Gargoyles points towards the teleporter, which will bring
more of his army to Earth.  Even if It! continues to fight the desperate
battle -- the planet may be lost!  Diane Cummings and Magnor have been
watching the uneven fight, with the rebel about to use a concealed
transmitter.  Before Magnor can speak into the device, Fin Fang Foom
arrives on the scene.  The ancient dragon sees the uneven battle being
waged before him.  Although his is a beastly exterior, the mind of Fin
Fang Foom is that of a philosopher -- alert and swift.  The battle is an
important one and the dragon has a role to play.  Even with the unusual
appearances of the fighters, he knows which side to be on.

With Fin Fang Foom fighting on Earth's behalf, It! The Living Colossus
has an opportunity to confront Granitor, and the arriving rebels are
another factor in their favor.  FWACK!  A stone fist connects with a
Gargoyle Lord's face.  The rebels are spurred on by the sight of the
ancient dragon and the stone giant fighting side-by-side.  Their long
struggle against tyranny has reached its climax.

Granitor now wears a stony face of fear, as he recalls his army to Stonus
Five -- before they are all lost.  He vows to return -- with a full force
behind him -- and a dead Earth beneath his feet.  It is not to be...
WHAM!  SPUTTER!  FIZZLE!  SPURT!  YAAAAAA  With the destruction of the
teleportation machine, the Lord of the Gargoyles and his followers are
now on a path of destruction... their own.  Magnor knows that each of
them must have felt their atoms disintegrating one by one.  It! couldn't
have known, but the rebel considers this to have been a mercy.

With the end of Granitor, Magnor and his rebels can return to Stonus
Five, where they'll deal with the remainder of the army.  The Living
Colossus knows that they will be returning to a dead world -- but Magnor
knows it is... their home nonetheless.  With the crisis over, Diane
Cummings is surprised to be sensing an unseen dread.  Braun wonders why
Vault would want to continue with his mad experiment.  Afflicted with a
disease which will soon take his own life, Dr. Vault is in need of a new
body, and the Colossus will provide him with the perfect one.  With the
device back on-line, Fin Fang Foom will fall under their control -- and
the human mind which controls It! will be driven out.  At the hospital,
Felix listens to the doctor, and knows that only an autopsy will tell
them the cause of Bob O'Bryan's death.

On the cover of Astonishing Tales #23 by Gil Kane, the title blurbs tell
us about the mightiest man-monster since King Kong, and how It has come--
to destroy a world! 

The street is as an icicle, with It! The Living Colossus shaking his fist
at the police, and a startled Diane is impressed by his rock-solid

Granitor, Dr. Vault, and Fin Fang Foom were the Conquerors Three!

If Tony (The Tiger) is out there, some questions...

Was Bob O'Bryan named after Willis O'Bryan?

"Star Lords" was a homage to "Star Trek," but had the character of Star
Lord been created yet?

Fin Fang Foom, the ancient dragon with a taste for boxers which match his

Were the pages with F.F.F. new ones by Darlin' Dick or were they
reprinted from Where Monsters Dwell #21?

Looking at the page where Fin Fang Foom surfaces in China, I see that the
citizens were pale with fear, and desperately needed some time in the sun
more than the dragon did.

Along with pitchforks and scythes, the peasants also like to wear
umbrella shades on their heads.

If you can accept a giant green dragon who wears green boxer shorts, then
you can accept peasants with umbrella hats.

Not to be undone in the fashion department, It! The Living Colossus
prefers to wear purple shorts.

Did Reed Richards and Hank Pym pool their talents to make use of unstable
molecules, as well as Pym Particles for articles of clothing?

Gargoyles with ray guns are almost as scary as the winged monkeys from
"The Wizard of Oz."  The floor had to be cleaned up after my young self
saw that part of the movie for the first time.

Granitor's gargoyle army learn a harsh lesson in life... never mess with
an ancient dragon with an elongated neck, red eyes, and green trunks.

It! The Living Colossus saves the day by destroying the teleportation
machine, in a manner which would make Luke Cage green with envy, and
ready for another round with the soda machine.

In the "Them!  The Readers That Wrote!" letters page, we learn that
Dorian Delazny's last name is a combination of Samuel Delaney and Roger

Rascally Roy informs us that Tom Orzechowski was the designer of the
letters page logo.

This Review Is Dedicated To Tony "The Tiger" Isabella

Steve Chung
"Conquerors Review!"