By Bruce Jones, Scott Hampton & April Campbell (Eclipse Books)
ISBN: 0-913035-27-0 (Limited Edition: hardback, signed with a tipped-in b&w plate)
ISBN: 0-913035-26-2 (hardback)
ISBN: 0-913035-22-X (trade paperback)
If you’re ever in the mood for some grand old-fashioned space-opera, magnificently illustrated and thrilling as all get-out, then you can’t go far wrong with this lost gem (still readily available through various online retailers and, for all I know, your local comic shop).
Starting life as a limited series from the groundbreaking but woefully unprofessional Pacific Comics (always superb product, but lamentably underfinanced, poorly scheduled and badly distributed) in December 1983, the completed tale finally found its way, like so many others, to fellow West Coast outfit Eclipse, where it joined the ranks of their superb Graphic Novel line alongside such classics as the Rocketeer, Sabre and I am Coyote.
The story from Bruce Jones and April Campbell tells of Silverheels, a troubled young “‘Pachee” warrior with hidden psychic powers. On a future Earth where Aryan Supremacists the Nazites have won a global war and installed themselves as a triumphant master-race, all sub-races are treated like cattle – or game. The Nazites even took their xenophobic madness into space, but their dreams of purity and conquest were crushed by an alliance of space-faring races.
Always an outsider, Silverheels escapes the reservation where the impure races have been left to die and breaks into the Nazite fortress just as inspectors from the Intergalactic Council arrive to assess whether the defeated Aryans are reformed and repentant enough to be allowed back into space.
Of course they aren’t, but as the young Apache, acting on the instinctive promptings of his psi-potent subconscious, bluffs his way onto an extraterrestrial training mission to select worthy Earthmen, he is indifferent to the hatred of the duplicitous Nazites. Although they all want him silenced before he can expose their secrets, the young mongrel only has eyes for Miranda, the beautiful, racially perfect daughter of the Nazite leader. Such a pity that she’s promised to the brutal übermensch Kraus…
Produced in the gloriously humanistic Faux-EC Comics style beloved by so many of Jones’ generation, this tale of love, pride and the unconquerable human spirit isn’t as clear-cut as it may sound and there are plenty of surprises to augment the spectacular action and gritty drama as Silverheels triumphs over every lethal obstacle before the shocking ending arrives.
As always the lush painted art of Scott Hampton is utterly entrancing, and great story-telling is timeless so this book is one you’ll delight in over and over again.
Story © 1987 Bruce Jones Associates. Art 1987 © Scott Hampton. All Rights Reserved.