Blog: Commentary from the den of a pulp super-fan

Review: ‘Challenger Storm: Isle of Blood’

Posted by at 10:00 am Monday, June 10, 2013 in Airship 27, Bill Barnes, Captain Hazzard, Challenger Storm, Doc Savage, New Pulp, Pulps, Review
Estimated reading time: 2 minutes

Challenger Storm is a New Pulp character created by Don Gates.

Challenger StormI know Don has been working on Challenger for some time, as I visited his old website and saw the preliminary work done on the characters and setting. Being from Florida myself, the idea of a pulp character set in the state is neat.

Check out Don’s YouTube channel.

Clifton “Challenger” Storm is a pulp hero in the mold of Doc SavageBill Barnes or Captain Hazzard — more of a highly skilled globetrotting adventurer than a crime-fighter like The Shadow, The Spider or The Avenger.

While he does fight bad guys, he’s different. Also like Bill Barnes or Captain Hazzard, he has a base of operations and has gathered a group of diverse people around him. So he has aides like those characters, and it’s hinted that different people will work with him on different cases.

In Don’s book Challenger Storm: The Isle of Blood, Storm is assisted by two people who are somewhat in the mold of Ham and Monk: bickering characters, as well as some others. Unlike Doc or Hazzard, Storm has no special abilities, either physical or mental, tho he is highly trained.

As this is the first work, we get a series of interludes that give a sort of background/origin to the character. This ties in with the finale of the book, which setups how future stories may arise, which hopefully will happen soon.

The story is fairly simple, and could easily have been a Doc or Hazzard story: A small Pacific island nation is plagued by several competing warlords (sometimes described as “terrorists,” but I think that was a poor choice, as I don’t think that term was used back then). Storm and company enter into the picture when recruited to help rescue a young lady, dealing with the warlords as well as a new threat.

A coup for this book was getting Michael Kaluta to do the cover and several interior illustrations. Most pulp fans know of Kaluta for doing what is considered the best comic book interpretation of The Shadow, and this aviation adventurer character fits right in with Kaluta’s style. I wonder if Kaluta will be involved in future volumes?

As noted, this is a great read and I look forward to future volumes. The author’s blog is serializing new stories.