‘Challenger Storm: The Curse of Poseidon’
Clifton “Challenger” Storm is a pulp hero in the mold of Doc Savage, Bill Barnes or Capt. Hazzard — more of a highly skilled globetrotting adventurer than a crime-fighter like The Shadow, The Spider or The Avenger — operating out of an airbase/research center in Miami called MARDL in the mid-1930s.
While he does fight bad guys, he’s different. Like Doc Savage or Capt. Hazzard, he is highly skilled and trained. Like Capt. Hazzard, Bill Barnes and similar characters, 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 the first book we had three assistants: Manny “Skids” Gerard, a small pilot; and Brock Thurman, a big former strongman provided the “Monk and Ham” dynamic. There was also Willy Avis, a black mechanic and WWI veteran. In this one Skids is absent, but joining them is aviatrix Diana St.Clair, who is seeking her former lover, and one-time MARDL scientist, Herbert Chambers, who has disappeared in the Aegean Sea.
We soon learn that the Aegean has had several cases of ships disappearing, and now a tidal wave has wiped out a small village! Locals think it’s a curse of Poseidon. But due to someone trying to stop Storm and his MARDL team from getting there, it would seem that someone is behind this. That someone calls himself Poseidon, and now is making threats to the world. Can Storm and the MARDL team put a stop to him?
There are some interesting touches in this story. Storm and his team stop off at F.P.1. This is Floating Platform #1, a floating airport located in the middle of the North Atlantic as a stop over for planes. It was the center of a novel and later an early SF movie, “F.P.1 Does Not Respond,” and the plot of the movie is referenced in the story. We also learn that the MARDL group has a super ship called the Independence, which is used in this story, along with a small submarine. So now we know they have nautical vehicles and not just planes. Hopefully these will be used in future stories.
Like the first one, artist Mike Kaluta provides the cover and several interior illustrations.
This is another great adventure with this new character. The epilogue of this story sets up for the next story, apparently to be called “White Hell.” The author has plans for another dozen or so stories, so we should see some longevity of this hero. The first novel is out of print, and a slightly revised edition is being worked on.