The final book in the Tom Strong collections. There are two collected Tom Strong’s Terrific Tales with various casts. I have the single issues for the second collection so I might review them at some point.

Written by Michael Moorcock, Joe Casey, Steve Moore, Peter Hogan, Alan Moore
Artists: Jerry Ordway, Ben Oliver, Paul Gulacy, Karl Story, Chris Sprouse
Collects Tom Strong issues 26-30
Publisher: America’s Best Comics
Publication date: 2006

The Black Blade of the Barbary Coast, Part 1 starts with a monster storm in Millenium City. Solomon braves the weather and investigates in a helicopter while Tom is doing scientific research with the spectragun. Solomon is approached by a British man who turns out to be Sir Seaton Begg, a metatemporal investigator, who is looking for Captain Strong to help him. It appears that Begg’s nemesis, an albino called Count Zodiac is trying to find a way to conquer all multiverse. He is gathering together all pirate captains in a certain alternative Earth and Captain Strong with his trusty crew of Sullivan King and Pneuman is one of the pirates called. Begg wants Strong to go undercover and foil Zodiac’s plans. Tom, Solomon, and Pneuman head out on Begg’s dirigible which can cross time and dimentions.

This was cheesy fun! Most of this issue, and the one following it, have bickering and adventuring pirates. Among them is the black skinned Pirate Queen Barbary Rose (she’s apparently Dhalua’s aunt) and Captain Gore is mentioned. Zodiac has a duel with Captain Barbarossa and one of the captains looks very much like Blackbeard even though he isn’t named.

The pirates promptly bicker amongst themselves about who should be the leader and why should they follow Zodiac in the first place. Ah, pirates!

In The Black Blade of the Barbary Coast, Part 2 the pirate fleet follows Zodiac in hopes of treasure but instead they find supernatural and otherworldly dangers.

The Journey Within
starts with Pneuman acting strangely. He tries to run for Millenium City’s governor, then he joins a band and finally he downloads the global security codes into himself, erasing the originals. He realizes that something is wrong and asks Tom to help. Tom and Solomon miniaturize themselves and head into Pneuman’s inner systems.

This feels like a rewrite of an early Avengers comic where doctor Pym had to journey into Vision. However, there’s an interesting twist. Solomon was weirdly bloodthirsty in this issue.

In The Spires of Samakhara fiction and fact collide.
The Chinese detonate a bomb in Samakhara and Tom remembers old adventure novels written about that area. To his surprise, the Chinese let him investigate. When Tom rides his camel Lotus Blossom into the desert, he finds all the things he read about as a young boy, at the start of the century. He encounters various dangers but because he knows already about them, he’s prepared for them. Well, some of them.

I rather enjoyed this one although it’s also rather cheesy. Chevalier de Reve was an interesting character and I especially liked the ending.

Cold Calling continues the story of Dr. Permafrost and Greta Gabriel from issue 24.
Tom, Tesla, Val, and Solomon investigate a museum which has been frozen solid. Everyone else immediately suspect Tom’s old girlfriend Greta Gabriel who is in a permanent frozen state, but Tom doesn’t want to believe it. However, when they see a security tape where someone is wearing the deceased doctor Permafrost’s science villain outfit and Greta is with him, even Tom is convinced. He calls a favor with Svetlana X to locate very cold spots, and the whole Strong family heads out to confront the cold villains.

Happily, this wasn’t just about bashing a villain. It gave closure to the Snow Queen story even though it’s sort of open ended, too. However, I still think that the ending is far too convenient and predictable.

The collection ends with Tom Strong at the End of the World where Moore and Sprouse unite to write Tom Strong’s final adventure. The story contains guest appearances from pretty much every science hero in the ABC line. It’s a cross over with the final issues of Promethea so it’s likely confusing if you haven read that comic. In essence, the mythological near-goddess Promethea wants to end the world, and Tom and his gang want to stop her.

This is a better collection than the previous one but it’s still quite average, except for the last issue.

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