by James Mullaney
Cover by Mark Maddox
Take one psycho beauty hell-bent on revolution. Add millions in illicit cash. Stir in one counterculture army. Simmer in a political pressure cooker until it explodes into America’s streets.
A devastating attack in the heartland leaves a stunned nation reeling. Claiming credit for the unprovoked strike is a new radical group called the People’s Brigade. Even as bodies are pulled from the rubble, this heretofore unknown group loses no time launching assault after assault in cities across the country.
America’s intelligence agencies are flying blind and can only stand helpless as the violence escalates … until a desperate MIC tosses Patrick “Podge” Becket and Dr. Thaddeus Wainwright into the fray. They quickly uncover a scheme that links the People’s Brigade to underground radical groups in every state in the union, all answerable to a lovely young sociopath called Daisy.
The gal’s got looks, brains, money and an army of men willing to die for a cause. Our side has the Red Menace and Dr. Wainwright — the bad guys haven’t got a chance.
WHO IS THE RED MENACE? Throughout the 1950s, this was the number one question from Moscow to Beijing and in every communist palace and malaria-ridden backwater in between. The mysterious masked figure was a shadow and a whisper. For the Kremlin and its fellow travelers, he was a damnable monkey wrench tossed into the gears of the not-so-glorious worldwide revolution. Wherever Reds schemed, the Menace was there to set things right. Then, 1960 came and the whisper grew silent.
Twelve years later, Podge Becket, computer tycoon and security expert, thinks he’s hung up his mask and cape for good. Aided by his partner, inventor and physician Dr. Thaddeus Wainwright, the Red Menace is dragged back into the hero game. But it’s a whole new world out there ...
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So who is The Red Menace? Well, he is Patrick "Podge" Becket, now a computer tycoon and security expert. We are told his company, Becket International, is IBM's main rival in the computer industry. Back in the 1950s, he decided to fight back against communism and its agents, creating the costumed persona of The Red Menace. His outfit of cape, hooded mask (described as like an executioner's hood) and gauntlets are made from a special dye that looks red close up, but black further away. He also has a special gun and other devices. However, in 1960, he stopped. Most likely he realized as he was getting older, he wouldn't be able to continue and live. Now in 1972, he reluctanely comes back in action. He is aided by Dr. Thaddeus Wainwright, doctor and inventive genius, who you will soon realize has a mysterious background. He gaves Becket a syrum that helps him physically, but it doesn't make him superhuman. His special devices come from Wainwright. The Red Menace works with (Patrick emphasises this) an agency known as MIC (Manpower and Intelligence Command), now headed by Simon Kirk, the son of the man who headed it in the 50s. These three are the only consistant characters in the series. Following soon after the last one, we find the Red Menace going after some Russian agents in the US. Fun. At the same time, two other things are going on. One is his company gets hit by the IRS saying they owe $18 million. Which Becket doesn't think is correct. And a strange group of hippies, under the leadership of a young woman, somehow are able to blow up the head of Thomas Jefferson at Mount Rushmore, killing the 2 park rangers. They call themselves The People's Brigade. A Marxist college professor is involved, tho a psychopathic young lady seems to be the main planner behind things. And they have an unknown source of funding. Who are they, and what is their next target? And is there any connection between what Becket is dealing with at the IRS and this? But of course the Red Menace, along with Dr. Wainwright, is on the case. I did enjoy their discussion about have a "RedMenacemobile". And will we see a return of the 2 strange Red Army colonels from the epilogue?