Oct. 16, 2019

A sinister oriental mastermind matches wits with a G-Man and an investigative reporter!

The Mysterious Wu Fang The Case of the Yellow Mask by Robert J Hogan

The Mysterious Wu Fang initially launched in September 1935. This title was the third of the magazine run. The series saw Robert J. Hogan, creator of flying ace G-8 and other air ace series for Popular Publications, dive into the world of Oriental intrigue. 

 Addressing the elephant in the room, it is hard not to compare this villain with Doctor Fu Manchu, Sax Rohmer's masterful Lord of Death. The two Chinamen are virtually identical. Val Kildare and Jerry Hazard take the roles held by Dennis Nayland Smith and Doctor Petrie.

 There is a beautiful woman, Mohara, who, like Romar's own Kâramanèh, sympathizes with Jerry and helps all she can without completely deserting Wu Fang. Newsboy Cappy is the one truly unique character and helps elevate the story beyond a mirror image of Fu Manchu. He is in the thick of things, selflessly aiding the investigators.

 That isn't to say that Val Kildare and Jerry Hazard are not

The Mysterious Wu Fang: The Case of the Scarlet Feather by Robert J Hogan

The Mysterious Wu Fang launched in September 1935. This title was the second of the magazine run. The series saw Robert J. Hogan, creator of flying ace G-8 and other air ace series for Popular Publications, dive into the world of Oriental intrigue.

Addressing the elephant in the room, it is hard not to compare this villain with Doctor Fu Manchu, Sax Rohmer's masterful Lord of Death. The two Chinamen are virtually identical.

 Val Kildare and Jerry Hazard take the roles held by Dennis Nayland Smith and Doctor Petrie. There is a beautiful woman, Mohara, who, like Rohmer's Kâramanèh, sympathizes with Jerry and helps all she can without completely deserting Wu Fang. Newsboy Cappy who aides the pair of intrepid investigators, is the one truly unique character and helps elevate the story beyond a mirror image of Fu Manchu.

That isn't to say that Val Kildare and Jerry Hazard are not characters that stand on their own, nor are they merely clones of Smith and Petrie. The addition of Cappy adds an element of child endangerment that makes Wu Fang all the more wicked. Mohara is more than a clone of Kâramanèh, possibly not as brainwashed as the later. Only Wu Fang appears too much like the character that obviously inspired him.

 A deadly weapon in this story is a simple, small scarlet feather. The feather is discovered in the tomb of Akmenatep by archeologists Powell and Carver. Inhaling the dust from a powerful drug that the feather contains causes almost instantaneous death! Several people die before the feather runs out of mojo. But there is a second, and fear grows perhaps Wu Fang can synthesize the drug and weaponize it!

  And again, I love the action and can forgive most of the too-similar characterization of Wu Fang versus Fu Manchu.

 I give the story four stars…

 Quoth the Raven…