Publisher: John Lawrence
Originally published by Atlas Publishing & Distributing Co. Ltd
The Title: A 40 page full colour magazine reprinting two Space Ace stories from the mid 1950s: “The Nine-Bomb Menace” and “Magnetic Meteor”, plus an extensive interview with artist and writer Ron Turner about the lead strip, talking about his influences for the story – particularly Journey Into Space, which was airing on the radio at the time of original publication.
The Review: Editor John Lawrence has pulled a blinder with this latest collection of Ron Turner’s Space Ace stories, aided in his endeavours by John Ridgway’s wonderful re-mastering and colouring of these rare 1950s science fictions strips.
The first story, “The Nine-Bomb Menace” is a great epic – originally published in six parts in Lone Star Magazine way back in 1955. Opening with an alien robot attack on a research ship, The Discovery, the danger for Space Ace and the Earth escalates rapidly with a threat to blow up the entire solar system from the Metharons, first seen in “This Island Universe”, reprinted in Space Ace Volume 4.
I’ve long ago learnt not to expect any great scientific accuracy from these Space Ace stories, but simply park my cynicism at the door when I’m reading them. The SF is secondary to Ron Turner’s stunning visuals, enhanced by John Ridgway’s careful and complementary colouring and restoration work on the tales. When it comes to to space battles, giant monsters, gruesome aliens and astonishing vistas, Ron Turner’s art is up there with the very best and his storytelling is easy on the eye (and the brain cells).
While Space Ace himself lacks the humanity of rival 1950s space hero Dan Dare, there’s no disputing his all-action credentials, and you get these in spaces in “The Nine-Bomb Menace”. Woe betide any alien crossing his path!
“Magnetic Meteor” is a bit of a more tongue in cheek tale, with Space Ace and partner Bill battling disaster (and requisite alien menace) on Mercury, aided by some great robots. It’s a fast-paced tale with some great action sequences that we’ve come to love from the character across these beautifully put together collections, although surely, by now, every alien race in the known universe must know not to let Space Ace even draw breath if he’s captured, because he’ll always fight his way out of a corner, no matter the odds.
Rounded off with a lively letters column, overall, Space Ace Volume Five maintains the high standards we’ve come to expect from this independent title. If you’re after some rollicking yarns, this is definitely the place to find them!
• Ron Turner’s Space Ace Volume 5 costs £8.95 (UK) or £12 (Europe) and £14.00 (other overseas) including postage and is available via PayPal to firstname.lastname@example.org or cheque or postal order to John Lawrence, 39 Carterweys, Dunstable, Bedfordshire LU5 4RB
• Also on downthetubes: Our review of Space Ace Volume One | Volume Two | Volume Three | Volume Four | Volume Five | A “Sneak Peek” of Space Ace Volume Six | Review of Space Ace Volume Seven | Volume Eight | Volume Nine | Volume 10 | Volume 11 | Volume 12 | Ron Turner’s Beyond | Space Ace Special Edition
All images © The Ron Turner Estate