Tuesday, March 10, 2015


In 1978, Warren Publications launched 1984 (later entitled 1994), a black-and-white science fiction comic magazine that ran for 29 issues. One of the recurring series in the magazine was REX HAVOC AND THE ASS-KICKERS OF THE FANTASTIC. There were only four REX stories published but I fondly recall the humorous and outrageous adventures of Rex and his band as they fought various monsters around the world.

I thought of REX HAVOC often while I read AGE OF VOODOO (2013) by British SF author James Lovegrove. The story features a team of Navy Seals dubbed Team Thirteen, a group of five people (four men, one woman) who are assigned to eradicate monsters of all kinds across the globe. In VOODOO, they're joined by Lex Dove, a retired assassin who spent years killing people on behalf of the British government. It will take everything Team Thirteen, Dove and his friends Wilberforce and voodoo expert Albertine can muster to defeat the plans of a mad scientist and an insane voodoo priest.

The evil duo have taken up residence on Anger Reef, a flyspeck of an island in the Caribbean, where the two men conduct experiments to create super soldiers using a combination of science and sorcery. The results are an army of zombies (well, not really an army, more like a platoon, or a squad but really, isn't it cooler to say "army of zombies"?) . Oh, and buried deep beneath Anger Reef is a nuclear warhead, a cold war relic that the mad priest plans to detonate in an attempt to defy God.

AGE OF VOODOO is a B horror movie on paper. It's James Bond meets Stephen King and as such is highly entertaining. I have a couple of beefs however. The entire first half of the book is all set-up with lots and lots of "info dumps". There's dollops of action here and there but the players don't reach Anger Reef and kick things into high gear until well after the half way mark of the book. And in keeping with the grand tradition of James Bond inspired stories, Dove is of course eventually captured by the bad guys who proceed not to kill him but to explain their plans in great detail. Finally, there are tons of typos in the text, something a good copy editor could have caught and fixed. Do they still have copy editors?

AGE OF VOODOO is one of Lovegrove's GODPUNK series of SF novels. The books are stand alone adventures which each feature some kind of religion or pantheon of ancient gods. I read AGE OF AZTEC a year or so back and loved it. VOODOO isn't as good as AZTEC. It takes a long time to get going but once it does, it's a non-stop thrill ride to the finish. Thumbs up.



  1. Hey Frank,

    You may be interested to hear that REX HAVOC AND THE ASSKICKERS OF THE FANTASTIC are back in action in a brand new novel, available on Amazon. Just in case you have any disposal income after Christmas.

  2. Nice to hear from the father of Rex Havoc! Thanks for the update Jim. I wasn't aware of your new novel but I'll definitely check it out.

    1. Frank,

      I have some extra copies of the REX HAVOC book lying around the house. Send me your address and I'll ship one off to you gratis. I've made a lot of changes to the series---hopefully improvements---and I would be very curious to see what an old Rex Havoc fan thought of the new direction.

      I'm at stenstrum@gmail.com or thevaststenstrumempire.com.