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Brave and the Bold 46
"Danger On The Martian Links!"

COVER IMAGE NOT FOUND February - March, 1963

Story: John Broome Art: Carmine Infantino And Joe Giella

(Originally Reviewed On 01/22/02)

Wale Marner has played golf courses all over the solar system, and is an expert in overcoming the obstacles of 24th Century Golf! It would take the All-Planet Championship Tournament on the planet Mars to give Wale the fiercest competition of his career! On the splash page, an alien ship is an unanticipated hazard for Wale, who must adhere to the rules of the game to overcome this obstacle with his pure golfing skill!

There is a job where one must fight galactic animals, such as a charging dilor, or coax a fierce wignor-insect out of its lair so that you may pass, or even deflect the attack of deathly palim-rays beneath harsh waters, and in the year, 2372, what occupation would encompass these experiences? The question is to be answered by Wale Marner during a system-wide TV panel on Channel Mars. (Holy Sci-Fi Channel, Batman!) Marner does not hesitate in answering the quizmaster about his profession of interplanetary golfer, whose experiences include these instances!

The quizmaster asks Wale to explain to the audience how he overcame the dangers. With The Dilor, he had struck his ball into a swamp, however all contestants were armed with a ray-blaster for such emergencies on the planet Saturn. During The Jupiter-Earth Championship, Wale made sure to have a jar of honey handy prior to the match, in preparation of The Wignor nest. On Venus, The Palim-Ray provided most unusual water hazards, for their flippers are composed of poisonous acids, which could drip through steel! The quizmaster smiles and asks if Wale would agree that the game of golf has changed since its beginnings on the planet Earth...

In the twentieth century, golfers dealt with tough courses, fairways, sandtraps, and green slopes, and Wale smiles as he wonders aloud what these men would think of the game today. In the twenty-fourth century, the golfer must be adept at skin-diving, for there is no longer such a thing as a lost ball, which must be played or forfeited! On the planets Pluto and Uranus, the terrain is less than hospitable, but it is within the game for the pro golfer, who must be prepared for anything! The quizmaster tells the audience that golf is a treacherous and daunting affair, but he is confident that this interplanetary golfer would choose to continue in his chosen profession. It is announced that Wale Marner, The Earth Champion, will enter The Big Nine-Planet Tournament, which begins tomorrow morning on Mars!

The following day finds Wale getting ready for the competition, aware of the caliber of his opponents, for in the lobby of the hotel where he has been staying, he's seen his competitors, who come from each of the planets in the solar system. Earth has always been number one in its pursuits, and golf will be no different, if he has anything to say about it. The following day finds the competitors listening to the pre-game rules, how the soil of Mars is poisonous to the very touch, how each golfer will ride individual floating crafts called Jekars, and the strokes are to be made while standing six inches above the ball! The magnetic cleats on their golf shoes will enable them to maintain their balance. The Jekars are not armed, and any hazards they may face must be overcome with their own golfing skills!

The tournament begins... Haki of Jupiter gets off a good drive in the middle of the fairway. Wale Marner of The Earth makes an 800 yard shot right down the middle. The strokes from The Jekar does not unhinge Marner at all, as with all pro golfers, he is able to adjust to the situation. Aloft on The Jekar, Wale sees the new Martian course, which appears to have combined the hazards to be found on all the other interplanetary links, with the rocket-ride through the environs of Neptune... and a savage safari through dark Pluto with the game of golf... with his golf ball signallying him electronically...!

Through hills, thickets, and gullies, the course wends its way. On the fifth green, Wale hopes to get on one and putt, with cool nerves, in order to maintain his lead. He sinks it! His strokes are automatically recorded in the clubhouse, for the judges do not rely on the pro golfer's word or his memory. On the 14th tee, Wale is five under par, and on The Jekar's radio, everyone else is over par! He must maintain his pace, but then... he sees crimson space-ships about to land on the golf course...

These are unlike any ships he's seen, and they seem quite menacing to the golf pro's eyes! The Jekar radio sounds a special bulletin from Space Patrol concerning the detection of a heavy invasion force! The monitoring devices have been unable to track the extra-galactics, whose whereabouts are unknown! Anyone who knows where they are -- should contact Mars City Space Patrol, assuming they survive, of course! Wale has heard of The Extra-Galactics, who are creatures from beyond the milky way galaxy! With him the only one who knows where they are, Wale must alert the space patrol, but he doesn't have a transmitter in his jet-buggy... He must head for Mars City at once, but a launch has emerged from one of the ships!

Energy crackles in the Mars atmosphere, as Wale takes evasive action just in time, the enemy fire barely missing him! The instincts of the professional interplanetary golfer takes hold! Wale knows that he is to overcome any obstacles with his own golfing skills, and begins by shooting "a hole in one" -- right into the tiny opening of the approaching launch! Steady eyes and hands, which are the hallmarks of the professional golfer enable him to swing, with the ball passing through the small opening, and wreaking havoc inside the launch, which has begun to speed out of control! Upon striking the ground, the launch explodes, with Wale hoping that Mars City will have gotten an eyefull, and that the space patrol will arrive in time!

The next obstacle is from one of the main ships, which zooms towards him, and if there is a solution to be had, Wale must find it! His next move is to move in close to the ship, beneath it and inside its line of fire! If they strive to hit him, they'll shoot one of their own, but how long can he last? Moments pass, then the emerald ships of the space patrol arrive! Having spotted the explosion, they have come with guns blazing, and the aliens now have hazards of their own to worry about! The galactic threat has been dealt with, and as the emerald ships depart in pursuit of the remaining crimson ships, Wale is grateful and eager to return to the game!

Days later, on planet Earth, Wale Marner is the guest of honor, for his actions in alerting the space patrol to the presence of enemy ships, as well as his victory in The All-Planet Golf Tournament on Mars. When asked how he felt when enemy battlerockets interrupted his game, Wale tells the toastmaster not to forget that he's a professional golfer, and as he has said before, in the twenty-fourth century, one must be ready for the unexpected -- and prepared for anything! This game is living proof!

The game of golf, now played across the other planets in the milky way galaxy. Familiar trappings with a futuristic spin, and dramatic action portrayed by Carmine Infantino and Joe Giella.

The landscape of each world, the use of shadows frame the story within a story, from Wale Marner's TV interview on Mars, to his desperate game on the Martian course against The Extra-Galactics!

The Martians in this story are red-skinned, resembling Jemm, Son of Saturn or Abin Sur.

There have been green martians, such as J'onn Jonzz, white martians in the current JLA books, and no doubt, there are red martians, who have migrated to Saturn, as is the case with Jemm.

The keen pen of John Broome is felt throughout the story.

Steve Chung
"Review On The Martian Links!"