Comics / DC Comics History

DC Comics History: Space Ranger (1964 - 1967: The New Look)

By Deejay Dayton
January 12, 2020 - 08:09


Space Ranger moved from Tales of the Unexpected to Mystery in Space at the start of the period 1964 – 1967: the New Look, but there were no other significant changes to the series. Too bad. I never thought much of this strip, and despite having some sort of team-ups with Adam Strange, there is little to recommend this series. I seem not to have been alone in my low opinion of Space Ranger, as the series ended in 1965.


But let’s look at what we have here. Moving over to Mystery in Space with issue 92, Space Ranger brings along his secretary and girlfriend, Myra Mason, and his alien sidekick, Cryll, as Rick Starr continues to be the hero of the 22nd century. Space Ranger is on the trail of a thief who is stealing rare, though largely worthless, items, starting with the coldest object in the universe, a Plutonian icicle, and then moving on to the hottest and wettest objects.  Because these things have no inherent value, Space Ranger is correct when he assumes that they are part of a larger scheme. The bad guy is using the stolen stuff to get the magical Box of Kali, and once he does, has the power to turn Space Ranger into an old man.  Shape-changing Cryll is able to retrieve the antidote, and Space Ranger brings down the villain. The bulk of his stories are like this, fairly simple adventures with dumb looking aliens.


A 22nd century descendant of Adam Strange debuts in Mystery in Space 94, sharing the issue with Space Ranger. The story opens on Space Ranger, as he, Myra and Cryll deal with a whole host of bizarre monsters.  Space Ranger isn't actually able to do much about them, but he does find a ray gun, with Adam Strange's name on it, and goes to consult the long ago hero's journals. So the second chapter is really an extended flashback, relating Adam Strange's adventures against Okri-Ro, an alien thief who found five powerful machines.  He used three of them against Adam, but Adam triumphed each time, and destroyed the machines.  Two were lost, along with Okri-Ro's ship. Not much gets explained about these machines.  Adam and Alanna are left with no idea who made them or why.  That would require too much effort from the writer, I guess. In the final chapter, Space Ranger realizes, after reading the journal, that he was dealing with the fourth of the machines in the first chapter of the story.  He figures he needs help, so Space Ranger seeks out Adam Strange's descendant, oddly named, considering the amount of time in between, Adam Strange II. 


With a name like that, it's clearly not going to take too much effort by Space Ranger to convince the guy to don his namesake's outfit and join him in dealing with the fifth weapon. So, you know, that's exactly what they do, and deal with the last machine and the alien weapon that it sets off.  Adam Strange II decides to keep on adventuring, like his famous ancestor. 

Adam’s descendant returns in Mystery in Space 98, which I will discuss in more depth in my column on Adam Strange. In Space Ranger’s part of the story Yarrock is causing wheat to grow really fast on Jupiter, the evil bastard!  Space Ranger gets involved, and traces Yarrok back to Rann. So he enlists the aid of Adam Strange II in taking Yarrok down.  It turns out that this is not the same man as in the first story, just a descendant with the same nasal protrusions.


The final Space Ranger story, in Mystery in Space 103, is more entertaining than usual, if only because it involves an X-Box.  Not the computer game, it's a machine that reverses aging, but it's still fun to read them talking about it. Thieves are raiding time capsules hunting for an X-Box, and eventually manage to find one, using it to turn Space Ranger into a baby, briefly.  But the X-Box is broken, and winds up making the thieves age rapidly. Fortunately for them, Space Ranger has found a Y-Box, which reverses he aging effect - in other words, it functions exactly like the X-Box is supposed to.

Space Ranger is not seen again until Showcase 100, in the late 70s.

Space Ranger: Mystery in Space 92 – 99, 101, 103 (June 1964 – May 1965, Aug 65, Nov 65)

Next up – Adam Strange!

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Last Updated: January 12, 2020 - 08:15

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