this utterly chilling tale shocked many readers to the very core


hero of the piece, the Steel Claw, also a sinister, disembodied Alien Lektron in frame 5.

Obviously a sequel series to the

Steel Claw fantasy sci-fi adventures, this particular story was a clear highpoint within the stories, in it's chilling premise and often disturbing imagery.

Essentially, a large group of children develop sinister mental powers, and using this hyper-intelligence for evil, begin an ambitious plot to 'remove' all adults from the planet.

This astonishing tale ran in Valiant in issues running between 5 June 1971-22 April, 1972. Scripting on this epic opus came courtesy of Tom Tully, with artwork supplied by Jose Blasco. The story was rerun in full much later, in the 1989 Great Holiday Fantasy Album, alongside repeats of Mike Higg's the Cloak. Sadly, the quality of reproduction of this otherwise good-value compendium was noticably poor.

Surely one of the most eerie and startling pieces of it's [or any] era, the creepy central theme of demonic children still has the ability to make for uncomfortable reading today. The most disturbing element of this idea sees the seemingly normal-seeming children change character totally when away from their parents or other adults: they run a vast, underground semi-futuristic complex, where they plot the elimination of all adults, worldwide. This evil outlook is compounded by the fact that when together, the children act their 'true' characters: they talk in articulate, well- beyond-their -years intelligent speech, as they systematically discuss their murderous intentions in Nazi-like terms. This casual, detatched sense of evil is what makes this overall piece so unforgettable to many who read it first time around.

The reason for the children's diabolical outlook is down to a race of hyper-advanced, disembodied aliens [the Lektrons] who embellish the kid's minds, granting them superior intellect, but corrupting them with evil at the same time. The Lektrons intend using the children to 'clear' Planet Earth of 'surplus' adults, in preperation for Invasion--and the subsequent conquering---of the globe. Central hero the Steel Claw [well worth a chapter on this database in his own right] is faced with a race against time, to prevent the annihilation of much of the planet [all adults]. The more disturbing visuals included [especially] close-ups of the corrupted, evil children, with oddly textured eyes, as they spouted with great articulacy their twisted orders from 'above'.

Undeniably imbued with a sense of forboding evil throughout, this entry is a 'must' regarding disturbing, nightmarish comics-telling [with excellent artwork by Blasco as a bonus] of this particular period. The theme is somewhat derived from 1960 British chiller-cinema classic Village of the Damned in it's use of malevolent children, however here the theme is expanded further still, with a truly apocalyptic, harrowing, coldly sci-fi premise. This story is still highly-revered by many original readers today.

Special thanks to Robbie Moubert and SteelClaw [of Comics UK] for supplying images and data.

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