Thursday, October 28, 2010

Comic Book Robot of the Month: Walaba, the Giant Robot

I am not exactly the biggest Space Ranger fan, but I like a good interplanetary adventure as much as the next person. In this tale from Tales of the Unexpected #68, Space Ranger is hot on the tail of a villain when he is captured by a powerful giant robot. Space Ranger plays possum for a while, but cannot escape a series of elaborate booby traps. It turns out that the robot, named Walaba, had captured Space Ranger by mistake. The nefarious Drecker was he intended target, as Drecker had stolen weapons from Walaba's master.

Walaba is a terrific robot and I really like Bob Brown's design. He has that slightly bulky early Silver Age look to him, taken straight out of the movies. In the end, we get one of those 'Robots with a Heart of Gold' moments, as Walaba steps in front of a ray gun blast to save Space Ranger. I was kind of hoping for a Farewell to the Master type twist at some point, but it wasn't meant to be. Arnold Drake avoids a tragic ending in this story, as it is discovered that Walaba can be repaired. I don't always love a happy ending, but Walaba is indeed worth saving.

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