Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Review and Commentary On The Falcon Resurrected By Mark Ellis

Grab It Right Over
Mark Ellis brings back to life the hero of another generation. The Falcon who was the predecessor to The Saint, Bond, Indiana Jones, and a whole host of other action adventure heroes or at least that how I've seen him described. That's too bad because the 'Falcon' is really his own pulp hero on his own terms. Mostly forgotten except for a few die hard pulp hounds. Micheal Waring is a man on his own terms in a world of pulp intrigue and adventure.
The Falcon was the hero of entire generation with  novels, two movie series, a very long radio drama, and a television series. I've seen Mark Waring described as the ancestor of  The Saint. I don't think so. While he has many of the Saint's qualities and essence. Ellis and his predecessors created 'The Falcon' to be a lone bird of prey hunting his way through history as a lone wolf. He really is his own hero with the look and feel of some one very different then what we've seen before.
Its important to note that the Falcon isn't part of a team or an organization per say, he's a lone wolf operator with some very solid skills and abilities going against some very nasty odds. The action and plot are tight with Ellis's writing weaving the reader in and out of the hero's realm with a solid and steady hand.
The plot goes something like this:
The specter of the Third Reich casts a terrifying new shadow when the Brotherhood of The Black Sun resurrects a fanatical dream of world conquest. 

Ruled by a madman with delusions of godhood, the Brotherhood’s ruthless doctrine of mass human sacrifice by nuclear fire counts down to zero hour--but the self-styled Aryan demigod must first recover an ancient artifact that controls the destiny of mankind…and that artifact is in the hands of The Falcon. 

The Falcon has no choice but to walk into an escape-proof trap set by the very megalomaniac he must stop at any cost.

The book blends the pulp sensibilities with the modern ideals of Ellis's writing and takes the reader on a solid journey into the world of the Falcon. Here's a nice little tight exercise in world building and action sewn together with a pulp style plot in one book. The other characters in the book are as well done as one would find on a good television series or movie. A fact that I think that the Falcon would make an excellent old school action adventure film. Something that we haven't seen lately.
The Falcon really makes his novel debut as partial hero and partial man of mystery all wrapped up in a well done unique blend of a hero. The fact that he's going up against Nazi minions of the Black Sun is an added bonus. I loath Nazi with a passion and this a good example of how to do a tightly done novel that introduces the hero and provides the reader with none stop action along with a 'Damsel in Distress' whose not a wet dish rag of a character.
 That's one thing that this story does takes the characters and puts them center stage within the events of their world and does it well. This is never a boring ride. The author knows how to entertain his audience puts them right into the center of action and then pulls them into the world of the Falcon that he creates. 
There will be more of these novels since this one introduces the character and his world. This is a really solid take on revamping a character without treading on the legacy that this one has. 
Personally, I enjoyed this little romp and dip into the world of the Falcon and can't wait for the next action packed adventure to arrive on my doorstep!

Using The Falcon as Fodder For
Your Old School Campaign
In a word don't.  What I mean to say that while the 'Falcon' is a great reinvention of a heart felt and beloved character. Create your own action/adventure hero then introduce him or her to your game table. 
Everything about the Falcon is going to hurt or destroy your old school pulp campaign or not as we'll see below.
PC's are supposed to be the heroes and the lone wolf operator goes against every ideal of an rpg. But there are ways around this. 

The problem with heroes like the Falcon is that they are lone operators are not part of a team. The very essence of a party of adventurers is the party mentality and draw unless your party happens to be a group that follows in the wake of a 'hero.' This is an idea that has occurred to me in long in the past when I was playing Victory Games James Bonds Rpg.
Imagine a group of operatives all working for a group of pulp style heroes under the banner of a 'hero' whose seldom seen let alone encountered. This means that such a group can operate with impunity and on their own terms. 
There have been such organizations before in pulps and rpgs a good example of this was Operator #5 with its twists and turns of alternative armies, histories,etc. The Falcon isn't that all except in the action department which is right up to pulp standards with a modern twist.
The Falcon is a great example of world building on the author's or DM's own terms. I'm intimately familiar with Ellis's world building over the years through his Outlander books, the Adventurers, and a number of other properties that he's done as an author. He's created his own take on the 'Falcon' that makes it clear that in this world such an organization could and possibly does exist. Given the mysterious past of his hero and the threats to the world this isn't out of the realm of pulp possibility.
That's part of the charm and wit of these types of novels they offer fuel and kindling for the DM's imagination at least the good ones and this is one of the good ones. Grab this first novel as a stepping stone into the realm of the Falcon before the next adventure hits the stands. Knowing the pen of Mr.Ellis that's not going to be long at all. 

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