Good morning everyone,
Welcome back to There She Grows! Robopengy requested an article about Skysurfer Strike Force season 1 episode 5 “Titan of Terror” on the Process Forum, last November.
In preparation, I watched the first thirteen episodes, only available in standard definition (SD), of the Skysurfer Strike Force series. Those thirteen were everything which was available via Amazon Prime. Afterward, I discovered that “Thundarr Barbarian” had uploaded Skysurfer Strike Force episodes to YouTube. So, that fact weighs in this cartoon’s favor as it’s easy to watch this without paying a cent!
But what is Skysurfer Strike Force? In a nutshell, it’s a derivative cartoon with characters lacking personality. It was clearly made in the 1990s. As such, character designs are arguably overdone and include manly mullets, superfluous pouches on uniforms, and elliptically-shaped guns. Elliptical firearms often appeared in the drawings by artist Rob Liefeld, like this one held by Rob’s character Cable in Captain America issue 36 from 1997:
Rob Liefeld garnered a reputation for “bad” art and also is infamous for not meeting deadlines and feuding with other comic creators. However, truth be told, as a young teenager in the late 1980s I was excited about Rob’s work on the five-issue mini-series reboot of DC super heroes “Hawk & Dove.” Rob’s style was markedly different from other artists and thus caught my attention. Plus, the new villain Kestrel felt edgy and dangerous.
That’s not to imply that Rob Liefeld had any connection to Skysurfer. To the best of my knowledge, he was never involved. However, people familiar with the many 1990s American comics that Rob influenced will notice a lot of parallels in this cartoon.
In the quickest way possible, let me explain. This Ruby-Spears produced animated series was released as two seasons airing in 1995 and 1996. It focused on a young blond mullet-wearing man named Jack Hollister (a.k.a. Skysurfer 1), welding a fire sword, and his friends: Micky Flannigan (a.k.a. Crazy Stunts), has two laser pistols, Kimberley “Kim” Sakai (a.k.a. Sliced Ice or just Ice), has a sword that shoots ice and freezes things, Nathan “Nate” James (a.k.a. Air Enforcer), who can fire rockets from the many launchers he wears, and Brad Wright (a.k.a. Soar Loser), who uses boomerang weapons.
(SIDE NOTE: The writer’s choice to call a character Soar Loser resulted in unintentionally humorous dialogue as his friends consistently referred to him as “loser” which sounded like a harsh insult, but was just his nickname. Viewers can expect dialog similar to “That’s not funny, loser.” 😉
Although, to be fair, none of their nicknames were good.)
Jack’s father Adam Hollister was killed, along with other people, during an explosion where Adam was working on a new artificial intelligence (A.I.). One of Adam’s fellow scientists was believed to be killed, but secretly stole the A.I. and merged with it (as you do…) to become the super villain “Cyberon.” Jack’s goal is to exonerate his father and restore Adam Hollister’s reputation.
(SIDE NOTE: That’s not a bad motivation per se, but it could have been stronger if Adam was still alive, but in jail. That’s the scenario faced by DC Comics character Flash with his father. In such a situation Jack could use evidence to free his Dad and win back his freedom. As it was though, if Jack succeeded in his goal then his father would still be dead. Nonetheless, I can understand why someone would not want their father’s good name dragged through the mud.)
Cybron’s own name was emblematic of the show’s derivative nature. Cybernetic villains created many years prior had the exact same name:
Bottom line, Cybron was an unoriginal character.
Also, it wasn’t clear what Cybron got from merging with the A.I. Presumably, viewers were meant to assume that the A.I. made him super smart. Cybron was already a scientist so presumably he was smart and could make high technology gadgets on his own. However, maybe Cybron needed the extra intellectual power to create his super-powered thugs, the “bio-borgs.” Yet, viewers, at least in the first 13 episodes, never saw any evidence to that effect. If the A.I. was heard as a disembodied “voice” in Cybron’s head, giving him the knowledge to manufacture bio-borgs, then it would have been clear that merging with the A.I. made Cybron more capable. However, we didn’t hear the A.I. or see its influence. Thus, it wasn’t clear what benefits he gained by joining with A.I. (NOTE: Beyond an admittedly impressive metal body and cape)
There was also a running plot thread in which Cybron exerted a lot of effort to keep his original identity a secret. However, it wasn’t clear why. He didn’t maintain a secret identity. It’s not like DC Comic’s Superman where foes could learn that he was Clark Kent and then hurt or even murder his friends or parents. Cybron’s only family, his daughter, was practically always by his side. Plus, it’s not like they lived in a regular home and could be found there if only the authorities could look up their address. Instead, they dwelt inside an undersea fortress ❗ So, what would have happened if people learned his human name? (A whole lot of nothing if you ask me!)
Cybron’s bio-borgs, cyborgs under a different name, were the following: Chronozoid, who can manipulate time for a short duration, Dr. Five Eyes, can hypnotize people and make them see illusions, Grenader, a human-sized grenade that can explode and then reassemble himself, Lazerette, shoots laser beams from her eyes and mouth, Noxious, can expel different gasses from his arms, Replicon, blue-skinned shape shifter, and Zachariah Easel, who can literally bring art to life.
With that background given, let’s examine “Titan of Terror.” In this episode, Cybron kidnaps Sliced Ice and makes her grow huge! Okay, let’s all agree to forget what I wrote earlier, I can now clearly understand how the A.I. boosted Cybron’s intellect. He could have turned one of his many henchmen into an unstoppable monster, but instead he brilliantly thought “Fuck that! Let’s make the hot busty brunette into a giantess!”
To be clear, the growing process eventually kills whatever is made giant so there was an in-universe explanation for why Cybron might not have wanted to grow one of his bio-borgs, because that bio-borg would then die after a few days and thus no longer be of use.
This was a kid’s show so no outgrowing clothes. Instead, Sliced Ice’s costume fit like a glove no matter her dimensions. Additionally, the growing process also allegedly made her a bio-borg, but I’m at a loss as to how. If she was given an obvious mechanical prosthetic then her bio-borg nature would have been clear. Ergo, if suddenly she had a metal arm or leg, or given cameras for eyes, then it would have been unambiguous that she had become a cyborg. Instead, Sliced Ice looked the same as always, only much taller.
Cybron’s plan was to use plus-sized Sliced Ice to seize a train carrying the President of the United States. No spoilers here, but eventually the good guys prove triumphant and the status quo, including Sliced Ice as normal-sized, was restored. All in all, we got a growth and shrinking scene, interactions such as enormous Sliced Ice carrying ships and a train, as well as Ice’s attempts to swat her comparatively tiny teammates.
Bottom line, Titan of Terror is more than worth 22 minutes of your time. Surf over to YouTube and watch this snapshot of 90s pop culture and its sexy, rampaging giant woman.
(SIDE NOTE: While most of the other Skysurfer episodes were unremarkable and frankly boring there was at least one notable exception in the form of episode #10. It involved gifted criminals which included one quote “crazy Frenchman” unquote named Claude Renoir who had a wooden leg and was a genius with computers ❗ You might be thinking, that’s kinda a weird combo, pirate-looking Frenchman named Renoir who is a world-class hacker, but it sounds intriguing. But then… then Cybron calmly notes that the criminals will be transformed into dogs to pull off their crime. Not a single one had any concerns or qualms about being turned into a canine! Personally speaking, I would have had questions, lots of questions!
It also included a martial arts expert who wore his black belt when fighting, which made me wonder “Why not wear a WHITE belt and make everyone think you’re incompetent and thus let their guard down? Instead, a black belt lets opponents know he was skilled and prepare themselves accordingly. But I digress… )
That’s it for today folks. Thursday’s review will be another request. It’ll cover the “Growing Bigger with Ayyla” CGI series, suggested by Eom. Until then, keep growing!
This review is protected under Fair Use copyright law.
All Rights Reserved.
1 thought on “Skysurfer Strike Force episode “Titan of Terror,” a 1990s GTS time capsule!”