ABLE TEAM

 
Full Name: Able Team
Nationality: American
Organization: Stony Man Group
Occupation Agency

Creator: Don Pendleton , Dick Stivers
Time Span: 1982 - 1992
ABOUT THE SERIES

       Able Team is a three-man team working as part of the Stony Man Group.
       It is comprised of three friends of Mack Bolan, aka the Executioner, two of whom served with Bolan in Vietnam and the third who sought to stop him war against the Mafia but soon became a close ally in that fight. Their primary objective as a team is to fight enemies of the U.S. inside the Americas, giving it the entire Western Hemisphere in which to operate. On rare occasions, though, they have had to battle opponents elsewhere.
       The two former soldier friends of Bolan are Rosario "Pols" Blancanales, known as "the Politician", and Herman "Gadgets" Schwarz. Pols is remarkable at getting diverse groups to get along, if only for a particular action or limited time. Gadgets is a wizard when it comes to anything electrical, especially surveillance. These two men, when their time in Vietnam was up, started a private detective business, called Able Group, in California along with a small group of fellow ex-soldiers. Pols' sister, Toni, ran the day-to-day. When Bolan brought his fight against organized crime to the west coast, they decided to join in his struggle. Many of the soldiers died in that struggle. Pols and Gadgets survived.
       The third man, Carl "Ironman"Lyons, was a young LAPD detective who was put into the tactical team charged with capturing or killing Bolan when he came their way. He was very much against the vigiligante stance that Bolan was taking, at least until he himself was captured by the local Mafia don and put to considerable agony. Bolan saved him and in doing so made a life-long friend and colleague.
       When Bolan and his friend from the Justice Department, Hal Brognola, created the Stony Man Group operation, they decided to create two teams that could carry the fight to the enemy. Remembering his friends in LA, he suggested the Able Team and the three men were brought into the group.

       When the new publishing imprint of Gold Eagle acquired the rights to the Executioner line, they and creator Don Pendleton decided to expand the franchise. In addition to the ongoing Executioner series, there would be two additional series published for a while on alternating months. Able Team and Phoenix Force were the two names given these teams.
       The Able Team books were listed as being by Dick Stivers though that was just a house name for 15 different authors who penned the adventures. The book series ran for 51 regular stories and two "super" books which were considerably longer. After the series came to an end, three novellas were published in a trilogy of books called "Heroes".
       Once the series reached its end, the two teams were molded into the replacement series called Stony Man.

Note: There are several sites on the web devoted to the Executioner and its spinoffs so a good search should bring them up. The best, IMHO, is www.mackbolan.com.

BOOKS

Number of Books:56
First Appearance:1982
Last Appearance:1992

0 Mean Streets Mean Streets
Written by Ken Rose
Copyright: 1989

Came out between #44 and #45. Able Team takes on a Los Angeles street gang that is terrorizing just for kicks.

0 Hostile Fire Hostile Fire
Written by Ken Rose
Copyright: 1990

Came out between #50 and #51. General Sonny Trang is no longer leading forces in South Vietnam. Now he is a warlord in Little Saigon and he is using drugs to fuel his conquests. The President tells Able Team to stop him.

0 Heroes I Heroes I
Written by David North
Copyright: 1992

Novella. Razorback. On a hunting trip for R&R, an Able Team member finds himself up against a group selling stolen military hardware to street gangs.

0 Heroes II Heroes II
Written by David North
Copyright: 1992

Novella. Death Lash. When the Iron Curtain closed down, a good number of secret police officials were in need of work and they headed to the US to offer their unique and deadly skills. Able Team is ordered to show them the Cold War is over.

0 Heroes III Heroes III
Written by Ken Rose
Copyright: 1992

Novella. Secret Justice. Unhappy with the court system, a bigshot in the Justice Department has decided to hand out his own sentences and sending those he chooses to a secret prison in the desert. Able Team is to stop him.

1 Tower Of Terror Tower Of Terror
Written by L. R. Payne
Copyright: 1982

The terrorist group which had seized control of a skyscraper on Wall Street looked to be a part of the Puerto Rican FALN but the weapons they used came from Vietnam.

2 The Hostages Island The Hostages Island
Written by L. R. Payne
Copyright: 1982

When a motorcycle gang takes control of Catalina, it is the job of the police. When six top-level government planners attending a secret conference are also taken, Able Team is called in.

3 Texas Showdown Texas Showdown
Written by Larry Powell, L. R. Payne
Copyright: 1982

Both the FBI and the CIA had sent agents to investigate the plans of a Texas billionaire to take over Mexico but all the agents were killed. The President decides to send in Able Team.

4 Amazon Slaughter Amazon Slaughter
Written by C. J. Shiao
Copyright: 1983

The butcher known as Wei Ho had a base in South America from which he was setting up his own plutonium factory which Able Team is sent to destroy.

5 Cairo Countdown Cairo Countdown
Written by Paul Hofrichter
Copyright: 1983

Terrorists attacking Cairo's main airport are close to revealing the fact that American has a secret base there. Able Team is told to stop them but the enemy has some very dangerous people of their own.

6 Warlord of Azatlan Warlord of Azatlan
Written by
Copyright: 1983

The orders from the President were for Able Team to find the facts on a huge weapons-for-drugs trade going on in Guatemala as rebels plan to overthrow that country's government.

7 Justice By Fire Justice By Fire
Written by G. H. Frost
Copyright: 1983

The kill squads eliminating career criminals all over the country have the public applauding but these teams were actually working for the enemies of the U.S. as their plans were about to change.

8 Army of Devils Army of Devils
Written by G. H. Frost
Copyright: 1983

It is called crazy dust and this hyped version of PCP is as addictive as it is appearing and the crazed users are creating havoc. Able Team's job is to track down the source.

9 Kill School Kill School
Written by G. H. Frost
Copyright: 1983

Able Team heads to El Salvador to capture a fascist regional leader but their mission is betrayed by someone in D.C. and now they find enemies all around them.

10 Royal Flush Royal Flush
Written by
Copyright: 1984

What started out as a routine cocaine bust in New York turns into a race to stop a splinter group of the IRA from wiping out the British royal family.

11 Five Rings Of Fire Five Rings Of Fire
Written by Tom Arnett
Copyright: 1984

Two horrific attacks on innocents, one against Zambian athletes and the other against American female gymnasts, has the look of KGB goons and Able Team is ordered to get retribution.

12 Deathbites Deathbites
Written by Tom Arnett
Copyright: 1984

Three top American computer research facilities are destroyed by terrorists, killing all present except for one survivor who has a way of tracking down the killers, with Able Team and Phoenix Force to help.

13 Scorched Earth Scorched Earth
Written by G. H. Frost
Copyright: 1984

Using a captured gang member, Able Team is making inroads in the war against Mexican drug runners until they are betrayed by someone in the DEA.

14 Into The Maze Into The Maze
Written by G. H. Frost
Copyright: 1984

The new syndicate in the Mexican heroin trade is using modern weapons and even soldiers from the Mexican army and Able Team but the work of the DEA traitor continues.

15 They Came To Kill They Came To Kill
Written by G. H. Frost
Copyright: 1984

A traitor inside the Marines has caused the ambush of a CIA unit in Lebanon and Able Team is sent to capture him but they soon take his side in a different enemy.

16 Rain Of Doom Rain Of Doom
Written by G. H. Frost
Copyright: 1985

Someone has decided to take the war of terror to the mullahs who fomented it in the first place and Able Team may be in the running.

17 Fire And Maneuver Fire And Maneuver
Written by G. H. Frost
Copyright: 1985

Two competing drug syndicates in the ravaged Columbian jungles are escalating their fighting and Able Team, sent to handle a search and destroy mission find themselves the prey.

18 Tech War Tech War
Written by G. H. Frost
Copyright: 1985

The theft of a brand new laser is threatening the security of all U.S. forces and the President tells Able Team to take any action needed to keep it from reaching the Soviet Union.

19 Ironman Ironman
Written by G. H. Frost
Copyright: 1985

A much deserved vacation by Able Team member Carl Lyons into the Sierra Madre turns into a case of survival when an old enemy finds he is on his own.

20 Shot To Hell Shot To Hell
Written by Chuck Rogers
Copyright: 1985

A reporter learns of Soviet missiles in the jungles of Honduras and dies for his knowledge but not before he gets the word out and Able Team is sent to eliminate them.

21 Death Strike Death Strike
Written by G. H. Frost
Copyright: 1985

A prisoner of the Fascist International, Carl Lyons is offered a chance to live by his nemesis all in an attempt to turn Ironman to their side.

22 The World War III Game The World War III Game
Written by Tom Arnett
Copyright: 1986

The computer at a secret U.S. lab is taken over by teenage hackers who are being held prisoner by Puerto Rican terrorists.

23 Fall Back And Kill Fall Back And Kill
Written by Chuck Rogers
Copyright: 1986

A militant motorcycle gang hijacks an armored truck, killing five people. Able Team head to stop them not knowing that gang members are heading to kill the President.

24 Blood Gambit Blood Gambit
Written by Tom Arnett
Copyright: 1986

A computer system owned by the Americans is the item that a prominent traitor is planning to hand over to the Soviets, giving them a great advancement in the arms race.

25 Hard Kill Hard Kill
Written by Chuck Rogers
Copyright: 1986

A treaty that could end the fighting in Lebanon is being signed in New York City but an assassin has been hired to keep that from happening.

26 The Iron God The Iron God
Written by Tom Arnett
Copyright: 1986

As several hundred athletes take part in the Ironman Triathlon in Hawaii, a Soviet plot uses that event as the start of a new plot against America.

27 Cajun Angel Cajun Angel
Written by Chuck Rogers
Copyright: 1986

Someone close to Carl Lyons goes missing even as the theft of five tons of nuclear waste is discovered.

28 Miami Crush Miami Crush
Written by Chuck Rogers
Copyright: 1987

Carl Lyons owed a debt to a man who is killed by drug gangs while in the WitSec program and Able Team heads to Florida to get revenge.

29 Death Ride Death Ride
Written by Tom Arnett
Copyright: 1987

It seems like a simple rescue mission, free three men held along the Texas border, but the criminals are really a Libyan kill squad out to trap Able Team.

30 Hit And Run Hit And Run
Written by Chuck Rogers
Copyright: 1987

The group was little more than scavengers but they had lucked into documents outlining America's defense systems and they plan to sell them to the highest bidder.

31 Ghost Train Ghost Train
Written by Chuck Rogers
Copyright: 1987

What appeared to be a terrorist massacre at LAX are really just a cover to kill one federal agent and Able Team is brought in to help out in guarding a train that is officially not real.

32 Firecross Firecross
Written by Tom Arnett
Copyright: 1987

Responding to a friend's request, Able Team heads to England to help put down a group out to destroy that country's computer industry only to learn that the enemy is an old nemesis preparing to take the fight to the U.S.

33 Cowboy's Revenge Cowboy's Revenge
Written by Ron Renauld
Copyright: 1987

A mad minister in the South, working along with a neo-Nazi gang, has a weapon that had been designed by a Stony Man armorer so Able Team heads there to get it away from them.

34 Clear Shot Clear Shot
Written by Ron Renauld
Copyright: 1988

A member of Able Team, doing a little moonlighting on the set of an action movie, discovers that the whole thing is a ruse to mask a break-in at a major bio-weapons facility.

35 Strike Force Strike Force
Written by Ron Renauld
Copyright: 1988

35 - Strike Force = Renauld_Ron - 1988 - Another member of Able Team is given a chance to attend a baseball camp with great pros but then he learns that his biggest idol is in deep with organized crime and needs help.

36 Final Run Final Run
Written by Ron Renauld
Copyright: 1988

Final Run - Renauld_Ron - 1988 - The death of two naval officers, both having a top secret clearance, brings Able Team to San Diego to find out what is turning out to be a major danger to the entire Pacific fleet.

37 Red Menace Red Menace
Written by Ron Renauld
Copyright: 1988

The chief pilot for Stony Man, and close friend to Mack Bolan, is wounded by a Central American policeman visitng the U.S. Checking out the reason lets Able Team learn of a Soviet maneuver south of the border.

38 Cold Steel Cold Steel
Written by Ron Renauld
Copyright: 1988

The plan called for stealing several nuclear warheads while destroying the earthquake monitoring stations in California, all by a group of Chinese terrorists backed by the KGB.

39 Death Code Death Code
Written by Larry Lind
Copyright: 1989

The scientist who came up with a revolutionary oil-eating bacteria is offering it to the highest bidder and arab terrorists want to grab it to ruin a super-tanker's cargo.

40 Blood Mark Blood Mark
Written by Ron Renauld
Copyright: 1989

An old friend of Able Team is getting married in Las Vegas and they come to help celebrate. The man's nephew is accused of murder and the team learns the Mob is behind the frame.

41 White Fire White Fire
Written by Ron Renauld
Copyright: 1989

The tiny Caribbean island, once a penal colony, is hiding a major cocaine plantation that Able Team is sent to destroy.

42 Dead Zone Dead Zone
Written by Ron Renauld
Copyright: 1989

The death of a mentor for one of Able Team's members might be murder, or so thinks the deceased's daughter and she convinces the team to look into it.

43 Kill Orbit Kill Orbit
Written by Sgt. Nik Uhernik
Copyright: 1989

The secret cargo of a space shuttle mission is proving very attractive to the Soviets and Able Team is assigned security duty.

44 Night Heat Night Heat
Written by Nicholas Cain
Copyright: 1989

Using the hunt for bandits who attack illegals coming into the US as a cover, Able Team is really after a group of terrorists trying to bring nukes into this country.

45 Lethal Trade Lethal Trade
Written by Rod Pennington
Copyright: 1990

Someone wants a few priceless gold coins to complete an incredible set but he is trading Star Wars technology to get them.

46 Counterblow Counterblow
Written by Nicholas Cain
Copyright: 1990

The President orders Able Team to track down a smuggler bringing in millions of dollars worth of emeralds from Vietnam and hidden among them is a top-secret document stolen from Hanoi.

47 Shadow Warriors Shadow Warriors
Written by Ken Rose
Copyright: 1990

Some major Pentagon powers have been using a secret facility in New Mexico to train a cadre of highly skilled soldiers with the aim of taking over the US government.

48 Cult War Cult War
Written by Ken Rose
Copyright: 1990

Able Team has had to kill its share of enemies but now in New Orleans taking on a crazed voodoo man, they are up against an army of walking dead.

49 Dueling Missiles Dueling Missiles
Written by David North
Copyright: 1990

Working towards a nuclear disarmament treatey, representatives from both super-powers agree to meet but each plane is blown up, raising tensions. Able Team is sent to stop further carnage.

50 Death Hunt Death Hunt
Written by Rod Pennington
Copyright: 1990

The only man to ever beat the evil Herbert Queensbury is Carl Lyons but now it is time for a rematch and if Able Team cannot win, millions will die.

51 Skinwalker Skinwalker
Written by Ken Rose
Copyright: 1990

Rumors of a Bigfoot-style creature wrecking havoc in the Alaskan wilderness bring Able Team to find the truth and discover a gang of mercenaries working for a major oil company.

MY COMMENTS

       A series written by a large number of different authors, working off of a blueprint for who each team member is and what they can do, this series would have suffered badly but for the fact that each of the characters had been created by the same author in the pages of the Executioner. That is not to say that the books did not suffer at all, for they did because there was little cohesiveness and virtually no growth through the books.
       Still, they brought to the world of the serial vigilante the idea that mayhem can be organized for good. These were not crazed killers nor were they money-hungry mercenaries. They were black-ops warriors sent around the Americas to take down all enemies, foreign or domestic, and the variety of opponents was impressive if the writing itself was not so, understandably, formulaic.
       Of the two groups that Worldwide Gold Eagle and Don Pendleton created, Able Team was my favorite because I already knew the characters and liked the fact that Mack Bolan had recruited them.

GRADE

My Grade: B-

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