PHOENIX FORCE

 
Full Name: Phoenix Force
Nationality: American
Organization: Stony Man Group
Occupation Agency

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

       Phoenix Force is a small team working as part of the Stony Man Group.
       The purpose for this sub-agency of Stony Man was tackle situations around the world and that mandate was fulfilled through having adventures in all regions of the globe from the frozen north and south to the jungles and deserts of the center. Whereas its sister group, Able Team, was made up of people with whom Mack Bolan, one of the two founders of Stony Man, had fought side-by-side, these people were from various nations and backgrounds and were chosen largely by the other SMG founder, Hal Brognola.
       The original members were Yakov "Katz" Katzenelenbogen, a French-Israeli who was the first leader of the group, Gary Manning, a Canadian, David McCarter, a Brit, Keio Ohara, Japanese, and Rafael Encizo, a Cuban. As time went along, Katz retired and was replaced as the leader. Ohara was killed in action and his place taken by Calvin James, an African-American veteran of Vietnam. To replace the promoted McCarter, T. J. Hawkins, an American.
       Both Katz and McCarter were long-time veterans of battle with Katz having served in more than one Arab-Israeli war and McCarter being a decorated member of the elite British SAS. Manning was the team's demolition expert as well as being an expert sniper. Ohara was a martial arts expert in addition to being quite good with electronics. Encizo had helped Castro take power but turned against him when Castro went communist. James knows chemistry and understands urban fighting better than most.

       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 Phoenix Force books were listed as being by Gar Wilson though that was just a house name for 8 different authors who penned the adventures. One author, William Fieldhouse, accounted for 32 of the books and two of the novellas. The book series ran for 51 regular stories and four "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:58
First Appearance:1982
Last Appearance:1992

0 Fire Storm Fire Storm
Written by William Fieldhouse
Copyright: 1988

Came out between #38 and #39. Both the American President and Soviet Premier have been kidnapped while at an arms summit. Phoenix Force is given first try at freeing both men.

0 Search and Destroy Search and Destroy
Written by Mike Linaker
Copyright: 1989

Came out between #44 and #45. A troop of American mercenaries, led by a man named Remsberg, are being hired by the Filipino rebels to kill that country's president.

0 Cold Dead Cold Dead
Written by William Fieldhouse
Copyright: 1990

Came out between #50 and #51. Two scientists working in Antartica are found murdered with traces of radiation on them. Phoenix Force is sent to the southern frozen land to find out who is active.

0 Wall of Flame Wall of Flame
Written by William Fieldhouse
Copyright: 1991

Someone is causing horrific mayhem in India and framing the US for the disasters, causing wide-spread rioting and protests against America. It is up to Phoenix Force to discover who the real culprits are.

0 Heroes I Heroes I
Written by Mike Linaker
Copyright: 1992

Novella, Survival Run. The kidnapping of the US Secretary of State while in the Middle East brings Phoenix Force to effect release by any means necessary.

0 Heroes II Heroes II
Written by William Fieldhouse, Mike Linaker
Copyright: 1992

Two Novellas. 1) Hell Quest. A US spy satellite lands in Ethiopia where a war is going on and Phoenix Force must get it out. 2) Dirty Mission. Phoenix Force finds a arms-for-drugs ring going on amongst officers on US bases in Europe.

0 Heroes III Heroes III
Written by William Fieldhouse
Copyright: 1992

Novella. Terror In Warsaw. The downside of capitalism is the influx of drugs into the newly freed Poland and Phoenix Force heads to Warsaw to help slow it down.

1 Argentine Deadline Argentine Deadline
Written by Robert Hoskins
Copyright: 1982

The kidnapped American tourists were not the wealthy businessmen that the terrorists had thought but that did not prevent them from demanding millions for their release. Phoenix Force is sent in to free them.

2 Guerilla Games Guerilla Games
Written by Dan J. Marlowe
Copyright: 1982

The leftist rebels in Bolivia held the American hostages for nearly a month before the ransom was paid but as soon as they were released, they were recaptured by rebels in Paraguay. Phoenix Force said enough was enough

3 Atlantic Scramble Atlantic Scramble
Written by Thomas P. Ramirez
Copyright: 1982

The Libyan terror group had lain waste to numerous spots across the US in search of a deadly new laser weapon that Phoenix Force must keep them from using.

4 Tigers of Justice Tigers of Justice
Written by William Fieldhouse
Copyright: 1983

The plan, devised by the KGB, was to use Japanese ninjas, wanting revenge for nuclear attacks against their country forty years before, to sneak into numerous nuclear facilities and cause meltdowns.

5 The Fury Bombs The Fury Bombs
Written by Robert Hoskins
Copyright: 1983

The IRA leader had a new plan for hurting his enemy, England, and that was to launch a series of attacks across America and make it seem to be the work of its closest ally. Phoenix Force is brought in to stop him and his large group of followers.

6 White Hell White Hell
Written by Thomas P. Ramirez
Copyright: 1983

As OPEC prepares for another oil embargo to increase their profits and punish the US, a group of Arab terrorists decide to further hurt America by destroying the Alaskan pipeline.

7 Dragon's Kill Dragon's Kill
Written by William Fieldhouse
Copyright: 1983

The Japanese terror group, Red Cell, was trying a new tactic - kidnap intelligence agents, extract all information from them, and use that data to attack the US. Now they have their biggest catch yet, the deputy director of the CIA.

8 Aswan Hellbox Aswan Hellbox
Written by Thomas P. Ramirez, Sargeant Rex Swenson
Copyright: 1983

A would-be ruler of all of Africa, Blackwell needed money to fund the dream and the Soviets are offering it. All he has to do is to destroy Egypt's Aswan Dam.

9 Ultimate Terror Ultimate Terror
Written by William Fieldhouse
Copyright: 1984

A offshoot of the Baader-Meinhof gang, joining with Nazi holdouts, has a plan to take over a NATO missile facility and use those weapons to blackmail cities all over Europe.

10 Korean Killground Korean Killground
Written by Thomas P. Ramirez
Copyright: 1984

The reports out of Korea tell of horrible acts of brutality causing uproar around the globe. Phoenix Force is sent to investigate but they learn there is a bigger plan ongoing, one that is sure to start a second Korean War.

11 Return to Armageddon Return to Armageddon
Written by William Fieldhouse
Copyright: 1984

When the Israeli prime minister enters the hospital to recover from a heart attack, Arab terrorists decide to kill him and plant evidence pointing to Egypt. Phoenix Forces' leader, Katz, is recalled to help.

12 The Black Alchemists The Black Alchemists
Written by William Fieldhouse
Copyright: 1984

Product tampering is reaching an almost epidemic stage when a voodoo cult decides this is the best way to strike a nation and Phoenix Force is told to stop them.

13 Harvest Hell Harvest Hell
Written by William Fieldhouse
Copyright: 1984

Using the principle of acid rain, the KGB has a plan to seed rain clouds with an enzyme which rots the stomach linings of those swallowing it.

14 Phoenix in Flames Phoenix in Flames
Written by William Fieldhouse
Copyright: 1984

The KGB has a new, bizarre plan to destroy America from the inside and Phoenix Force heads to Istanbul to stop them before it hits America's shores.

15 The Viper Factor The Viper Factor
Written by William Fieldhouse
Copyright: 1985

England is under attack from killers who can hide behind diplomatic immunity. Phoenix Force, though, has no such restrictions and they are sent to handle what the SAS cannot.

16 No Rules, No Referee No Rules, No Referee
Written by William Fieldhouse
Copyright: 1985

A new crime organization, called MERGE, is made up of the Mafia and drug lords from Mexico and Columbia. They are trying to make the Bahamas their new headquarters.

17 Welcome to the Feast Welcome to the Feast
Written by William Fieldhouse
Copyright: 1985

The crime organization MERGE is going up against a Chinese crime group called TRIO in San Francisco and Phoenix Force is sent there to destroy both before they destroy the city.

18 Night of the Thuggee Night of the Thuggee
Written by William Fieldhouse
Copyright: 1985

The once extinct group of assassins known as the Thugee are making a comeback and Americans are their chosen victims in India, but this time they are being directed by the KGB.

19 Sea of Savages Sea of Savages
Written by Paul Glen Neuman
Copyright: 1985

The Chinese mob TRIO is teaming up with a couple of traitors from the US Naval Intelligence to take control of a shipment of gold from a vessel the US had promised to protect.

20 Tooth and Claw Tooth and Claw
Written by William Fieldhouse
Copyright: 1985

The KGB is fed up with Phoenix Force consistently disrupting their various plans so now they are gathering their best killers and commandos to eradicate this team completely.

21 The Twisted Cross The Twisted Cross
Written by Paul Glen Neuman
Copyright: 1986

During a special ceremony honoring French and American ties, an unidentified group sets off an explosion. No group takes credit for the attack. Phoenix Force is sent to find out who is behind it and they discover that ODESSA Nazis is the answer.

22 Time Bomb Time Bomb
Written by William Fieldhouse
Copyright: 1986

A US Senator and a black human-rights leader, visiting South Africa, are taken prisoner and all forms of negotiation come to nothing. It is time for Phoenix Force to give it a try.

23 Chip Off the Bloc Chip Off the Bloc
Written by Paul Glen Neuman
Copyright: 1986

The crime syndicate MERGE is back with a plan to grab the man behind the Star Wars program and to put his knowledge up for the highest bid.

24 The Doomsday Syndrome The Doomsday Syndrome
Written by William Fieldhouse
Copyright: 1986

Warsaw Pact nations claim the explosion in Prague that destroyed a tavern was the work of West German agents and the CIA. Phoenix Force must find the proof before the situation escalates.

25 Down Under Thunder Down Under Thunder
Written by Paul Glen Neuman
Copyright: 1986

A radical anti-nuke political group in Australia is cooking up a plan to steal an atomic bomb and threaten Sydney. The CIA agents sent to stop them disappear so Phoenix Force is brought in.

26 Hostaged Vatican Hostaged Vatican
Written by William Fieldhouse
Copyright: 1986

The terrorists have laid siege to the Vatican and stopped the daily pilgrimages of thousands. Now they want to do even more to destroy one of the world's largest religious centers unless Phoenix Force can stop them

27 Weep, Moscow, Weep Weep, Moscow, Weep
Written by William Fieldhouse
Copyright: 1987

Germ warfare was something neither side was supposed to be doing but the Soviets had just created an exceptionally nasty weapon. Then it was stolen and Phoenix Force is asked to help the KGB find and destroy it and the formula.

28 Slow Death Slow Death
Written by Paul Glen Neuman
Copyright: 1987

When four Americans serving time in a Thai prison are killed, the US demands justice but the Thai government claims it was framed and was not the responsible party. Phoenix Force is ordered by the President to bring the real culprits to justice.

29 The Nightmare Merchants The Nightmare Merchants
Written by William Fieldhouse
Copyright: 1987

MERGE is back and the burned bodies of several DEA operative are the proof. This time the crime syndicate is determined to take total control of the cocaine business in Florida.

30 The Bonn Blitz The Bonn Blitz
Written by Paul Glen Neuman
Copyright: 1987

A West German agent, friend of Phoenix Force, is taken captive by the Stasi. Though they were ordered to leave it alone, the men of PF cannot stand by and do nothing.

31 Terror in the Dark Terror in the Dark
Written by William Fieldhouse
Copyright: 1987

The evidence for the murder of American tourists in Kenya points to the Leopard Cult, radical worshippers of a Cat Goddess, but Phoenix Force finds that there is a political motive behind the killers.

32 Fair Game Fair Game
Written by Paul Glen Neuman
Copyright: 1987

The extremists who want control of Spain do not care who they kill or how many as long as it reflects badly on the current government. When a US Senator's vacationing family are killed riding on a train, Phoenix Force is called in for revenge.

33 Ninja Blood Ninja Blood
Written by William Fieldhouse
Copyright: 1988

In what promises to be a final showdow with TRIO, Phoenix Force heads to Japan to find out if an old friend of theirs, a trained ninja, is behind the savage killing of a wealthy businessman and his bodyguards.

34 Power Gambit Power Gambit
Written by William Fieldhouse
Copyright: 1988

It is the KGB that is behind the unrest plaguing Finland in an attempt to bring down that country's government to put a Soviet-leaning regime in its place.

35 Kingston Carnage Kingston Carnage
Written by William Fieldhouse
Copyright: 1988

The Haitian secret police, the Ton Ton Macoute, are angry about having lost their power base and want another to replace it. They choose Jamaica.

36 Belgrade Deception Belgrade Deception
Written by William Fieldhouse
Copyright: 1988

As the nation of Yugoslavia begins to unravel, the Soviets are escalating tensions and throwing the blame on America. It is up to Phoenix Force to stop their operation.

37 Show of Force Show of Force
Written by Dan Streib
Copyright: 1988

The town in the Soviet Union was built in a month and it attracted the CIA to see why. When that man disappeared, Phoenix Force was sent in quietly to check it out. They found themselves in a replica of Cheyenne as a training ground for spies but they also find even bigger problems.

38 Missile Menace Missile Menace
Written by Mike Linaker
Copyright: 1988

The latest in American missiles, the Manta, have been hijacked while being shipped to England and Phoenix Force is sent there to get them back before they can be used to help destroy NATO.

39 Jungle Sweep Jungle Sweep
Written by William Fieldhouse
Copyright: 1989

A member of Phoenix Force has gone missing while searching for his long-lost brother in Mexico. When the rest of the team head to the Yucatan peninsula to find him, they find a Mexican terrorist army being trained by the KGB.

40 Rim of Fire Rim of Fire
Written by Dan Streib
Copyright: 1989

The revolutionary who would control the entire Middle East would just be another power-hungry madman if he did not hold as his hostage the Vice-President of the US.

41 Amazon Strike Amazon Strike
Written by Mike Linaker
Copyright: 1989

From his stronghold along the Amazon, the neo-Nazi drug lord is planning to spearhead a return to Hitler's policies throughout the world unless Phoenix Force can stop him.

42 China Command China Command
Written by William Fieldhouse
Copyright: 1989

Desiring a return to the days of Cultural Revolution, a group calling itself the People's New Guard is attacking the Chinese government across their nation and leaving clues blaming the CIA.

43 Gulf of Fire Gulf of Fire
Written by William Fieldhouse
Copyright: 1989

With the Iraq-Iran war in full swing, American oil interests are being threatened and when US navy forces move in to defend tankers, it is attacked. Phoenix Force is sent in and soon learns that a Muslim extremist is being the assaults.

44 Main Offensive Main Offensive
Written by Mike Linaker
Copyright: 1989

A would-be dictator in Germany is fueling his dreams by attacking US military people and behind his killing moves as a small group of the rich who would like a return to Nazi days.

45 African Burn African Burn
Written by William Fieldhouse
Copyright: 1990

Something is destroying whole villages in central Africa and the CIA is getting the blame so Phoenix Force goes undercover to investigate.

46 Iron Claymore Iron Claymore
Written by William Fieldhouse
Copyright: 1990

A strange power struggle is going on in Scotland where a splinter group of the IRA is trying to take over a Scottish separtist movement and American tourists are dying in the process. Phoenix Force goes in to stop the carnage.

47 Terror in Guyana Terror in Guyana
Written by William Fieldhouse
Copyright: 1990

The President might not have acted in response to the slaughter of a village in Guyana but when it is connected with the murder of a Senator's son, Phoenix Force gets the call. They find a neo-Nazi resurgence.

48 Barracuda Run Barracuda Run
Written by Mike Linaker
Copyright: 1990

The Barracuda is the Soviet Union's latest fighter and it is being stolen by a defecting Russian pilot when it goes down in Guatemala's jungle. Phoenix Force is sent to rescue the man and the technology.

49 Salvador Assault Salvador Assault
Written by William Fieldhouse
Copyright: 1990

A US State Department official is killed while on a mission to El Salvador and since the new government there does not seem able to do anything about it, Phoenix Force gives it a try.

50 Extreme Prejudice Extreme Prejudice
Written by Mike Linaker
Copyright: 1990

Someone is killing American personnel visiting France and Phoenix Force heads there to stop it. They come up against a KGB unit that does not believe in glasnost.

51 Savage World Savage World
Written by William Fieldhouse
Copyright: 1991

China wants the whole of Indochina to themselves and they need to force the Americans out to get that so tourists and business people are being killed in growing numbers. Phoenix Force is sent to find out who and to stop them.

MY COMMENTS

       As I wrote for the sister series, Able Team, any 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, has a hard time winning me over. Able Team did because they were characters I knew before but most of the people who made up Phoenix Force were relatively new and that was a problem. Except for canned histories, there was little background on any of them and virtually no growth. At least there was one retirement and one unfortunate death to bring on new characters but just as the original series, the Executioner was going through a very rough patch of cookie-cutter adventures, so did this series.
       On the plus side, though, the two leaders that Phoenix Force had, first Katz and then McCarter, were very interesting characters who could have had his own series and done quite well under one author. This is especially true with McCarter who remains one of the main characters in the follow-on Stony Man series.

GRADE

My Grade: C

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