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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

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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