Adventures in the Unknown is a science-fiction serial, featuring two college students, Alan Kane and Ted Dolliver, who get recruited by Professor Lutyens to travel to Mars in his spaceship, the Wanderer.
Issues 1 – 6 are titled “The Mystery Men of Mars.” Lutyens has found a way to reverse gravity, and this will make the spaceship “fall upwards”, sending it to Mars. Despite that somewhat nonsensical premise, the scenes as they travel through space use zero gravity accurately, in an era where that could only have been a wild guess. They also wear spacesuits in the ship, for protection, though once they land on Mars they go back into the normal clothes before emerging on the planet.
Mars is run by odd looking robots, which contain the preserved brains of the long-dead martians. The robots intend to seal the three travellers in specimen tubes for a museum, but Lutyens communicates using math – so again it seems the writer has some decent scientific understanding. Lutyens chooses to stay on Mars, and has his brain removed from his aging body and placed in a robot shell.
The boys show themselves fairly inept without the Professor to help them. They take a robot guide to help them get back to the ship, but lose their way, and their guide, and have to “steal” another robot to get back to their ship. They make it back to Earth, crash-landing in the Atlantic, but the robot ceases to function and almost no one believes their story.
The only one who does believe them is another scientist, Ignatius Lazar, who happened to be on the ship that rescued them, and saw the martian robot before it stopped working. Turns out he has invented a time machine, the “tempomobile,” and enlists Alan and Ted in making a time trip with it.
This serial is called “A Thousand Years a Minute,” and begins in issue 7, but continues past my cut-off point. Before they leave, the boys find a caveman skull with a bullet hole in it, and wonder about it (I’m certain we will see how it happens later in the story). But for now, I will leave the two college kids trying to shoot dinosaurs with their rifles, and failing, in the paleolithic.
Adventures in the Unknown continues in the Early Golden Age
Adventures in the Unknown: All-American 1 – 9 (Apr – Dec 39)