Name : Yoz
Title : The Mighty
Type : Modified archaea grown out of control
Date of first appearance : April 14th, 1959
Height - 125 feet
Weight - 60,000 tons
Shapeless - SHRIEK in terror, for the incredible Yoz is UNAFFECTED by physical damage thanks to his FORMLESS, GELATINOUS body! Teeth become GUMMY and USELESS, talons slide through boneless flesh HARMLESSLY, and bullets, bombs, and torpedoes are all ENTAGLED in the thick, mucousy shell of this HORROR WITH NO SHAPE!
Energy Eater - SEE the unflappable Yoz's PLASMOCYTOSIS! Behold as he devours enemy beam weapons and, using his MIGHTYCHONDRIA, breaks down and consumes their energy! The weapons meant to harm the MIGHT YOZ only help him calcify and armor his formless body! Can nothing stop this SHAPELESS BEHEMOTH? Can no tool strike him down!
In the three years since ZAL THE UNTHINKABLE ravaged Vegas, the three heroes that stopped him have been hard at work. Ms. Beauregard, now a decorated reporter who has made a name for herself covering the aftermath of the monster's rampage as well as disasters in other parts of the world, has returned to the US from the far east to arrange her next trip. Lt. Gunn, who realized feelings for Ms. Beauregard while seeing her through the ruins of Zal's trail, has been trying for months to admit them to her while also feeling jealous of the attention she gives Dr. Richard Schwartz. And the good doctor, fearing the rise of another Zal, has been looking into ways to be rid of the remaining nuclear radiation in the deserts of Nevada. He has recently come close to a breakthrough, but...
Will his vision for the future lead to NO FUTURE AT ALL!!?
Haunted by his failure to detect Zal earlier and feeling the weight of the guilt resting on all science for the reckless creation of the thunder-spewing beast, Dr. Schwartz becomes reckless himself and begins tampering with archaea... durable microbes who thrive in the harshest of environments! The doctor, now a man possessed by his mission, sees potential in their ability to thrive in the impossible and seeks to breed into existence a strain of them that can DEVOUR rogue atomic energy! He moves fast and soon begins to break his own codes of conduct! He skips vital tests! He does not take the proper precautions! All he wants to to see results as fast as possible, and, finally...
Success! A new breed of archaea that feeds off of radiation, then withers and dies when it is gone!
Surely the perfect solution to the wasteland that lies outside?
Joyed almost beyond words, he calls his old friends to tell them the news! Ms. Beauregard, smelling a story, shares his excitement, but the lieutenant is less than thrilled...
Can the threat of an irradiated organism truly by stopped by exposing yet more life, he ponders?
Dr. Schwartz waves away his fretting as cowardice, labeling him a man who now shuns all scientific advancement, while Ms. Beauregard calls it jealously. Angry and upset, the lieutenant storms out! His friends linger in guilt for a moment, but quickly move to the first field test. Franklin Gunn, as well as he means, has always been a man of greater emotion than rationalism. Surely he is just overreacting, they say! Surely it is he who is wrong and not us!
One foreseeing salvation from past mistakes and one predicting smash hit headlines, the two bombard the test site with the strain! Codename: Yoz!
Like magic, the stubborn radiation of many years VANISHES WITHOUT A TRACE!
The good doctor and young reporter, drunken on their success, go to celebrate! Wine and champagne is broken out! The doctor drinks heartily while the report, though still enthused, looks back fondly on all the hours spent with Lt. Gunn and wishes he was there with them...
SUDDENLY, DARKNESS FALLS!
The power has gone out! Good mood ruined, Dr. Schwartz goes to investigate why...
Meanwhile, Lt. Gunn stays late at the station to try and work off the rage and melancholy of what had happened earlier in the evening. Caliente had shrunk since Zal struck, many moving away after their homes were destroyed or awful memories created when family perished under his feet, but the lieutenant stayed to watch over the people who remained. They deserved to be looked out for after toughing it out, he reasoned. But then shadows enshroud him! The same darkness that had taken Schwartz and Ms. Beauregard in its black folds has reached Caliente!
Though he has no logical reason to believe so, Lt. Gunn cannot help but feel in his gut that the trouble is coming from Schwartz's lab in the desert and heads to investigate!
His suspicions quickly prove true! No more than five minutes after he leaves town, something horrific appears in the headlights! Is it-? Can it be-? Oh no!
A TREMENDOUS MASS OF SLIME, LARGE AS A TRUCK, ROLLS ACROSS THE ROAD!!
Horrified, Gunn rushes to Schwartz's lab to confess the terror he had seen! The doctor grimly accepts the news and, having learned to trust the lieutenant's judgement, uses it as proof for what his investigation has unveiled.
The power was not simply blocked or rerouted... it was gone entirely! Almost as if... DEVOURED!
In his rush to create the strain, he never stopped to make sure of one vital thing: whether they ate ONLY nuclear radiation!!
It seemed the strain... test subject Yoz... consumed not just nuclear energy... BUT ALL FORMS OF ENERGY! Electric, thermal, solar! And it grew bigger with each meal! In his desperation to prevent another Zal, the doctor ruefully concluded, he may just have made an even worse monster...
Meanwhile, 3,000 miles north, another horror stirs! Even buried under countless tons of ice and snow, something awakens! Perhaps the climate has changed enough to allow its escape. Perhaps it has merely become acclimated to the cold. Or perhaps its sheer rage at another giant creature invading its territory refuses to let it sleep any longer!!!
Whatever the reason, the call comes from a patrol boat...
The call the world has dreaded for three years...
There is a hole, a gap, in the ice of the Arctic.
AND ZAL THE UNTHINKABLE LIVES ONCE MORE!!!!
Back in Nevada, Dr. Schwartz feels guilt fall heavily on him, but is determined to help minimize the damage caused by this DISASTER of his creation, so he quickly deducts Yoz's destination. Based on the direction that Lt. Gunn reported the blob heading in as well as its very nature, he can only conclude that the modified archaea is looking to reach the Palo Verde Nuclear Power Plant, the largest power plant by output in all the US!
And it reaches the plant... it could very well become UNSTOPPABLE!
In the following days, this prediction seems to prove true, with Yoz, now DOZENS of feet tall and still growing, gleefully crashing through and feeding on any electrical lines in its path while also coldly trampling towns that are unlucky enough to be in the linear route between it and its prey.
The military and police try to intervene, but how can ANY AMOUNT of bullets stop what flows as EASILY AS WATER?!? And the awful beast only continues to grow bigger! Until it begins to rival ZAL HIMSELF in size!!
Even the good doctor seems at a loss! The best he can do is try and create breed of bacterial virus that will target only those microbes from the Yoz strain, but it took weeks to FAIL the first time! How can he succeed in the SHORT FEW DAYS it will take Yoz to reach its destination and grow unstoppable??
Because Yoz has killed all fax and telephone lines for many hundreds of miles as it drains electricity away like life blood, they cannot know that, on the west coast, another disaster unfolds..!
The INCREDIBLE ZAL rages south through the Pacific, blowing through naval blockades and walls of depth charges as if they were not even there!! The mighty beast is JUST AS UNSTOPPABLE by brute force as last time and, WORSE YET, its weakness to the cold seems to have dulled! Synthetic snowstorms slow the beast, but HE DOES NOT STOP!
Just as determined as the good doctor, ZAL THE UNTHIKABLE marches through the opposition on his way home!!
Now well into Arizona, YOZ, that SHAPELESS TERROR, is now comparable in size to Zal! And it shows NO SIGNS of slowing- in growth or on its restless mission to feed! Now emboldened or perhaps feeling the hunger greater than ever before, the BONELES FEIND ceases moving in a straight path and starts to swerve to strike nearby towns and cities and throws them into fire and darkness! Awful as it may seem, our heroes can only treat this as good luck, for any time, no matte how GRIEVOUS or COSTLY, to work to stop Yoz from reaching Palo Verde is welcomed!
But it appears as if the lives lost on these detours are in vain, for even against military maneuvers on a scale that has not been seen since WWII, Yoz enters the final miles of its journey to godhood, and our heroes, honestly at a loss for what to do, can only watch as it rolls forward towards invincibility...
A PRIMAL HOWL INTERUPTS!!!
Our heroes' hearts swell with fear and hope! THE MIGHTY YOZ has proven unbeatable by human means! But so had a creature before it..! A creature that in fact prompted its very creation..!
A CREATURE THAT HAS JUST ARRIVED LIKE AN ARCHGANGEL TO DESTROY SODOM AND GOMORRAH WITH RIGHTEOUS FURY!!!!
ZAL THE UNTHINBKABLE!!!!!!
Like titans of old, the two giants CRASH together in a TANGLE of talons and flagellum! Teeth and cilium! They CLAW and CLASH and WRESTLE like ancient gods, but one is plainly coming out on top: Yoz, with its MALEABLE FLESH and SHAPELESS MASS, refuses to be harmed!
Even Zal's terrible THUNDERHEAD BREATH is only consumed by Yoz's MIGHTYCHONDRIA!!
With a frustrated howl, Zal swells forward and shoves Yoz...
INTO THE POWER PLANT!
The world and our heroes watch in horror as the FORMLESS THREAT begins to TWIST and GROW like the genesis of life itself! Its girth blossomed outward like an OCEAN! Its cell walls thicken and cloud over like ARMOR! It begins to TOWER over Zal as if he was naught but an ANT!
Undeterred, the UNTHINKABLE ZAL sweeps his THUNDERHEAD BREATH across the skin of the gelatinous monstrosity, calcifying it even further! Just like before, it has no effect...
… no. No, wait! Something! Something is happening!
Yoz is... Yoz is cracking! Splitting open like an overripe fruit!
THAT'S IT! It's growing too fast! Becoming too thoroughly armored in too short of time!
IT'S BEING TORN APART BY ITS OWN EXPANSION!!!
Writhing and squirming, the Yoz strain tries to escape! But Zal REFUSES to let it flee!
Gigantic feet rock the earth... a fanged maw unlatches one last time...
AND A FINAL BLAST OF BOILING, LIGHTNING-SPEARED VAPOR MAKES YOZ BURST LIKE A BALLOON!
The remains of the once grave threat spill across the land like a flood, each microscopic component of the super-organism denatured and dead. Zal is swept away and thrown into the remains of the power planet by the surge of gore. Our heroes hold their breath and hope he has been finished off...
But no! Zal RISES once more! TRIUMPHANT!
For a moment, one indescribable minute of terror, he stands motionless.
The nearby cities... our heroes... humanity itself! All are helpless to stop him if he attacks!
He does not.
Instead, the VICTORIOUS ZAL merely turns and stomps away, heading in the direction of the desert it originally hailed from. Heading home.
Perhaps it was exhausted and is returning to a place it perceives as safe, reasons the doctor. It could be mortally wounded and going to die, hopes the young reporter. Or maybe, just maybe, wistfully offers the idealistic and emotional lieutenant, it decided there had been enough loss already.
Whatever the case, Zal was leaving and the threat of Yoz was gone forever.
Finally having the courage to bear his heart utterly, Lt. Gunn proposes to Ms. Beauregard. She accepts instantly! Despite the protests of his friends, Dr. Schwartz insists on being tried in a court of law and punished accordingly for the creation of Yoz. He assures them he has not given up though...
No! Like Zal, marching on endlessly, he decides to dedicate the remainder of his life to becoming the world's first gigabiologist and decoding the actions of Zal on that day. Actions which cannot be explained by conventional logic. Actions which may be repeated again in the future...
Cinema History - Considered the film in which the Zal series found its footing, 1957's The Return of Zal is significantly darker and more serious in tone than its predecessor and had a much larger budget, patching the somewhat shabby suit effects of the first entry and using an innovative mix of practical and overlaid animation effects to bring its formless villain to life. When the Zal films are ordered by quality, it is rare to see this movie lower than the top two or three, though it is generally agreed to still have a few flaws- most especially the replacement of actor Reese Willem, who played Lt. Gunn in the original movie- that keep it from being number one, an honor mostly agreed to be held by the next film in the franchise.
Artist's Notes - Oh my gosh. Look at him. Look at how cute he is. Those feathery little head thingies and stubby arms are adorable. I wanna hug him. Shame he's a relentless, merciless eating machine with no conscience whatsoever. That sorta throws a gray veil over his cute looks, huh?