Son of Samson and the Raiders of Joppa
The prologue offers a comic book dramatization of the events recorded in Judges 14. When Samson bets his wedding guests thirty sets of clothing that they cannot guess the answer to his riddle, they accept the challenge and ask to hear the question. Unable to figure the puzzle out after they hear it, the men threaten Samson's wife to provide them with the correct answer. When she does, the guests return to Samson with the solution to the riddle, expecting payment. Ballistic over their cheating, Samson goes down to Ashkelon and murders thirty Philistine men for their clothes to pay off the debt.
Chapter 1: "Sins of the Father"Edit
Seeking out his uncle Mathias, Branan locates his kinsman at the Joppa harbor conducting business. Mathias brags to everyone about his nephew Branan's massive strength, and Mathias's business acquaintance Elam wishes to see a demonstration of the young Hebrew's power. Cockily, Branan bets that he can leap higher than Mathias's house, and Elam eagerly accepts that action. Branan wins the wager by making a small jump and claiming that he just leaped higher than Mathias's house, since houses can't jump.
Branan then returns home with Mathias for supper and a visit with Branan's rambunctious cousins. Over the meal, Branan asks Mathias why he left his thriving business in Ashkelon to settle in Joppa. Mathias replies that since Samson slew thirty Ashkelonites and stole their clothes to pay a gambling debt, Mathias and his family were driven out of town because it was known that his sister was Samson's former paramour.
Just then, Sidon's soldiers show up at Mathias's home and burst through the door looking for Branan. Branan takes the lopsided fight into the streets and makes swift work of the soldiers, but he ends up turning himself over to Sidon anyway when the latter puts a dagger to Mathias's throat.
Chapter 2: "Shackles of Bronze"Edit
Sidon takes both men captive and drags them back to his luxurious residence. While gloating over his capture of the infamous Hebrew outlaw Branan, Sidon reveals that he was on sentry duty the night Samson killed both himself and thousands of Philistines by demolishing the temple of Dagon. Sidon warns that the Philistines won't make that mistake again and orders Branan to be dispatched on a slave galley bound for Ashkelon while Mathias is to remain at the Joppa fort as Sidon's hostage.
While toiling on board the slave galley, Branan rows so vigorously that the ship ends up going in circles. When the slave driver threatens Branan with a whip if he doesn't ease off the oar, a sea monster rears its scaly head and tosses Branan into the water. As if controled by God, the leviathan bites down on Branan's chains and breaks them, thus setting the young hero free. Recognizing the miracle of what just happened, Branan raises his arms in praise to the Lord.
After several hours of swimming away, Branan becomes exhausted to point of passing out. While in this state of unconsciousness, Branan dreams he is tailing two giggling mermaids, whom he follows into Delilah's underwater lair. Branan regains consciousness just as his old pirate friend Tiras pulls up in a boat and hoists Branan out of the water to safety.
Chapter 3: "Marauder of the Mediterranean"Edit
When Branan asks Tiras for help in breaking Uncle Mathias out of Sidon's barracks in Joppa, Tiras agrees but insists on mustering up a much larger crew. Tiras figures that he can draft more men into his cadre by busting some criminals out of the nearby Rock of Forgotten Souls island prison facility.
When Branan, Tiras, and their men reach the gate of the Rock jail, Tiras exhorts Branan to pray for divine aid in lifting the heavy prison gate. After sending up a short arrow prayer to God, Branan's limbs are infused with strength, and he is able to raise the gate and free the inmates Tiras needs to add to his crew.
Later that night, Tiras and his men disembark near the Philistine military base in Joppa, and Branan scales its walls to infiltrate the prison. After knocking out two sentries, Branan opens the door to the garrison and lets Tiras and the others inside. When Branan enters Mathias's cell to rescue him, Mathias mistakes Branan for a guard and hits him over the head with a pot.
Branan grabs Mathias, and the two ascend to the top of the fort where Sidon is crossing swords with Tiras and his mercenaries. By the time Branan reaches the roof, Tiras's brigands are all slaughtered, and Branan notices that both Tiras and Sidon have escaped. Branan and Mathias then hasten back to the harbor where they catch Tiras in the act of schlepping a heavy trunk full of gold plundered from Sidon's stronghold onto the ship. Enraged that Tiras abandoned his comrades back at the fort to abscond with the booty, Branan bends down the ship's mast and uses it to fling Tiras out into the ocean.
Branan charges Mathias to return to Ashkelon with the treasure chest and compensate the families of the men Samson murdered all those years ago. Sidon, meanwhile, watches his garrison burn up in flames from a distance and vows revenge against his nemesis, the Son of Samson.
The Adventures of Young Branan: "Giant of Gath"Edit
Sick and tired of falling victim to the Rephaim town bully Behem, the children of Gath scurry to their ally Branan for help and protection. Branan agrees to stand up to Behem on behalf of the other youngsters, and the confrontation between the two muscular youths escalates quickly. When Behem punches Branan in his rock-hard gut, Behem is surprised to discover that his hand hurts. Seeing their tormentor thus caught off guard, the other kids give Behem a wedgie, which confuses him enough to make him totter into the nearby sewage trough.
With a foot on Behem's back, Branan extracts a promise from Behem to quit pushing the other kids of Gath around. Ironically, Behem and his mother arrive at Branan's home that evening and demand an apology from Branan for "picking on" a four year-old boy. Despite the nerve of the town bully demanding such an apology, Branan and his mother manage to see the humor in the situation.