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Episode Studies by Clayton Barr

The Expendables: The Love Boat The Expendables
"The Love Boat"
The Expendables #3 (Dynamite)
Written by Chuck Dixon
Illustrated by Esteve Polls
Colored by Mark Rueda
Lettered by Simon Bowland
Cover by Lucio Parillo


The team launches a risky plan to capture Gosprovich. 


Notes from the Expendables chronology


The Expendables comic book mini-series was a 4-issue prequel series to the first movie in the Expendables franchise.


Characters appearing or mentioned in this issue


(Where relative, I have added the name of the actor who plays the character in the movies for aid in visualizing the characters)


Barney Ross (actor Sylvester Stallone)

Yin Yang (actor Jet Li)

Gunner Jensen (actor Dolph Lundgren)

Lee Christmas (actor Jason Statham)

Toll Road (actor Randy Couture)

Pyotr Ovyorovech (mentioned only)

Hale Caesar (actor Terry Crews)


Tool (actor Mickey Rourke)

Elya Gosprovich



Didja Know?


Seemingly, Dynamite Entertainment did not have rights to the actors' likenesses, as the artist depictions of the characters in the mini-series do not particularly look like the actors who play them in the Expendables movie.


The issues of this mini-series did not have titles. I have chosen the title of "The Love Boat" for this study based on a joking remark Gunner makes about Ovyorovech's party battleship. The Love Boat was an American TV series set on a cruise ship which aired on the ABC network from 1977-1990.


Didja Notice?


This issue reveals that the old Soviet battleship owned by a private interest is docked at Sevastopol, a port on the Crimean Peninsula.


On page 1, Barney remarks on the Cold War peace dividend as he observes through binoculars a gaggle of bathing beauties aboard the privatized Soviet battleship. The Cold War was the state of distrust between the Western (U.S. and allies) and Eastern (Soviet Union and allies) powers from roughly 1947-1991. A peace dividend is the alleged long term benefit to a nation's economy after military spending is cut by its government.


Also observing the bathing beauties on the battleship, Yang remarks, "Stalin never partied like this." Josef Stalin was the leader of the Soviet Union from the mid-1920s through 1952.


On page 3, the Soviet battleship is identified as the Maxim Litvinov, sailed out of Murmansk in 1943, mothballed in 1962, and gifted by Putin to a tovarisch "five years ago". Maxim Litvinov (1876-1951) was a Soviet revolutionary and diplomat; as far as I can tell there was never a battleship named after him. Assuming this story takes place in 2010 (when the mini-series was published), the ship was gifted in 2005; it seems unlikely a ship of this age would still be around to be gifted unless it had been converted into a military museum for the public or something similar. Tovarisch is Russian for "comrade".


In panel 5 of page 3, the text on the information page about the Maxim Litvinov is composed of nonsense font characters.


Page 4 reveals the current owner of the Maxim Litvinov as Pyotr Ovyorovech, formerly of the Soviet military. Page 13 reveals that Ovyorovech was a general.


On page 5, Toll Road remarks that the Maxim Litvinov looks like an old Stalin battlewagon on the outside, but inside it's all Donald Trump, with bedrooms, theaters, a pool, casino, dining halls, and ballroom. Donald Trump is an American billionaire, businessman, celebrity, and current candidate for U.S. president; he lives a very lavish lifestyle.


Toll Road describes the current Ovyorovech as a Cossack Travolta, as he loves to dance. This is a reference to American actor John Travolta, known for his dancing and singing roles in the 1977 film Saturday Night Fever and 1978 film Grease.


On page 6, Aguilo and his gang members use the words ese and jefe. These are Spanish terms for "man" and "chief" respectively.


On page 7, Tool says amigo. This is Spanish for "friend".


On page 9, one of the Russian crewmember/partiers on the Maxim Litvinov asks for Bloodsoaked 4 for PlayStation. Bloodsoaked appears to be a fictitious video game series for the real world PlayStation home video game console.


On page 10, Lee calls Gunner a "cranked up prat." "Prat" is a British term of for an incompetent person.


After Gunner is dumped overboard from the Maxim Litvinov, Toll Road jokes that maybe he lost at Pictionary.


Upon his return from the Maxim Litvinov, Gunner reports that Ovyorovech plans to winter off Crete. Crete is one of the Greek islands of the Mediterranean.


On page 14, Aguilo calls Jorgito hermano. This is Spanish for "brother".


Breaking into the bowels of the Maxim Litvinov on page 17, Lee remarks, "No one's been down here since Gorbachev had a nanny." Mikhail Gorbachev was the leader of the Soviet Union from 1985-1991.


On page 18, Lee asks Barney where he learned the nautical lingo and receives the response, "Popeye cartoons." Barney later comments on learning further from SpongeBob. Popeye, of course, is a sailor character missing one eye, who has been around since 1929 in comic strips and in cartoons since 1933. "SpongeBob" is a reference to SpongeBob Squarepants, an animated TV series for children originally airing on the Nickelodeon cable network.


Also on page 18, Yang finds Kalashnikov ammo and RPGs aboard the Maxim Litvinov. The Kalashnikov is a popular line of Russian automatic rifles, the most commonly known of which is the AK-47, designed by Mikhail Kalashnikov. RPG is an abbreviation for Rocket Propelled Grenade.


As he targets the Maxim Litvinov through the scope of his rifle on page 20, Caesar says, "Boomlay, boomlay, boom." This same line from Vachel Lindsay's 1914 poem "The Congo", was spoken by Toll in "THE NIGERIAN PRINCE". The poem is also referred in The Expendables 2.


Barney uses aerosolized hypnovel on some of the crewmembers of the Maxim Litvinov in a compartment of the ship, which they mistakenly think is sarin gas. He remarks that they'll wake with a headache they'll remember for the rest of their lives. Hypnovel is one of the trade names of midazolam, an anesthetic, sleep-inducing drug; headaches are one of the side effects. Sarin is a deadly nerve agent chemical compound, often weaponzied as a gas, though outlawed by the Chemical Weapons Convention of 1993.

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