KULL THE CONQUEROR #1

“Eye of the Tigress”
Writers: Bruce Jones/April Campbell
Artist: John Buscema

Kull is invited to the wedding of the prince of Verulia with the princess of Thule. All the other heads of state on the Thurian continent are there. Including Ku-var the leader of Atlantis. Ku-var has conquered the island of Atlantis. He has a beautiful woman named Irainia with him. A woman who betrayed her Mountain-Sea tribe to him. At the wedding the various champions of the monarchs are competing in friendly duels. Kull chooses Brule while Ku-var chooses Iraina. Iraina wins and shames Brule.

Later an old friend from Kull’s Atlantis days the shaman Ram-Os comes to Kull. Seems that one day Ku-var got drunk and tried to rape Irainia. Instead she slew him then all his soldiers. She now controls Atlantis and has an army of women dressed in tiger skins. On a full moon night the army turns into tigers and has been conquering the countries on the Thurian continent. One day Irainia comes to Kull’s palace as a guest. At night Brule sees the shaman Ram-Os go sneak out and go to the army outside. He uses his magic to turn them into the tigers. As he sneaks back Brule ambushes him and gets the story.

Years ago Ram-Os made a prediction that a child born under a full moon would depose the chief and rule the Thurian continent. Twins were left out for the tigers as the chief was afraid to lose his position. Ram-Os saved the girl but the tigers got the boy. He raised the girl in secret and taught her dark magic. Iraina is Kull’s sister. So the tigers attack Valusia and Kull must fight his sister who turns into a huge tiger. Kull manages to break her neck with his bare hands. Iraina’s death turns all the women back to human and Kull’s throne is safe.

So after a year they started up the Kull series again. Wisely they continued the format of the trial run with no ads, extra length and excellent writers and artists. Another fine tale that has an fascinating story filled with wonderful characters, dark magic and intrigue. So Kull has a sister. Kull has to kill his sister. A wild and tragic outcome for Kull. This is the best Kull series that has ever been written.

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KA-ZAR #20

“Lord of the Savage Land!”
Writer: J. Felder
Artist: K. Martinez

Ka-zar has defeated Gregor. The Savage Land is still falling apart. Ka-zar goes to rescue the Gorankian village from a lava flow. He has to burn their huts and have them chase him but he gets them to safety. He meets up with a childhood friend Etuban. Etuban is later killed by a T-Rex. He goes back to Shanna and his family. There the Bhadwuans come. They accuse Ka-zar and Shanna for all the problems and will kill them. Luckily Dherk has managed to rally the inhabitants of the Savage Land to come to the rescue. Ka-zar decides to leave with Shanna. Zira also comes along. Zabu decides to stay.

The final issue for this series. A bit of a letdown. When the decision to cancel this series was made the story seemed to be rushed to just get it over with. Even the writer and others aren’t even credited by full name. I still have no idea why Ka-zar and Shanna were the cause of the problems or why they had to leave. This was a sad ending to a series that started out with great potential. It was a last issue but not very spectacular.

WONDER WOMAN CONAN #2

“Blade and Bracelets, Blood and Sand”
Writer: Gail Simone
Artist: Aaron Lopresti

Flashback to Conan’s youth and his time with the young Yanna. They are playing next to a deep chasm to hear the echos. Yanna slips and falls but grabs a ledge. Conan reaches down to save her. So to the present and Conan and Wonder Woman are lead to the arena to fight one another. Conan still believes Wonder Woman is his old childhood crush Yanna. He tries to convince her not to fight but the slavemaster has her memories and she fights Conan. Conan manages to knock her out but refuses to kill her. So the two are sold as galley slaves.

On a pirate ship the two are worked hard. One day the crew wants to throw Wonder Woman overboard because they think she is a jinx. But first they want to have a little fun. Wonder Woman smashes the leaders nose in and a fight begins. Soon a Zingarian patrol boat attacks. In the confusion Wonder Woman jumps off the ship and drags Conan with her. They face great white sharks.

Another excellent issue. We get a glimpse of Conan as a boy and his first love. Then the present story has an exciting plot. They go from gladiator arena to a pirate ship with Wonder Woman trying desperately to remember her past. There are two women who can change into crows that are following and seem to be the cause of Wonder Woman’s current situation. Some great unanswered threads to this story that make the reader want for more.

THE WARLORD #97

“Disaster!”
Writer: Cary Burkett
Artist: Rick Buckler

Sabertooth has ambushed Morgan in the underground entrance. Sgt. Trogero is dead and his men are in full retreat. Morgan and Scarhart hold the entrance but it is only a matter of time before numbers overwhelm them. So Scarhart makes the ultimate sacrifice and pushes Morgan out of the way. Then collapses the tunnel on himself and blocks the entrance. On the surface the main attack is surprised by the unexpected New Atlantean presence. The attack becomes a rout. Lord Kaldustan and his knights are slaughtered.

At their base camp in the Valley of the Lion the army is shattered. Morgan comes back and accuses Graemore of being the traitor and is about to kill him. Only the intervention of Tara stops him. Then the New Atlantean army arrives to finish the job. A big epic battle ensues. Saaba the witch comes to use sorcery but is stopped by Jennifer. Just as it seems they will lose the whole world goes mad. Earthquakes and volcanic eruptions occur to save the rebel army and drive back the New Atlanteans. Saabe tries to escape by turning into a raven but Shakira as a cat manages to kill her. The rebels are saved but Graemore lies near death. He went into battle to prove his loyalty and now Tara will never forgive Morgan. All the while the wizard-king of New Atlantis gloats.

Wow was this an exciting issue. Disaster is a great title. We have Sgt. Trogero a minor character getting knocked off. Scarhart is killed. While I never really liked him I was starting to be OK with him. Obviously the writers could not see much to do with the character and gave him a noble end. Saaba the witch is gone. Morgan’s anger may have caused the death of Graemore and alienated him from his mate Tara. This was a great idea. It sets up an even bigger challenge for Morgan to meet for the 100th issue.

THE ROOK #13

“The Dane Curse!”
Writer: Budd Lewis
Artist: Luis Bermejo

In 1781 Connecticut a woman named Lucinda Cendrillion writes of a horror that she and her family must contain. Only the man from the future Restin Dane can save them. Back in 1981 Restin is in Connecticut to visit professor Duncan Conneally. The professor sent an unknown goo that was living and wants his help. Strange things are happening. First the limousine that was taking him to the mansion suddenly speeds up and crashes into the gate and explodes. Only Restin and the drive were able to jump out in time. The professor believes only Restin can save the world from some goo that is seeping from the grounds of the old Cendrillion mansion. He plans to go back but finds there is no time shard in 1781 but will visit Ambrose Bierce in 1914.

“The Goblin!”
Writer: Bill DuBay
Artist: Lee Elias

Restin and Bishop are arrested for the murder of Phinneas Smudge. The police need a scapegoat for the people they killed and they are chosen. They are locked up with the book they recovered and find that it can summon forth a netherworld spirit to right the wrongs. Bishop plans to use it to escape. In the present Coral Dane does some investigating in Harlem. She is accosted by some thugs but the mysterious Goblin rescues her. She is about to get the story of the Goblin from an old lady.

“A Study in Scarlet”
Writer: Jim Stenstrum
Artist: Noly Panaligan

1878 a Dr. John Watson who was wounded in the Afghan war is looking for a place to live. A friend introduces him to Sherlock Holmes who needs a roommate for his place on Baker Street. He finds out that Holmes has a natural ability to solve problems and is frequently called on by Scotland Yard. He gets to accompany him on a case. A man who died with no visible wounds and might have been poisoned. Only the word Rache which means revenge in German was written on the wall in blood.

“Air Whale Express”
Writer: Jim Stenstrum
Artist: Abel Laxamana

Joe Guy has been hired to bring Giganto a huge mutant whale who has developed a taste for human flesh to a secret government facility in Alaska. Naturally his manager Putnam will charge triple since its the government. Seems the government wants to find a way to control Giganto for its own purposes. So Giganto is loaded on a cargo plane in a tank of water and off the two go. Over Minnesota Giganto tries to eat Putnam when he is feeding him and causes the plane to break up. Giganto manages to swallow Putnam in mid-air. Joe Guy comes up with a plan to gather all the parachutes and gently bring the whale down. Only he can’t pull all the cords at the same time and they hit the ground. This was a nightmare by Putnam and he cancels the job. Now they have to send Giganto by Greyhound Express.

“Fighting Armenian”
Writer: Bill DuBay

Restin is visiting his friend Sergei Baginski the Soviet defector who is the superpowered Fighting Armenian. Only he is not having much luck in his superhero career. Seems nobody is taking him seriously. Just then a robot breaks into the apartment. Glorioski the Soviet death machine has come to punish Sergei for defecting. Luckily Restin is a master of robotics as well as time travel. He opens a panel and reprograms the robot to capture the Soviet agents.

“Eagle”
Writer: Colin Dawkins
Artist: John Severin

Eagle the chief of the Crow continues to follow the foolish palefaces that ignored his warning and went into Blackfeet land. His scouts have detected a party of Blackfeet warriors who are about to attack the wagon train and Eagle is setting up an ambush.

The first Rook story is intriguing. It has a very Gothic feel to it. A strange blob like substance that is coming out of the ground. Only the death of Restin can save the world.

The second continues the story of the Goblin. We get some answers to the origin.

The Sherlock Holmes story is the origin of how Watson and Holmes meet. An interesting backstory for Watson and feels like a good Victorian Holmes story.

Joe Guy was hilarious. I love his comment that it was a good thing the breakup happened over Minnesota and not a civilized part of the country because there’s nothing below to damage. There was all sorts of humor in the story.

The Fighting Armenian was also another humorous story. The Russians talk with thick accents and talk about the evil capitalists. Makes me nostalgic for the cold war days.

Finally Eagle continues with beautiful artwork and an interesting story.

So the format seems to be a bunch of short stories and I liked it. Half were to be continued but I like having a good cliffhanger ending. Also a good mix of variety.

KULL THE CONQUEROR #2

“The Blood of Kings!”
Writer: Doug Moench
Artist: John Bolton

Kull wanders through his city in disguise. He is disgusted at how decadent the people have become. After a robbery attempt he goes back to his palace. Tu suggests that Valusia needs fresh blood and suggests a marriage with the Atlantean chief’s daughter. Kull is not interested but Tu goes ahead and invites the daughter. Sareena arrives and Kull is instantly smitten. Sareena is not only beautiful but compassionate and intelligent. So Kull is engaged to be married. Only there is opposition to this marriage.

At the wedding an Atlantean stabs Sareena. Kull then breaks the assassins neck. This causes the Atlanteans to go to war. The Picts are also going to attack since they saw the wedding as a threat to their alliance. The invading Atlantean and Picts attack but Kull is nowhere to be found. He is in a depression over the loss. Only with Brule’s urging does he rouse himself and lead his troops. He hears a wolf cry and goes to investigate. He finds the assassin was actually a wolf-man. He kills him with his silver sword and then leads the army to where the Picts and Atlanteans meet. He confronts the two leaders and convinces them that the wolf-men are responsible. The three monarchs go through the catacombs and find wolf-men in the throne room. Their leader was masquerading as Tu and the three leaders slaughter the wolf-men. Sareena is then brought out as a wolf-woman and Kull is forced to kill her. Then the big final battle with the wolf-man leader. At the end the three leaders agree to live in peace and fight their common enemy.

I have to say that this is the finest Kull comic I have ever read. Beautiful art and an excellent story. Kull is at his finest. A truly tragic figure who loses the love of his life. Epic battles and a formidable foe in the wolf-men. I really feel for Kull and his loss. The decadence of Valusia and its description is so close to the real world that we live in now. This was a two issue run to test the waters for a return of Kull. It succeeded and next year the series would return once again.

KA-ZAR #19

“Only the Beast Survives!”
Writer: J. Felder
Artist: M. Martinez

Ka-zar is reunited with his family. Now he has to make a tough decision. The Savage Land is dying and they must find a solution. They also have to defeat Gregor. So Ka-zar will take on Gregor alone. Shanna is to find out whats wrong with the Savage Land. Zabu will take care of baby Matthew. Zira goes off on her own. So Ka-zar finds Gregor or he finds Ka-zar. The battle takes them to an abandoned temple and Gregor looks to be victorious. Only he makes the mistake to threatening Ka-zar’s family. That brings out the savage in Ka-zar and he beats Gregory. Shanna finds Zira and the two come on Ka-zar. Zira says that Ka-zar is the threat to the land. Meanwhile Dherk is attacked by the Bhadwuans.

Not a bad issue. A bit confusing for Zira takes off and Shanna doesn’t trust her anymore. A glimpse of good old Dherk who is hanging around in a tower. Shanna finds a tribe massacred. It is confusing if Zira did it or someone else. A fight scene with Ka-zar and Gregory. We get the nostalgic savage Ka-zar who is mighty as the mastodon. It ends in a mystery in why Ka-zar is the threat but that makes the reader want to find out how it ends in the final issue to this run of Ka-zar.

WONDER WOMAN CONAN #1

“A Crow Without Mercy”
Writer: Gail Simone
Artist: Aaron Lopresti

Conan in wandering in Aquilonia when he comes on some Aesir about to burn off the jaw of some guy. The man pleads for help but Conan decides its none of his business. The man promises gold and that is enough for Conan’s help. He makes short work of the Aesir and finds out the gold is from some sure bet the man made. So they both go off to the city. There a gladiatorial game is about to start. A tall dark haired woman known as the Warrior Witch fights three gladiators. She manages to defeat them and she was the one that the man Conan saved bet against. So he isn’t getting any gold but the woman looks like his childhood sweetheart Yanna. Conan sneaks in to her cell and talks to the woman. She has no memory except that she was known as Wonder Woman. Conan is knocked out by the slavemaster who plans to chain the two together and have them fight.

So another wild crossover and this time two characters I would have never dreamed would meet. This is definitely a cool idea and I love it so far. The story idea is intriguing. We get some past with Conan’s first love who he thinks this woman gladiator is. Wonder Woman is enslaved with no memory so there is mystery to be solved. Also there are two crows who can turn into beautiful women following. The story is true to the characters of both Wonder Woman and Conan and the artwork is gorgeous. Another great idea for a crossover.

THE WARLORD #96

“Nightmare Prelude!”
Writer: Cary Burkett
Artist: Rick Stasi

Morgan has Jennifer bring back Mariah and Machiste from Wizard World to help in his upcoming battle. After they leave Jennifer casts a spell to locate Tinder. Only Mongo back in the past has cast a spell to bring back Mariah and Machiste. The spells collide and end up bring Tinder back to Wizard World. Scarhart gets some new weapons and in the tradition of his tribe must baptize them so he hunts a sabertooth. Graemore mopes around because he is a dipshit and overhears the plans to retake Shamballah. Unfortunately so does Saaba who goes to Lord Sabertooth and brings him back with magic so he can lay a trap. In the New Atlantean capital the leader of the Vashak assassins meets with the mysterious New Atlantean king. This wizard king sends out a spell to weaken the will of Morgan.

This spell gives Morgan a nightmare where he fights Vashek assassins. After he kills them he unmasks them and find they were his friends and Tara. Death comes and praises him for being her champion. This brings doubt on Morgan and his troops can feel it. So the next morning Morgan leads a group into Shamballah through the computer chamber. The plan is to capture the laser cannons so the main force can seize the city. Only Sabertooth is there in ambush.

Well this issue was a calm before the big storm. We get several vignettes of how the various people are coping with the time before the big battle. We also bring back Mariah and Machiste. A very abrupt way it was done but effective. Tinder is now back in Wizard World and this would be the end of his appearance in the first series. We actually never get his story while in Wizard World so that story is lost in the mists of time.

Of course it ends in a catastrophe. Obviously we are a few issues away from the big 100. This was a good idea in giving the story this big setback. Gives the next issues something interesting while we wait for the big finale.

THE ROOK #12

“The Goblin”
Writer: Bill DuBay
Artist: Lee Elias

In New York a strange four foot tall blue skinned goblin creature is terrorizing a slum lord. At this time Restin and Bishop are on vacation wandering around Harlem This is when they encounter the Goblin. While chasing him he disappears down an alley. Restin believes he remembers reading about this Goblin. So at the library they discover that in 1917 this Goblin was around. So they get Coral to bring the time castle and the two go back to Harlem 1917.

During this time a cult is attacked by the local police as being devil worshipers. The leader uses a satanic book to turn himself into the Goblin to save his followers from the police. When the police lieutenant starts shooting his followers then the Goblin picks him up and bashes his brains against the wall. Restin and Bishop witness this and follow the blood trail to the cult leader who is dying. He says that the book he uses must be destroyed. After he dies the police burst in.

“The Bat”
Writer: Bill DuBay
Artist: Nestor Redondo

A bat-man type creature is loose in New York on a dark stormy night. It is drawn to a house in the suburbs. There it remembers its past life as a man. A brilliant biochemist with a son who was born without the use of his legs. The scientist blames himself for he may have contaminated his newborn with one of his experiments. So one night the scientist is fired and a lab accident creates the Bat.

“The Protectors”
Writer: Bill DuBay
Artist: Ruby Nebres

Restin is time traveling and lands in the prehistoric past. He lands in a swamp and his time castle sinks in. As a T-rex shows up a voice tells him to run to a cave. There he is told that the fungus is deadly and if he touched it and brought it back to his time he could wipe out the world. A sabertooth attacks and falls in so we can see the effects of the plant. His daughter comes with the spare castle because she was guided by the mysterious voice and rescues her father.

“Dagger Marshmallows don’t Weep!”
Writer: Don McGregor
Artist: Bill Draut

It is 1933 and the Great Depression is going strong. A group of men are at the back of a ritzy nightclub to salvage the garbage to feed their families. Dagger comes and gets his old friend Angel to offer him a job. He works for a small motion picture company and their big star has run off with the heiress to the marshmallow fortune. The father has send some thugs to bring his daughter back. They fly off and come to a sky tram in the Sierra Nevadas. The thugs are in the tram with the star and heiress. Dagger jumps in and in the fight the heiress is shot and killed.

“Eagle”
Writer and Artist: John Severin

Eagle is the war chief of the Crow. A wagon train is going through his territory and he warns them not to go into the territory of the Blackfeet. The wagon master scoffs at the warning and continues on. Eagle decides to follow because his tribe is at war with the Blackfeet and he plans to use the wagon train as bait.

Well the main Rook story is interesting. A mysterious Goblin creature who is terrorizing the slum lords. It leads to the past an another strange cult and police brutality. I loved that there were two white guys with pistols on their hips dressed as cowboys strolling through Harlem. Good thing they were armed. Why I love this old series.

The Bat was a good story. A bat creature has some promise as an interesting continuing series. Had a good backstory and very moody art.

The Protectors continue to be these mysterious aliens. They manage to save Restin and show him the dangers of time travel.

Dagger had a nice authentic depression era feel to it. A bit on the goofy side for a plot but interesting nonetheless.

Finally Eagle was excellent. A good old western with beautiful artwork. The only weird thing was that it was drawn horizontally so you had to hold the magazine sideways. A minor quibble for an excellent series. A good balance of diverse stories for this issue.