PLANET OF THE APES GREEN LANTERN #4

“Untitled”

Writers: Robbie Thompson and Justin Jordan

Artist: Barnaby Bagenda

We start with a young Green Lantern being chosen to take the Universal Ring to the Planet of the Apes. Yet she finds out that the Guardians won’t let her return and she dies in the nuclear war. This is the skeleton that Zaius takes Sinestro to. The skeleton has a shield to the Universal Ring and a full powered Green Lantern ring which he uses. Hal Jordan and his companions hide from the fleeing ape army. They find the Green Lanterns all unconscious. They revive and give Hal a shield which gets his ring working. Meanwhile Zira, Milo and Nova didn’t stick around because Zira is anxious to find Cornelius. They find him and his mutant army with their new rings. Cornelius gives the three each a ring with the plan of giving all humans and apes rings to break the cycle of destruction. Only at the end they are confronted by Gorilla Grodd who has mind controlled both the Red Lantern corps and Ursus’s Gorilla army.

So right off the bat we get a clear explanation for the skeleton from last issue. Not really sure how she got so neatly put in a tomb after a nuclear war but we do get why the skeleton is there. Also that it gives Sinestro some power that he lost. Hal reunites with his fellow Green Lanterns and gets his power back. Zira finds Cornelius who is clearly under the universal ring’s power and is converting everyone. It ends with Gorilla Grodd being the main baddy in charge. The story is well told and makes stuff clear for someone like me who isn’t real familiar with Green Lantern. Plus it has my interest to continue reading on.

BIG TROUBLE IN LITTLE CHINA OLD MAN JACK #5

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Writers: John Carpenter & Anthony Burch

Artist: Jorge Corona

Jack Burton, Wang and Lo Pan continue on to San Francisco and the Throne of Skulls. Wang makes it know that he will kill both Jack and Lo Pan if they don’t know the way into it. Lo Pan secretly confides to Jack that he doesn’t know how to get in. So Jack makes up that they need the Three Storms. Using Wang’s pet Yaogua they track the storms to a tornado. Lo Pan thinks that they are still his minions but they are real pissed at dying and Lo Pan not even bothering to find them in the underworld. So a fight begins and the weakest storm Thunder gets Jack. Jack kicks him in the balls which causes his other brothers to laugh. Jack talks to Thunder and gets him to tell the secret to entering The Throne of Skulls. Before he does Wang kills his brother. This gets Thunder real angry and he blows up huge. Only this time he doesn’t explode but eats the three and later spits them out in a big belch. They find themselves at the Throne of Skulls.

Now the story brings up to the Three Storms. Those supernatural beings that served Lo Pan in the films. I love the interaction between the characters. They make fun of the way they died in the film. Jack Burton is so funny with his bullshit attitude yet it almost works. Anyway they are now in the Throne of Skulls so should be interesting to see where the story goes next.

CARMILLA #2

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Writer: Steven Jones adapted from story by Sheridan Le Fanu

Artist: John Ross

Sarah and Carmilla are visited by a roving hunchback dwarf that performs songs and poetry. He makes the jest of being a dentist that could take off the point to Carmilla’s tooth. This just gets Carmilla real angry and she goes to take a nap. Later the two are out for a walk and Carmilla convinces Sarah to join her in skinny dipping in the lake. This they do and they lay around naked in the sun. Sarah has a dream where Carmilla turns into a man and professes his love. She wakes and finds Carmilla who professes her love and they make out.

We then switch to Vienna where a General Spielsdorf is visiting a Countess Dolingen. He finds a young man guarding her suite and a swordfight ensues. The General wins and finds Countess Dolingen draining some young women. The General is there to avenge his niece and shoots the countess. Only the Countess doesn’t die and instead kills the General. Back at the mansion young Sarah has a dream of a black cat and Carmilla being killed. This gets her screaming and everyone has to come including Carmilla and ensure her that she is fine. The next morning the two girls look over some old pictures that came in from Sarah’s mother’s estate. One is of the Countess Marcia Karnstein from 1698 and she looks exactly like Carmilla.

Ah yes another entry in the gothic lesbian horror romance of Carmilla. In this we get plenty of lesbian romance between the two main protagonists. Plus we throw in a swordfight. Another mysterious lesbian vampire who I am not sure is another vampire or Carmilla at a different time. To be honest the art has everyone look the same. Some traveling hunchback dwarf/amateur dentist. At the end Sarah starts to get a clue that Carmilla might be a centuries old lesbian vampire. A lot of stuff was happening in 19th century Austria.

SAVAGE SWORD OF CONAN #113

“The Quest for the Shrine of Luma”

Writer: Larry Yakata

Artist: Ernie Chan

Conan is in Poitain participating in a contest to see who is worthy of a quest to retrieve the Shrine of Luma. First Conan and the contestants must scale a cliff to retrieve undamaged an egg from the bat creatures that live there. Next the contestants are dumped in a swamp with only a staff and must get to the castle by nightfall. Naturally Conan has to battle a giant dinosaur, snakes and ape men on his trip. The third is to raft to an island in the middle of a swift river with creatures in it and retrieve a pair of slippers. Conan is the only one to make it back with the slippers dry. The final test is a foot race that Conan wins. His rival Gar is supported by the nobles and he agrees to assassinate the king. Conan puts a stop to that and agrees to retrieve the shrine for six times his weight in gold. He also gets the other surviving contestant the same deal.

“A Quiet Place”

Writer: Don Kraar

Artist: Tony Salmons

Conan comes to an inn just as his horse dies. He demands a room and a peaceful nights sleep. Only some assassins that are there to kill a noble wake him. This angers him and he makes short work of the assassins. The noble is grateful and makes sure Conan gets a good nights sleep by killing all the roosters so they don’t wake him.

So we get a new writer for this series going forward in Larry Yakata. I think it was about time for some new blood for this series. I love Fleisher but he was starting to get a bit stale with his stories. This story was a fun little adventure that sees Conan have to fight bat creatures, dinosaurs, ape men and scheming nobles. He has the companionship of a very well educated servant girl who falls in love with him. The ending is a bit ambiguous. This story wasn’t about the quest for the Shrine of Luna but the privilege to go on the quest. It ends with Conan getting that privilege and with a companion going off. Now does that mean we will get the continuation next issue or something new. It just says Fin at the end so I guess we find out next week. I loved Ernie’s artwork in this issue and the story helped support these big full page epic drawings of Conan battling the elements or some creatures. These two make a great team.

As for the backup, the story was OK but the art was terrible. It looked like a ten year old drew it. The story had some fun humor but not much else in originality.

CONAN THE BARBARIAN #147

“Tower of Mitra!”

Writer: Bruce Jones

Artists: John Buscema & Ernie Chan

Conan is at a fire in the Cimmerian countryside at night. His mind wanders to Pelija Lon when her image appears before him. She pleads for help so Conan heads off to the city of D’eim. In the city he finds the people building a tall tower. Their new priestess has ordained it so they can meet up with Mitra. Pelija is the new priestess but refuses to acknowledge Conan. So Conan goes off angry but her image appears again pleading for help. Conan goes back at night and knocks out a guard and takes his uniform. He finds out that the tower has a giant drill inside. Going to the temple he finds that Pelija is under the control of C’arona a follower of Set. Pelija tells that she was drugged and that C’arona plans to drill into the center of the Earth and release the demons of Set. So the two manage to expose the plot to the townspeople. C’arona takes Pelija hostage and Conan with the angry townspeople storm the tower. Inside are rat demons coming up already. C’arona turns into a harpy which Conan kills. Then the townspeople pull down the tower and crush the demons inside.

Bruce Jones is back and he gives us this offbeat tale. He brings back the character of Pelija Lon which was a character I enjoyed very much. Now I don’t think there is a city in Cimmeria that would worship Mitra but that is a minor quibble. The story was a solid one. It had the Buscema/Chan team and ends with a exciting conclusion. A good issue.

PLANET OF THE APES GREEN LANTERN #3

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Writers: Robbie Thompson & Justin Jordan

Artist: Barnaby Bagenda

Sinestro manages to threaten Dr. Zaius with torture to get him to help find the ring. Zaius knows of something that Sinestro might be interested in. Hal Jordan with the help of Zira and Milo manage to escape Ape City. The invading ape army meets up with Cornelius who made many rings from the Omega bomb. Now with his mutant followers they attack the gorilla army. Guy Gardner with his lantern friends and Grodd in a cage at this moment enter the ape dimension just above the big battle. Grodd uses his mental powers to knock out most of the combatants. Soon after this the Red Lanterns show up for the ring. A big fight ensues. Dr. Zaius takes Sinestro to some underground ruins and shows him a tomb with a skeleton wearing a lantern ring.

OK so this issue has a lot going on. I mean the writers throw everything but the kitchen sink into this story. I will give them credit for making such a complex plot coherent enough to follow. Yet there are so many characters I am unfamiliar with that it is hard to get into the story. So we will see where this goes.

BIG TROUBLE IN LITTLE CHINA OLD MAN JACK #4

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Writers: John Carpenter & Anthony Burch

Artist: Jorge Corona

Jack Burton manages to grab on to his truck after being pushed out. Lo Pan still tries to knock him off when the truck hits a ditch and propels both out of the truck. They are saved by a monster which takes them to an arena. There they have to fight the Beast which rules them. The beast turns out to be Jack’s old friend Wang. Yet Wang is not happy to see Jack. He blames him rightly for killing his family and destroying the world. Wang tries to kill Jack but decides it isn’t worth it. Instead he goes after Lo Pan. Jack has to intervene to stop Wang from killing Lo Pan. He realizes that Lo Pan is the only one who can get them to Ching Dai so they set the world back to normal. Wang agrees to accompany them on their mission.

So we introduce another character from the movie in Jack’s friend Wang. This is the Wang he made a deal for to bring back from the dead which resulting in the world being destroyed. We get some real funny dialogue between Jack and Lo Pan. Jack talks to himself like he is talking to the audience which drives Lo Pan nuts. It was a touching scene when Jack finally admitted to his mistake which is what Wang really wanted from him. So now three characters are on the quest to save the world.

CARMILLA #1

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Writer: Steven Jones adapted from story by Sheridan Le Fanu

Artist: John Ross

In an Austrian estate a young woman named Sarah is visited during the night by a mysterious woman. Later this beautiful woman is making out with another woman at night. She is a vampire and drains the woman. Thirteen years later and young Sarah is now a grown woman. A coach traveling in front of the castle has an accident. Sarah’s father agrees to take care of the young woman who was injured. Soon the beautiful Carmilla and Sarah strike up a friendship. They remember each other as a dream from the mysterious visit 13 years ago. Later at night Carmilla goes out and seduces another woman in a cottage and drains her.

This is a classic gothic story written by a Frenchman from the 19th century. It is considered the basic template for what are my favorite vampire stories–lesbian vampire stories. Basically a beautiful aristocratic vampire seduces young women and has to avoid men trying to kill her. As the cover proclaims this is definitely not for kids. Now I never read the original story but I hear it was a bit ambiguous about the lesbianism given the times it was written. Not so this adaptation. Not a usual topic for comics but this is a guilty pleasure of mine.

SAVAGE SWORD OF CONAN #112

“A Dream of Empire”

Writers: Michael Fleisher and Dave Simons

Artist: Dave Simons

To the east of Turan a mysterious woman called Zarmi has united the various tribes on a crusade against the civilized world. Her forces manages to sack a garrison which worries Emperor Yezdigerd. He needs men for his army and orders that the dungeons be emptied. At this time Conan finds himself in the dungeon for a minor offense and soon is part of the Turanian army. On his first mission they are ambushed in a narrow canyon and barely escape. The cowardly general places the blame on his captain who is hung. Conan sneaks into the palace at night to convince the emperor that it was the general responsible for the defeat and predicts the next place Zarmi’s forces will attack. When it proves correct the general is executed and Conan placed in charge of the army. Zarmi’s forces attack the capital and it seems they are victorious. Only it is a trap and Conan rides the army out of the hills. Zarmi is killed and the various tribes start fighting themselves.

“Mitra Defend Us”

Writer: Don Kraar

Artists: William Johnson and Rey Garcia

Conan is a scout on the Pictish border and rescues a Mitran priest trying to convert the Picts. Conan believes in converting them dead. The priest is a self righteous dick who has dreams of greatness. So he sneaks away which allows Conan to evacuate the settlers while the priest distracts the Picts. Seems they remember him telling the story about a martyr who was skinned alive and they gladly give that privilege to the priest.

Wow what a cool cover. I love Joe Jusko when he does covers. Anyway the story was a fun one with a new artist. One who also came up with the plot. An enjoyable adventure that has Conan save the day. I was wondering about the history between Yezdigerd and Conan. Conan scarred him which you wouldn’t think he would forget. But the story did mention in a round about way that the emperor pretended that he just looked like the barbarian. I suppose he was desperate enough to forget the humiliation that Conan caused him.

As for the backup story it was also a fun and enjoyable read. Basically a holier than thou priest who finds out the hard way that Picts aren’t very innocent. A good issue.

CONAN THE BARBARIAN #146

“Night of the Three Sisters!”

Writer: Mary Jo Duffy

Artists: John Buscema, Bob Camp & Brett Bleeding

Conan is sitting in a tavern when some loud mouth bumps into him and picks a fight. Naturally the loud mouth gets tossed into a table and a general brawl starts. As the guard comes to break it up, two hooded woman grab Conan and he disappears. The young women have transported him to their place because they need him to help to steal a treasure from a wizard. So they transport through a mirror to an underworld realm. There they have to fight off tentacles that come from the ground and giant pterodactyls. They make it to the tower and are captured by the wizard and his guards. A fight ensues and they manage to take a ring. This ring can transport anyone to anywhere in the universe. The three sisters needed it to return to their home dimension. They use it but leave Conan outside the city on his horse with a full bag of gold.

We get a new writer for this one shot issue. I thought it was a good story. I loved the three beautiful sisters that appeared which is what I remember the most of this issue as a kid. Mary Jo Duffy is a writer I am not very familiar with but she did a good job on this story. I can see her writing more of Conan. Yet this was a fill in issue until Bruce Jones would return as regular writer. A good story with some beautiful artwork.