CONAN THE BARBARIAN #75

“The Hawk-Riders of Harakht!”
Writer: Roy Thomas
Artists: John Buscema & Ernie Chan

Conan, Belit and Neftha watch the Stygian fleet burn. Then they must continue on their way to Luxor. Neftha comes through with a contact in Khemi. Belit persuades the merchant to take them to Luxor on his barge. They disguise themselves as Stygians and head down the river Styx. While passing a city the merchant gets worried. This is Harakht the city of the Hawk God. Nominally under the control of King Ctesphon it is in reality independent. It is home to riders of giant hawks. Five of these riders attack the barge. They shoot an arrow into the merchant and demand the ship go aground. The rowers panic and jump into the river where they are eaten by crocodiles. Only Conan and Belit fight back. Belit is captured and Conan manages to jump on one of the hawks. He throws the rider off but loses control of the giant hawk. He is forced to break it’s neck and it falls into the marshes by the river. Then Conan has to fight a giant crocodile and knifes it to death. Now he heads off to Harakht to rescue Belit.

This was a fun issue. Conan and Belit with the mysterious slave girl make their way to Luxor to rescue Belit’s father. Neftha has knowledge that so far is coming in handy. They also have a run in with this city of giant hawk riders. Conan gets to show off his badass abilities. First jumping on a giant hawk and breaking it’s neck with his hands. Then fighting a giant crocodile right after that. As I said a fun action packed issue. A great start to their adventures in Stygia.

BATTLESTAR GALACTICA #3

“Untitled”
Writer: John Jackson Miller
Artist: Daniel Hdr

The Okaati plan to use their ships as booster rockets for the Human fleet works perfectly. So perfectly that the Council of Twelve authorizes all the ships of the fleet to be so joined. The Humans get further bad news when a broadcast from Baltar announces that the Cylons have joined with the Comitat to hunt down both fleets. Apollo has been captured by the Comitat and is being taken to their leader. As the fleet celebrates their success at joining the ships the Okaati then implement their plan. They take all the ships and leave the Galactica alone. The Okaati were in alliance with the Cylons. It was all a plan for the Okaati to get fuel from the Cylons in exchange for delivering the Human ships.

Well this was an interesting development. So the Okaati are not the good guys they claimed to be. In fact they were from the start in league with Baltar. Now the Galactica finds itself alone with its fleet being delivered to the Cylons. It looks dark for the fate of the Human race. Yet the Comitat may not be the villains that they initially thought. Should be interesting to see how this story develops.

AGE OF CONAN VALERIA #4

“Chapter Four Lord of Lies”
Writer: Meredith Finch
Artist: Aneke

Valeria meets the man that she thinks killed her brother. Antonius is quite friendly with her and talks about how Valeria has grown into a young woman. Valeria decides to not kill him just yet. She wants to find out the reason for her brother being murdered. So later she sneaks out of the monastery and goes to see Blasius. Blasius tells Valeria that her brother was undercover with the Mitran knights. The knights were the real power behind the thrown and Cassius was working to break that power. He found out they were responsible for assassinating a Zamoran ambassador. This information destroyed the knights but Cassius was killed for it. Blasius tells Valeria that Antonius was the one. So later that night she sneaks into Antonius’s room to kill him.

“The Fall of Thoth-Amon Part 4”
By Matt Forbeck

Thoth-Amon is in the catacombs of the Temple of Set. It is easy to avoid the guards in the catacombs but very difficult for him to get past the walls of Luxor. He has to find a foreigner that doesn’t know who he is. Thoth-Amon hates that he has to rely on a stranger and even more be polite to this stranger. He finds a Kothian merchant and gives a story that the guardsmen robbed him and he needs the merchant to smuggle him out. The merchant is more that glad to help for he sees in Thoth-Amon a slave that he can sell in this native Koth.

So we get the reason for why Valeria’s brother was killed. Valeria is shown to be a very determined woman. She climbs the walls and sneaks in to Blasius’s quarters. She also struggles with killing Antonius in the monastery for she is grateful for the priests that helped her. Yet she made a vow. I am interested in how this story ends.

The prose story has just been excellent. The writer really captures Thoth-Amon’s personality. How he has such disdain for people and how it grates on him to have to be nice to someone. Of course the guy he looks to for help is selling him into slavery. Couldn’t of happened to a more deserving guy.

ATARI FORCE #5

“Dark Dawn”
Writer: Gerry Conway
Artists: Ross Andru & Jose Luis Garcia-Lopez

Martin Champion his son Chris and Dart have come to the Atari museum. Their goal is to steal Scanner One. Dr. Morphea finds them and agrees to help them if they will rescue Babe from the station. So they take off but not before Parkat who is fleeing his brother Rident manages to get on board before the ship vanishes. They make a quick stop on the station and take Babe. Then its off to the new universe to find the Dark Destroyer.

On New Earth Rident manages to convince the council to loan him a ship with a multidimensional drive so he can go after Scanner One. Pakrat is captured and finds out he is on some crazy mission that could result in his death. Martin smashes the nav-chip so the Dark Destroyer can’t use it to find his way to their universe. Then they find the Dark Destroyer’s ship. Rident also enters and the Dark Destroyer was waiting for them.

So the various characters finally manage to join up into a team. Each of course for their own reasons. Chris to seek his fathers approval. Dart because she is bored. Morphea to get Babe back home. Pakrat to escape his brother and Hukka the pet is along for the ride. Interesting to see how their encounter with the Dark Destroyer turns out. Also nice to see Scanner One again and Dr. Orion who is part of the ruling council. I love the mixture of this misfit crew and their battle with the evil entity.

SAVAGE SWORD OF CONAN #35

“Black Tears”
Writer: Roy Thomas adapted from story by L. Sprague deCamp & Lin Carter
Artist: Ernie Chan

At the edge of the Red Waste the Turanians waits in ambush for the Zuagirs. A traitor has sold them out. The traitor Vardanes leads his fellow Zuagirs into the canyon and the Turanians spring the trap. Only Conan manages to rally his men and defeat the Turanians. The commander is captured but let go by Conan because he was a comrade during his days as a mercenary for Turan. So Conan with his Zuagirs goes after the traitor into the Red Waste. Yet his Zuagirs are superstitious of this desert and desert Conan. Conan finds himself left with two goatskins of water in the morning. So he heads out alone in the direction the traitor Vardanes went.

Vardanes comes on a small walled city and is taken captive. He is fed well than lead to a building and locked in. Inside are statues and in the center is a mummified woman with a mask of gold and a black sapphire. He takes off the gold mask and the woman opens her third eye in her head and he starts to scream.

Conan collapses and wakes to find himself rescued by Enosh. Enosh is from Akhlat the Cursed. He explains that the city overthrew its king by the urging of a sorcerer. This sorcerer than took over and summoned a demon. This demon a beautiful woman enforced his rule. Eventually she killed the sorcerer and took over. The woman drains the life force from living things so the city has been dying. Enosh had a prophecy that Conan would free them. Also Conan is trapped because of mystical barriers so agrees to help. He enters the temple and kills the demon woman who can turn people to stone.

“A Gazetteer of the Hyborian World of Conan Part IV”
By Lee Falconer

A glossary of place names in Conan and Kull’s world. This entry covers I to K.

“The Poems of Robert E. Howard”
Writer: Robert E. Howard
Artists: John Buscema and Michael Moyle

Three poems of Howard’s with illustrations to go with them. They were “The Singer in the Myst”, “A Song of the Race” and “The Ghost Kings”.

Well the main story was another adaptation of deCamp and Carter. An OK story but nothing that really stood out. Lifted from the Medusa mythology. Yet the Ernie Chan art did bring it up to an enjoyable story. Otherwise another entry of the gazetteer which is interesting and informative. I’m not really into poems so the third feature didn’t really do much for me. A sort of ho-hum issue.

CONAN THE BARBARIAN #74

“The Battle at the Black Walls!”
Writer: Roy Thomas
Artists: John Buscema & Ernie Chan

Conan has a dream that he is visited by Thoth-Amon. Thoth-Amon tells Conan to abandon the quest for Belit’s father. If Belit doesn’t then Conan should abandon her. Naturally he refuses and is then confronted by souls pleading with him to abandon Belit to save the unborn. He wakes and finds Belit contemplating the news that her father is still alive. Then a Stygian ship is sighted and The Tigress goes after it. The Stygian crew fights to the death with the captain killing himself rather than being captured. The only survivor is a young girl named Neftha. She claims to be a Zingaran slave and offers to help Conan and Belit with her knowledge of the royal palace.

So at night they arrive at Khemi the Stygian major seaport and Neftha tells them this is a holy day. There will be no guards at their fleet. So they row out to burn the ships. They are attacked by a sea-serpent and Conan manages to seriously wound it. The Corsairs burn the Stygian fleet as Conan, Belit and Neftha start their journey to the capital of Luxor.

This was one of the earliest color Conan’s that I read as a kid. I love this issue. So Conan has a meeting with Thoth-Amon or maybe just a dream. This starts the adventures that Conan and Belit have in Stygia and I feel that this is the high point of the series. Roy really crafted an entertaining saga. Also it introduces a new character in the beautiful and timid Neftha. Lots of exciting stuff ahead.

BATTLESTAR GALACTICA #2

“Untitled”
Writer: John Jackson Miller
Artist: Daniel Hdr

The Comitat are meeting with Baltar on a Cylon starbase. Baltar wants the Comitat to not attack the combined fleets of the Okaati and Humans. The Comitat refuse and threaten the Cylons if they interfere. Meanwhile a combined Human/Okaati force attack a Cylon fuel dump. They succeed and both fleets have plenty of fuel. The Okaati then propose that the Okaati ships join with the human ships so that the Okaati ships can be used as boosters to propel the slower human ships along. Adama is open to the idea and has Jolly continue to study it. Apollo has some doubts about the alliance. When a technician salvages a homing device from the Comitat drone he has it mounted on his Viper and takes off to find the Comitat. He does and their ship is huge.

So far the alliance between the two people seems to be working out. The humans now have more consumer products due to the Okaati fleet. The Cylons and Comitat aren’t forming an alliance. Interesting why Baltar doesn’t want the Comitat to attack. Yet there does seem to be something off. When the Okaati propose raiding another race and Adama refuses they come up with the proposal being a test. That does seem a bit phony. Apollo at the end meets up with the Comitat and maybe next issue we get some more answers.

AGE OF CONAN VALERIA #3

“Chapter Three Ghost of the Past”
Writer: Meredith Finch
Artist: Aneke

Valeria is being nursed back to health by the priests of Mitra. She refuses to just rest which interferes in her healing. Soon after the monastery is attacked and Valeria volunteers to help. She first tries to help with the wounded but they bring back memories of the time Zingaran pirates attacked her village. She goes up to the wall and sees the army lead by a Lord Blasius. He is after a traitor that is being sheltered by the monastery. A traitor that turns out to be her brother’s friend Antonius. Valeria believes Antonius is responsible for the death of her brother and goes to confront him in his room.

“The Fall of Thoth-Amon Part 3”
By Matt Forbeck

Thoth-Amon tries to bluff his way after Malach calls for his arrest. Unfortunately the guards side with Malach and Thoth-Amon is forced to flee. He realizes that he has no friends with him being a total dick to everybody. He manages to jump through his secret trap door into the snake pit. The snakes don’t have venom because of the last victim so he doesn’t suffer any ill effects from the bites.

So this issue has Valeria recuperating after her attack. The monastery she is in is attacked by someone she knows from her past with her brother. She also finds his best friend Antonius who she believes is responsible for killing her brother. I admit a slow moving story but I find it interesting and really love the artwork. Also the prose story is really good.

ATARI FORCE #4

“Part 4 Families”
Writer: Gerry Conway
Artist: Ross Andru

Dart comes home to New Earth and reunites with her adopted brother Tempest and her parents. On Atari Station Martin Champion continues his mad quest to find the Dark Destroyer. He has to have a session with Morphea and revives some of his past life. It is interrupted as she has to go and rescue Babe from the evil freighter captain. On New Earth Martin comes to visit the home of his friends Li San and Mohandas. It is a bit tense as Chris is still resentful of being abandoned by his father. At the end Martin is back looking for the Dark Destroyer. He feels he has found the right universe as a huge ship captures his probe. He is worried for the ship can use the probe to track back to New Earth. So he vows to form a new Atari Force.

A subdued issue. We get some glimpses into the old crew members and their lives. Some insight into Martin’s past and his obsession with finding the Dark Destroyer. Chris has issues with the abandonment and we see his close relationship with his adopted sister Dart. We get to see Hukka from the old series. Morphea gets to be in charge of Babe. Pakrat also arrives at Atari Station and can’t be arrested by his brother because New Earth doesn’t have an extradition treaty. So far the various members are coming together and looks like next issue a new team will form from them.

SAVAGE SWORD OF CONAN #34

“The Lair of the Ice Worm”
Writer: Roy Thomas adapted from story by L. Sprague deCamp and Lin Carter
Artists: Carmine Infantino and Alfredo Alcala

Conan is in the Eiglophan mountains returning from a visit to his Cimmerian homeland. Along the way he comes on a woman being attacked by some ape-men. Conan manages to defeat the ape-men and rescue the woman. The woman named Ilga is the sole survivor of a caravan ambushed by the ape-men. Conan lost his horse in the fight and decides to settle in for the night inside a cave. Ilga wants to leave because of Yakhmar. Still they do settle in for the night and Conan of course gets lucky with the woman. Later at night weird music hypnotizes Ilga and she leaves. In the morning Conan searches for her and finds her bones. He vows to kill the creature and tracks it to it’s lair. There he throws his ax that was heated in coals then the helmet full of hot coals into the worms mouth. It causes the ice worm to explode.

“Moon of Skulls Part 1”
Writer: Don Glut adapted from story by Robert E. Howard
Artists: David Wenzel and Bill Wray

Solomon Kane is tracking an abducted English girl named Marylin. It takes him to Africa and he climbs a cliff to a plateau. A boulder is rolled at him. Later he meets some natives and asks to be taken to Nakari the Nergari Vampire Queen. Instead they try to kill him at a ravine for not bringing any presents. In the fight Kane falls in but survives. He finds a passage into the hidden city and witnesses the throne room of Nakari. She sentences the man who lead the ambush of Kane to death because she wanted to meet him. Kane continues to explore the temple and finds a guarded building that might hold the woman he is looking for.

“Conan of Des Moines”
Writer: Roy Thomas
Artist: John Buscema

An article on the premier of the syndication of Conan in newspaper comics. It gives some examples which include an introduction of Conan and him fighting pterodactyls giant apes and wizards.

“The Mirrors of Tuzun Thune”
Writer: Roy Thomas adapted from story by Robert E. Howard
Artists: Mike Ploog

King Kull is bored with court life. A servant girl suggests he visit the wizard Tuzun Thune. He does and is shown his mirrors. They show him past and future. Kull develops an obsession with looking into the mirrors. Luckily Brule kills the wizard just in time. For Kull was about to be sucked into the mirrors.

So this issue had some interesting stories. The main Conan was good but nothing really special. It was actually overshadowed by the backup stories. First the Solomon Kane story adapted is my favorite of Howard’s for that character. It really captures the essence of this story and I love the artwork. The Kull one is also an enjoyable story. One that was not very action oriented but filled with some cool ideas and images. One of Howard’s more cerebral stories.