“Ballad Part VI”
Writer: Mike Grell
Artists: Dameon Willich and Tim Burgard
Morgan and his army arrive at Thera. There they fight the undead army of Deimos. Unfortunately fighting the undead has its drawbacks. For every one the undead kill then it rises and joins the undead. So Morgan’s army is decimated. After Petrius dies charging Deimos, Morgan calls a retreat. As they recuperate more troops join lead by Machiste, Mariah and Ashir. As Morgan goes to contemplate what to do his daughter Jennifer approaches him. She says he must sacrifice himself to defeat Deimos. So later Morgan offers to surrender himself to Deimos. At the surrender site Morgan jumps into the lake. He comes out with the Hellfire sword. The sword is the only thing that kills Deimos. With him dead the sun returns and his undead army disintegrates. The epilogue has Tinder talking with Tara about the bright future when he finds out his hero has once again left. In disgust he breaks his lute.
The final entry to the mini-series. It brought all the characters together. It had Morgan once again defeat Deimos and save the world. It also had him once again run away from his responsibility. This was an enjoyable series. It was a leisurely stroll down memory lane for this wonderful character. I remember enjoying having the Warlord back. One thing I was upset about was Grell didn’t take this opportunity to reunite Morgan and Tara with their son. I thought this was a great opportunity missed. Still lucky for us the saga of the Warlord was not over.
Writer: Doug Moench
Artists: Herb Trimpe & Virgil Redondo
Jason, Alexander and the others have just escaped from the Psychedrome. They find themselves in the snowy mountains. Fortunately there is warm clothing. A blizzard comes up and Lightsmith is captured by some mysterious figures. The group goes after them and runs into some Viking apes lead by Eriko. After a fight they find out the Viking apes didn’t kidnap Lightsmith but some others known as Snow-Shamblers did. These Snow-Shamblers are mutant human/ape hybrids and Eriko offers to help. First they go by Viking longboat to their village for a feast. Then they track down the Snow-Shamblers and kill the one who has looking after Lightsmith. This snaps Lightsmith out of his brainwashing. Seems the Snow-Shamblers were not evil and the whole group learns a valuable lesson. The Viking Apes give the group their longboat to get home but keep the alien keeper since he was foretold in a prophecy.
“Man and Ape: Reflections in an Imperfect Mirror”
By Lee Overstreet.
A flowery article about how the apes world reflects the world of man. I found it a bit pretentious.
“Assault on Paradise”
Writer: Doug Moench
Artist: Dino Castrillo
Aldo has seized power and locked up the humans. Caesar meanwhile is paralyzed by grief over the death of his son. He does snap out of it long enough to confront Aldo but by then the mutant army has arrived. Fierce fighting between the gorillas and mutants with the mutants victorious. Aldo flees and abandons his gorillas. Then the mutants turn their artillery on the city with plans to wipe it off the map.
So we get another Terror installment. I do enjoy these stories. So now its Viking apes. A sad story with the killing of a gently creature. Lightsmith is out of his brainwash stupor finally. So the group are now sailing on a Viking ship home where Brutus and his gorilla/mutant army are marching on.
The article was crap which I am afraid of as the well of ideas is pretty much exhausted by now.
Finally the Battle adaptation is coming to an exciting conclusion. I loved the battle scenes as they were so much more epic than what the movie actually had.
“The Hell-Spawn of Kara-Shehr”
Writer: Roy Thomas adapted from story “The Fire of Asshurbanipal” by Robert E. Howard
Artist: John Buscema
Conan and Bourtai are traveling by camel through the desert to Aghraphur. They come on a man being attacked by four brigands. Conan drives off the brigands but soon more come and Conan takes the injured man and flees. Later the man is dying and tries to warn Conan about the dangers of the Eye of Azure in Kara-Shehr. A sand storm losses the water the two have but they find the lost city of Kara-Shehr. Exploring they find a throne room with a skeleton clutching the huge gem. Only the brigands come and capture Conan and Bourtai. The brigands are lead by Kai Shaan a man that Conan had a run in with some issues back. Kai wants to torture Conan but first takes the gem against the advice of his men. No sooner than than he claims the gem a sandstorm appears in the throne room and a winged demon comes. The demon kills Kai Shaan and Bourtai who also tries to take the gem. The demon leaves and Conan finds the skeleton clutching the gem with the skeletons of Kai Shaan and Bourtai next to it. Conan decides to leave while he is ahead.
Another adaptation of a non-Conan Howard story. This guy was a brilliant writer. I have to start looking for more of his work to read. This story fit nicely with the current storyline. I loved the big two page spread of the reveal of the city. It had brigands and monsters and lost cities. We also say good-bye to Bourtai or monkey-face as Conan liked to call him. Obviously Roy didn’t see much point of keeping him around as a companion. I think that was a wise idea. He would start to wear quickly.
“At the Earth’s Core”
Writer: Mike Wolfer
Artist: Gabriel Rearte
Dian and Tanar are in the caves between the surface and Pellucidar. After successfully driving out the Mahar invasion of Caspak the two are hunting the Mahar. They don’t want it returning to its home and launching another invasion. They find many Coripies and have no trouble taking them out. They come on a fork with two tunnels and split up. Tanar is attacked by giant ants but fortunately his giant ant-eater comes to the rescue. Dian finds the Mahar and is put under it’s hypnotic spell. The spell is broken when the ant-eater comes crashing through the ceiling. The Mahar is fleeing when a portal opens up and sucks it in. Dian and Tanar continue on to the surface and find Abby and Ethan there.
So this story picks up after the crossover series. We now find out what happened to Dian and Tanar. The action is quick and exciting. The issue has a minimum of dialogue and relies heavily on letting the images tell the story. We find out how the Mahar was teleported to the other worlds. It ends with them meeting Abby and Ethan which is also how Fear on Four Worlds story ended in the Moon Maid. Looking forward to see the further adventures in Pellucidar.
Writer: Marc Andreyko
A mild old man is in the Big City clutching a bag and furtively scanning the crowd. A woman in a hood approaches and he manages to escape in a taxi. Sonja is the captain of a ship that is just docking at the Big City. She is looking forward to a fun time and goes straight to her favorite tavern. There some big guys come looking for the old man. They find him and Sonja intervenes. A fight ensues and the men are revealed to be monsters. Sonja cuts off one of their hands and the hand has a life of its own. She stops the hooded woman from taking the man and the other men manage to get away with him. The hooded woman is revealed to be Elizabeth the Bride of Frankenstein.
So this is the first in a steampunk Red Sonja adventure. The story is set in a nineteenth century type world. This Sonja is a lot more carefree and fun loving than her Hyborian counterpart. She also is very interested in men and is not bound by some chastity vow. Otherwise she is the same Sonja. This one introduces the legend of Frankenstein with the Bride and others after some scientist. An interesting idea for a different Sonja story. This new world has many interesting possibilities.
“Ballad Part V”
Writer: Mike Grell
Artists: Dameon Willich & Tim Burgard
The sun of Skartaris is a dark red. The image of Deimos appears and demands Travis Morgan. As it would happen Morgan is in Shamballah at the Golden Acorn. So Tinder goes off to find him. He meets Shakira who introduces him to Morgan. He is hungover and in bed. He also is not real excited about meeting another fan. Nor does he seem too interested in joining the army about to march on Thera. Still Morgan does get dressed and goes to the palace where Tara slugs him in the face. After the greeting he gives the soldiers a somewhat uninspiring speech and everyone is off to Thera.
So we finally get introduced to Morgan at the end of this series. He is definitely someone who has become very bitter and disappointed in life. Tinder is clearly disappointed in what his hero has become. Still Morgan continues on. Now its more from boredom than excitement for him. Grell has done a good job of portraying Morgan in his later life. You get a feel of a real person that has grown old and disillusioned with life. Should be interesting to see the big final.
“A Taste of Mutant Hate”
Writer: Doug Moench
Artists: Sonny Trinidad, Yong Montano & Dino Castrillo
Caesar, MacDonald and Virgil are now trying to leave the underground bunker after finding the archive tapes of Caesar’s parents. Only they have to fight the various mutants. Caesar goes through a very hot radioactive room and manages to ambush the mutants. Then the three get out and head back home. At a council meeting Caesar tells of the mutant threat and that apes must form some sort of defense. Aldo and the gorillas are angry that humans are brought into the council and leaves. In the city Breck gets a report back from a scout of the location of the ape settlement and prepares to attack.
“A Catalogue of the Apes”
By Steve Clement
An article about the various merchandise available from the apes franchise. He goes to various stores and finds all sorts of stuff.
“The War Machine!”
Writer: Doug Moench
Artists: Sonny Trinidad & Virgil Redondo
Aldo is preaching to his gorilla followers that they must seize power from Caesar. Cornelius Caesar’s son overhears this while playing around in the trees. Aldo tries to catch him and cuts the branch he was on. It falls and seriously injures Cornelius. Breck leaves on an expedition to destroy Ape city. He leave Mendez behind with orders to use the bomb if he fails. Along the way a scout is attacked and three gorillas killed. Aldo uses this to seize power.
So in this issue because of some sort of screw-up we get two installments of the Battle adaptation. It is mostly like the movie. Some major differences are that Caesar gets a high dose of radiation and starts to lose his hair and get sick. The mutants are more dumb and crazy than in the movie. Otherwise it follows the script. As for the article it was OK. Kind of fascinating to see that apes merchandising was still going strong back in the seventies.
“The Temptress in the Tower of Flame!”
Writer: Roy Thomas based on novel “Flame Winds” by Norvell W. Page
Artist: John Buscema
Conan rips off the veil of the woman he has won and finds a skull. She claims to be Death and Conan knows that those who have the courage to grasp Death can have their questions answered. So he grabs her hand and asks how can one man rule in Wan Tengri. Conan starts to grow old but stubbornly holds on. So he wins and Death whispers the answer to him then disappears. Now the seven wizards that rule want the answer. They start fighting among themselves and Conan slips out. Monkey face finds him and they go to the flame tower. There Conan must defeat a giant lion with a human face. He frees the captive princess then destroys the machine that powers the flame tower. With the flames gone the people rise up and kill the wizards. Conan is offered the chance to rule as the princess’s consort but will not be second fiddle. For Death’s answer was the man must control the princess to rule and he feels this princess can be controlled by nobody. So a ship is loaded with gold and Conan and Monkey face sail off. Then the flame tower is reactivated for the princess will be a worse tyrant than the wizards. He also gets a surprise when his gold turns to rocks and the ship starts to sink.
The final entry in the adaptation of Page’s book was an enjoyable conclusion. We have Conan manage to defeat the wizards and seem to come out. But of course the princess cheats him which was a fun ending. So Conan must go back to being in the employ of Turan and now has a companion in Bourtai the little monkey faced guy. Norvell Page wrote a good story and I might have to check out his work sometime.
“Fear on Four Worlds Part II”
Writer: Christopher Mills
Artist: Gabriel Rearte
Abby and Ethan find themselves confronted by purple centaur like creatures demanding flesh. Fortunately they have the R-ray pistol from Amtor. Also the gravity is way lower than Earth and the two have super strength. They rescue the captive girl who is Nah-ee-lah, the daughter of the Jemadar of Laythe. She was on a trip with a hunter named Pal-dan using their artificial wings. Only they were ambushed by the Kalkars and she was separated and now lost. Nah-ee-lah tells of the history of Vah-nah the world they are on. She is interrupted by a snake creature that forces them to flee. Ethan and Nah-ee-lah fall into a pond. Then a octopus like fish attacks them and Ethan uses the R-ray pistol. Getting out they discover Abby was captured by the Va-gas the flesh eating centaurs. Tracking them to their camp they find Abby and Pal-dan captives. Only a Mahar is now in charge of the Va-gas. Ethan uses his strength to throw boulders and Nah-ee-lah the R-ray pistol to kill the Mahar. With Nah-ee-lah reunited with her companion they can resume the journey back to Laythe. Ethan and Abby find a portal and go through. They find themselves in Pellucidar and meet up with Dian. Just then a giant ant breaks through the ground.
So another Burrough’s world is added to the universe. I know that a Moon Maid series is coming out soon. This was one of Burrough’s more overlooked creation. I love that it stays true to his vision. A nice touch to explain them understanding the Moon language as having it similar to Caspak. The artwork was beautiful and I am looking forward to more stories set on this world.
Writer: Gail Simone
Artist: Walter Geovani
Tarzan and Sonja are in Pellucidar. Here Eson Duul has come to get allies. The Mahars and Sagoths have gathered to his cause. So Tarzan and Sonja jump right in and attack. They make a good start but are outnumbered. Fortunately his Waziri have followed him. With hand grenades they decimate the Mahar/Sagoth army. Then Tarzan fights Duul hand to hand. Duul brags but Tarzan manages to tear out his throat with his teeth. So Duul dies scared and in the dirt. Sonja takes out his henchman Carl.
So the big finale was a good story. I suppose I was excepting something more but it tied up the series nicely. Obviously Tarzan took out the loathsome Duul as only Tarzan could. Stephanie died a tragic death by sacrificing herself to save Duul and she didn’t even like him. That was a character I felt sorry for. So Tarzan and Sonja have forged a solid friendship and who knows there may be more adventures with these two in the future.