GIANT-SIZE CONAN #1

“The Hour of the Dragon”
Writer: Roy Thomas based on novel by Robert E. Howard
Artist: Gil Kane

In Belverius the capital of Nemedia three men are conspiring for power. Amalric a baron of Tor. Tarascus brother to the king of Nemedia and Valerius the rightful heir to the throne of Aquilonia. Orestes a former priest of Mitra who turned to the dark arts is resurrecting Xaltotun an evil wizard of ancient Acheron. With the revived wizard a plan is set in motion. First a plague kills the king of Nemedia and his sons and thus Tarascus is made the king. Then an invasion of Aquilonia to put Valerius on the throne. The invaders are met by an army lead by Conan the king of Aquilonia. During the night Xaltotun comes and paralyzes Conan. Thus a young inexperienced man impersonates Conan during the battle. He leads the men into a trap and the Aquilonian army is destroyed. Conan gathers enough strength to go out fighting but is subdued. Xaltotun has plans for Conan.

“Acheron: A Revisionary Theory”
By Robert Yaple

An article by a history professor that outlines the pseudo-history of Howard’s Acheron using past literary works. Also includes a map of pre-Hyborian Acheron.

“Conan the Unconquered”
By Roy Thomas

An editorial on how the Giant-Size issue came about and choosing the only novel written by Robert E. Howard to adapt.

“The Twilight of the Grim Grey God!”
Writer: Roy Thomas adapted from “The Grey God Passes!” by Robert E. Howard
Artist: Barry Smith

A reprint of Conan #3.

So the first of the Giant-Size Conan. Back in the early seventies Marvel did a lot of Giant-Sized issues. They would mix original stories with reprints. So basically you were paying for more than you wanted. Still the original work was worth it. For the Conan ones they chose to adapt Howard’s only novel which happened to be a King Conan story. The story is filled with wizards and political conspiracies. An epic of Conan regaining his lost throne. For the first part we see how he lost his throne. The article on Acheron was informative as well as the map. A very enjoyable adaptation of a Howard story.

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THE WARLORD #128

“The Brood”
Writer: Michael Fleisher
Artists: Jan Duursema & Tom Mandrake

The dragon has ambushed Morgan and Dreadnar. Just as it looks like the dragon will kill Dreadnar it gives up and goes away. It needs Dreadnar and his blood to fertilize her eggs. So we get the dragon’s story of how she feels the victim to the cruel genocidal Dreadnar. That the sacrifices they received were used to fertilize their eggs for only the special blood of Dreadnar’s people can do this. Eventually Morgan and Dreadnar catch up to the dragon and after an epic fight both Dreadnar and the dragon are killed. Only the dragon wins for the blood of Dreadnar seeps into the nest and gives birth to the eggs. Meanwhile in Siberia Mariah is rescued by Danny Maddox. The two make it to the cave and into Skartaris.

The conclusion to the dragon two part story. This time we get the dragon’s viewpoint. Naturally she feels to be in the right and Dreadnar is the cruel genocidal maniac. I suppose its a matter of perspective. I will say the dragons are somewhat dumb. I mean you need these people’s blood for your race to survive but kill them all off. Not a real smart thing. A very Ho-Hum story. We also set up Mariah and Danny Maddox getting back to Skartaris for a three part story. The decline of this series continues.

PLANET OF THE APES #14

“Up the Nose-Tube to Monkey-Trash”
Writer: Doug Moench
Artist: Mike Ploog

Lightsmith takes his guest to his home in Mount Rushmore or as he calls it “Lightsmith’s Lost Mount Mug-Face.” His theory is that the four faces are the worst scoundrels in history. So his home is in the nose of Abraham Lincoln and turns out to be a Presidential retreat. In the comfortable office he shows them the wonders which include a tape machine with the President telling about using the Psychodrome to brainwash the apes. Now Lightsmith thinks that is the greatest thing to get a brainwashing to cleanse the ignorance out of the brain. Which is why he is searching for the Psychodrome.

Meanwhile Brutus has infiltrated the Inheritors base and makes a new alliance with them. Back at Mount Rushmore the Assisimians have tracked the Wonder Wagon and attack. Lightsmith has the gang put on parachutes and jump down throwing grenades. They manage to get into the Wonder Wagon and escape. At the end they notice the dust cloud in the distance. It is Brutus leading and army of mutant drones, renegade apes and the war machines.

“Shaping a Simian World!”
By Samual James Maronie

An interview with William Creber who designed the sets for the first three apes movies. A competent interview but by now you get tired of articles about the sets.

“Trouble in Paradise Lost”
Writer: Doug Moench
Artist: Rico Rival

Zira and Cornelius have now become a public sensation. They get into a swank hotel and new fashions. They have tours of the city and guest lectures. Only they have kept the secret of the future world that humans are dumb animals and hunted for sport. Also that the world is destroyed. Doctor Hasslein manages to get the truth from Zira by getting her drunk. So he goes to the President with his desire to give the apes more enhanced interrogation to find out the truth. Also we learn that Zira is pregnant.

So the magazine has started a new format this issue. Less pages and no ads for a reduced price. I didn’t really have a problem with it. I mean the articles were running out of steam and starting to just repeat themselves so I didn’t miss two. The Terror story is getting interesting. Brutus is still out to kill all humans and subjugate the apes. His alliance with the Inheritors seems ominous. Lightsmith is a hoot. His goofy theories are a laugh but you wonder what people in the future would make of our civilization.

Finally the Escape adaptation is once again competent. The movie is not my favorite but has its moments. This is actually more of what Boulle wrote in his first novel and what was originally planed for the first movie but money issues forced them to rewrite it.

CONAN THE BARBARIAN #23

“The Shadow of the Vulture!”
Writer: Roy Thomas based on story by Robert E. Howard
Artist: Barry Smith

Conan makes it to Pah-Dishan to deliver the message from Makkalet requesting help. After getting his gold Conan decides he has had enough of this land and it’s holy wars. So he gets a horse and heads south. Only Yezdigerd has sent Mikhal Oglu known as the Vulture. The Vulture is the best swordsman in Turan and is tasked with hunting down Conan to avenge the scar he gave Yezdigerd. So at a small village Conan is awakened to find the Vulture and his men searching for him. They chase him all the way back to Makkalet. At the gates a red-haired warrior woman named Red Sonja saves him.

So back in Makkalet Conan is later kidnapped by agents of Turan. They bring him to an abandoned guard tower but Sonja comes to the rescue. They then wait for the arrival of the Vulture. Conan ends up sending the Vulture’s severed head back to Yezdigerd.

So another Howard adaptation and it is a good one. The Vulture is a good villain but seems to not live up to his reputation. In fact Conan has no problem beating him. The big draw in this issue is that it is the very first appearance of Red Sonja. Based very loosely on a character created by Howard from one of his historical stories. She obviously stole the issue and as everyone knows went on to success in her own right. Interesting way that Conan was drawn back to Makkalet. So now he has to deal with the intrigue of the scheming queen and wizard and king of the city. Not to mention the vendetta of Prince Yezdigerd.

THE WICKED RIGHTEOUS #4

“Love in the Time of the Apocalypse!”
Writer: Terry Mayo
Artist: Lucas Romero

Three months ago JC is at home in Mexico. She witnesses her father kill a man that he accuses of being responsible for the plague. Now she is with Lucas running from her father. She takes Lucas to where she was living. She has a tent and four poster bed inside the San Diego Zoo. They have a moment that results in them sleeping together. Meanwhile Cross has got in contact with his people. He talks about soon having the girl as the rebel aircraft continue on to San Diego. JC’s father tortures the information out of Berg’s father and practically cuts off his head before he is done. Fox is in a panic because now his Horsemen gang will have to fight Berg. Crazy Billy comes and tells where they can find where Lucas lives. At the end Lucas has a dream that his family is in danger.

The story is getting better and better each issue. I am really liking this title. Each issue more of the story is revealed and also more questions are raised. Obviously there is something important about JC. Everyone wants her. It is building up to a big spectacular action packed finale.

THE LIBRARIANS #2

“In Search of: Episode 2”
Writer: Will Pfeiffer
Artist: Rodney Buchemi

Carsen, Baird and the others have just seen Ezekiel threatened by Sasquatch in Schick’s apartment. They go to enter and find the guard is expecting them. They quickly go to the apartment and find that Sol Schick is still alive and the Sasquatch were actors in suits. The directer has staged an elaborate hoax for publicity to his new movie. The conversation turns to his past with his partner Oscar Orville. They met in the early sixties and formed a friendship. Orville was a director of bad movies but Schick found his movies brilliant. Orville was the inspiration for many of his movies. Suddenly Orville materializes in the apartment only he is larger and has magical powers. He kidnaps Schick and jumps out the window into a portal.

The second issue was a very fascinating story. A lot of backstory about Solomon Schick with discussions on a phony moon, The Mandela effect and parallel dimensions that occasionally bleed through to our dimension. They are setting up some threat from an alternate reality and this I find intriguing. A very good story that keeps within the spirit of the TV show.

THE WARLORD #127

“The Last Dragon”
Writer: Michael Fleisher
Artists: Jan Duursema and Tom Mandrake

Morgan is wandering alone after losing Tara. He is attacked by a sabertooth tiger and manages to kill it with a knife but his horse doesn’t survive. Then a pack of raptors come and it looks grim for Morgan. Luckily a big guy in a mask shoots some of the raptors with a bow and arrow and throws a rope down from a hill so Morgan can climb to safety. The man is Dreadnar and is the last of his people. Seems his tribe lived in a valley with dragons. They worshiped the dragons and gave young maidens as sacrifice. One year a famine convinced the tribe to withhold the sacrifices and the dragons whipped out the tribe. Only Dreadnar and his son survived and went on a revenge hunt. They managed to hunt all the dragons except one. A female with eggs that killed his son and scarred his face.

Morgan decides to tag along and the two find another horse for Morgan. They come to Dreadnar’s old village and beat up on some looters. The looters are later attacked by the dragon and Morgan and Dreadnar are forced to flee and jump in a lake. The dragon is waiting for them in the lake. Meanwhile Mariah is in gulag Menchkovsky and she gets thrown in the cooler as punishment for spiting on a guard. Luckily Danny Maddox gives her a dead rat to survive. Khnathaiti is hiding away in a cave and forced to drain the lifeforce of rats to keep going.

So Morgan is wandering and this is his character when stuff bad happens to him. So it is logical to have him go traipsing off into the wilds. The story was good. It had Morgan being a badass and killing sabertooth and raptors with his knife. Dreadnar was a Ahab type character out to get a dragon. Not necessarily original but done well. Ends with a cliffhanger. Mariah’s story is what was interesting me. Her time in the gulag and Danny Maddox had some interesting potential. The weird woman wizard with the hard name is also plotting revenge but she never really interested me much. Somehow this series just has the feel of failure. Which was sad because this was my favorite title.

PLANET OF THE APES #13

“Escape to the Planet of the Apes”
By John Warner

An editorial about how the editor was introduced to the team that is the subject of this issues article.

“The Magic Man’s Last Gasp Purple Light Show!”
Writer: Doug Moench
Artist: Mike Ploog

Jason has come to Brutus’s secret base and finds it deserted. He does find a map that shows a location marked far to the west. So he sets out for it. Meanwhile Alexander and Malaguena set out to find Jason. They are captured by savage apes and tied to burning stakes. Jason while on his quest runs into Lightsmith and his traveling steam wagon. Lightsmith is searching for the knowledge of the ancients and has many old artifacts. So with his mute Gibbon Gilbert they set out for old South Dakota. Along the way they come on the Assisimians who captured Alexander and Malaguena. So Lightsmith dons the robes of the KKK and with Jason wearing a bear suit they put on a firework display that frightens the savage Assisimians to let their captives go. The story ends has they arrive at Lightsmith’s home Mount Rushmore.

“Two People Who are the Planet of the Apes part II”
Writer: Jim Whitmore

The second part of the interview. It talks about the alternate scripts to the ape movies and plans for a traveling CineMuseum the two want to do. It would feature the apes movies, Irwin Allen and Gene Roddenberry’s work.

“Strangers in a Strange Land”
Writer: Doug Moench
Artist: Rico Rival

Zira has spoken which freaks out their human doctors that were examining them. Soon after Milo is killed by the gorilla in the cage next to them. So they find out the apes can talk and bring them to a Presidential commission with the press present. Here Zira and Cornelius reveal they are from the future where apes talk and humans are dumb animals.

I loved the new installment for the Terror story. Lightsmith is a fascinating character. His take of the old days is hilarious. For instance TV’s were in a shrine in every home. They were hooked up to the god electricity and God would talk to people. He believes that God sent the Great Death because they were not spending enough time in front of it. Jason has become very radical and obsessed with hunting down Brutus for revenge. It is a joy exploring new parts of the future ape world.

The conclusion to the article about the two actors and their traveling ape show was very informative. I loved the glimpses in the alternate scripts. Pierre Bouille wrote one for the second movie and it is bizarre but very interesting.

Finally the Escape adaptation is accurate but nothing new from the movie.

CONAN THE BARBARIAN #22

“The Coming of Conan!”
Writer: Roy Thomas
Artist: Barry Smith

A reprint of Conan #1.

So no “Shadow of the Vulture.” Instead a reprint of the first issue. The letters page explains that the artwork was lost in the mail and they had to print something. Such a disappointment as I was looking forward to the Vulture story. I forgot about this bait and switch. A good story the first issue but I already read it not too long ago. Oh well at least it had a beautiful cover and one page inside of a portfolio by Barry.

THE WICKED RIGHTEOUS #3

“….Where They Go Death Follows!”
Writer: Terry Mayo
Artist: Lucas Romero

The creepy boy Billy we find out was committed to an asylum. Now he watches the family from a distance. The family has a meeting. Cross wants his sat phone and Uncle Abe wants to make a deal with Berg. So Lucas with one of his brothers takes him to the ballpark. The ballpark is a main gathering in the city. They find Berg a scary woman participating in a gladiatorial game wearing an exoskeleton that shoots acid. At the gathering they bump into JC who didn’t like being left behind. One of the Horsemen notices her and is approaching but Cross intercepts him and drags him off after killing him.

So they go to Berg’s place and meet her father. They negotiate for a sat phone when Fox comes. JC and Lucas sneak out since JC is very scared of Fox. Fox leaves but creepy Billy points out to them that one of their men was killed. At the end Berg’s father is visited by Fox and another man who is looking for his daughter.

This post-apocalyptic world is getting more interesting. We get some more glimpses of the outside world. Berg’s father has a map that shows the division of the country. In addition to Chinese dominated west coast their is a Caliphate dominated northeast , a breakaway south and Republic of Texas. Cross is revealed to be working for the Southern States. It also looks like JC is the daughter of a very important man. The only real complaint is that the story has these continuity jumps. Like it is never explained how JC and Lucas get separated from the others. Still a solid series.