“The Iron Devil”
Writer & Artist: Mike Grell
Morgan and Mariah have stopped off at the city state of Kiro. Here Morgan finds a blacksmith that knows the secret of Damascus steel and commissions him to make both of them swords. Mariah gets a makeover and dressed in the latest Skartarian fashion. It is here that Morgan finds his friend Machiste and he is actually the king of Kiro. Welcomed as friends he tells the story of being attacked by beastmen in the hills. Forced into a cave he finds an axe that gives him strength. It also has a strange hold on him. It soon becomes apparent the ax has a hold over his friend and making Machiste a tyrant. A fight between Morgan and Machiste results in Machiste’s hand being severed to separate him from the evil ax. The ax is sent by a palace guardsmen to be thrown into the volcano but it possesses the guardsman. Definitely not the end of the evil ax.
So Morgan is back in Skartaris and this is Mariah’s first adventure. They get new swords. The sword will be what Morgan uses throughout the series except for a brief period. Mariah is shown to be an accomplished swordswoman. A national sabre champion for six years straight on the surface world. She also gets a costume that defies the laws of physics but looks damn sexy. Finally Morgan is reunited with his best friend Machiste. Loses his hand but stuff happens. A very exciting return for our hero.