“Hellhound on My Trail”
Writer & Artist: Timothy Truman
Scout and his chipmunk Ghan are in the hill of New Mexico. It his here that Scout has hallucinations about being attacked by childhood Apache boogeymen the Goden and the Clown. Good thing a Uzi takes care of them. Then he has to face a Hellhound that turns out to be himself. Meanwhile President Carver meets with the ambassador of Israel who offers help. Doody the poor simple boy that was tortured is blind and wandering the desert. He has gathered a following on his teachings from the Lord of the Rings.
Artist & Writer: John K. Snyder III
Francis Knight has gone back to visit a childhood friend on a small island. She reminisces about her childhood.
So the Scout story was sort of a break between two storylines. Scout comes to terms with himself. We get to see potential stories with Doody’s religious followers and the Israeli offer. An OK story. Beautiful artwork and the hint of something to come.
The Fashion In Action story comes to an end in Scout. It goes on to its own book which I never bothered to get or read. It wasn’t missed and gets replaced by something far more interesting.
“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.
“A Gathering of Doom!”
Writer: Doug Moench
Artists: Herb Trimpe & Alfredo Alcala
The gang notice a number of Krylorian flying saucers leaving one of their secret bases. Investigating they find that the Krylorians are all heading to New York. After the Hulk wrecks the base the trio head off to the Big Apple. It is here in a secret underground base under the Worlds Fair that the Krylorians will launch their invasion. One Krylorian points out that one of their main targets Stark Enterprises is guarded by Iron Man. So one Krylorian transforms into Iron Man and goes out to draw Iron Man away from Stark Industries. The phony Iron Man starts to wreck the 59th street bridge and gets attacked by the Hulk. Soon after Thor, Ant Man, Wasp and the real Iron Man show up for a climactic confrontation in the next issue.
“Gallery of Villains”
Writer: David Kraft
Artist: George Perez
A portfolio of past Hulk opponents. In this one Giant-Man, The Secret Empire, Stranger, Abomination, Silver Surfer.
“Earth Shall Have a New Master!”
Writer: Steve Gerber
Artists: Alan Kupperberg, Rod Santiago & Rudy Mesina.
Bloodstone finally meets the Conspiracy and the truth behind the Blood Gem. The Gem is actually the intelligence behind the Conspiracy. It killed Bloodstone’s tribe 10,000 years ago. Then it arranged to be implanted into his chest and created the Conspiracy to motive Bloodstone. In reality the Gem wanted to experience life and now plans to move on. The Gem is removed from Bloodstone and he is left for dead. It uses the members of the conspiracy to bond with them and form a giant crystalline creature. Bloodstone is still alive from the residual power of the Gem and manages to defeat the Gem but at the cost of his life.
This was actually the first issue of this series that I ever read. I also think that its one of the best in the series. The Krylorian invasion is finally coming to an exciting end. The Bloodstone story comes to an end with a surprising and unexpected ending. This really takes me back to being a young kid on a Sunday afternoon when I would usually pick up these comic magazines at the discount market back in Price, Utah. Those were fun day that I miss.
“Groo Vs. Conan Part IV”
Writers: Sergio Aragones & Mark Evanier
Artists: Sergio Aragones & Thomas Yeates
The final chapter. We find out both stories of Conan winning and Groo winning were complete exaggerations. Conan and Groo have not started fighting but finally get to it in this book. The two both fight to a draw with neither winning. The arrival of the prime ministers army to destroy the bakery distracts Groo. Conan is also forced to join the fray and the two defeat the army and save the bakery. In the real world Sergio is kicked out of the van of the escaped convicts after being further drugged up. In his delusional state Sergio goes to a Conan movie matinee and wrecks the theater before being subdued by the police.
So in the end the village bakery is saved. The comic store is saved. Conan goes back to his kingdom and frees it from the tyrannical usurper. Groo and Rufferto decide to destroy a butcher shop by eating all the meat. And Sergio? Well someone brings him Tarzan comics and he now has delusions of being Tarzan. Another possible Groo crossover?
So ends this weird and surreal series. I have to say that I love Groo and love Conan. So there was a lot to love in this series. Its been awhile since I read a Groo comic and I have to say that its been too long. This was a real joy. I hope my dad is up in heaven getting a real kick out of it.
“The Sun God!”
Writer: Gerard Conway
Artist: Barry Smith
The rampaging army of the Sun Empire under Zaladane is attacking the peaceful city of Vala-Kum. Ka-zar and his friend Tongah arrive to help but find no help from the inhabitants. The Val-Kumians are a pacifist people and are not fighting back. Luckily the Petrified Man goes to the statue that turned him into the Petrified Man and merges with Garokk the Sun God. The omnipotent Garokk orders his followers to stop. Zaladane refuses and grabs Ka-zar with her pterodactyl and threatens to drop him.
Writer: Larry Lieber
Artist: Wally Wood
Doom has defeated the rebellion but his palace is in ruins. So he gets together his able bodied subjects to labor night and day to rebuild. Then goes off to slum it in the Riviera. He beats up some burglars and snooty hotel managers. Tiring of intimidating the idle rich he decides to return to Latveria. While he was away the Red Skull and the Exiles a goofy bunch of fascist kooks manage to take over the country. The Red Skull hopes to use Latveria as a launch pad for the establishment of the Fourth Reich.
The Ka-zar story sees the war that was started end with the Sun God. An interesting story that ended with a cliffhanger. I do enjoy having Ka-zar spend more time in the Savage Land. The place has so much potential for interesting and exciting stories.
The Dr. Doom story is also taking an interesting turn. They wisely give Doom an enemy that is even more evil than Doom. The Red Skull is already starting to form goose-stepping Nazis. This should teach Doom to not go off so cavalierly and leave his country. Now he has a fight on his hands to regain it. Sets up an interesting story for the next issue.