THE HULK! #14

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“A Cure for Chaos!”
Writer: Doug Moench
Artists: Ron Wilson & Rudy Nebres

Banner has arrived in Switzerland to find a Nobel prize winning scientist that might have a cure for the Hulk. The search takes him to a small Swiss village were the scientist is conducting his experiments in a castle. He’s a surly guy who wants nothing to do with Banner and calls the police when Banner refuses to leave. This of course sets off the Hulk who proceeds to wreck the village. The villagers blame the scientist for creating a monster and form a mob to burn the place down. When Banner goes to warn the scientist he finds him conducting his experiments on a young woman. The mob arrives and sets a fire. This causes the gamma machine to go haywire and turns the scientist into a monster. Hulk defeats the monster and Banner must still wander in search for a cure.

“Countdown To Dark”
Writer: Doug Moench
Artists: Bill Sienkiewicz & Bob McLeod

Moon Knight in his guise as mercenary Marc Spector has infiltrated the terrorists and is now confronted by a fake Moon Knight. A fight between the two results in the terrorist shooting at both of them. Moon Knight plays dead and is able to track the terrorists to their base and call in the police. He then tracks down the ringleader who turns out to be Lupinar. Lupinar is a guy who suffers from a rare disease that gives him the appearance of a wolf. Now he’s very bitter and blames the world for his appearance. A sword fight results between Lupinar and Moon Knight. Moon Knight is victorious but Lupinar chooses suicide and impales himself on Moon Knight’s sword.

The Hulk story was an interesting take on it. Sort of like an old Universal Frankenstein movie. I enjoyed the old European village atmosphere and it also gave the Hulk an opponent that had the strength to fight back.

The Moon Knight story came to a satisfactory end. All the wild plot twists from stolen artifacts to nuclear terrorists all came together. Moon Knight is an interesting idea and someday I may have to check out the series.

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TRAGG AND THE SKY GODS #7

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“Battle for a World”
Writer: Don Glut
Artist: Dan Spiegle

Tragg and his new allies of triceratops riding cave man are on the march. Their objective is to free Tragg’s tribe from captivity in Fire Mountain. At this time Zorak the leader has assembled most of his force to destroy the remaining members of Tragg’s tribe. What follows is an epic battle of jet pack laser welding Sky Gods fighting cavemen on triceratops. While the Sky Gods have technology on their side the cavemen have numbers and strength. Surprisingly spears and stone axes do take their toll. This and the thick hides of the triceratops shield the cavemen and eventually the Sky God’s weapons run out of power. Tragg manages to bust into Fire Mountain and destroy the Sky God’s volcano control machinery causing a massive eruption that destroys the mountain. Zorak manages to evacuate a number of his people.

“Spotlight Keera”
A one page article on Keera. Keera was a young girl when the revolution came and was excited by the prospect of going to the stars. She enlisted in the academy and excelled, eventually becoming an officer.

So this story comes to a big epic battle that defeats the Sky Gods. Their home base is destroyed and they are in disarray. Tragg’s people are free. But it still seems that Zorak escaped and there are reinforcements arriving from Yargon so the threat to Tragg’s people is far from over. A really exciting story. I love how the cavemen are able to unite and through strength and determination defeat a more powerful enemy.

The Keera article was interesting but I would have liked a little more information as it seemed to be pretty general in its information. I really like Keera and she was one of my favorite characters in this series. Should be interesting to see where the story goes after this victory.

ASTONISHING TALES #11 KA-ZAR

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“A Day of Tigers!”
Writer: Roy Thomas
Artist: Gil Kane

Ka-zar and Zabu are escorting the two lost travelers Paul and Barbara back to civilization. While watching the fire Ka-zar reflects back to how he became Ka-zar. His father had taken him to the Savage Land to escape men that wanted the secret of his Vibranium. While in the Savage Land man-apes lead by Maa-Gor kill his father. Luckily Zabu the last of the sabretooth tigers rescues the young Kevin Plunder. The man-apes had killed all the other sabretooths so the two bonded and became friends.

Kevin grew up and became known as Ka-zar which means son of the tiger. Still Maa-Gor hunted the two because Zabu had tore out his eye in the last encounter. Finally in the hills the two came together. Ka-zar manages to cause an avalanche and destroy the man-apes expect for Maa-Gor. He spares Maa-Gor’s life so he is forced to live alone as the last of his kind.

It is always welcome to get an origin story. I finally now get to see how Ka-zar became Ka-zar. Why he’s friends with Zabu. Its an exciting story and now that the title is dedicated solely to Ka-zar the story has more room to grow.

SCOUT #13

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“If I Had Possession Over Judgement Day”
Writer & Artist: Timothy Truman

Scout, Rosa and Avner are now prisoners of Doody and his cult. The three manage to escape and Rosa and Avner manage to open the gates and let the Army Rangers in. The Rangers look poised to take over the base when Doody uses psychic powers to burst all the Ranger’s heads. Scout is in shock and receives an arrow in the back from one of Doody’s followers. Meanwhile a rival promoter in Las Vegas named Savage Henry wants to form a rival blues band to take on the Disciples of Soul.

“Break On Through”
Writer: Timothy Truman
Artist: Flint Henry

Monday the Eliminator assaults the office of the man who has been killing his old squad from Vietnam. He makes short work out of two dozen guards and beats the information out of a businessman. He finds out an Army general is behind it and its about gold still in Vietnam. He also finds out that the secret organization The Legion of Man are the real powers pulling the strings. A revelation that doesn’t surprise Monday in the least.

SO Doody is shown to have some major scanner type powers. Scout also appears to buy the farm at the end. The story ends with Next ? That definitely sums up my feelings after reading this action packed story.

The Monday story was a real treat. Monday is shown to be one bad mother… A man who is hinted at being quite older than he looks fighting a very old sinister secret society. This plus the hint of adventure and gold in Vietnam make for a great continuation of a story next issue.

THE WARLORD #13

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“The Hunter”
Writer & Artist: Mike Grell

Morgan, Machiste and Mariah are crossing a swamp on the last leg of their journey to Shamballah. After defeating a saurian creature the trio stumble into a trap. The trap was set by Stryker the CIA leader from Morgan’s visit to Peru. Appears Stryker holds a deep grudge for losing his job and the injuries he suffered. Now don’t know how that was Morgan’s fault but he’s determined to take it out on him. He has wired his friends with C-4. To rescue them Morgan must run a gauntlet of booby traps to reach the detonator.

So Grell decided to reintroduce the CIA character from issue 6. It an enjoyable action story. Grell as usual uses a lot of action drawing with little dialogue to convey the story. Sort of interesting to have someone from Morgan’s world to visit Skartaris. The big point that this issue had was that the journey is almost over and the big reunion with his love Tara is just around the corner.

THE HULK! #13

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“Season of Terror”
Writer: Doug Moench
Artists: Ron Wilson & Bob Mcleod

Banner is heading to Switzerland to see a prominent doctor who may have the cure for the Hulk. His journey is interrupted by three terrorists who hijack the plane he is on. When the pilot tries to radio for help one of the terrorists shots him and the plane goes into a dive. This triggers the Hulk who manages to stop the plane from crashing. Later the survivors are still under the terrorists control and one shoots an old woman that Banner had befriended. This once again triggers the Hulk and he makes short work of the terrorists and carries the plane to the top of a mountain so searchers can find it easily.

“The Big Blackmail”
Writer: Doug Moench
Artist: Bill Sienkiewicz

Moonknight finds out that those behind the theft of the Horus statuette are terrorists. These terrorists are using the money to finance the theft of plutonium. They plan to blackmail the city of New York for one billion dollars with a nuclear bomb. Moonknight under his real identity of mercenary Marc Spector manages to infiltrate the terrorist. It ends with the terrorists confronted by a fake Moonknight. Meanwhile a mysterious man named Lupinar is getting a slide presentation about Moonknight.

Oh I remember the old days when you could carry on a chunk of plastic explosive the size of a bowling ball and pack sub-machineguns in your luggage. Very easy to be a terrorist back in 1979. Such simpler times. Of course these terrorists are dumb as rocks and no match for the Hulk. This is sort of the problem with the format of the new color series. While it worked for the TV series it just doesn’t for comics. The Hulk needs powerful villains to confront.

The Moonknight story is excellent. It is an ingenious way they used to give the reader background on the Moonknight. The story is moving along in a very interesting direction. Who is this Lupinar? Who is the fake Moonknight? Have to wait for the next issue.

TRAGG AND THE SKY GODS #6

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“Death-Duel”
Writer: Don Glut
Artist: Dan Spiegle

Tragg & Lorn enter the territory of a tribe that has domesticated Triceratops. The tribe is hostile to outsiders and captures them to take to their chief for execution. Tragg manages to save the live of the chief’s son and gains his gratitude although the number two man still insists that tradition be honored and Tragg & Lorn be executed.

Meanwhile Zorek plans to exterminate Tragg’s tribe because of Keera’s betray of him. Keera is freed by a Yargonian who is in love with her. Keera goes by her jetpack and finds Tragg & Lorn. Landing the tribe believes her a goddess and Keera wants Lorn put to death. The tribe have the two fight next to the pit of spears to the death. The fight is in doubt until Keera loses her footing and falls into the pit. Tragg manages to save her. Keera feels shamed after such a sacrifice and tells Tragg of Zorak’s plan. Tragg enlists the aid of the tribe to help rescue his people.

So finally we get the catfight between Keera and Lorn. Always love catfights and this was a pretty good one. So now Tragg has found allies to help him against the Sky Gods. Keera seems to have resigned herself to the fact that Tragg will never love her. The next issue points to an epic clash with the Sky Gods. There was a one page extra titled “Tragg’s World”. It explained how dinosaurs still survived in the little corner of Tragg’s world. An enjoyable entry in the epic soap opera of Tragg.

ASTONISHING TALES #10 KA-ZAR

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“To End in Flame!”
Writers: Roy Thomas & Gerry Conway
Artist: Barry Smith & Sal Buscema

The lava pipes from new Britannia cause the lake to shoot out steaming geysers. Ka-zar, Zabu and the marooned stranger Paul are separated. Ka-zar makes it to the mainland and is imprisoned by the Germans. He eventually escapes and finds out that the two leaders of the German and British factions are conspiring to keep the younger generation thinking that the war is still going. With the arrival of strangers this fiction is in danger and the two conspire to destroy both factions. Detonating an explosive device inside an active volcano they almost succeed but luckily Zabu manages to push them into the volcano. The German and English groups reconcile in peace.

So this is the first full length Ka-zar story in Astonishing Tales. Its an exciting story with a lot of twists and turns. Interesting the old guys running the thing are really kookoo. There is a twisted logic in their believe that they must have war for the younger ones to survive. But just deciding to destroy them all is kookoo. A great start to the new Ka-zar only stories. The Savage Land is shown to be filled with strange creatures and danger and lost kooky people.

SCOUT #12

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“Me and the Devil”
Writer & Artist: Timothy Truman

Scout was given the option of a full pardon if he kills the cult leader Doody. Doody is a friend of Scout’s and he declines the offer but goes off after Doody himself. Rosa has to go with plan B and takes off with Mossad agent Avner in Big Moishe the giant Israeli robot. The robot the pinnacle of Israeli technology has a total malfunction on the doorstep of Mt. Fire and Rosa and Avner are taken prisoner. Scout has penetrated the complex and rescues them but at the end is surrounded by Doody and his followers. Meanwhile the Disciples of Soul get a paying gig in Vegas. Finally a mysterious group called the Swords of Texas are watching the proceeding at Mt. Fire.

“Morning is the Long Way Home”
Writer: Timothy Truman
Artist: Flint Henry

Monday the Eliminator has arrived to rescue his old Vietnam squad buddy. The guy is in bad shape with all the drugs he’s been taking. After easily taking out the professional hit squad, Monday takes Shorty to a mansion. The place is the home of another comrade from Vietnam who has made it big in computers. With Shorty save Monday goes after the mysterious person behind the assassinations of his old squad.

The storyline is really starting to heat up. Doody has access to nuclear weapons. He also shows some mystic abilities with his power to take out Big Moishe and turn the CIA agents that infiltrated his group. President Carver is showing that she is not under the thumb of VP Loper. It sets up a very interesting confrontation.

The Monday story is awesome. With his white hair, dark sunglasses and trench coat Monday is like a version of the Terminator. There is a mystery about his past and a mystery in who’s behind the killings. Indeed there’s a mystery in the motive. Makes you want more.

THE WARLORD #12

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“Trilogy”
Writer & Artist: Mike Grell

Our travelers have stopped over in the port city of Bakwele. Machiste gets in a conversation about Morgan after they find him brawling in the local tavern. A sword in one hand and a full mug of wine in the other he smites his opponents with a smile on his face. Machiste recounts a story from the days of the gladiator army. A young boy named Aton came to join the rebellion. Morgan sends him away saying that Aton should enjoy life before choosing the life of a warrior. Soon after leaving the camp Aton is attacked by a dinosaur and Morgan has to save him. He makes Aton his herald to spread the word of freedom.

Mariah recounts her own story. Soon after entering Skartaris Morgan shows her a unicorn coming to a lake for a drink. The unicorn is killed by savages looking for it’s sacred horn. Morgan goes berserk and kills the savages then goes on his knees and weeps for the loss of the unicorn.

This is a great idea for a story. A sort of interlude to reflect on the complexities of Morgan. A man who revels in violence and savagery but still has compassion and sensitivity. A man who can inspire hope. He’s also someone who clearly enjoys the adventure and excitement in the savage world of Skartaris. A man who can be a kid and an adult at the same time. A very complex man which gives the Warlord such an interesting character. I can identify with the desire for adventure and excitement. A great issue.