SHANNA THE SHE-DEVIL #3

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“The Moon of the Fear Bulls!”
Writer: Carole Seuling
Artist: Ross Andru

Shanna is working on getting workers to her jungle home. She wants to build Frank Lloyd Wright’s The Ecological Niche. A native comes asking for her help. A rogue cape buffalo has destroyed their village. So off she goes with her leopard friends Biri and Ina. She falls into a pit but manages to avoid the sharp stakes. It is here she is rescued by a strange tribe of whites. They are attacked by men wearing bull masks. It is later found out that they are from a lost tribe of Minoans who build a city in a lost valley. Now the city is ruled by a deposed African dictator who controls the fear bulls. The mutated cape buffalos that can emit a fear ray from their horns. Shanna manages to overthrow the dictator and free the people of this lost Minoan civilization.

This story has a lot of Edgar Rice Burroughs in it. A lost European civilization that seems to litter the landscape of Africa. The story was fast paced and interesting. I would have liked to learn more about how the dictator became the high priest or how the cape buffalo mutated. Maybe that would have been explored later if the series lasted longer. So we learn that Shanna is loaded. She can pay triple wages for men to come out and build her Frank Lloyd Wright home in the middle of nowhere. Shanna is showing herself to be a very strong and competent woman not to mention really sexy in that leopard-skin furkini.

KA-ZAR #12

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“Wizard of Forgotten Flesh”
Writer: Doug Moench
Artist: Russ Heath

Ka-zar and Tongah are hunting when two men painted in Zebra stripes come to them. They are from the swamp people and need help in defeating the evil shaman Zaurai and the high priestess Sheesa. Zaurai plans to conquer the Savage Land with an army of the undead. So Ka-zar, Tongah and Zabu head out to stop him. They capture a triceratops to help them. After fighting off Zaurai’s lizard-men the group reach the hidden village. They free the captured rebels and manage to defeat the lizard-men. Its too late though because Sheesa manages to put the lizard head onto the human skeleton and awaken an army of undead warriors.

This is an interesting adventure for Ka-zar. The tribe is both black and white and will paint themselves as zebras in a sign of unity. Moench doesn’t use the black vs. white in this tale. Indeed both races are represented in the rebels and Zaurai’s followers which is quite refreshing. This one has everything you need in a Ka-zar tale. Lost hidden tribe. Dinosaurs. An evil shaman and a beautiful scantily clad woman. It also ends in a cliffhanger so you want to find out what happens in the next issue.

SCOUT: WAR SHAMAN #1

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“Down in the Bottom”
Writer & Artist: Timothy Truman

April 2015. It is 15 years that the civil war has raged. Scout during this time retreated to live in the mountains. He married and had two sons Victor & Tahzey. Now his wife has died and Scout must take his sons to find someplace safe to live. Raiders have already found the small valley they live in and it is getting too dangerous to stay there. Meanwhile in Armadillo Rosa Winters and her army are brutally executing men for there resistance to her government.

“Indian Country A Journey Through the Southwest in a Rented Ford Taurus”
By Timothy Truman

Truman and his wife traveled through the southwest in Arizona and New Mexico. With the pictures they took of the Grand Canyon and Monument Valley. He visits the reservations of the Navajo and Apache. He goes into the history of the area. A very enjoyable article.

The first in a new Scout series. Truman does a great job of setting up the new series. The story is told by an interview with a doctor and a grown up Victor in 2030. Scout is now a father with two young sons. America is now a failed state that has fallen into various enclaves. Rosa Winters is trying to reunite the country and using very brutal tactics. The artwork has a grandeur about it with its beautiful Southwest scenery. I look forward to exploring this new world.

THE WARLORD #35

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“Gambit”
Writer & Artist: Mike Grell

Morgan is saying good-bye to his friends in Wizard World. He put the sword Hellfire into its scabbard and off he goes. Instead of ending up back in Skartaris he finds himself in a living room. It looks like a typical house in the suburbs of an east coast city. Suddenly Morgan is challenged by an Amazon named Agnes. She seems intent on killing Morgan and the two clash swords. Agnes gets disarmed and knocked downstairs into the rec room. There she reaches into the gun cabinet for the shotgun when a voice cries “Foul”. Two figures are watching from another dimension and one argues that Agnes being a primitive would have no knowledge of firearms. Thus Agnes disappears and a bartender materializes and offers Morgan a drink.

Morgan takes the drink which is obviously a mistake since it was drugged. Then some cultists come and take Morgan to the kitchen where they will sacrifice him using an electric knife. The two figures roll dice and Morgan awakens and takes out the cultists but not before one sacrifices himself with the electric knife. A flame demon comes out of the stove and knocks Morgan outside. Luckily the dice roll again and when the fire demon throws a car it hits a fire hydrant and extinguishes itself. Finally Morgan rushes into the burning house and fights Tweedle Dee and Tweedle Dum. One armed with an ax and the other a chainsaw. After defeating them Morgan is transported home. At the end it is revealed that Mike Grell and Jack Harris are playing a role-playing game and dressed as Greek Gods.

This story just happens to be one of my favorites. The writer Grell and the editor are actually characters in the story. This story was based on a nightmare that the editor Jack Harris had. This was a really unique and witty story with its odd setting and goofy enemies that stand out. I love that real people associated with the comic are guest starring as gods playing a game with Morgan’s fate. Sort of what they do with every issue when you think about it. This was clearly an issue that was done purely for fun by Grell and stands as one of my favorite issues.

MARVEL PREVIEW #16 MASTERS OF TERROR

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“The Hero-Killer Principle!”
Writer: Richard Marschall
Artists: Gene Colan and Tony DeZuniga

A series of murders are plaguing the el train in Manhattan in the 1930’s. Hodiah Twist is a Sherlock Holmes type detective who is investigating these murders. With is Watson type sidekick Conrad Jeavons the two ride the train that he thinks will have the next murder. It turns out that he was correct as the sinister murderer starts to pick off the passengers one by one. The murderer turns out to be a fourteen year old boy who turns into a werewolf. The werewolf dies when it goes up top and gets decapitated by a low hanging beam.

“Voices!”
Writer: Marv Wolfman
Artists: Gene Colan & Tom Palmer

A man finds out that his C-B radio can come through the TV set of his neighbor a mildly retarded man. The man thinks the voice is God and the neighbor starts out to have fun. He then starts to order the man to kill people that he doesn’t like. It backfires when a plot to kill his wife backfires and ends up in the death of the man with the C-B radio.

“The Rise of the Private Eye”
By Ron Goulart

An article on the birth and growth in popularity of the private detective story. Goulart argues that is it one of Americas greatest contributions to the popular culture of the world. The concept started with Carroll John Daly and his pulp character Race Williams. Later Dashiel Hammond and Raymond Chandler solidified the mythology. Gangster movies from the ’20s later combined the detective to give it the lasting popularity.

“Death by Disco!”
Writer: Steve Gerber
Artists: Gene Colan & Tony DeZuniga

Lilith the daughter of Dracula has no corporal form and must reside in the body of Angel O’Hara a pregnant ad-taker for a small Greenwich Village publication. At night she loses consciousness and Lilith takes over and hunts down the evil criminals to feed on. One night when Angel goes to a disco club for a story Lilith takes over. She gets involved with the owner who is somewhat of a douche bag. Her girlfriend shoots the man then Lilith gets her revenge by feeding on her.

This issue was about detectives and horror as the main themes. The stories were dark and moody. Hodiah Twist was an interesting character. He sounds like someone who lost everything in the stock market crash and went into his own Sherlock Holmes reality. Then he gets involved with supernatural phenomenon. A real interesting idea set in depression era America.

The Voices story was also a fun and intriguing idea. Someone using a C-B radio to convince a simple-minded guy to carry out murders. It ended with the guy getting what he deserved.

The Lilith character was strange but interesting. She seems to be cursed with being a vampire without a body. Yet she only goes after the evil men. All three stories were a fun read and Hodiah Twist and Lilith have great potential for future story arcs.

RUDOLPH THE RED-NOSED REINDEER

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“Only Two Days to Christmas”
Writer & Artist: Sheldon Mayer

It is two days before Christmas and the elves are finished wrapping all the presents. So for the first time Santa and the crew have some free time and decide to have a Christmas party. The party wakes up Baddy Bear who is hibernating in his cave under Santa’s workshop. Baddy wakes up and thinks that an intruder is in his cave. He accidently breaks his honey barrels in the dark and thinks that his footprints are intruders. As he goes around following them the footprints grow in number and he is convinced there are many bandits.

So in a panic he goes to Santa. Santa and Rudolph go to investigate. Meanwhile Grover a talking beaver gets an army formed with the elves and reindeer to fight the bandits. Using Santa’s suspenders they create a giant slingshot that fires bowling balls. Meanwhile Rudolph and Santa stumble around in the dark. Rudolph accidentally bumps his nose causing it to go out. In the dark both Santa and Rudolph fight each other thinking they are bandits. Santa also steps in the honey and leaves footprints and thinks they are from the bandits.

So eventually the whole thing gets into a crazy battle between the various players. Rudolph finally figures it out and creates a cut out of the bandits that he projects with his nose. Thinking the bandits retreated Santa gives out medals to everyone except Rudolph who wasn’t present. With everyone thinking Rudolph is a coward he goes to bed. Eventually the others figure out what happened and melt their medals down to form one big medal to give to Rudolph the real hero.

“Giants Problem”
Writer & Artist: Sheldon Mayer

Grover invents a device that can instantly teleport any object. He wants to use it on Santa’s sleigh. Instead it only transports things into a tree. The tree snaps back and sends the sleigh into the forbidden forest. The forest is home to a giant Eskimo named Big Noodik. Big Noodik thinks that the sleigh is an ice skate and plans to wait for Santa to deliver the other. After some failed attempts to rescue the sleigh, Rudolph gets a message to Santa who brings Noodik two sleighs he can use as skates.

“Take Your Pencil and Find Your Way to Funland!!”

A collection of puzzles and games. A maze where 10 minutes to complete is excellent and 30 means your a complete loser. I see I did do this but history doesn’t record what my time was. A find the twins where you need to pick out the two exact pictures of Santa from a group of seven. Rudolph’s Party Riddles with such gems as “What Stinks and says Oops, Sorry!” Answer: A polite Bee!” Or What has four legs, A trunk and is not an elephant? Answer: Two Tourists. Yep, and these are the best. A step by step instructions on how to draw Grover the talking beaver. Santa’s Safety Target Game. Flip a penny on a target for points. Party Hats from Discarded Christmas Wrappings. How to make hats like elf or cowboy hat from paper plates. Try Making Flippies. Two pictures of Baddy Bear and Grover sawing a log. Flipping the pictures will make a moving image. Finally a connect the dots which we find out how Rudolph and Grover appear to be standing in the air. Answer they’re on an airplane.

So since Christmas is around the corner I decided to do this old gem from my childhood. Yes the story is real corny but it amused me at that young age. Just a fun and goofy comic. So Merry Christmas to you all.

SHANNA THE SHE-DEVIL #2

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“The Sahara Connection!”
Writer: Carole Seuling
Artist: Ross Andru

The evil El Montano or “The Mountainous One” is enslaving members of the peaceful Fulani tribe. They are taken by his Arab henchmen to his fortress in the Sahara. Shanna hears about this from Jakura Singh a Shield agent. Shield wants Shanna to stop El Montano because he is going to hijack a French rocket being launched in the Sahara. A scheduled moon shot the rocket has been stuffed with over a billion in heroin. So El Montano can get drugs and ransom the rocket back to the French. Shanna agrees to stop him and free the slaves. So with her two leopards Biri and Ina heads on out. They at first get captured but Shanna manages to break free and with her leopards takes out the Arab henchmen. They also have to defeat his pet Siberian wolves. Finally it ends when he is trying to escape by crossing a wooden plank over the slave pens. His weight breaks the plank and he falls into the pit and faces the revenge of those he enslaved.

Well the French have some great security. A technician sells the technology to hijack the rocket and they can’t stop over a billion in heroin being smuggled onto the rocket. Its a good thing Shanna is around because she seems to be the only competent person around. This was a great second story. El Montano would make a great Bond villain. Big larger than life with a secret underground complex. Its full of armed men and high tech gizmos and he uses wind sail-ships on the Sahara. He also doesn’t just kill an enemy when they are captured but allow them time to escape much to his regret. Finally Shanna looks awesome in her leopard skin furkini.

KA-ZAR #11

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“The Devil-God of Sylitha!”
Writer: Doug Moench
Artist: Don Heck

The god of Tordon-Na has delivered a proclamation that the high priest’s son must be sacrificed. Ka-zar speaks out about this and immediately is set upon by the evil priest’s followers. Ka-zar and Zabu manage to fight their way out of the temple with the help of Ilyana who is the fiancĂ© of the high-priests son. They manage to find an underground river next to a sacred tomb. The river takes them outside the city and they have to fight off a bunch of giant boa constrictors. They eventually make their way back to the city and Ka-zar exposes the evil priest Sylitha’s plot. He was putting drugs in the incense that was burning in the temple. It made the people think that their god came alive and gave the death sentence. Ka-zar uses the incense to make it look like the giant statue is falling on Sylitha and he dies of fright. Ka-zar and Zabu continue on for new adventures.

This wasn’t a bad story. I guess my main problem is the plot holes in the whole thing. Like how did Ka-zar know of the drugged incense. How did this incense work. Ok this is a Ka-zar comic so I suppose a lot of suspension of disbelief is needed but this is just a little too sloppy. The next issue promises a new era with new characters and stunning visuals so looking forward to where the series is going.

NEW AMERICA #4

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“No America”
Writers: John Ostrander & Kim Yale
Artist: Gary Kwapisz

Its 2014 and the civil war is nearing an end. The plane Rosa Winters is on is shot down. The Israelis have betrayed Rosa to President Loper in exchange for getting the Pope. It doesn’t do any good for them as Loper then manages to get ahold of Winter’s diary and have it published. Now all the dirty laundry is exposed including Israel’s and the Free States involvement with assassinations. Winters does survive the crash and a team of specialists managed to save her but in the process turns her into a cyborg. She manages to steal from Loper’s bank account and hire out a division of armor from the Swords of Texas. This force manages to ambush Loper’s forces around El Paso and Winters is victorious. She hunts down Loper and kills him as he is making a plea for help on TV. Winters then announces that she is taking over the government.

An so the final entry in this mini-series comes to an exciting end. The civil war seems to be resolved and Winters comes out on top. She is now more machine than human. It was an exciting ending that leaves a lot of questions on the future which should be explored in the new Scout series. This was the better of the two mini-series. It explored what was happening in the world and Winters is a tragic figure. Sort of like Darth Vader. Starts out young and idealistic and ends up a bitter cyborg. A great set up for the new series.

THE WARLORD #34

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“Sword of the Sorcerer”
Writer & Artist: Mike Grell

The grateful dwarves decide to give Morgan a gift for getting rid of the hawkmen. The gift is the sword Hellfire. Morgan notices that there is a place in the hilt where his broken Hellfire gem that he carries will fit. When he puts it in he is suddenly transported to the past. He finds himself in the palace of Wralf the Wretched and coincidently his two friends Machiste and Mariah are there. They came with Mongo Ironhand to seek help from the wizard in returning back to their own time. Wralf is a very disagreeable sort and he immediately notices that Morgan holds the same sword that he does. A fight between the two ends when Morgan shatters the Hellfire gem in Wralf’s sword thus we find out how the Hellfire gem was split in the first place. The Hellfire sword then of its own power thrusts forward through Wralf’s throat. The sword is a talisman against magic but must always taste blood. The sword can transport Morgan back to Skartaris but his friends will still be trapped in Wizard World.

So this issue Morgan visits Wizard World. He gets to find out what happened to his friends Machiste and Mariah. The two seem happy with their circumstances and that they have each other. So there is still more possible adventures in the Wizard World in future stories. Morgan also gets a new sword. A sword that makes the welder immune to any magic. A very useful tool in his fight against Deimos. It does foreshadow trouble ahead what with the sword having a mind of its own and demanding blood anytime that its drawn.