“The Shape of Things Gone By”
Writer & Artist: Mike Grell
Morgan and Shakira are flying over the sea on the newly named flying horse Firewing. They come upon a yacht from the surface world being attacked by a sea serpent. Morgan jumps down and dispatches the monster. He finds a man named Chambers and big surprise his daughter Jennifer. Jennifer is now a grown woman. She mounted an expedition after hearing from Professor Lakely that Morgan was in Skartaris. The ship pulls into shore so they can bury the captain who died from injuries from the sea serpent. They are then attacked by a group of armed men. Morgan holds them off but the band’s leader intervenes. It is Aton the young boy from issue twelve who was given the job of being the Warlord’s herald. He is now an adult and leading Morgan’s former band of freedom fighters. Morgan reconciles with his daughter and the mysterious Chambers. Chambers was a CIA agent who was out to kill Morgan because of what he did to Stryker. But Chambers fell in love with Jennifer. So the two head off back to the surface world.
Writer: Jim Starlin
Artists: Jim Starlin & Romeo Tanghal
Omac wants to surrender to the IC&C (International Communications & Commerce) mercenaries but they aren’t taking prisoners. Not economically viable. So Omac has to beat them into a pulp. The president of IC&C Wiley Quixote intervenes and takes up Omac’s offer to surrender. Omac uses the opportunity to offer his services. He wants the corporate war to end and is willing to help Quixote defeat the other corporations. It is revealed at the end that Quixote is working with the Visionary Mextaxa.
This issue had a lot going on for such a low key story. We learn that Morgan has a daughter from his previous marriage. He left her with his sister while going off to Vietnam. He wasn’t the greatest father but he does get to reconcile with his daughter. Also the other big reveal is Aton. He now leads Morgan’s band and the dream of freedom is still alive. It is great that Grell remembers such little events from years ago and brings them back. A great issue in Morgan’s growth as a character. He puts a lot of demons to rest.
Omac story is starting to take shape. He will ally with a somewhat questionable ally in saving the world. While fascinating this corporate takeover of the the world is not really realistic. Corporations work for profit and having to provide services and the expense of constant war would be very economically unprofitable. Still it does make for an interesting story.
“Paradox: Saturn’s Secret”
Writer: Bill Mantlo
Artists:Mike Vosburg & Joe Jusko
The servant races in the outer colonies are planning to revolt. They are stockpiling food and starting to grow their own in direct violation of Terran law. Already twelve Interplanetary Security Agency agents have been killed. It looks like a high placed mole in the agency is leaking ISA secrets. Thus the ISA turns to his best agent the shape-shifter Paradox. Paradox is to head to Titan and link up with a team of specially engineered agents. The rebels are planning to assassinate the emperor as he visits Titan. This will signal a system wide rebellion. Paradox links up with the team but ends up betraying them. He is the mole and heading the rebellion.
“Silhouette Assignation At Madstar”
Writer: Peter Gillis
Artist: Gene Day
In the future captain Rorik of the cargo ship Shakti tries to make a living. He is part of the Clementine State which seems to be a theological run empire. One day he is kidnapped by the famous criminal Silhouette a beautiful woman who controls the Madstar. The Madstar is an ancient star-system that an ancient race created. It can produce a rare element. Silhouette needs the Shakti to smuggle the elements into the Clementine state. A assault by the Clementine fleet results in Madstar being destroyed.
Writer: Steve Skeates
Artists: John Buscema & Bob Wiacek
A man with no memory and a splitting head-ache escapes from a hospital. He is later assaulted by a mob for his body parts in the street. A woman takes him in and he finds out that he is on a world that the military uses to fix it’s soldiers. Those not cost effective to fix are put out and they constantly are fighting to take the body parts off people to sell to the hospital. The man goes back to the hospital and remember who he is. He had a brain tumor and the doctors wanted to use his body to transplant the brain of a general into his body.
Writer: Steve Skeates
Artist: Steve Smallwood
Bucky travels in a time machine. He arrives in the future and is in the middle of a fight between a Bo Derek looking girl and slime creatures. The girl is a Rairie and she fights the evil Groobles. Just then a wooden space ship descends. It is Ronnie Raygun who looks like Ronald Reagan. He gives the girl a Willkie button. At the end she says that “He certainly came a long way to tip a Rairie!” Groan!!!
Well this issue of Bizarre Adventures dealt with the theme of the future. The Paradox story was another fascinating look at a unique future. It was a surprise twist that Paradox was the mole. Apparently he fell in love with the Lunarian woman from the last story. She was skinned alive in prison by the guards so he has a vendetta against natural born Terrans.
The Silhouette story was another fascinating future that could make for continued stories. Rorik was one of those lovable rogues and the Clementine State which seemed to be a religious theocracy has great potential for future interesting stories.
Honor was a bit weird but interesting. My least favorite was Bucky Bizarre. It was supposed to be funny but just dumb and the bad pun it ended on should get the writer a well deserved beating. This feature sounds like it became an ongoing series for this title. I can only hope it gets better.
“Where Nekra Walks…Death Must Follow!”
Writer: Steve Gerber
Artist: Ross Andru
Shanna and Patrick are having an arm wrestling match when it is interrupted by the arrival of a jet. It is Jakura Singh the Shield agent. He takes both Shanna, Patrick and the leopards to a Shield carrier off the coast. There they have a teleconference with an FBI Agent and Professor Xavier. They learn that the Mandrill was a mutant and another mutant is part of his organization.
This other mutant is Nekri a kind of vampire woman who is leading the Mandrill’s all female cult. She goes after Patrick and Shanna for their part in his capture. She sets fire to Patrick’s place and while Shanna rescues him, Nekra fights Ina and Biri. Shanna rescues Patrick and then takes on Nekra. Nekra seems invincible but Shanna manages to get her in a headlock and choke her unconscious.
Well this was the final issue for her series. Apparently a female lead wasn’t enough to grab readership back in the early seventies. This issue was a bit ho-hum. They drag Shanna and her leopards on a fighter jet and almost crash it just to have a pointless meeting. Nekra was easy to beat and nothing much happened. We still are nowhere close to rescuing Shanna’s father.
Still Shanna would go on to be an established character in the Marvel Universe. The story continued in Daredevil and other titles that she guest starred in. Eventually she would find a permanent home in the Savage Land with Ka-zar. This was the perfect place for her to end up and we will see much more of her in future reviews of the Ka-zar title.
“Two Worlds in Frenzy!”
Writer: Doug Moench
Artist: Larry Hama
Ka-zar and Tongah are hunting a T-Rex that has eaten several of the Fall People. Suddenly Tongah goes mad and attacks the T-Rex with only his spear. Luckily Ka-zar is around and manages to subdue Tongah and then kill the T-Rex with Tongah’s spear. He takes Tongah to a scientist studying the Savage land for help. Dr. Bernard Kloss suggests that it may be the Vibranium the rare and valuable metal found in the Savage land. He suggests that Ka-zar go to the outside world for an expert.
So Ka-zar and Zabu head out to a research base in the Antarctic for a ride to London. There as Lord Kevin Plunder he calls a press conference for help. It is here that Ka-zar is attacked by Klaw. Klaw can manipulate sound into solid objects and shoot deadly blasts with his arm gun. Ka-zar is shielded with his Vibranium belt buckle and chases him to the Imperial War Museum. Falling debris knocks out a beautiful report distracting Ka-zar long enough for Klaw to make is getaway in a flying saucer.
Ka-zar is back in civilization. He seems to be more worldly now. He calmly has Zabu put in a cage and seems to understand how civilization works. He doesn’t like it but can function in it. He is one bad-ass since he can kill a T-Rex with a spear and was willing to take it on with a knife. Of course he doesn’t take long to find trouble. Klaw is a formidable opponent and it will be interesting to find out why he attacked Ka-zar. Ka-zar also gets involved with a beautiful reporter named Tandy Snow who was the only smart reporter in the bunch. This guy know how to attract the ladies.
Writer & Artist: Timothy Truman
Scout and his sons are on a river barge heading downstream. He is on the “The Empress Jones” heading down the Hassayampa river. The captain Mary takes a liking to Scout and his boys. Trouble is ahead in the brigand Atuma Yuma. Atuma has build a dam on the river and wants to steal the shipment of arms on the barge. Scout manages with his trusty Enfield to hit the mortar ammunition and cause an explosion. Unfortunately the river is mined and the barge sinks onto a sandbar. The story ends with Atuma’s men getting ready to board the barge.
Writer & Artist: Timothy Truman
A telling of an Apache folklore with illustrations. White-painted woman lives with the Tin-eh-ah or Apache people. They are terrorized by the monster Giant Owl Man. Giant Owl Man likes to raid the people and eat their woman and children. Slayer of Enemies live with White-painted woman. Giant Owl Man likes to torment Slayer of Enemies by putting out his fires or stealing his food.
Well White-painted woman has had enough and asks Usen the giver of life for help. He sends the Gahn who hits her with lightning to get pregnant. She gives birth to Child of Water.
This title is coming along nicely. There is plenty of action and we get introduced to some new characters. Some good and some bad. Interesting news reports tell of a revolt on the Soviet Moonbase. There is a cult of Doodyists and administrator Winters continues her campaign of reuniting America.
The new feature called Tales of the Apache is really a great idea. Truman used this folklore in the first story arch and it is great to learn about this Apache myth. The series is shaping up to be a very interesting read.
“A Horse of a Different Color”
Writer & Artist: Mike Grell
Morgan decides he wants to capture a real life Pegasus. He manages to sneak up on it and firmly grab hold. The flying horse has other ideas and flies off with Morgan. Shakira pursues and is ambushed by a centaur. She manages to defeat the centaur who turns out to be a charming fellow named Arvak Thunderhoof. He takes Shakira to where Morgan was taken by the flying horse; a palace on top of a rocky spire. Shakira changes into a cat and climbs the spire. On top she comes upon Morgan who is under the spell of the palace’s sole inhabitant a beautiful green haired girl named Astarte. She is about to give Morgan a goblet of wine. Shakira jumps on Astarte and scratches her eyes. Astarte falls against one of her statues which breaks and has the same wine inside that she was giving Morgan. The spell is broken and Morgan draws the Hellfire sword which reveals that Astarte is really a harpy. Morgan douses her with the wine and she turns to stone. Morgan and Shakira take off on the Pegasus for new adventures.
“For This is the New Origin of Omac!”
Writer & Artist: Jim Starlin
Omac (One Man Army Corp) is accessing a tape telling him what is going on. An alien race from the planet Vision were sent to Earth to save it from itself. A brilliant scientist named Professor Z has predicted that Earth will have a disaster that will destroy all humans. Posing as faceless citizens of the world they form the Global Peace
Agency and go after various criminals and corrupt politicians. They create Omac from a young man named Billy Blank. Omac fights the super villains. One such villain a Dr. Skuba almost succeeds in killing Omac but it defeated.
Well just than seven corporations band together and overthrow the world’s governments and eliminate the Global Peace Agency. Professor Z who doesn’t want to save the Earth escapes his homeworld and makes one more prediction. The corporations will continue to war and mankind will devolve into a sub-intellectual race that will destroy itself. Only a strong leader to unite the planet will avert the prediction. The odds are .002% for Omac to either find this leader or become that leader himself. At the end mercenaries for one of the corporations burst in and Omac surrenders.
DC decided to make changes with all their comics with longer stories and a back-up feature. So that is what’s new with the series. The Warlord story was an enjoyable read with a strong fantasy element. Pegasus, Centaurs, a harpy on top of a rock spire who changes people into statues much like Circe. It ends with Morgan and Shakira now in possession of a flying horse to continue their travels which should prove interesting. I also found it interesting that the roles are reversed and Shakira now has to risk her life to climb up a dangerous place and rescue Morgan. The two are forming a strong friendship.
The new backup is an interesting choice. Omac was a short lived series created by Jack Kirby as sort of a futuristic Captain America. Jim Starling decided to take the character in a different direction so its debut is all exposition. Which is helpful since I am not familiar with the series that came before. Originally I didn’t care for Omac at first. Multiply reading since has given me a new perspective on the character. I can see myself someday checking out the original series. Omac has grown on me over these past thirty years.
Writer: Bill Mantlo
Artist: Val Mayerik
It is two hundred years in the future. Earth is the center of the Terran Empire. A paradise world mainly devoted to agriculture. Its how the Earth maintains its control over the solar system. Industry, crime, pollution and poverty have been exported to the other worlds. On the other worlds are gengineered humans genetically engineered to survive on the world they live from Mercury to Pluto. On Luna the Moon the Terran ambassador dies in a traffic accident. He was taking Fireflite an illegal drug that will make a person spontaneously combust if they don’t take an antidote in time.
The ISA (Interplanetary Security Agency) sends its best agent Paradox to investigate. Paradox is a well known anti-gravity dancer who is secretly an ISA agent. He is also been genetically engineered to be a shapeshifter. His investigation takes him to find out that the ambassador’s death is from his wife; who is a Lunan who was gengineered to be a beautiful woman. The drug addiction was a plot by Lunan revolutionaries to get secrets to help their rebellion.
This was a really fascinating story. I love the idea of a future where humanity has engineered slave races to work the outer worlds. Paradox is this sort of foppish entertainer who in reality can change into any one the various species or an individual. A real unique idea for a series. Endless possibilities with a decadent Earth controlling the grimy repressed servant races of the colonies.
Writers: Carole Seuling & Steve Gerber
Artist: Ross Andru
Shanna and her leopards start off this issue stopping a runaway rhino. She and Patrick the game warden are in the city because they were invited to dinner by a mysterious host. So Shanna puts on a dress and with Patrick and her leopards in tow head out to a mansion in the countryside. Here they find three other guests to a hooded host. The hooded man wants Shanna and his guests to help him take over three African countries. None of the guests are interested and a fight breaks out. The hooded man is revealed to be a half-man half-mandrill called the Mandrill.
Shanna and her leopards manage to break out and escape the Mandrill and his army of women that have tattooed the Mandrill’s pattern on their faces. She gets to the land rover and makes it to the city. There in her hotel room is the Shield agent Jakuna Singh. He tells Shanna that the Mandrill also has her father captive and wants her to go back and be captured. A transmitter in a bracelet will call in Shield agents to the rescue. So she goes back and gets captured by being shot with a tranq dart. Wakes up on a table with a quack doctor about to tattoo her face with the Mandrill’s pattern.
Well Mandrill learns it’s never good to choose a woman’s cosmetics for her or underestimate her strength. She frees herself and calls in Shield. Mandrill runs away but gets caught by real mandrills. Shanna rescues him but is too late to save her father. The Mandrill’s followers have taken him away.
Wow. This issue really packed a lot of stuff in it. Good stuff. We get a real nasty villain with some grandiose plans. Patrick the game warden who has had some brief appearances so far gets some time. He seems to be the love interest for Shanna in this series. Jakuna Singh is developing into a semi-regular ally and Shield looks to make Shanna a part time agent. She still manages to come across as one bad-ass chick. Doesn’t take crap from anyone. I am really beginning to love this series.
“The Skull of the Lizard-man!”
Writer: Doug Moench
Artist: Larry Hama
Sheesa has resurrected an army of the undead. Ka-zar decides to submit rather than be killed and gets his friends to follow. Sheesa decides to first conquer Tongah’s people. While locked in a cage they manage to have one of their number escape to warn the Fall People. While in the cage we get to learn a little about Zaurai the deposed shaman who is now with Ka-zar. He is a man from the outside world. Tired of his dead-end life he sought out the Savage Land. Using some tricks from the outer world he convinces the Swamp People he is a magician and made the shaman. He falls in love with Sheesa who convinces him to mount a campaign for conquest.
Well Sheesa comes and drafts Ka-zar and his followers into her army. But while marching to the Fall People the army is ambushed by them thanks to the early warning they received. Ka-zar then rallies his people and attacks from within. Sheesa escapes back to the source of her power the lizard skull. After she kills Zaurai she has to flee with the skull to the Arctic wastes outside the Savage Land. A snow worm kills her and the Swamp tribe reunites back into a peaceful people.
I have to admit that Ka-zar’s plan seemed a little convoluted. He originally in the beginning manages to capture Sheesa and threaten her with death. Instead he surrenders and we get the odd plan. Still it was an enjoyable story filled with a fair amount of action. I also felt a little for Zaurai. He sounds like a guy who had my job. Sounds like a great idea to go live in the Savage land. Wish I could.
Writer & Artist: Timothy Truman
Scout and his two sons come upon a settlement in this new post-civil war America. Funkytown has grown around an old shopping mall into a thriving outpost of civilization in New Mexico. The place is run by the Union and main power players are the union rep Boss Torville. A Dr. Portugal who is engaged in some dubious medical experiments and Redwire a mysterious figure in a gas mask and red hood. Scout trades some jewelry for supplies but Boss Torville then charges a bunch of bogus taxes and fees. The result is Scout and his sons are put to work. This is apparently a trick that the union rep likes to use with newcomers. Eventually Scout gets into a fight with Redwire who seems to know Scout from the past. This fight takes them into office of Funkytown’s accountant. The fight exposes that this accountant has been stealing. The accountant is hanged while Scout and his boys take off.
The second book in the series starts to introduce what we can expect. Funkytown seems like something out of Beyond Thunderdome. Sort of what America has devolved to in this alternate reality of 2015. Redwire apparently knows Scout and carries a big grudge against him. A major villain that will be in this series with an air of mystery on his real identity.