THE WARLORD #44

comics

“The Gamble”
Writer & Artist: Mike Grell

Morgan and Aton arrive at the small outpost of Banthum. Morgan hopes to find an armorer that can fashion him a better sword. So he leaves Aton at the local tavern. It is here that he meets Tevalco El Cint. El Cint is running the shell game and gets Aton to bet their horses. Well when Morgan comes back he is more than pissed off that Aton lost their horses. El Cint offers a deal. If they can retrieve a gem at the top of a mysterious tower they can get their horses back.

So this tower can be reached by going through a maze. Oh and El Cint locks the gate and says the key is also with the gem. So Morgan and Aton have no choice but to succeed. After avoiding the traps and rabid dogs they reach the tower. It is guarded by empty suits of armor that can move. A fire that is started burns the tower down before the two can retrieve the gem but they do get the key. El Cint then offers Morgan another deal. Win the shell game and they get their horses. Lose and they have to work for El Cint. Morgan is too smart and when he picks it is to chop off El Cints hand that holds the pearl. At the end as they leave Shakira reveals herself and decides to tag along.

“Games of Power, Games of Chance”
Writers: Dan Mishkin & Gary Cohn
Artists: Greg La Rocque & Vince Colletta

The world board votes to accept IC&C’s offer to acquire a majority share in Vernon Brothers. Omac becomes disillusioned with his deal with Quixote and head out. He comes upon a carnival and decides to check it out. A beautiful girl named Mariela latches on to him and gets him away from some Moonies. She convinces him to go into the Funhouse. This Funhouse has six volunteers go in and only five come out. Omac is appalled at how cheap life is but Brother Eye detects a dangerous spatial anomaly from the Funhouse. So Omac volunteers so he can put an end to this Funhouse.

So Morgan starts his quest for Jennifer. We find out in the beginning that Jennifer did survive and is rescued by a strange man who talks to a box. This was a fun little adventure. Aton is shown as a young naive man. He falls for the old shell game. Morgan played along to teach him that a man must pay his debts. He decided to cut off El Cint’s hand because he tried to turn them into the gutter trash that El Cint was and that was too much. We also get Shakira back in at the end. I really love her and can see why such a popular character was brought back. The epilogue had the group stop at Morgan’s crashed plane so he could retrieve some more ammo. Shakira goes off and looks at the old computer image of a city and sheds a tear. There are some really tantalizing hints that Grell drops about Shakira’s past the he unfortunately never gets around to revealing. I hope that some day he will write a Shakira origin.

The Omac story is getting interesting. We see the world that this future is and how the common people are finding entertainment. Volunteering to brave death in the Funhouse is popular with the jaded populace of the future. Interesting to see what is in store for Omac. This and the fact he is deciding not to back Quixote and getting a girlfriend all point to big changes coming.

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DOC SAVAGE #4

comics

“Ghost Pirates from the Beyond!”
Writer: Doug Moench
Artists: Tony Dezuniga & Marie Severin

In Casablanca a French official and the chief of police are assassinated. The files in their office are set on fire. Later a man calls Doc Savage for help and is also assassinated. The only clues point to a party that Doc Savage and his friends were invited to. So Doc and his Amazing Five arrive. The man they were to meet is poisoned and the host of the party kidnaps a woman to escape.

The trail leads to Casablanca and the team go their using the Doc’s submarine. They find a mysterious ghost ship that is actually a sophisticated high-tech boat in disguise. They further find out that their is a treasure located in the mountains. A treasure if not recovered could lead to a rebellion by the Moroccans. Doc Savage manages to expose the villain and recover the treasure.

Another full length story and this one once again deals with a mysterious super villain. This one masquerading as a ghost of a Moroccan pirate. This somehow reminded me of a Scooby-Doo cartoon. Still it was well handled with the exotic location of Casablanca, pirate ghosts and treacherous French officials. I think the stories are continually getting better for this title. Once again another fun filled pulp action story set in the thirties.

SHANNA THE SHE-DEVIL #6

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“The Killing Season Part 6”
Writer & Artist: Frank Cho

Doc and Shanna are fighting their way through a valley teeming with raptors. Shanna’s twin machetes are cutting a path through them and Doc isn’t doing too bad with his rifle either. They manage to make it to the other side and things are looking good. Suddenly the ground gives way and they are caught in a landslide. Doc is trapped under a boulder. A boulder too heavy even for Shanna to lift. The raptors have their scent and Doc implores Shanna to go on without him. But first he pleads with her to kill him before the raptors can get him. Shanna refuses but Doc insists. We end with the image of Shanna swinging her machete.

This was an exciting issue. The story is simple and goes fast but that’s ok. This is a type of comic that was meant to be appreciated for its beautiful artwork. Shanna looks awesome swinging her machetes and decapitating raptors left and right. Doc narrates this so we get insight into the story. Doc is an honorable and brave man willing to sacrifice himself for others. He also has hope to make Shanna less cold and more emotional. He seems to be succeeding. The ending leaves a cliffhanger for the conclusion to this series.

KA-ZAR #20

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“Assault On a Cold Fortress!”
Writer: Doug Moench
Artist: Val Mayerik

Ka-zar takes Tandy Snow and with his gnome pal steal a flying shark. After Ka-zar downs a few of the Quarlians with a crossbox who are pursuing they make a clean getaway. They come upon a war party marching on the Sheenarians. These warriors are the old people of the lost city. They stole the life energy from Tongah, Kloss and Zabu. Ka-zar doesn’t know what happened to his friends or otherwise wouldn’t decide to join forces with the warriors. Meanwhile the Sheenarians discover a problem. Seems their messing with dimensional travel has caused a problem. Parts of their planet are transported to Earth and vise-versa. Klaw decides to abandon his Sheenarian allies to pursue a more lucrative life of crime. It ends with Ka-zar being attacked by Sheenarian ships while assaulting the rejuvenation center.

So this is the last issue of this Ka-zar series and it ends on a cliffhanger. It promises to continue on in the future in some other Marvel title. I do not know what that was or if they ever did finish the story. Ka-zar and Zabu went on to other adventures so I know they made it back. I think that Moench did a good job of trying to finish the story but there is too much going on to finish it properly. I would like to find out if it was completed somewhere else. Sadly for now I have to move on and remain left wondering to the outcome of this exciting story.

SCOUT: WAR SHAMAN #9

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“The Bigger They Come Part 2”
Writer & Artist: Timothy Truman

Scout and La Duke track the Doodyites to a ranch. They decide to cause a stampede of elephants into their camp. So riding the giant armadillo Delbert the two drive a whole herd of elephants into them. Then Scout shoots a few and manages to rescue his son. He’s somewhat mad but once he gets his son back calms down. He plans to take his kids back to the cave of the Hopis. Meanwhile Redwire is making a move to take over Rosa’s army. He has all sorts of goodies for her troops, food, medicine, beer and TVs.

“The Choice”
Writer & Artist: Timothy Truman

Child of Water has destroyed all the monsters and now the Apache can live in peace. Usen the Giver of Life gives Child of Water and his brother Slayer of Enemies a choice. He lays out a gun and a bow and arrows. Slayer of Enemies being older gets first choice and chooses the gun. Child of Water gets the bow. Slayer of Enemies goes east and becomes the father of the white man. Child of Water goes to the mountains and became the Father of the Apache. And that is why we became different.

Well this issue was a somewhat light read but no less interesting. Scout finally gets his son back. We get a good elephant stampede and Redwire looks like he is planning some sort of coup. Interesting things are coming.

This also ends the Tales of the Apache folklore. My guess this was a more newer addition to the folklore with the introduction of the gun and how the white man came about. This was a real interesting story and a great insight into Apache culture. Very much appreciated this.

THE WARLORD #43

comics

“Berserk”
Writer & Artist: Mike Grell

Morgan has made it into Shamballah but finds out that Tara has been captured by the Therans. Also his laser rifle is out of juice. So he decides to bluff. He will have a force of five hundred men stripped of armor swim through the flooded computer complex under the city and outflank the enemy. Meanwhile he distracts them by going out and proposing a deal. Single combat between Morgan and the Theran’s best man. The winner take all. So Morgan has to fight a four armed mutant. He drags out the fight until his men are in position. Then he dispatches the four armed mutant and frees Tara. The two fight in the epic battle. Morgan falls under the spell of the Hellfire sword and becomes a killing machine to sate the sword’s bloodlust. A young Theran soldier surrenders and Morgan is about to dispatch him when his hand is stopped by Tara. He realizes that the sword has taken possession of his soul and throws it into a river. A hand comes out of the water and takes the sword. Later Aton arrives with a piece of wreckage from Jennifer’s ship. Tara smiles knowing that Morgan has a wanderlust that will never keep him by her side.

“Vanquisher The Movie”
Writers: Dan Mishkin & Gary Cohn
Artists: Greg La Rocque & Vince Coletta

Omac fights Vanquisher on the roof as Vernon Brothers film it. Vanquisher is a pseudo-human and quickly runs out of juice. He eventually self-destructs but Omac is too powerful to be injured. Brother Eye traces the signal to a nondescript hotel down the block. Omac goes there and captures the triplet Vernon Brothers. IC&C manage to capture New York without a fight and end the war.

What an awesome issue. Morgan has to rescue Tara and defeat the Theran army. While he accomplishes that the Hellfire sword finally shows it’s malevolent side. There was always something evil about the sword. While a powerful talisman against magic it’s need for blood always made it a sinister force. The battle showed that Morgan couldn’t use it and keep his soul so wisely discards it. I also love the ending. Tara wakes up and listens as Morgan and Aton discuss Jennifer’s missing ship. Morgan notices and she gives him a knowing smile. Grell doesn’t give the reader any time to rest. After such a fast paced story he starts off Morgan on another quest.

The Omac story was good. A lot of action then Omac captures the Vernon Brothers. Not much plot but it does advance the story along. We wonder what the future has in store for Omac. All in all a great issue. It finally brings Morgan’s quest to a satisfying ending and also sets up a new one.

DOC SAVAGE #3

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“The Inferno Scheme!”
Writer: Doug Moench
Artists: John Buscema & Tony DeZuniga

A robotic eagle breaks into a jewelry store and steals some diamonds. An exhibit at the museum for The Stavros Diamond has its security increased. A frantic woman is trying to convince the museum to call off the exhibit. Just then a robotic bear breaks in. A man in disguise tries to stop it but is no match and the diamond is stolen. The man is Renny one of Doc Savages friends who was their to watch the diamond. The woman is identified as Contessa De Chabrol. She claims it is her brother who now calls himself Inferno is behind the thefts. He has a fortress in northern Maine and is creating a weapon from the diamonds.

So Renny goes with the Contessa to break into the place. He is captured and forced to complete the laser weapon or else the Contessa will be killed. Renny breaks out and finds out that the Contessa is not Inferno’s brother but his lover. She is in on the plan to blackmail the world governments with the death ray. Fortunately Doc Savage and the others arrive and put an end to the scheme. The fortress blows up when the Contessa tries to use the death ray that has been sabotaged.

“A Most Singular Writ of Habeus Corpus”
Writer: Doug Moench
Artist: Rico Rival

Lt. Andrew Blodgett Mayfair aka Monk is having a friendly sword fight with his friend Ham. Monk is one of Doc’s Amazing Five and a brilliant chemist. The fight is interrupted by the arrival of a beautiful woman that needs Monk’s help. So he goes with his pet pig Habeus Corpus to a warehouse on the docks. The woman’s brother turns out to be a notorious bootlegger. He wants Monk to come up with a way to take the alcohol from a rival bootlegger’s booze. Monk manages to have his pet pig chew through his bonds. Then using ointment that he smeared on the pig creates an acid to dissolve a hole in the wall. The rival bootlegger comes and in the gunfight an explosion destroys the warehouse. Monk and the girl make it to safety along with Habeus Corpus.

The third issue starts to give Doc Savages companions more time. The main story actually had Renny the brilliant engineer as the main protagonist. The backup story will start spotlighting a solo story for each of the Amazing Five. Monk the brilliant chemist with a pet pig got his own story. Both stories were quite enjoyable. Once again it has a James Bond feel to it. A crazy mad scientist with a death ray. A fortress full of armed men and animal robots. This time the beautiful woman that comes to them for help turns out the be a villain. I am enjoying this series and look forward to the next issue.

SHANNA THE SHE-DEVIL #5

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“The Killing Season Part Five”
Writer & Artist: Frank Cho

A T-Rex drags out the decapitated T-Rex from a river that Shanna and Doc killed last issue. No sooner than he starts to chow down is this T-Rex surrounded by raptors. Hundreds of raptors. They swarm the T-Rex and make him a meal before moving on. At the compound things are looking grim. Only two men are healthy enough to drag the growing number of dead bodies to the pit to be incinerated. Only hope that Shanna will arrive keeps them going. Meanwhile Shanna and Doc run into a problem. The valley they have to cross is swarming with raptors. A detour will be too late to save the compound. So Doc convinces Shanna they must go straight through. They will blast their way across with dynamite and Shanna’s twin machetes.

This was a very picturesque issue. It shows in colorful detail the threat that awaits Shanna and Doc. The situation looks hopeless but I love that these two will try anyway. It sets up one epic battle to begin the next issue.

KA-ZAR #19

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“Raknor the Slayer!”
Writer: Doug Moench
Artist: Val Mayerik

So Ka-zar confronts Raknor coming back from his trip. He is angry to hear that Ka-zar killed his son. Ka-zar manages to get in some good punches but his bragging makes him overconfident. Raknor knocks him out and takes him back to the city of Quarl. There Queen Tandylla is starting to overcome the Fires of Submission and assert her old persona of Tandy Snow. So much that her advisers want her to undergo another session in the Fires. So Raknor brings Ka-zar and wants to kill him which Tandylla still won’t allow. Ka-zar comes to and the second round he soundly defeats Raknor. Then he takes Tandylla and with his new found gnome friend attempts to flee the city.

So more drama with Ka-zar and the fearsome fish-men of Quarl. Tandy Snow seems to be coming out of her mind control. Some other threads flouting around are the invasion of the Savage Land. The Zebra men are mounting a resistance and Tongah’s wife has escaped. Tongah, Kloss and Zabu are succumbing to the mysterious old people who are stealing their live force. And Klaw and the green skinned invaders are plotting to re-invade the Earth. One more issue to the end of this Ka-zar series so stuff is coming to a head.

SCOUT: WAR SHAMAN #8

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“The Harder They Fall”
Writer & Artist: Timothy Truman

Scout has a Doodyite staked out in the old Apache fashion. He wants to know where they have taken his son. When he refuses to talk then the ants get dumped on him and that gets him to talk. So Scout continues on with his son Tahzey on the trail of the Doodyites. He meets up with his old friend Beau La Duke. La Duke rides around on a giant armadillo named Delbert. Delbert was rescued from a mad geneticist lab. They get ambushed by the Doodyites but old Delbert puts the fear of God into them. La Duke agrees to help Scout rescue his son.

“The Antelope Monster”
Writer & Artist: Timothy Truman

Child of Water has killed three of the four monsters. Now its the Antelope Monsters turn. The Antelope Monster is the most dangerous of the monsters. He can kill with just looking. Child of Water gets help from a lizard. The lizard shows how to make special arrows that can cause a fire. Child of Water shoots an arrow and starts a fire. The Antelope Monster comes looking to kill who started the fire. Child of Water hides on the ground and keeps shooting arrows and causing fires when Antelope Monster isn’t looking. The Antelope Monster keeps running to the fires and eventually dies of exhaustion. Now the world is safe for people.

No elephants were harmed in this story. Scout and his son come upon an elephant that was from an old game reserve but do not harm it. The cover is a bit misleading. So we see that Scout knows how to torture out information the old Apache way and can you blame him. They kidnapped his two year old son. We also get Beau La Duke back into the story. Riding a giant armadillo no less. Its great to have him back. Now with Scout they are obviously going to kick some major ass.

The Tales of the Apache are coming to a conclusion. These are some dumb monsters. Get him to run around until he dies of exhaustion. These are really enjoyable. You get exposed to some fascinating cultural stories in Apache folklore. Truman says he plans to make this series into a children book and that sounds like a great idea. See you next week.