SHANNA THE SHE-DEVIL SURVIVAL OF THE FITTEST #4

Untitled
Writer & Artist not listed but probably the same as the first three issues.

Shanna, Dirk and a whinny Russian named Ivan are the only survivors of the group. They find themselves between the Axe-Man and a horde of raptors. Shanna manages to lead the raptors right into the Axe-man’s thugs. The Axe-man gets wasted by Dirk in a scent that looks straight out of a John Woo movie. Shanna then leads Dirk, Ivan and the rescued neanderthal baby out of the city. They run into the survivors of the Axe-man’s group. When they hear he’s dead they join forces with Shanna. A battle ensues that almost sees them overrun by raptors. Doc arrives in the nick of time with his homemade coconut bombs and saves them. The survivors then use the Axe-man’s plane to leave. Dirk invites Shanna to join him but she and Doc decide to stay on the island.

Well this series was awesome. Incredibly fast paced. In no time at all Shanna and Dirk waste the Axe-man, escape the Nazis city and escape the island. Doc and Shanna are still there so its quite possible there may be future adventures in store. I really enjoyed this reboot of Shanna.

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KA-ZAR THE SAVAGE #5

“The Ties That Bind!”
Writer & Artist: Unknown

Ka-zar and Shanna are flying on a skite back to the mainland. They seem happy and genuinely in love. While up in the air they see Zabu swimming in the sea in search of Ka-zar. He jumps in and plays around with his friend. A saurian attacks them but they manage to make it to shore. Later at night Ka-zar tells a story from his past. How he first met Zabu and formed an unbreakable bond. One day Zabu was off and Ka-zar was worried. While looking for him he runs into his friend Tongah. Tongah tells of an attack by a large sabertooth.

Ka-zar decides to track down this dangerous cat. With Tongah and the man who survived the attack they head out. Later the man develops rabies and has to be killed. They now know that the sabretooth has rabies and Ka-zar fears it could be Zabu. The cat attacks Tongah and later attacks a T-rex and gets eaten. Tongah knows he is infected so with Ka-zar’s help prepares his funeral rites. He then kills himself and Ka-zar sets the funeral pyre. When he gets back to Tongah’s village he finds that they have captured Zabu so the infected cat was another sabretooth.

A sort of intermission in the Ka-zar sage. Shanna and Ka-zar have reconciled. Ka-zar no longer seems so unsure of himself and has gotten over Leanne. We get a nice recap of Zabu’s origin. The surprising development is finding out good old Tongah has died. I liked him and it was a sad and bittersweet story. The writer who was once again not credited in this issue but probably Bruce Jones is not afraid to kill off popular characters. A nice little story that shows this series is going in a whole new direction from the series before it.

SCOUT: WAR SHAMAN #14

“I’m Coming Home”
Writer: Timothy Truman
Artists: Timothy Truman & Ricardo Villagran

Scout, Rosa and La Duke are back in Arizona. Redwire has a little reign of terror going on against the local Hopi Indians. They join up with the Reverend Sand Dog Yuma. A fire and brimstone preacher with a Schmeisser. La Duke goes off to see a contact about buying some guns. The others then raid Redwire’s camp. It starts off good but at the end Scout is confronted by Redwire who has his two sons prisoner.

“Take Me To the River”
Writer: Beau Smith
Artist: Todd Fox

La Duke has come to see McTaggart to buy some weapons. The river pirate Atuma Yuma hears of this. He is allied to Redwire and also looking to acquire some weapons. So he ambushed La Duke and takes the guns. Before he can kill him a woman opens fire and drives him off. A bounty hunter named Rita Rodricho is after Atuma. She tracks him down and gets captured. Before Atuma can do anything La Duke comes riding in on a motorcycle with guns blazing.

So the story is coming to a big conclusion. Scout has some allies and is going on the offensive. Rosa still shows that there is some humanity left in her. Reverend Sand Dog is a cool character. The end has the surprise twist of Scout’s sons being held prisoner. A great cliffhanger ending.

The La Duke story was also great. He’s is typical hillbilly good ole boy. Rita Rodricho is an interesting character and Atuma, Sand Dog’s evil brother, makes a great villain. A good backup story that compliments the main story.

THE WARLORD #48

“Dragon of Ice”
Writer & Artist: Mike Grell

Aton has finished searching the southern coast and has come to inform Tara of what has happened. She decides to go with Aton to search for Morgan in the Land of Shadow. Meanwhile Morgan and Shakira come upon a village on the coast. A poor place of mud huts. At the moment the villagers are about to sacrifice a young woman on a stone alter. Ignoring Shakira’s advice Morgan goes down to rescue her. He manages to chop up the villagers but didn’t count on the sacrificial victim turning on him. Hit in the head he finds himself now tied to the alter and the young woman is going to sacrifice him.

Luckily for him Shakira manages to grab his pistol and shoot up a bunch of villagers. Before they can leave the Ice Dragon comes. It turns out to be a Viking ship whose crew died and now drifts into shore on the tide. So generation were sacrificed to appease this monster. The ending finds Jennifer at castle Deimos. She feels something evil watching her.

“Arak Son of Thunder”
Writer: Roy Thomas
Artist: Ernie Colon

A native American comes on to shore. He is searching for amber in this medieval land. He comes upon a ruined temple and a beautiful woman bathing. After a misunderstanding that forces Arak to kill her two dogs they are attacked by Vikings. Arak is knocked unconscious. He awakens and tracks the Vikings to a pit filled with amber. The woman is lowered into the pit where a large amber statue comes alive. Arak fights his way through the Vikings and attacks the monster. He is saved at the last moment by the woman who controls the monster. The Vikings flee and the woman after binding Arak’s wounds heads off with a cryptic message that they will meet again in the City of the Golden Horn.

“The Curse of the Claw”
Writer: Jack C. Harris
Artist: Tom Yeates

A man is lying on a battlefield the sole survivor. He has cut off the claw on his hand. But the claw magically reattached itself. The man Valcan curses the Lords of Light. An emissary of the Light comes and chastises him for being such a whiner. His ancestor dabbled in dark magic and its only fair his descendants suffer the curse. So he’s told to man up and don the helmet and sword and fight evil. He rides on a bridge of light to the city of Ichar. There humans are fighting a horde of demons. Claw joins the fight when a horn sounds. A demon on the hill has sounded it. He has a human hand. Claw knows its his destiny to fight this demon.

Well where to begin. The Warlord story was a fun one. Tara is joining the search. Jennifer is now at castle Deimos with a dark entity. Wonder who that is? And Morgan is still playing hero. Once again he gets into something that didn’t turn out as planned. Grell has a way of showing that looks can be deceiving. The beautiful girl is actually a fanatic who wanted to be sacrificed. Luckily Shakira was there and shows that she knows how to handle a pistol. A good solid story.

The Arak story was a free insert to promote a new comic. A new sword & sorcery tale with a Native American who was the last of his tribe living with Vikings in medieval Europe. Such a fascinating concept. This preview worked on me at least. I bought the first issue of Arak and later collected its entire run. Someday they will be reviewed on this blog.

Claw the Unconquered is the new back-up feature for this title. A title that was short lived gets a second chance in Warlord. It was a great fit for the title. A man with a demon claw as a hand. A mystical world with light and dark at constant war. A cliffhanger with the demon that has Claw’s hand.

So this issue is responsible for me collecting two new titles. The new Arak and the old short lived Claw series. Both were great sword and sorcery ideas. This issue did a great job in inspiring me to check out these comics.

DOC SAVAGE #8

“The Crimson Plague”
Writers: J Warner J Whitmore & Doug Moench
Artist: Ernie Chan

Doc comes back from Acapulco with some disturbing news. A friend of his was found wandering the streets babbling about his mind being stolen. Later a large brain with tentacles comes and kills him. Later another notable scientist is found with a similar affliction in New York. He is rescued by a cop from committing suicide. The Octo-brain was also present. Some malevolent being is responsible for stealing the knowledge from the great minds of the world.

Doc dispatches his men to London and Paris to intercept possible kidnapping while he goes off to Hollywood to rescue two of his men. They then battle some stuntmen who are using some sort of paralyzing gas to knock out their victims and steal their minds. Now Doc and his Amazing Five are next on the list.

So this is the final issue of the black and white line of Doc Savage. Marvel decided to pursue other projects which is a shame because this was an enjoyable series. The final issue was typical in having a rogue Hollywood producer who developed the Octo-brain a machine that could copy the knowledge of people. Then using hypnotism would block the knowledge and implant a desire to commit suicide. Naturally the goal was world domination.

This was an enjoyable series with its pulp ’30s feel. With plenty of gadgets and larger than life villains threatening the world. I think they were true to the spirit of the original Doc Savage stories. While this series ends its by no means the end of Doc Savage. There is the movie with Ron Ely. I hear that Dwayne Johnson is set to star in a new movie. There are tons of books that have been written from the ’30s up to now. There is also many color comic books that were done throughout the years by various companies. I will probably look into these and some of the books that have been written. A fascinating character I hope to explore sometime in the future.

SHANNA THE SHE-DEVIL SURVIVAL OF THE FITTEST #3

“Pit of Beasts”
Writers: Justin Gray & Jimmy Palmiotti
Artist: Khari Evans

Last issue we left the pirates in an arena facing two sabretooth tigers. Shanna has jumped in with a club to save them. The club gets knocked out of her hands but that’s ok. She uses her hands to break one of the cats neck. Then tears off the others sabre tooth and stabs him to death. Obviously Shanna is one strong woman. So they are facing the angry neanderthals when a warning horn is sounded. The city is under attack by pterodactyls and raptors. While the neanderthals are busy Shanna leads the survivors to the rooftops. While there they run into the Axe-man and his surviving crew.

Once again another warp speed story. Shanna once again shows she is one major bad-ass. There is some compassion when she saves a baby neanderthal from a pterodactyl. It ends with the appropriate cliffhanger. This issue was mainly wall to wall action and little plot. But that’s ok. I mean this is a comic book about a scantily clad woman on an island with dinosaurs, Hong Kong gangsters and Nazis neanderthals. Any plot is kind of a bonus for a title like this.

KA-ZAR THE SAVAGE #4

“When The Sea Gives Up Its Dead!”
Writer: Bruce Jones
Artist: Brent Anderson

Ka-zar is searching for Shanna over a Pangean sea during a storm. He comes upon an island and his skite barely makes it there. Luckily he finds Shanna on the beach being attacked by a saurian. He wonders about her since she just screams and doesn’t fight back which is unlike her. Ka-zar has no problem taking out the creature. He then finds out that Shanna is suffering from amnesia. In reality she is Leanne in Shanna’s body. She was saved from the fall back in issue #2 by her lover Sep. Sep took her to this island where he found an advanced laboratory. He later finds Shanna unconscious on the beach. Using the strange machine he transfers Leanne’s brain from her comatose body into Shanna.

Now Leanne likes being in Shanna’s body. Its strong and she can hook up with Ka-zar. So she devises a plan that will have Ka-zar get rid of her old lover Sep. Ka-zar isn’t one to murder casually and finds out from Sep of Leanne’s deception. He has him transfer Shanna back. Then the two leave Sep with his comatose love on the deserted island.

So Ka-zar finds Shanna. It seems finally he has gotten over his moopy love for Leanne. Leanne shows herself to be totally conniving and amoral. I think Ka-zar finally got his head back on straight. So that’s basically the main point of this story. Not a bad one but getting better. We also get a hint that Pangea has some connection to Atlantis and has advanced technology lying around. Something that will be explored down the road.

SCOUT: WAR SHAMAN #13

“Borderlord!”
Writers: Beau Smith & Timothy Truman
Artist: Todd Fox

Beau La Duke is wandering the frozen countryside of Canada. Having successfully destroyed the train his squad was later ambushed and found dead. La Duke is then set upon by the Canadian ninjas that killed his men. He gives a good accounting of himself but succumbs to numbers. He finds himself tied upside down the prisoner of Hardin the man who was hired by the Canadian government to supply Redwire. He is converting old farm equipment like threshers into tanks. La Duke manages to escape and cause havoc. Hardin foolishly blames the head ninja mercenary Tremayne for his escape. This hurts his feelings and Tremayne then voids his contract and turns on Hardin. It ends with La Duke and Tremayne friends and Hardin left tied up hanging from his tank waiting for the below freezing night.

Oh yeah. I love Beau La Duke. This is a real man. He’s so cool even his hat stays on while he’s hanging upside down. This is a guy who takes crap from no one and just keeps going. I also love the Canadian tanks. They look cool but probably aren’t very effective as tanks. But they are probably cheap and have a high profit margin. La Duke will be featured in the back-up stories for the last three issues of this series so there is something to forward to. You could probably give this character his own strip. I’d buy it.

THE WARLORD #47

“Hunter’s Moon”
Writer & Artist: Mike Grell

Morgan and Shakira have crossed the terminator into where the land is dark. They are surprised by the sight of a moon in the sky. It seems that Skartaris has a small moon that orbits the inner world. Morgan decides to go hunting in the moonlight. While out he comes upon a man fighting off a horde of savages by himself. Morgan intervenes and saves him. The man is Mikola Rostov a Russian from the surface world. He heard about Skartaris from Professor Lakely and has come in search of Mariah who he had a relationship with.

Morgan and Rostov exchange their stories and later on are ambushed by the savages. They are tied to a post for the savages dinner later on. Just then the moon comes out and Rostov changes into a werewolf. He kills the savages and luckily the moon goes behind some clouds. We find out that he suffers from Lycanthropy and was hoping a world with eternal sunlight would free him from his curse. But there is a moon and he must flee as he feels the change coming on.

“The Marseilles Connection”
Writers: Dan Mishkin & Gary Cohn
Artists: Greg LaRouche & Vince Colletta

Omac and the smugglers arrive at Marseille and find it under attack by a giant blob. Because they were late with the shipment a mad scientist Dr. Lazarus has unleashed this blob. The corporation Armitron blames the smugglers for this because they were late. So Omac decides to stop this creature. Luckily the gauntlet he has on is a weapon that produces a destructive charge from the bodies energy. Omac can have Brother Eye channel a lot of energy through him. He manages to destroy the blob. Unfortunately this weakens him and Armitron is still angry at the smugglers. So they get in their ship and leave. Meanwhile Dr. Z the alien who can predict the future has decided that Omac is not the one to unite the world. That will come after the disaster so he must speed it up. He kills Wiley Quixote at the end.

Well a surprise that there is a moon in Skartaris. This of course gives Grell a chance to write another werewolf story. This also introduces a new character in Mikola Rostov. A fellow from the surface world he is indeed a fascinating character. There is more to learn about him and later on we will get such an opportunity.

This is also the last Omac story. I admit that original I didn’t care for the character but time and multiple reading have made him grow on me. This story was kind of rushed. There was a Dr. Lazarus who was briefly introduced and killed. Omac and his new found smuggler friends are forced to flee for their lives. Finally Dr. Z who hasn’t been much of a part of the story kills a main character and hints at hastening the coming disaster. So they ended it with a lot of loose threads hanging out there. Not really sure if the story continued in some other title. Reading Kamandi it would seem that Omac failed in preventing the disaster.

So we are left with Omac’s story unfinished. Good news is that the backup stories for this title get a lot better.

DOC SAVAGE #7

“The Mayan Mutations!”
Writer: Doug Moench
Artists: Val Mayerik & Tony DeZuniga

Doc and his gang are approached by two beautiful women in their 86th floor suite. One of the women is a native from a tribe in Peru. The other is Verper Hope a missionary who is helping the girl. She tells a story of evil white men who have come to the lost ruins looking for treasury. They have murdered a number of her tribe and have used giant insects against them. This piques Doc Savage’s interest and he agrees to take the case. While boarding their zeppelin they are attacked by a giant moth which gives credence to the story.

So after Savage defeats it with his bear hands the group is off to Peru. There they find an incredible civilization of those descended from the Mayans living in a giant tree. The area surrounding the ancient city was exposed to radiation which causes the giant mutations of insects and lizards. They discover that the Mayan were descended from aliens. When the aliens returned and saw the barbaric sacrifices they punished them by nuking their city thus the radiation. Doc eventually defeats the evil treasury hunters.

“Johnny”
By Bob Sampson

An article on William Harper Littlejohn. He is the geologist and archeologist of the group. A seven foot tall skinny man who suffers from a glandular malfunction. He likes to use obscure words when he talks. The article is a series in the companions of Doc Savage. Like the last one this was also quite dry and just listed off the facts about his life.

So this story has Doc and his crew going to Peru. It involves giant insects and lizards. A lost Mayan civilization that was created by ancient astronauts. A fun and interesting story. This one had him almost lose one of this brothers. Doc gets to demonstrate his surgical skills with saving Long Tom with a artificial heart valve. Something that was decades ahead of its time.