Writer & Artist: Mike Grell
Morgan is cleaning his pistol when Shakira comments on that he treats his pistol better than a woman. His reply is a woman couldn’t stop a charging grizzly bear. Well Shakira makes a bet that Morgan can’t resist using his pistol for the period between camps. After the bet is make they notice that they have been camped at the base of an old fortress. The fortress belonged to the Evil One. The Evil One apparently didn’t like guest because the place is littered with skeletons that were killed by elaborate traps. Some of these traps still exist. Morgan and Shakira manage to evade them and come to the final room. Using a key they found on an old skeleton they open the treasure door. Inside is a musty old mummy. Morgan manages to reduce it to dust with his sword. At the end he instinctively draws his pistol and shoots a leopard that followed them inside losing the bet.
Meanwhile a separate story is told on the bottom panels. The last Wizard World story had a little green demon recovering the Book of the Dead in the volcano that lord Sarrgon Fire-Eye lived in. This demon recites an incantation that turns it into the Evil One. The Evil One takes over Sarrgon’s place and enslaves him. Sarrgon at the end manages to send a message to Mongo. Also at the end Jennifer Morgan is confronted by Deimos who is now a head mounded on his hand.
“Hands Across the Hells”
Writer: Jack C. Harris
Artist: Thomas Yeates
Claw and the demon who has the human hand face off on the battlefield after a brief flashback that shows their ancestors forbidden rites that resulted in the curse. Both want their hands back and an epic fight starts. It goes on with both getting nowhere. The beautiful human queen stops the fight with a proposition. They should face a ceremony that will decide their fate. So on a full moon night the three stand atop a mountain. Claw and the demon grasp hands as the queen holds up a knife. All three are on floating magic circles and below is Jarmal the Lord of Death. Looks like a giant Venus Flytrap. So Claw is quick enough to grab the knife and cut off the human hand from the demon. The demon falls into the maw of Jarmal. The victory is pyhrric as the hand belonged to his ancestor and turns to dust. They end up celebrating their victory.
So this was an enjoyable little story. A spooky old castle full of traps and a friendly little wager. Shakira is the perfect companion for Morgan and this story illustrated the chemistry. Its sort of a filler until the big fifty issue final. We already get a hint with the appearance of Deimos as a head mounded on a hand. Its not a surprise that he is alive but it sure is creepy. I did wonder what he looked like after he was chopped into pieces and sure enough not to good. Grell also uses the separate storyline going on in the panels at the bottom of the page. It complements the current story and sets up for a future story. Quite an ingenious idea.
Claw ends with this second part. We get a fun little fight and some background into the curse. They decided to not pursue this character in future issues. I enjoyed Claw and did eventually collect the brief series that came out before this. Someday I will go over it but while I enjoyed Claw the backup feature that comes next was better.