KA-ZAR THE SAVAGE #26

“Escape from New York!”
Writer: Bruce Jones
Artists: Ron Frenz & Armando Gil

Ka-zar is angry and dying as he fights Spider-man in the hospital. Spider-man is able to easily avoid the angry Ka-zar so he starts to have a more rational conversation. Spider-man eventually agrees to help Ka-zar see Shanna which is a good thing. Because at that moment the A.I.M. doctors are giving her electro-shock treatment. They want to make her psychosis permanent. Ka-zar and Spider-man make short work of the doctors and get Shanna to safety.

They part company after Ka-zar gets to his fisherman friend. The fisherman smuggles Ka-zar, Shanna and Zabu to the airport where Ka-zar hi-jacks a small Cessna. The plane was about to be sole flown by a young teenager who just got his license. So the gang flies all the way to the Savage Land and parachutes out. Ka-zar at the end collapses as if dead. Shanna is delusional. Zabu has brought Buth of the Aerie to help.

“The Final Blow”
Writer: Bruce Jones
Artist: Val Mayerik

Young Ka-zar is poised to spear his best friend Zabu who is trapped. He stabs and stabs the helpless sabretooth. Maa-gor is filled with pride that his new adopted son shows such brutality. But maybe a little too brutal. His constant stabbing might ruin the meat. So he goes there and discovers that instead of stabbing Zabu he was breaking the trap that held him. Ka-zar then stabs Maa-gor in the foot and the two run away. They find plants that heal the wounds and settle in to rest.

This was a fun and exciting issue. Ka-zar finally manages to rescue his beloved Shanna. We see that he has deep feelings for her. There is also a fair amount of comedy. The inhabitants of the psych ward were hilarious as was the fisherman that helped them. Then the young man and his sister that were kidnapped to fly them to the Savage Land. There was also moments of anger and friendship. They get back and we are left with another cliffhanger ending. This series has it all.

The Tales of Zabu was also enjoyable. Ka-zar comes out of his daze and rescues his buddy. It shows that Ka-zar has lost his innocence with the killing of another human and is coming into adulthood. This was a great idea for a backup story.

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RED SONJA #6

“So We Meet Again”
Writer: Amy Chu
Artists: Marcio Fiorito and Carlos Gomez

The final confrontation with Kulan Gath and his beast. Sonja and Max have lured it to Coney Island where they hope that the Wonder Wheel in combination with Max’s power can open a doorway back to Hyrkania. Sonja jumps on the beast and stabs it which gets it to shoot its flaming breath at the wheel and power it up. Max does manage to open a portal and the beast being homesick ignores Gath and goes through. This distracts Gath long enough for Max to shoot Gath’s magical crystal and lower his barrier. Sonja then chops his head off. Gath is still immortal and continues on. So Max makes the ultimate sacrifice and drags him through the portal back to Hyrkania. Max’s partner still gets signals on her app that show him at a top secret research center in California.

So the final battle and we get to defeat the evil Kulan Gath. Max is now trapped in the past or is he? The ending sets up a road trip across the country which is a cool idea. I am glad that they are keeping Sonja in our time for a while longer. Her reactions and the possible adventures are endless in modern America. This has really turned out to be a great idea in bringing her to our world. Looking forward to the next adventure.

THE WARLORD #68

“Spirit of the Wolf”
Writer: Mike Grell
Artist: Dan Jurgens

Mariah finds Rostov outside and tells him that Jennifer is ready for him. Thus we get a moment between the former lovers and shown their past. Rostov was Mariah’s fencing instructor when she was just fifteen. She grew into an Olympic gold medal winner. They fell in love but one night while Mariah was in Athens the change came over Rostov. He went to his grandmother and found out the truth of why he has this condition. When Mariah came back he drove her away because he knew that he was a danger to her and didn’t want to pass on the condition to future generations. He then traveled the world looking for a cure and found Mariah’s old colleague in Vienna Dr. Lakely. He tells Rostov of the fantastic world of Skartaris and then Rostov’s arduous trek to reach it.

Machiste comes and tell him it is time. So Jennifer uses her magic to separate the wolf from Rostov. A black wolf is pulled out of him and now will obey Rostov. Overjoyed that he is free from the curse he makes a move for Mariah but Machiste will have none of that. Mariah objects to being fought over and will fight Rostov instead. So they fight and Mariah wins by cheating. This gets Rostov angry and his wolf attacks Mariah. He stops him in time and comes to the conclusion he is not yet free of the wolf and leaves with the wolf to wander.

“Siege”
Writer: Garry Cohn
Artist: Ron Randall

Jinal is now in the city besieged by the Harahashan. She finds it a pointless war and goes to the council to advocate that they give her a chance to negotiate a peace. The council has no interest so later that night Jinal and Skinner come disguised as Harahashan and kidnap the chairman. Unfortunately they are discovered but mange to escape the city with their captive.

So Rostov is finally cured of his werewolf curse. This was a slow issue but had its moments. Obviously Mariah wanted Machiste. I mean you don’t fight the guy that you want to end up with. Rostov had some problems with taking no for an answer. Still Rostov was an interesting character. Grell and his successors though decided to never use him again so we are left to wonder what became of Rostov and his new pet wolf. It also marks the end of the Wizard World adventure.

The Barren Earth just keeps getting better and better. Jinal is attempting to broker a peace and goes to extreme measures to do it. She gets Skinner to help. Skinner is a kind of happy go lucky type of fellow. I really like the guy. There is also a rivalry developing between Jinal and Renna who clearly has a thing for Skinner and feels threatened by the blonde newcomer. This story is just awesome.

HOWARD THE DUCK #2

“Animal Indecency!”
Writer: Bill Mantlo
Artists: Gene Colan & Klaus Janson

Howard and Bev come on a protest at a pet store in a popular shopping district. The protesters are protesting animal indecency. That animals are going around naked and not wearing any cloths. The protesters get real worked up when they see that Howard is not wearing any pants. So they chase him and Bev. They are rescued by the owner of a haberdashery Wally Sydney. Wally is a failed cartoonist who after WWI decided that he would start his own clothing line. His stores were successful but the seventies brought a complete change of style. So he hit on the idea of creating a movement to have animals clothed and so this movement was his idea. He threatens to tell the mob where Howard is if he doesn’t buy a pair of pants. So the dejected duck must now wear pants to escape the wrath of the animal decency mob.

“The Crash of ’79!”
Writer: Bill Mantlo
Artists: Gene Colan & Dave Simmons

Howard and Bev go for their debut in Dino Digitalis new movie being filmed at Union Station. They get there and find a bustling movie set. But when they go come from their dressing rooms in costume for Duck Rogers, they find the place abandoned because it was all a trap. Pro Rata The Cosmic Accountant from back in the color comic. He is looking for the Jeweled Key to the Cosmic Calculator. If he doesn’t get it the auditors will repossess his magic and put him in debtors prison. Unfortunately Howard hocked it. This gets him angry and he animates the breakfast special to go after the two. So Howard and Bev have to fight the Eggs-men. Living eggs, bacon, toast and coffee. All of this in the universe that Pro Rata created. Howard and Bev are flying a toy rocket ride that needs quarters against Pro Rata’s flying cash register. Luckily the two manage to defeat Pro Rata as the auditors come and take him away.

The second issue is as weird as the first. There is a lot of sly humor in this series. Fundamentalists on the march against animal nudity. While very weird is is also visually stunning. The weird world that Pro Rata creates is a treat of look at. I have to say that this series does intrigue me. Plus it is so seventies which brings a little nostalgia from my childhood.

KULL THE CONQUEROR #1

“A King Comes Riding!”
Writer: Roy Thomas based on stories by Robert E. Howard.
Artists: Ross Andru and Wally Wood

King Kull is riding to his palace when the mad minstrel Redondo starts sing a song that could be construed as critical of the barbarian king. Kull intervenes and stops an overzealous member of his Red Slayers from killing the minstrel. Later at the palace he receives an envoy from the ambassador of the Picts. Brule the Spear Slayer has come with a message for Kull to meet the ambassador at his camp alone. The two test each others courage and come to a grudging respect for each other.

As Kull contemplates his upcoming meeting we get a flashback on his life. As a youth he was raised by tigers and was later adopted by the Sea-Mountain tribe. On returning to the village one day there is to be a public burning. A young woman of the tribe is to be burned alive for mating with a Lemurian pirate. Kull in an act of mercy throws his knife killing her. Then he flees his enraged tribesmen and jumps into the sea where he is captured by pirates. Later he escapes to Valusia. First a brigand. Then a gladiator and later a soldier. He makes it to the commander of the Black Legion.

There is a conspiracy that Redondo is part of. They plan to use Kull to get him into a fight with the mad king Borna. Then Kaanub would seize the throne. The first part goes off like they plan but Kull has other ideas. He seizes the crown and proclaims himself king with the support of the Red Slayers. Now he wears an uneasy crown ruling a decadent kingdom.

Before there was Conan there was Kull. By at least 8000 years. He was Robert E. Howard’s first sword and sorcery hero. Indeed the first Conan story was a rewritten Kull story that was rejected. While never achieving the popularity of Conan, Kull is still pure Howard. A barbarian king who usurps a throne of a power decadent kingdom. Then has to fight conspiracies and supernatural threats. The first issue under the skilled writing of Roy Thomas do a great job of introducing this character to comics. We are introduced to a well established world that is as exciting as the Hyborian age. We are introduced to Kull’s greatest friend Brule the Spear Slayer, his councilor Tu and the conspirators of Mad Ridondo and Baron Kaanub. This was a first rate sword and sorcery comic.

KA-ZAR THE SAVAGE #25

“The Dead Who Walk”
Writer: Bruce Jones
Artists: Ron Frenz & Armando Gil

Ka-zar has had enough of being a slave to Ramona Starr. Ramona is not happy and knocks him out with the chip implanted in his brain. So Ka-zar wakes up on a plane bound for New York. Its carrying the last sample of the explosive formula salvaged from Schreiber’s base. Ramona has decided to get rid of Ka-zar. So first she has a bound Zabu tossed out then Ka-zar. Ka-zar manages to grab hold of her foot as she tries to stamp his hand. This knocks her back into the explosive formula which blows up the plane.

So Ka-zar and Zabu survive their twenty thousand foot fall and have to fight off the sharks. Luckily a pair of good humor fishermen happen by to rescue them. So Ka-zar makes his way to Peter Parker’s apartment since he knows that Peter is Spider-man. He demands to see Shanna. Peter refuses to tell him since Shanna has been committed to a psych ward. Seems she is not handling Ka-zar’s death well and going crackers. When a nosy neighbor comes to complain Ka-zar finds a note that tells him where Shanna is. So he sneaks off to the hospital. When he gets there the room is empty and Spider-man is waiting. Spider-man insists that for Ka-zar to see Shanna could cause her to go completely bananas. Ka-zar doesn’t care and the story ends with the two set to have a major smackdown.

“My Brother’s Killer!”
Writer: Bruce Jones
Artist: Val Mayerik

Zabu is recovering from his wounds by feeding on the vultures that came to eat him. A man-ape from Maa-gor’s tribe sees him and goes back to tell Maa-gor. This does not make him happy and so with a dazed Ka-zar in tow goes to the spot where he left Zabu for dead. When they get there Maa-gor decides to let his adopted son Ka-zar kill Zabu. So a dazed Ka-zar charges with spear upraised.

Well this was a wild ride. Ka-zar and Zabu have to be some real bad-asses to survive being pushed out of a plane over the ocean. Then fighting off a swarm of sharks. Ramona Starr finally got her just deserts and serves her right for being so cocky. Poor Shanna is going bonkers and stuck in an A.I.M. run hospital. Ka-zar is back and getting ready to fight Spider-man. What a wild ride this issue was.

The Tales of Zabu back-up is continuing on. They are short but good. Ends with a cliffhanger. We obviously know how it turns out. I mean there are over seventy plus issue of an adult Ka-zar with Zabu. What we don’t know is why and that will have to wait for the next issue.

GROO PLAY OF THE GODS #2

“Play of the Gods Part II”
Writer: Mark Evanier
Artist: Sergio Aragones

Captain Ahax, Taranto and the clergy of Iberza are on their way to the new world. Everyone’s spirits are high with the prospect of all that gold and heathens to convert. It quickly gets dashed when they realize that Groo is on board. Ahax immediately jumps ship and almost chooses getting eaten alive by sharks then being with Groo. Well after Groo wrecks the sails and some other stuff Taranto gets a brilliant idea. They set Groo and Rufferto in a small rowboat that is towed behind. This gets the ship safely to the new world.

So this new land known as Mexahuapan is indeed a wondrous land. Gold is everywhere and the people are quite content. They seem uninterested in being saved and want nothing to do with the cheap pots and jewelry the crew has to offer. They find out that these people have thousands of gods. A god for the color purple, the letter L, asparagus and the list goes on. This believe in so much gods materializes all these gods in the heaven where the current gods hang out. The realm of the gods is getting very crowded. Meanwhile Captain Ahax gets a ton of gold and tries to head out but his ship sinks stranding everyone in this new land.

The second issue gets us to a new land for Groo to cause all sorts of misery and destruction. So belief creates gods and the Mexahuapans belief in so many gods is overcrowding the realm of the gods. I am a bit confused by this since they believed in them for such a long time wouldn’t they have their own realm. Why would they all of a sudden appear in the old world gods realm. Maybe I’m thinking too much after all you shouldn’t think when reading a Groo comic.

THE WARLORD #67

“The Mark”
Writer: Mike Grell
Artist: Dan Jurgens

Jennifer is using her magic to find a cure for Rostov and his lycanthropy. The first thing she has to do is go back and examine Rostov’s past. So using a magic crystal she shows the group how his condition started. It is 1899 Russia and a young Cossack named Mikhail Ivanovich Rostov is visiting a Gypsy camp. Here he falls madly in love with a beautiful Gypsy woman named Gitana. He fight her man for possession and wins. Later while riding he is ambushed and shot in the back. After killing his assailant he makes it back to Gitana barely alive. She uses her Gypsy magic which includes rituals with wolf’s blood to bring him back. So the two get married and she is expecting twins. The twins are born one cold winter night and one is a wolf child. Rostov takes it outside and jumps over a cliff with it. The normal girl grows up and marries. She eventually has a son and passes the defective genes to. That son is Rostov.

“The City in the Sands”
Writer: Gary Cohn
Artist: Ron Randall

Jinal and Skinner are heading to his city with the captured vehicle when they are ambushed by a giant badger. The two escape and hide out in some nearby caves where they find something incredible but not shared with the readers. So the two make it to Skinner’s city and Jinal is not happy. The garrison has total regressed and is no longer a functional base. She is taken to meet the council and already seems to have made an enemy of the hot brunette who is on it. The meeting is interrupted by a catapult blast to the tower by a large army of lizard-men.

So this issue we explore Mikhail Rostov and his werewolf condition. We get the story behind it and its a fascinating tale of love and tragedy. This is Rostov’s story and it is a good interlude after all the action with the Evil One. Sort of a leisurely rest and yet continues to tell a very good story. Also shows how adept Jennifer has become with magic.

The Barren Earth continues and we get to see an actual human settlement. As expected its fallen to disrepair and the humans no longer even remember the war with the Qlov or that a civilization exists beyond the stars. This is also a sort of break from the action to give the reader time to catch his breath but still give us a very interesting story. In this case it also introduces a possible conflict that Jinal will have with the brunette chick. There is a hint of some mysterious wonder and ends on a cliffhanger with a large lizard-man army attacking the city.

HOWARD THE DUCK #1

“Fowl of Fear!”
Writer: Bill Mantlo
Artists: Mike Golden & Klaus Janson

Howard and Bev are being driven back to Cleveland from an adventure in Pennsylvania by Bev’s uncle. Now Lee Switzler is someone who is cheap and decided to buy some defective tires. So the car gets a flat and the group is stuck out in the rain in the middle of nowhere. Fortunately for them a house on the hill is nearby. Seeking shelter they find it is owned by Fairer Fowl Farms. Its run by a nutjob named Mr. Chicken a mohawked man wearing a chicken suit and his assistant a dim witted man with a pitchfork named Hank Skidoo. It becomes apparent that the guy is loony when he thinks they are chickens and takes them prisoner. Lee manages to escape while Howard is tossed into a breeding pen and Bev into a automatic plucking machine. The group is saved when Lee returns with the car fixed and bursts in.

“The $64,000 Desperado!”
Writer: Bill Mantlo
Artists: Gene Colan & Bob McLeod

So the groups makes it back to Cleveland. Uncle Lee has just bought a cab company called To Hack and Back. He offers Howard a job driving. Initially he wants nothing to do with a job but Bev forces him to take it. So he goes to the taxi commission for a license. There with the other applicants he is forced to strip and undergo a physical. Nobody notices he’s a duck and gets his license. On his first ride in the cab with Bev they come on the Cleveland marathon. A runner collapses on the cab. It is Cleft Chin the famous runner. He has been drugged by Jackpot the One-Armed Bandit. Jackpot has bet on the second best man in the marathon. So Bev convinces Howard to drive Cleft to the finish line since its OK to cheat if someone was cheating by drugging Cleft.

Jackpot has the ability to raise his one arm and out of his mouth comes tokens that bury his opponent. Howard uses Quack Fu and gets behind him and raises and lowers his arm several times. This causes Jackpot to get sick and they manage to drag Cleft Chin over the finish line in first place.

“From Hell It Cometh…Chair-Thing!”
Writer: Bill Mantlo
Artists: Gene Colan & Dave Simons

So while driving a cab he is rear ended by a giant cash register that forces him into the cab ahead. The cabbie is angry and starts to tear apart Howard’s cab with the help of a crazy old woman known as the Kidney Lady who is in the crowd. Apparently a past adventure involved said Kidney Lady. A policeman arrives and is about to arrest Howard when his passanger comes from the store and convinces him that Howard’s innocent.

The man turns out to be Dino Digitalis a big time Hollywood Producer who is in town. He wants to hire Howard and gets him to also cast Bev in his new production. So Howard and Bev go to a house that Bev found a room to rent. It turns out the landlady is the Kidney Lady with the disgruntled cabbie as a henchman. She is a witch who gets her power from eating kidneys.(Its never explained what type of kidneys.) When Howard came to Earth through the dimensional portal she got the paranoid delusion that Howard was sent to deprive her of kidneys. So she created a living chair that she then proceeds to feed Howard to. Howard and Bev fight back and Howard manages to set the chair on fire. This forces the Kidney Lady to save per precious chair and retreat vowing her revenge.

So I have to say that Howard the Duck has to be the weirdest comic to ever be created. I don’t think my summaries can do justice explaining just how weird this series is. I mean Howard and Bev seem to actually have sex which is just really weird. Still its an interesting idea. I mean this duck who talks and smokes a cigar goes around and nobody seems fazed that he’s a talking duck. I love the goofy tests they do for a cab license. It would explain the quality of your typical cab driver. There is a lot of sly satire in this series and I get more of it as an adult then a kid.

KA-ZAR THE SAVAGE #24

“On Death and Dying…!”
Writer: Bruce Jones
Artist: Bob Hall & Armando Gil

Ka-zar, Zabu and Ramona Starr are ambushed by Jeremy Schreiber and his men in the deserts of Morocco. After the camels are shot out from under them they take shelter in a cave. When Schreiber sends a tank to get them Ramona pulls out her C-37 anti-armament Luger and destroys it. The plan is that these three are to distract Schreiber while the main A.I.M. forces attacks. Ka-zar isn’t one to be cooped up so sneaks out and attacks the group watching over them. Ramona and Zabu make a break for it but are captured by Schreiber. He has Zabu shot and takes Ramona back to his base.

Ka-zar follows them back and is also captured while sneaking in. So Schreiber like any megalomaniacal would be world ruler explains his plan. He has managed to grow the plant that produces the powerful explosive. To prevent anyone else from gaining the plant he plans to launch a missile to destroy the Savage Land. This sets off Ka-zar and he attacks. This breaks the protective glass barrier and releases toxic fumes from the plants. As the men flee in panic they run into the A.I.M. forces that have arrived. Ka-zar knocks out Schreiber and carries him out. Zabu has also survived and rescues Ramona. The A.I.M think they have won but Ka-zar has set off the self-destruct and blown up the base denying it to A.I.M. Meanwhile back in New York Shanna is staying with Peter Parker and slowly going insane over the death of Ka-zar.

“A Savage is Born!”
Writer: Bruce Jones
Artist: Val Mayerik

Maa-gor is teaching his new adopted son Ka-zar how to hunt antelope. Ka-zar manages to bring one down to the delight of Maa-gor. Young Ka-zar is in shock from the past events and not really with it. When they return they find the tribe has captured someone from a rival tribe. Maa-gor has Ka-zar throw the spear into the captive which the dazed boy does. Zabu has survived and is recovering from his wounds as a pair of sinister eyes watch him.

This was a fun and action packed issue. Ka-zar is forced to help A.I.M. because they have the device implanted in his head and they threaten Shanna. In reality Shanna is back in New York and going bonkers. Its revealed that A.I.M. is responsible by shooting her with a chemical that’s slowly driving her insane. Ramona looks real hot in her spandex uniform with the big C-37 Luger that can take out a tank. Yet she still is a moonbat. Ka-zar gets the last laugh with destroying Schreiber’s base and stopping both him and A.I.M from getting the explosive. He walks away at the end finished with being Ramona’s lackey. You are left wondering how he will get out of this situation.

The Tales of Zabu back-up continues with its interesting story. Young Ka-zar is in a dazed way as he seems to go along with Maa-gor including killing a defenseless captive. Zabu is still alive so a big rematch is in the making between him and Maa-gor. A very excellent issue.