WONDER WOMAN ’77 MEETS THE BIONIC WOMAN #6

“Different Flowers from the Same Garden”
Writer: Andy Mangels
Artist: Judit Tondora

CASTRA’s army of mercenaries and Fembots under Radl are winning the battle for Paradise Island. So Wonder Woman and Jaime implement the only option they have. Going to the temple of Athena. There the Stones of Soteria resonate a magnetic field that keeps the island hidden from the outside world. They use the stones to generate a large electro-magnetic pulse that knocks out the Fembots. Meanwhile Wonder Girl, Max, Rudy Wells and Joe Atkinson successfully take out CASTRA’s HQ in South America. The evil villains set off the self destruct and Dr. Cyber vows revenge.

The final issue is this series comes to a satisfying conclusion. CASTRA is defeated and Paradise Island is safe. Some of the villains escape and we learn that CASTRA was not the main player. It was being used by an artificial intelligence called Alex 8000. Alex 8000 in the robot body of a beautiful woman was using CASTRA to acquire the necessary technology for her plans to control the world. So a sequel was left open. I hope its written. I enjoyed this fantasy team up. I could believe that this was a real TV special from back in 1977. It was very true to both series.

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THE WARLORD #76

“Aftermath”
Writer: Cary Burkett
Artist: Dan Jurgens

Shamballah has fallen to the New Atlanteans but Lord Sabre-tooth is unhappy that Morgan has escaped. Saabra the witch uses her abilities to turn into a crow to find the survivors. Morgan and Tara lead the survivors to the Valley of the Lion which has plenty of game and easy to defend. On the way they are ambushed but thanks to Krystovar they come up with a strategy to get the lizards the New Atlanteans ride to start fighting among themselves. Morgan decides that to defeat the New Atlanteans he will go to the cave with all the futuristic weapons and liberate enough to free Shamballah. Meanwhile Shakira discovers that King Ashir is prisoner and there is a mysterious set of eyes that are watching Morgan.

“Sea Change”
Writer: Gary Cohen
Artist: Ron Randall

The pipe that they are using to draw water from the ocean has stopped working. Something is clogging it up and Jinal decides to investigate. Since she is the only one on the planet who knows how to swim she gets an iron lung made and dives into the sea. There she finds an old maintenance robot has jammed the pipe. After she frees the pipe she discovers an old battlecruiser that she activates.

So this issue deals with the aftermath of the New Atlantean invasion. Obviously the survivors have to reach a place of safety so that is what the story is all about. I loved the interaction with Tara at the beginning. Now its Morgan’s turn to be the responsible one and lecture her on her duties. It was a well handled moment. Not surprising that the weapons cavern is going to be a major plot point in upcoming issues. Also Shakira, Ashir and Scarhart are also joining the action. Oh and the mysterious eyes hold some sinister foreboding ahead. The New Atlantean invasion was a brilliant idea sure the generate a long running story.

The Barren Earth is developing an interesting plot point of its own. Basically they find a working starship so that brings up some interesting possibilities for future ideas. Both stories are developing with great ideas but the reader has no idea where its going which makes for eager anticipation of the next issue.

MARVEL SUPER SPECIAL #12 WARRIORS OF THE SHADOWREALM

“The Darklens Gems”
Writer: Doug Moench
Artist: John Buscema

Tyndall, Velanna and Mud-Butt are enjoying a meal in the tavern when the warning goes out that the Dark Riders are in town. They usually come only to hunt someone. A mysterious figure in a cloak decides to get up and leave in a hurry. He bumps into Mud-Butt and knocks his head into his fork as he is lifting it. This causes a fight that tears the cloak off and reveals the person as the savage elf they helped earlier in the last issue. He is obviously the one the Dark Riders are hunting for they take off after him.

Tyndall decides to help him but they are too late to save the elf. They do manage to take his pouch with a plea to get it to Zarthon. The three then run away and are lead by a white wolf to an inn. The innkeeper gives them a safe room and the trio discover the pouch is full of five gems. At night the gems become demon wraiths but the white wolf comes and defeats them. In the morning they find out from the innkeeper where Zarthon is located.

So they go to a house build above a lake in a crater. There Zarthon tells them the gems are the Darklens gems. These gems hold the soul of the evil wizard that created the Weirdworld. His soul can be released by the silver light of the moon and his minions the Dark Riders are searching for these gems to release him.

“How This Book Came to Be”
By Unknown.

An article on how the artwork is done from the drawing to the coloring. A dry article.

“The Stuff of Which Dreams are Made”
By Richard Marshall

An article on the history of fantasy illustration in the US. Another dry article.

“A John Buscema Scrapbook”

Some samples of John’s early sketches for this book.

The second issue is another masterpiece. What is most stunning is the artwork. There are several full page drawing and they just look awesome. The full page spread for both Zarkon’s place from both outside and inside is just a thing of beauty. The story of course is also great. The trio are moving to a big confrontation for the fate of the world which is what these type of stories should be about. An abrupt ending but this was originally written to be one issue. I think it was a great idea to break it up. It allows for the stunning full page artwork which makes this such a treat.

KULL THE CONQUEROR #8

“Wolfshead”
Writer: Len Wein based on story by Robert E. Howard
Artists: Marie & John Severin

Kull is coming back from a raid on the Lemurian pirates when a story blows his ship and another one off course. They land on an unknown island and set up camp. Brule is leading a patrol when they are attacked by the Cult of the Leopard. Fierce men with sharpened teeth and a fanaticism to their cult. A mysterious man saves Brule from the cult. A mercenary named Demontur is in the employ of the ruler of this island.

So he takes Kull to Dom Vinsala who greets Kull with hospitality. He offers to treat Brule and fix their ships. Kull soon finds that the Dom is a tyrant and his people are turning to the cult. Demontur is later found out to be a werewolf. The people revolt against the Dom’s cruelty and siege the castle. Demontur turns into a werewolf and kills the Dom freeing the people of the island and allowing Kull to sail on to Valusia.

Another great story that was adopted from a Howard story. I love the atmosphere of this mysterious island that has a cruel tyrant, a vicious leopard cult and a werewolf. Howard was one of the best and his brilliance shows in this story. Demontur is a tragic figure that you sympathize with that manages to die a hero. Dom Vinsala is a crazy madman and Kull is the stoic barbarian king that is establishing himself as more than just another Conan.

KA-ZAR THE SAVAGE #33

“Brother Can You Spare A Mine?”
Writer: Mike Carlin
Artist: Paul Neary

Parnival is secretly mining anti-metal with the help of some of the local tribesmen. He has a raft full of the metal and is confronted by Ka-zar and Shanna. Parnival takes Shanna hostage and starts off toward the icebreaker waiting for him. Ka-zar catches up with him just outside the Savage Land and frees Shanna. Zabu also manages to find his way here. Now they fight the crew and Ka-zar is about the give his brother a major ass kicking. Parnival sees that one of the crew is going to shoot Shanna and actually knocks her out of the way. In the process he falls overboard and is frozen under the ice. The gang go back to the Savage Land to return the anti-metal. A strange bone that was unearthed causes Shanna to disappear. The tribal chief says it transported Shanna to Heaven so Ka-zar and Zabu follow.

Well this was an OK issue. A light plot but did end on a sad note. Parnival Plunder looks like he had it. Just a cowardly scheming guy who actually redeemed himself by saving Shanna. At the end the group is mysteriously transported by some glowing bone. It was announced this issue that the next one would be the last. So it looks like this story was a bit rushed to get it done. It did set up a good cliffhanger on how this series would end.

WONDER WOMAN ’77 MEETS THE BIONIC WOMAN #5

“Attack of the Fembots”
Writer: Andy Mangels
Artist: Judit Tondora

Wonder Woman is wounded by Dr. Cyborg and both her and Jaime are in trouble. But its Wonder Girl and Max the Bionic Dog to the rescue. Max tears off Dr. Cyborg’s arm and Wonder Girl does a good job of smashing up the Fembots. Jaime flies the invisible plane to Transformation Island which is where the hospital is for Paradise Island. Wonder Girl and Max manage to rescue Ruby Wells and Joe Atkinson.

Jaime after dropping off Wonder Woman goes to Paradise Island. She finds that the Amazons are in a desperate battle with CASTRA’s army of mercenaries and Fembots. Jaime has a plan that involves using the generator that shields Paradise Island to cause a massive electro-magnetic pulse and disable the Fembots. But it would also expose Paradise Island to the world.

The action is really heating up with this issue. An army of mercenaries and Fembots battling the Amazons. Wonder Woman mortally wounded. She gets healed at the end and is coming to join the battle. Even Max the Bionic Dog gets in the action. Jaime gets a cool change into Amazon armor and ends with a fateful decision to be made. Everything about this series just makes me want to smile. I feel like a kid back in the seventies.

THE WARLORD #75

“All Dreams Must Pass….”
Writer: Cary Burkett
Artist: Dan Jurgens

Morgan is trying to reconcile with Tara and finding it hard. She is still angry at Morgan for always leaving but she still loves him. While riding Morgan is attacked by a tornado but manages to survive. The tornado was caused by the mysterious black crow who is revealed to be the witch Saaba. Saaba holds a grudge over Morgan destroying the Eye of Shakakhan back in issue #16. She needs help though in her revenge and finds just the ally in Lord Saber-tooth.

Lord Saber-tooth leads the armies of New Atlantis in searching for Morgan and Krystovar for their part in destroying the beast making machine. Saaba tells him that Morgan is in Shamballah. After conquering their ally Khaambuka they march on the city. Morgan meanwhile is with Krystovar in the old computer complex underground. They find that the computer system has been slowly rebooting itself. It is functional enough to read the cartridge that Morgan found in the weapons cave. It is a record of an Air Force lieutenant from 300 years in the future. Before they can explore this further Morgan must rally the defenses of Shamballah.

The New Atlantian army has arrived and they are armed with laser canon and excellent armor. The city quickly falls and Morgan leads Tara with some survivors through the underground complex to fight another day.

Well a lot happened in the issue. It was fully devoted to the Warlord which was what this story needed. A major plot development with the New Atlantean invasion and conquest of Shamballah. Now Morgan is a fugitive with his estranged mate which does conveniently keeps them together in adventuring. This was just a brilliant direction for the series and I looked forward to future developments.

It was great that Burkett was showing that he actually was a fan of the series. He brought back a minor character in Shaaba. She was a one issue appearance back in the early days. Her use made sense and was a welcome addition. Also the computer complex below the city and the awkward love triangle with Greamore. The guy really shows that he understands the concept of the Warlord. Oh and that deepening mystery with the Air Force involved with ancient Atlantis. Good things are happening with this series.

MARVEL SUPER SPECIAL #11 WARRIORS OF THE SHADOWREALM

“Part The First”
Writer: Doug Moench
Artist: John Buscema

The dwarf Mud-butt and two elves Tyndall and Velanna are fishing in the Great Marsh. They are on their way to the City of Seven Dark Delights. They witness an elf with a mohawk come running by and Tyndall saves it from a swamp serpent. The mohawk elf continues on as if chased by something. Later nightfangs come by and follow the trail. So the three make their way across the marsh in a log with spikes to impale attacking swamp serpents. On the trip Mud-butt gets the two elves story. Tyndall found himself in a village of dwarfs with no memory of his previous life. The dwarves decide to send Tyndall to fight a darkness that threatens them. So Tyndall makes in through the shadow realm and finds a skeleton of a giant fish. Inside the skeleton is an egg that hatches Velanna. They have some adventure with an evil wizard but manage to escape.

So the group makes it to the City of Dark Delights. It is sort of the Vegas of this world. Mud-butt gives them a list of warning including if someone tries to touch you they should be killed. Otherwise have fun. So the group settles at an inn for a dinner. Meanwhile five sinister riders are approaching the city.

“The Knowledge of Elves”
By Doug Moench

A poem on Weirdworld.

“What Lurks Ahead”
A brief look at the upcoming stories with some illustrations.

“A Map of Weirdworld”
A full page map with a key explaining the major locations.

“A John Buscema Scrapbook”
Illustrations of characters from Weirdworld.

“Washed Ashore on Weirdworld”
By Doug Moench

An article on how Doug came up with the concept and the struggle to finally get this published.

“How This Book Came To Be”
By Unknown

Another article on how this issue was put together.

This series has to be one of the finest ever written. I remember as a kid being spellbound by the world. It was illustrated in bright color with several full page spreads. A pull out poster and one fold out three page spread. The world looked so beautiful and exciting. I had no problem imaging myself having adventures in this world. Even today I still have the same wonder as I did almost forty years ago. The cool map with such exciting places as the City of the Unclean or Forbidden Lagoon or Perilous Isles. There was a whole world to explore. It is a shame that very little was done with this concept. Except for this spectacular three issue run there were only a few more isolated stories run in various anthology series. A lot of imagination and thought went into this series. It sounds like shortly after Marvel had a dispute with the creator so that is why noting came of this.

KULL THE CONQUEROR #7

“Delcardes’ Cat”
Writer: Gerry Conway based on story by Robert E. Howard
Artists: Marie & John Severin

Kull comes on a fight at the front gate of the palace. An unruly man named Kulra Thorr from Zarfhanna was attempting to see the lady Delcardes. He has fallen in love with her but Delcardes is of royal blood and no noblewoman may marry a common foreigner. Kull decides not the put Kulra to death and instead banish him from the kingdom. Later an assassination attempt is foiled by a warning from Delcardes. In thanking her Kull learns that she has a talking cat named Saremes. Saremes can predict the future and Kull takes in the cat. Later the cat says that his friend Brule was dragged into the Forbidden Lake and only the king can enter this lake.

Well Kull is off to the lake and jumps in to rescue his friend. He has to fight a giant octopus, giant swimming spider and a gill-man that can disguise itself as a beautiful woman. A giant snake grabs hold and dumps Kull in the land under the lake. Here he finds a sword in a tree and pulls it out. Then he goes to the city and confronts the inhabitants who are walking dead. Because Kull has the sword they believe him a noble man and convince Kull that they do not have Brule.

So Kull goes back to the palace and confronts Saremes. He finds out that it is Saremes servant who was the real voice. This servant is none other than Thulsa Doom. Doom has his laugh then leaves. Delcardes apologizes for being in on the plan because she wants to marry her peasant. Kull decides to waive tradition and allow the marriage. Kull ends up with a pet cat that doesn’t talk.

So this was an adaptation from the master himself and it is one wild ride. Kull is just bombarded with one threat after another and just keeps on going. This was a really cool story that could be ridiculous if anybody but Howard wrote it. It flowed fast paced and you could really believe that the cat could talk. The story also introduces that Thulsa Doom is still lurking about and wanting to cause trouble. He makes a real good villain for this strip. A very enjoyable issue.

KA-ZAR THE SAVAGE #32

“He Ain’t Heavy…”
Writer: Mike Carlin
Artists: Paul Neary and Marie Severin

Ka-zar, Shanna and Zabu are heading back home to the Savage Land. While they are traveling both envision their futures in the form of old sitcoms. Ka-zar Knows Best, I Love Shanna, Leave It To Ka-zar and The Honeysavages. Meanwhile Parnival Plunder aka the Plunderer is back in the Savage Land to loot it of its anti-metal. He runs into a tribe and gets the young members hooked on a portable video game. He promises them new batteries if they can find the anti-metal.

Ka-zar and company come home to their treehouse and find Parnival has taken up residence. Ka-zar is not happy to see his brother but Shanna convinces him to let him stay. He is after all family. So Ka-zar agrees as long as he does all the work which Parnival is more than happy to do. He is in fact bidding his time until the natives can find the anti-metal which they do at the end.

So this was an offbeat issue. You have the dream sequences of them in the old classic sitcoms. Sort of an interesting idea. I am sort of neutral on this issue. Didn’t really like it or hate it. Ka-zar’s brother is back and up to no good. I don’t think you can have a Ka-zar series without his evil brother coming around to cause trouble. I love the old portable video games used to addict the tribesmen. Q-bert. This does date the issue but brings back a bit of nostalgia. Those games back then were addictive.