“King Kull Must Die!”
Writer: Roy Thomas based on “By This Axe I Rule” by Robert E. Howard
Artist: Michael Ploog

The conspiracy against Kull is ready to act. Brule and most of the Red Slayers are on a diplomatic mission. The four wait for the mysterious fifth to arrive. Ardyon is a wizard who can use his magics to make the palace guard fall asleep. The conspirators with the exception of Baron Kaanub who is too much a coward go to Kull’s chambers with fifteen armed men. They instead find that Kull is not asleep and waiting for them. Using his ax he practically takes out all his attackers. Ardyon reveals himself as Thulsa Doom. Using his magic he knocks out Kull and seizes the crown for himself. Kull is thrown into the dungeon to await execution.

So we get a whole new direction with this series. The first is the name change. I suppose it does sound a bit cooler. I mean Kull hasn’t been doing any conquering in this title but he definitely does a lot of destroying. Thomas is at his best adopting Howard stories. This particular story actually was a rejected Kull story that got rewritten into the first Conan story. One major alteration is making Ardyon Thulsa Doom and having him usurp the crown.

This is a change that has many possibilities. It will reduce Kull to a wandering individual who has exciting adventures while trying to regain his crown. Now this also does seem to make him into another Conan and there was already a Conan series going on. So it does seem like a risk of redundancy in this title. Kull is unique enough to still give this series a different feel. The move would produce some fine stories for this series.

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