SPIDER-MAN VS. THE HULK AT THE WINTER OLYPMICS

“The Outcasts!”
Writers: Bill Mantlo Mark Gruenwald and Steven Grant
Artist: Herb Trimpe

A group of masked mutants are trying to kidnap the Russian figure skater. Luckily Spider-man is around to foil their plan. Only a mysterious crystal forms around the skater and takes her underground. The Hulk is at this time jumping around when the crystal also forms around him. He is strong enough to break it and beat off the army of lava men that were there to capture him. Hulk goes into the caves after them and meets a beautiful woman named Kala the Queen of Subterranea.

So next day the leading skier is also captured by the crystal. When Spider-man shows up he is ambushed by the Outcasts and taken to their master the Mole Man. We learn that the Mole Man and Kala are in a war in Subterranea. Kala wants the Fountain of Youth to maintain her youth while the Mole Man is angry at her for refusing his proposal of marriage. Just then the hordes of lava men attack the Mole Man’s domain. His minions are too dumb to effectively mount a defense but the Outcasts manage to drive them back.

The Mole Man comes up with an offer to Kala. Their champions will fight on the surface so their subterranean domain is not further wrecked by the war. So the Olympic games are interrupted when giant lifts take the village up a mile. There the Mole man and his Outcasts fight the kidnapped athletes who are fighting because Kala has kidnapped the girlfriend of the skier and turned her old. She also managed to drug the Hulk so he fights Spider-man who was reluctantly recruited by the Mole Man to save the Olympic crowds from the Mole Man’s underground machines.

A big fight begins with Spider-man and the Hulk battling each other as the captive athletes and Outcasts pair up. In spite of the cheating of Kala the battle is still evenly matched. The girlfriend manages to escape and falls into the Fountain of Youth. Her presence gets the athletes to rebel. The Hulk is sent down into a rolling ball of snow that crashes into Kala. It breaks her helmet that shielded her from the effects of aging and she turns into an old hag. The Fountain of Youth was destroyed but the Mole Man still wants Kala as her queen since its dark down in his realm so looks aren’t important.

I thought I would dig out this old issue since its freezing cold out and the Winter Olympics are starting in a month. Most of the Treasury editions were reprints of past issues. This is a rare one that was original. Coming out for the 1980 Winter Olympics at Lake Placid, New York. I remember loving this issue as a kid. It had these huge pictures and two page spreads of epic battles. The real Olympics were never this exciting so just a fun read on a cold winter day.

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KULL THE DESTROYER #17

“The Thing from Emerald Darkness”
Writer: Doug Moench
Artists: Alfredo Al-Kull-A & Ed Hannigan

Kull notices that Kareesha the witch is diving into the ocean at night and follows her. She comes to two old sunk Lemurian pirate ships and places a glowing emerald sphere. When she surfaces Kull confronts her about it but Kareesha mind controls some Atlantean guardsmen who distract Kull. Later Kull is summoned by King Om-ra. He suspects that Khornah is plotting to overthrow him and asks that Kull spy on him when he sets sail to patrol the coastline.

So Kull accompanies Khornah and finds that he does indeed have plans to take over. A fleet of Lemurians are coming to join him in his coup. Kareesha has other plans and activates her sphere. The two sunk ship surface with the skeletons animated. They attack Khornah’s ship. Then a Kraken surfaces and starts to pull the ship down. Kull manages to kill it and washes ashore. Somewhere further down Khornah also washes ashore and vows revenge against Kull.

So Moench is jumping right in with an interesting story. One filled with intrigue. Khornah is plotting to take over. Kareesha is also plotting something. She states that Kull is being set up to be her puppet. I don’t think Kull is going to make a good puppet. A good start to this reactivated series. Very interested in where it is going.

KA-ZAR #6

“Hide and Seek”
Writer: Mark Waid
Artist: Pino Rinaldi

Ka-zar manages to just avoid the falling blue whale exhibit. The Rhino continues though to pound the shit out of him. It looks bad for Ka-zar when the Rhino starts to transform back to his weak and stupid self. He then goes back to strong but the transformations are increasing. Ka-zar manages to convince the Rhino that Parnival betrayed him and so they both go off to his building. There the Rhino uses the machine to stabilize his body. Then he goes tearing up the place as Ka-zar and Shanna retire to their hotel to watch the show. Meanwhile we find out that Thanos is the guy in the inter-dimensional closet and his men have recovered a square ship at the Savage Land.

This was a revealing issue. A great move to convince the Rhino that Parnival betrayed him. Ka-zar turned an enemy into an ally. It was really funny as Ka-zar and Shanna sat back with drinks as the Rhino tearing up Parnival’s place shook the Earth. Parnival is quite powerful as a scene that always stuck with me. A secretary was in his office without permission so Parnival just erased her identity. I just remember that scene so well and it was quite powerful. Some other things are that he is working with or for Thanos and they now have a powerful ship that they found in the Savage Lands.

MOTHER RUSSIA #2

“No Worse Enemy”
Writer and Artist: Jeff McComsky

Svetlana does not trust the ‘fucking Nazi’ that saved her. Major Otto Steiner is quite calm and asks if she shoots him that she would take care of the dog. She is a good dog and not a very committed National Socialist. The hordes of the undead are about to break into the bunker so she puts aside her hatred and lets him lead her to a more safe place. He notices the boy crying and comes to the conclusion that he is hungry. Unfortunately he has no food. Svetlana has a can of pork and beans she found on the boy. So they have a nice meal.

During the meal Otto narrates what happened. They were getting strange directives from HQ. Burn the dead and don’t eat the meal rations. General Von Paulus is called back to Berlin and they never hear from him again. Soon zombies start to appear. Later the whole Soviet army comes up. The commander loses his head so Steiner shoots him and takes command. The battalion fights into the city and soon only him and the dog Brunhilde are left. Svetlana offers to share the food she has in the tower. But first they must fight their way through the zombie hordes. Luckily Steiner has plenty of firepower.

So the second issue introduces us to Otto Steiner. He is a man who takes charge and very ruthless. In addition to shooting his commander we get a scene where he also shoots his surviving men over some disagreement. Still he cares a lot about his dog and it is hinted that he was a father. Plus he also saved Svetlana and the boy although he gives credit to Brunhilde and he saved Brunhilde. A short look into how the zombie outbreak developed but we are still left in the dark of the big picture just as the characters are. Sets up a big action packed conclusion next issue.

THE WARLORD #84

“Hail to the Chief”
Writer: Cary Burkett
Artist: Dan Jurgens

So the reconvened Congress appoints Morgan to the office of President. He doesn’t really want it but the traitor Dubrow killed off all the people in the line of succession. The people just won’t trust anyone else so Morgan reluctantly takes the oath of office. He finds out that there isn’t much he can do. The world’s ecology is dying and nothing can stop it. Unless they turn back the clock. He goes to Dr. Reno and discusses using the time ships at the complex in going back and stopping the nuclear war. So they go back and Morgan finds that the cavern the ships are stored is the same one he found in Skartaris. He convinces the men there to try his plan. Meanwhile in Skartaris Jennifer and Ashir are attacked by cave bears. They take refuge in a cave and are saved by a horrible smell. They notice after the bear runs off that Tinder is missing.

“The Floating Palace”
Writer: Gary Cohn
Artist: Ron Randall

Jinal is taken up to the floating embassy of the Ancients. There she finds out the ancients have been around a long time and created the lizard-men and Mulge in attempts to adopt humans to the new environment. They also know about the Qlov. They show Jinal that some Qlov also survived the battle and have successfully contacted their brethren. Then Ancients want Jinal to capture one of the Qlov so they can get both sides of the story.

Well its rare that a comic book character becomes President of the United States. That was unexpected development but one that makes sense. Morgan is clearly not happy being a politician and show a bit of his orthodox behavior in threatening with a sword the many people trying to see him. This does set up the next logical way this story is going. They are going to go back in time and stop the nuclear war. We are getting very close to final of this time travel plot.

The Barren Earth has also introduced a new element in the Ancients. They seem to be advanced humans who never left the Earth. They seem to know a lot more than Jinal about the Qlov. This is also winding the story down and setting up for the mini-series that was coming.

KULL AND THE BARBARIANS #3

“The Omen in the Skull”
Writer: Doug Moench
Artist: Vicente Alcazar

Kull and Ridondo are heading toward Atlantis where Kull hopes to raise an army. He draws his sword and it bursts into flames leaving runes on the blade. Kull stops at an island inhabited by the witch Kareesha. He gets a vision of a future when Atlantians invade the Thurian mainland. They are lead by a member of the Sea-Mountain tribe. So Kull thinks it is his destiny and continues on. Arriving in Atlantis Kull has a vision of a huge skull. Then his friends appear and turn into skeletons. He saves a girl from a battling tiger and snake. The snake wins but Kull kill the snake. The woman says it represents the battle between him and Thulsa Doom. This is all an illusion and the two continue on and find a city has been build in the ten years that Kull has been absent from his tribe.

“An Informal History of Solomon Kane”
By Fred Blosser

A biography of the fiction character. An English Puritan who has a wanderlust that takes him throughout Europe and Africa where he battles supernatural creatures and evil men.

“The Day of the Sword”
Writer: Roy Thomas & Doug Moench
Artist: Howard Chaykin

Red Sonja comes on a group of robbers torturing one of their victims. Sonja confronts them and naturally because she is a woman they don’t take her seriously. That is until she cuts the hand off of one. Then she kills the others and finds out their victim is know to Sonja. A flashback to when Sonja was a young girl living with her family in Hyrkania. Her father a wounded former mercenary. One day a group of mercenaries come lead by a former comrade. This man kills Sonja’s family and rapes her. As she escapes the burning house an image of a goddess comes and promises to give Sonja skills. She must never love a man unless he has defeated her in a fair fight. A straggler from the mercenaries finds her and she uses her new skills to defeat him. In the present she rides away after realizing that the nameless mercenary’s mind is gone from the torture.

“Into the Silent City”
Writer: Roy Thomas based on story by Robert E. Howard
Artists: Alan Weiss and Pablo Marcos

Solomon has agreed to help destroy the vampires infesting this African land. First he sleeps with the ju-ju staff and communicates with N’Longa. He informs Kane that he should have the girl bring her lover back and grasp the staff. She does this and N’Longa takes over the body. They then go to a ruined city and are attacked by the hordes of vampires. Kane fights them until N’Longa can finish his spell. Flocks of vultures come and eat the vampires. Another spell sets the city on fire destroying all the vampires left.

The final issue in the short lived series. Apparently distribution problems plagued this series and it was cancelled. As this issue came out they still must of had confidence that it would continue. An advertisement for the next issue was at the end and the subscription pages still offered it. Too bad because I really enjoyed this concept. A great place for the three other characters of Howard to be showcases. Still Kull would eventually get his series reinstated and Red Sonja and Solomon Kane would have their own limited series. All three would also have appearances in the Savage Sword of Conan.

So the Kull story was okay. A little weird with all the weird visions. It did hint at Kull being the leader of an Atlantean invasion. The end also had a mystery in that a city is now on Atlantis where there was none. Will be continued in Conan which will be explored sometime in the future.

The Red Sonja story was an origin story so that was important. A very intriguing story that would set the motivation for this character decades in the future including the present.

Finally the Solomon Kane story was also just okay. He seemed to be more of a spectator than one who actually did anything. The Fred Blosser biography was very interesting and helpful in tracking the chronology of his adventures.

BLITZKRIEG #5

“The Raid”
Writer: Bob Kanigher
Artist: Lee Elias

Franz and his comrades are ordered to go north. Division HQ is under attack by paratroopers. They first get ambushed by some old men in French army uniforms. Then they are attacked by American planes and the trucks are destroyed. They come on paratroopers trapped in trees and use a flamethrower to burn them out. They then go on foot and come to a bridge occupied by American paratroopers. Ludwig, Franz and Hugo are assigned to swim under the bridge and plant explosives. Later they arrive at HQ and kill the occupying Americans. At the end the three are resting and speculate that this raid will convince the allies not to invade. It is June 6, 1944 D-Day.

“The Devil Waits”
Writer: Bob Kanigher
Artist: Ric Estrada

318 B.C. the Goth chieftain Vertix is killed fighting the Mongols. His son Maric is to be the new chief. First he must stay in the Bird forest where no man has ever returned. After fighting off a pack of wolves he falls to an underground cavern. There a primitive woman leads him to her tribe of Neanderthals. They try to kill him but Maric survives and becomes the new ruler.

So this is the last issue for this series. I suppose a series seen through the eyes of the enemy just couldn’t find an audience. Too bad because I liked the stories. Probably ahead of its time. This issue ended with the guys just before D-Day not even knowing that they were fighting the opening salvo in the invasion. An appropriate ending to a unique series.

The second back up was a bit weird. It also didn’t make much sense. If nobody ever returned from this forest then why did Maric have to face it. Obviously his father didn’t. A very strange story.

RUDOLPH’S SUMMER FUN

“The Open Road”
Writer & Artist: Sheldon Mayer

Rudolph and Grover the Groundhog are on vacation. They are flying on a bicycle helicopter contraption. They set up camp and catch some fish for a nice dinner. A wandering hobo named Mr. Cat smells the fish and comes up with a plan to impersonate a game warden to get free fish. Only when he shows up the friendly Rudolph and Grover invite him to dinner. Mr. Cat decides to steal the bike. First he fakes the dishes being stolen by a moose. Then he jumps on the bike and takes off. Our naive friends want to help so they build a glider and go after Cat. They catch up and find the dishes in his coat. Being so trustworthy they think Cat recovered them and take him with them on their vacation.

“The Lady on Liberty Island!”
Writer & Artist: Sheldon Mayer

The three visit the Statue of Liberty. Cat comes up with a scam. He convinces the two that he bought the Statue of Liberty because the government was replacing it with a plastic one. Now he is broke and the statue is bound for the junk heap. So he gives them the statute so they can take it to the North Pole. He then trades a tugboat for their bike. He convinces them that the island is a raft and can be towed. The tugboat is also not his. So Cat takes off just as a hurricane arrives. Cat crashes the bike through the Coast Guard station and picks up a Captain. It then crashes on the tugboat which in the storm washes up on the ferry. The real owner is on the ferry and has Rudolph, Grover and Cat arrested. Luckily Rudolph’s nose guides the ferry to safety and they are released as heroes and given a sailboat to return home. Cat is forced to work on the tugboat.

“Homeward Bound…But”
Writer & Artist: Sheldon Mayer

Rudolph and Grover are sailing home. A seagull conspires with a porpoise to guide the two to a different destination. Using a magnet they guide the boat to Animal Island. Here animals that once worked for humans now live. They are convinced that Rudolph can save their island from disappearing. They see for themselves when a rope bridge disappears before their eyes. Rudolph finds out it is termites that are eating the wooden things on the island. He negotiates a treaty where the termites will not eat the animal’s things if the animals don’t step on their homes.

“Funland!”
Writer & Artist: Sheldon Mayer

Puzzles and games. Includes a board game. Some paper tricks. Riddles and connect the dots.

So I decided to do another extra Christmas review. This Rudolph occurs in the summer and I believe it came out in the summer. An odd choice for a Rudolph comic but I remember getting it since I liked the last Treasury edition comic I got. I have to say that Rudolph and Grover are dumb as wall paste. Mr. Cat who just looks real shady should be enough reason not to trust him. I mean the Statue of Liberty being sold to him. Really how dumb do you have to be. I guess God does watch out for the stupid since they come out okay. A fun little past from my childhood and kind of has a Christmas theme.

BLITZKRIEG #4

“The Tourists”
Writer: Bob Kanigher
Artist: Ric Estrada

Franz and his friends get leave and are in Paris. They do all the tourist type things like visit the Eiffel Tower or cruise the Seine. Eat at a French Cafe and see the Louvre. All along the day they witness Resistance attacks that they take part in. The final one at the Arch of Triumph has the resistance sacrifice their lives to plan the French flag atop the monument.

“The Souvenir!”
Writer: Bob Kanigher
Artist: Ric Estrada

Feldwebel Emil Wasser has an obsession of collecting souvenirs for his girlfriend back home. Polish hams, Dutch cheese, Belgian lace and French champagne. On the Egyptian front he is having problems finding something that would impress her. The squad attacks a British fort. Wasser goes in and sees a picture of Winston Churchill that would make a find souvenir. It is wired to a grenade and goes off putting an end to Emil Wasser’s souvenir collecting.

“Battle Album”
Writer & Artist: Sam Glanzman

The Chance Vought Corsair. A plane that saw action starting at Guadacanal. Nicknamed the Whistling Death by the Japanese downed 2,140 aircraft at a cost of only 189 Corsairs. Later saw action in Korea and was the last prop driven fighter build in the United States.

This was an interesting issue with the guys doing the tourist routine. I think it did a great job of showing this city under occupation. The Louvre is being looted of art as they browse it. They have a contempt for the French who for the most part just went on with their lives. Still there was resistance. In one instance a brother kills his own sister and her German officer date. Shows that in some ways France was in its own civil war during this period.

The second story was with a different character and quite an enjoyable story. This series was branching out into other characters and was going to jump around in time as we have already seen.

KULL THE DESTROYER #16

“The Tiger in the Moon”
Writers: Roy Thomas & Doug Moench
Artist: Ed Hannigan

Kull and Ridondo are in the throne room of Atlantis. Kull has decided to turn down the offer of second in command of Atlanitis’s army. This seems to set off Khor-nah the commander who thinks this means Kull must be plotting against them. He orders the guards to stop Kull which just gets the guards asses kicked. The king a laid back guy named Om-ra says Kull can leave which he and Ridondo do. They go to a mountain and talk about their previous adventures that lead them to being here. Ridondo decides to take a rest as Kull climbs to the top of the mountain and call on the Moon Goddess. To his surprise she actually comes and Kull asks about his future. She shows him a time where the Atlanteans are invading the Thurian mainland. It ends with a fight between Kull and Thulsa Doom that shows Doom winning.

So the Kull series is back after being cancelled two years ago. Appears that they noticed sales were increasing after the cancellation was announced so decided to resurrect this title. Kull’s adventures continued in the black and white magazines for a while. Since it has been a while since the series was published naturally this issue is devoted to exposition to get the reader caught up. One interesting thing we learn is that Kull seems destined to lose his battle with Doom. So now Kull has to go wondering if he can change the future.