Writer: Justin M. Ryan
Artist: Kristian Rossi
A man is living with his daughter Maria and their dog Belle out in the country. Only this is after some nuclear war and civilization is gone. Now the man goes hunting for food every day desperate to feed his daughter. He doesn’t have much luck in bagging game that isn’t contaminated. While checking his traps he discovers a grey alien wandered into his bear trap. After disarming it he takes it back home and patches his wound. Later he tries out the weapon and it is a powerful ray gun. At night he has a conversation with the alien. The alien can’t speak English but the man is just happy to have someone to talk to and we get how he misses the old world. He then grabs a machete and apologizes to the alien. Next morning his daughter wakes up to her father cooking a horrible smelling stew. The father is vague on the source for the stew. He also says the alien got better and went away. Outside is a bloody machete imbedded in a tree stump.
So a new series from Alterna. I am starting to really enjoy comics from this new company. Printed on newsprint and a cheap price they are like buying comics was thirty years ago. So this series has a dark and moody atmosphere. The man and his daughter are very lovable characters and you really feel for them. It doesn’t have to show us the act to know that this desperate father is feeding the alien to his daughter. You wonder about an alien that can get caught so easily. Still this is a very unique idea for a story and I look forward to find out where its going.
“Bargain With the Devil”
Writer: Cary Burkett
Artist: Dan Jurgens
Morgan’s ship the Wind Shadow stumbles into the middle of a battle between a pirate ship and a New Atlantean galley. Since their ship was a former New Atlantean they are able to come alongside the ship and board it. After a brief fight they capture it. Now the pirate ship under the dread pirate Hawkins otherwise known as the Sea Snake wants some booty. They threaten Morgan but Morgan decides to bargain with him. Going over to this ship he makes a deal to pay for recovered slaves in exchange for gold. Hawkins being greedy agrees but has two of his crew sneak over to the Wind Shadow and capture Tara. He wants to use her as a bargaining chip. Morgan instead loads himself on a catapult and shoots himself to the pirate ship. With is pistol he threatens Hawkins and saves Tara.
“The City in the Sky!”
Writer: Gary Cohn
Artist: Ron Randall
Jinal and her companions now have a captured Qlov and on their way to rendezvous with D’Roz. The Qlov’s companions are after them in their globe ship. The group takes refuge in some ruins on a hill and set up the captured Qlov gun. While fighting both groups are trapped in a force field for the floating city of D’Roz.
So we have our first adventure for Morgan back in Skartaris. Time to get on to the fight with the New Atlanteans and a good start is capturing a ship and freeing slaves. This introduces a new character in the dread pirate Hawkins. A rogue with a fearsome reputation. A somewhat stereotypical good looking rogue that is morally challenged but deep down is a good guy. The character does work in future issues although at the time I had my doubts. A good solid story to introduce Morgan back to Skartaris.
The Barren Earth is coming to an end in Warlord. Another short story and we finally get to see the ancient flying city of D’Roz. The final installment next issue will set up the new mini-series.
“The Original Master of Time!”
Writer: Will Richardson
Artist: Lee Elias
Restin Dane is in the far future of Well’s Time Machine looking for his grandfather who was the original time traveler. He manages to enter the underground world of the Morlocks and is quickly captured. He then manages to break out with the captive Eloi and must fight off both Morlocks and giant rats. He loses consciousness while fighting the rats and wakes up with the Eloi. Seems he managed to teach them how to fight and they brought him to safety. A woman named Chelsa who can speak English greets him. She takes him to the museum to find his grandfather. Only his grandfather died a long time ago and is now a skeleton. Just then the Morlocks attack and take them both to their underground lair. Just as they are to be slaughtered for food the Eloi come and rescue them. They are lead by Restin’s father.
“The Fighting Armenian”
Writer: Will Richardson
Artists: Romeo Tanghal & Rudy Nebres
The Time Factory is a super secret think tank founded by Restin Dane for the government. It is to research cutting edge new technology. Now a guy in red tights has infiltrated and is destroying the security robots. Restin comes after hearing this with his grandfather Bishop and robot Manners. They eventually capture the man who is Sergei Baginsky a Soviet agent. Working as a deaf mute janitor he was augmented with famous Bolshevik plastic into a bionically enhanced man. He was chosen because they thought he was too stupid to defect to the decadent American lifestyle. Only the Soviets miscalculated since he is easily brainwashed to the decadent lifestyle and defects.
Artist: Alfredo Alcala
Voltar a great general has gotten tired of the endless fighting and decides to go back home to Elysium. Only there he finds his father dying in the destroyed village. The hordes of Gog and Magog are ravishing the lands. His father tells him to go to the king and help him defeat the evil hordes. After a run in with some trolls he manages to make it to the stronghold. There the people believe he is the prophesied warrior to lead them to victory.
The second issue of the Rook is another strong issue. The main Rook story was a fun action packed story. I love using Well’s book as the basis and his continuing adventures have gotten more interesting with the introduction of his father.
The back up stories complimented the main story nicely. The Fighting Armenian was a goofy story with all the Russians talking like Boris Badov and just fun. Voltar is a more serious sword and sorcery epic with beautiful artwork by Alcala. It just makes the story have such an epic feel and looking forward to future installments.
“The Hell Beneath Atlantis!”
Writer: Doug Moench
Artists: Ed Hannigan & Alfredo Alcala
Kull, Ridondo and the Lorkars go down the stairs that Kareesha created. They cross a fire lake and fight monsters that come at them. They manage to cross and find the bodies of Khornah and Shemenom. Sarna arrives and snatches the power ring from the finger of Khornah. He then uses it to take over Shemenon against his will to fight Kull. Kull and his allies fight and he manages to knock the ring from Sarna. This causes him to lose control of the body to Kareesha. The sight of her drives Shemenon mad with thoughts of his lost love and he turns on Sarna. Kull and the survivors block off the entrance to Hell and Kull with Ridondo and a Lorkar as his companion heads back to Atlantis.
This was a satisfying ending to the quest to stop Sarna. Sarna is dead and so it would seem is Kareesha. Although the last panel has her image so maybe she survived somehow. Anyhow Kull will have to deal with the cowardly soldiers that deserted him next issue. They persuaded king Omra to have Kull killed so it should be an interesting return. Next issue we get a new writer and artist so the series is going in a new direction.
“Urban Jungle Chapter One Bright Lights Big Jungle”
Writer: Mark Waid
Artist: Andy Kubert
Parnival and Thano’s plan is finally being implemented. Agents around the city have planted red glowing devices. Ka-zar and Shanna meet with Matt Murdock hoping he has some news on what Parnival is up to. He can’t find any inheritance but does figure out there is a maze on the back of the Plunder medallion. So later Ka-zar comes to the realization that his fascination with technology is his missing his own childhood. So anyway Ka-zar, Zabu and Shanna decide to go over and kick Parnival’s ass. They arrive only to find out that they are too late. Parnival has activated the terraforming technology and has turned New York into a prehistoric jungle complete with dinosaurs.
The beginning of Thanos/Parnival scheme. So basically Thanos wants to use the terraforming tech to conqueror worlds by using the growth against the planet. Ka-zar meanwhile gets all moppy by coming to the conclusion that he isn’t mature enough to be a father. Actually not a lot happened in this issue. Still it ending on a big note and hopefully picks up in the next issue. The only highpoint about this issue was the beautiful artwork. Oh and there was a free CD-Rom with a Spider-man comic and 50 free hours of AOL. Never touched the CD. Missing out on 50 free hours of AOL. What was I thinking?
Writers: Amy Chu and Erik Burnham
Artist: Carlos Gomez
Sonja wakes up in a desolate wasteland. She finds Wallace and he believes they are back in time but has no idea where. So the two hike out and find a road. This road leads to a sinister village. At the inn Sonja orders some barely drinkable ale. A priest comes in looking for men to provide safe passage for him. He has plenty of gold and Sonja manages to make herself the leader of the volunteers. So while hiking across the desert they are attacked by skeletons that come from the ground. The survivors make their way to the priest’s ziggurat. It is there that Wallace figures out that they are in Hell. Meanwhile in Meru Kulan Gath is recreating his empire and has enslaved Max.
So it looks like a new writer is starting to transition into this series. Don’t know if it’s permanent but I like the way this story is going. So the fish out of water in our time seems to be coming to an end for now. Hell seems like a very depressing place so it should be interesting to see how they get out of this.
“The Forever Man”
Writer: Cary Burkett
Artist: Dan Jurgens
Morgan, Krystovar and Shakira are back in their own time. They don’t have much time to enjoy it when an earthquake hits. It traps Morgan in a room. While exploring it he is confronted by a man that comes through the wall. A fight ensues that starts a fire. The fire knocks the mysterious man out and Morgan drags him to safety. He later finds out it is Dr. Reno. Reno comes around and tells his story. After Morgan left the Americans stored the old time ships in the cavern that they are in now. The time experiments had created this chamber as a point throughout time and accessible from any point in time. So the exiled Americans help build Atlantean science and peace and prosperity ensues. But Reno notices he doesn’t age. As time goes on and Atlantis becomes decadent Reno goes to the time cavern. There using his chronal energy in his body he travels through time and witnesses events.
Meanwhile the strange monkey saves Tinder from the giant spider. The story has Morgan and his friends sailing back to Skartaris. The weapons can’t be used because of the chronal radiation contaminating them. The ship they are one blunders into a battle between two ships.
“Capture the Qlov!”
Writer: Gary Cohn
Artist: Ron Randall
Jinal confronts the Qlov from last issue. She is the only one with an energy sword and manages to hold her own. But she is not capable of capturing it alive. Luckily her friends gang up on it and pin it so Yisrah can knock it out with a powder concoction.
So this issue is a wrap up of the Paradox story. We get to find out what happened to Reno and company. A sort of sad tale since Reno is destined to live forever alone. So now Morgan must get back to Skartaris and figure out another way of liberating is adopted land.
The Barren Earth is winding up its story in the Warlord for its new mini-series. Jin manages to capture a Qlov after a fun little fight. Looks like we may get some answers about the Qlov and the ancients next issue.
“The Original Master of Time!”
Writer: Bill DuBay
Artist: Lew Elias
Bishop Dane comes across a journal that Restin’s grandfather Adam Dane invented a time machine. In fact he was the inspiration for H.G. Wells book The Time Machine. Adam disappeared when he went back to help the Eloi. Restin decides to go forward and look for him. He also sends Bishop back to 1872 to find out anything from his grandson Adam.
So Bishop goes to England and finds someone stealing from his grandson’s house. He meets up with H.G. Wells and the two pursue the thief into the sewers. There they find an underground city with robots building it. It belongs to a man named McQuarb who Bishop has met in a previous adventure.
Back in the present Kate and Jan are entertaining the Daughters of the American Revolution. One of the girls is actually a man in disguise. He is there to steal some of Restin Dane’s top secret plans. A bomb the thief carries blows up the robot manservant Manners but Kate manages to capture the thief.
Restin travels to the future and finds a place described in Well’s book. He meets the Eloi who are childlike and know of Dane. Unable to enter the steel doors to their realm he goes down the air vent. Inside he finds the wrecked time machine of his grandfather while Morlock eyes stare from the dark.
“Buck Blaster and the Starblasters”
Writers: Nicola Cuti & Bill DuBay
Artists: Jim James & Rudy Nebres
Buck Blaster captains a pirate ship. While on a planet he is approached by an old comrade from the Star Patrol. She has information that his brother is alive and held captive by Bloodstar. He is offered immunity from some past crime if he will rescue him. So with his ship he goes and rescues his brother.
“The Time To Be Forgotten!”
Writer: Bill DuBay
Artists: Jim Jones & Alfredo Alcala
Bishop Dane has decided he wants to make some money off the time machine. So with the robot Manners they go back to fleece the ignorant people of the past. He lands in 1920’s Chicago. A gang war is happening where an outside killer named the Iron Man has come to kill a crime boss. Everybody thinks Manners is this Iron Man and try to kill him.
Writer: Rich Margopolis
Artist: Alex Nino
Jason Bolt is developing a portal to another dimension with his father. A thief interrupts the experiment and shoots his father. It also propels Jason to another world. There he rescues an arrogant princess from some creatures. They take shelter in an old castle that belonged to Morlon. Morlon saved the world from an alien invasion. At this place Jason finds a suit of armor and a sword that he is compelled to don. Later he defeats a giant alien machine.
The first issue of the Rook was a solid read. It starts by linking H.G. Wells character with the Dane family. From there we get three different plot lines. The other stories were also fun and campy.
“The Crystal Menace!”
Writer: Doug Moench
Artist: Ed Hannigan
So a big giant blob thing is coming down the mountain. Kull’s men desert but Ridondo and the Lorkars remain. Kull plows head on into the thing and is absorbed and thought dead. Kull though doesn’t just stand still but hacks his way out. He then finds a huge boulder and crushes the blob. So now he attacks Khornah but has to face Shemenon. A skeleton encased in crystal. His sword just bounces off Shemenon and it looks like Kull is finished. Suddenly the flying chariot comes and it is Sarna. Sarna blasts Khornah and Shemenon to oblivion. It looks like Kull is next but instead of Sarna he is confronted by Kareesha. She tells of the history of Shemenon. A great warrior who was sent to retrieve the treasure that plugged the entry to hell. She says that Sarna sent Khornah and Shemenon to hell and will use them to destroy the world. She then opens a stairway to Hell which Kull, Ridondo and the Lorkars go down. As Kull leaves Sarna reasserts control of the shared body and vows to destroy Kull.
Well another action packed issue. Kull is wonderfully portrayed as Howard created him. A fearless barbarian who just plows straight through to victory. Ridondo is showing himself to have exceptional courage. A far departure from his original origin. I do admit this is a strange story what with the shared body between the evil Sarna and beautiful Kareesha. The weird logic of having to go to hell. Still an enjoyable story and look forward to see how it continues.
Writer: Brian K. Vaughan
Artist: Walter McDaniel
Ka-zar and Zabu are enjoying themselves when they see a stampede of wooly rhinos. They are heading toward a village and the two divert the stampede. Shanna tells them that there are many disasters in the Savage Land and she is off to enlist some help. Ka-zar goes home and finds out from their nanny Zira that the death cult is trying to resurrect Garokk. The cult believes that Garokk will destroy the Savage Land so it can go through a rebirth. First Garokk must occupy a host body and Shanna has been captured for such a role. Ka-zar and Zira go to rescue Shanna and are captured themselves. A Swiss army knife frees Ka-zar in time to rescue Shanna and collapse the temple of the death cult .
Meanwhile in New York Parnival Plunder is attacked by an alien creature. It calls itself Consumption and serves the Lord of Oblivion. Parnival tries to flee but is caught. The creature takes him to Thanos. Thanos offers Parnival control of the Earth. An Earth that is devoid of life and germs. This appeals to the germophobic Parnival so he agrees to serve Thanos.
This is the first and only annual in all of the many runs that Ka-zar has had over the years. It is a prequel to the current series and an interesting read. Ka-zar battles his old foe Garokk and a crazy death cult out to destroy the Savage Land. What is really interesting is Parnival’s story. We get to see how he was recruited to serve Thanos and what is in it for him. Sadly there would be no second annual as this series would not last long enough. Still there is plenty of issues ahead for an enjoyable saga.