KA-ZAR #5

“Untitled”
Writer: Paul Jenkins
Artist: Pascal Alixe

Ka-zar and Zabu confront Torran and his entire Ether tribe. Only Ka-zar isn’t alone. All the other tribes of Pangea come to support him. They fight and the introduction of triceratops riders force the Ether to surrender. Torran has a big temper tantrum and vows that the tribes will regret siding with Ka-zar. Meanwhile Arwandi makes his speech in front of the U.N. General Assembly and wows them. They vote for the carbon credits to compensate the corporations. The military comes in and arrests the mercenaries. So everything looks good at the end.

So carbon credits make their triumphant victory. This is the final Ka-zar series that has been written. I have to say that it was the most dreary of the series. This is the problem with most modern Marvel comics. More interested in some message and not fun storytelling. A character decides to burn his forest to save his family but also decides to commit suicide by burning with the forest. Roxxon CEO also decides to commit suicide with his failures and mounting investigation of insider trading. Really just gloomy stuff. Hopefully when the next series comes rolling around and Ka-zar is resilient he always seems to bounce back for another go. I hope they return to the more fun adventurous spirit that I loved about this comic.

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RED SONJA #15

“Hell or Hyrkania”
Writers: Amy Chu & Erik Burnham
Artist: Erik Burnham

Sonja and her companions are finding the going to Meru difficult. The followers of Gath are many and constantly attacking. So she gets the idea to find a wyvern and fly there. Later in the main city of Shamballah Sonja and Wallace come up with a plan. Wallace casts an illusion spell to look like one of Gath’s followers who has captured Sonja. Sonja breaks free and has to fight her doppelganger. The clone that Wallace created is still around and now infused with Gath’s magic. Sonja is the real deal and easily dispatches the clone. So Gath is going to destroy all of Meru and starts with Wallace who he immolates with fire.

So we are getting to the conclusion of the whole Gath storyline and its about time. An interesting issue. The writers keep it going quickly. They even just skip showing the find and fly a wyvern. Its just left to the readers imagination. Max is apparently serving Gath to minimize the deaths of his fellow Meruvians. He seems to be fully whipped and now has given so much power to Gath. Gath is not interested in keeping his end of the bargain. Sonja fights her clone and we end on a cliffhanger as Wallace seems to be toast. Interesting to see how its all resolved.

THE WARLORD #103

“Moon Beast”
Writer: Michael Fleisher
Artist: Jerry Bingham

Morgan is passing through a village during a time when the moon is passing by. A rare sight in the world of Skartaris. He finds out the streets are empty because a big white tiger is roaming and attacks him. It looks like the end but the moon leaves and the light drives the tiger away. He finds out from the people that the tiger comes from a wizard. It just so happens the wizard’s castle is along the way so he decides to check it out. Inside the castle he finds a young woman Tamara who has been turned into a werecat. Seems her uncle has an obsession with turning women into cats. The last place they lived the villages drove them out because he was stealing women for his experiments.

Well the uncle and his goons manage to capture Morgan. The uncle is going to use the prism that turned Tamara into a werecat on him. The moon though turns Tamara who breaks out of her room and kills her uncle as they both fall to their deaths. At the end Shakira comes riding up to Morgan. Morgan notices she wears the same collar that the wizard’s experiments wore and tears it off. Meanwhile Machiste and Mariah are heading to Kiro. They are ambushed by assassins and knocked into a raging river and carried downstream.

Well this story was an interesting one. Tamara is somewhat dumb. I mean her uncle is turning women into cats. He gives her a collar that he uses for his experiments and she doesn’t get what her uncle is doing. Fleisher decided to sort of give an implied origin for Shakira. I think that Grell probably had something more interesting in mind. Too bad he never revealed it. So we must wonder about the origin of Shakira. The side plot with Machiste and Mariah has some great potential. Their own quest for Machiste to reclaim his throne was a good idea but didn’t live up to its full potential as we will see in future issues.

THE DESTROYER #4

“Mass Hysteria!”
Writer: Will Murray
Artist: Tom Morgan

A group of ninja clad woman break into the Folcroft sanitarium. They kidnap a young invalid named Randolph Maas. Maas has a condition that turns his skin blue. The women bitch about how hard it is to carry the man and decide to hide him in a trash can. Then pick him up when the trash is taken out. They do and also manage to almost hit the garbage truck has they drive off.

McCleary is charged to investigate the kidnapping. It takes him to a genetics lab run by women. When he gets there the place is a wreck and a giant blue monster is running amok. Bullets don’t stop it. The surviving woman tells that she and her colleagues were injecting Maas with radiation infected testosterone to create a perfect sexual athlete. So Remo and Chiun are assigned to stop him. Maas is tearing up the downtown area. The police can’t stop him. So Remo uses a giant blow up doll to lure him into the countryside. There Chiun uses the Sinanju technique of tapping his wrist which makes the giant impotent and docile.

“How the Thieving Ninja Came to Be”
Writer: Will Murray
Artist: Steve Ditko

Chiun explains the history of the ninja to Remo. Back in 1282 master Sam was hired by the emperor of Japan to eliminate his enemies. Sam was being constantly assigned to kill someone each day. One day he notices a spy from the emperor watching and captures him. The spy is to learn the secret techniques of Sinanju. The people Sam has been killing are just peasants and not a threat to the emperor. Sam has contempt for the Japanese and their crude imitation of his techniques. So he allows them to continue but they must cover their faces with a mask.

Well this was a funny story. We find out that McCleary is a drunken lush. That Dr. Smith the head of Cure is a cheap tightwade with money. As always the interactions between Remo and Chiun are the real draw to this title. Chiun is teaching Remo how to catch knives in his mouth but he is using rubber. He decides to use a real one and and almost kills Remo. He also gets angry with Remo for leaving to date a nurse and taps him on the wrist which is a sort of technique for impotency. An important plot point. And there is the time Chiun asks what gook means since he can’t find it in the dictionary. Not wanting to further anger him Remo makes up it stands for Gracious Omniscient Oriental Korean. Remo may not be the sharpest pencil but he can sure bullshit.

There were some dark moments with McCleary. He can casually execute people as he shoots the nightwatchman for lying to him and the surviving woman scientist. Still for the most part it is a lighthearted series.

The second was an interesting story and explains Chiun’s anger with the ninja that wasn’t wearing a mask from last issue. The thing we learn is Sinanju masters only kill for honor or money. Sam was paid to kill peasants so he let the ninjas live.

KULL THE CONQUEROR #6

“Goblin Moon”
Writer: Alan Zelenetz
Artist: John Buscema

It is the night of the Goblin moon in Valusia. Once a night goblins come down from the moon and try to tempt people with their heart’s desire. Once they succumb the goblins drag them back to their tower to torture for all eternity. Brule has been tasked with bringing back the daughter of a noble who has stayed out too late. As they go back to the City of Wonders night falls. The goblins come and tempt the two. The girl with flowers fragrance that will never age her. Brule with a golden spear to be a great warrior.

At the palace a masquerade ball is being organized by Baron Kaanuub for the upcoming wedding. When Brule doesn’t come back with the girl Kull goes out to find them. He finds them in the thrall of the goblins who then try to tempt Kull. They offer him great knowledge but he rejects their false offerings. So the goblins toss him into the waters of madness where he battles images of tigers. Kull escapes and ignores the false images they throw at him. Finally the sun comes up and the goblins flee back to their tower which disappears. Brule and the girl have no memory of the night as they head back home.

Well this was a weird story. I liked it. A new idea to have goblins come once a night to terrorize the people. Naturally Kull is immune to such temptations. What being a badass barbarian. It ends with the revelation that Baron Kaanuub plots to have Kull assassinated at the masquerade. Seems he is getting a bit buddy buddy with Ridondo too. They were after all co-conspirators in the last plot. Should be interesting to see how this develops.

KA-ZAR #4

“Untitled”
Writer: Paul Jenkins
Artist: Pascal Alixe

Things are still looking grim for the Savage Land. Arwandi of the Zebra tribe is preparing to leave for the U.N. Meanwhile the heads of Roxxon are living the high life. Seems the PR spin is going their way. Every piece of aid has their logo emblazoned on it. They are giving the Tubanti children antibiotics flavored with bubble gum. Two thirds of the tribes are burning their land for the aid they get. Ka-zar and Zabu go off to track down Torran. They find him and give him a good beating but the others of the Ether tribe shows up.

Well more depressing news. Roxxon corporation is going full blast with its PR campaign and seems to be swaying world opinion. They also are financing mercenaries through the Libyan government to control the Vibranium mines. Arwandi is going to New York and talk to the U.N which in my opinion is a total waste of time. But a new tragedy is in the making. The antibiotics that were given to the Tublanti children. Well the red dye used is causing a bad allergic reaction and now Roxxon has just killed off a species on TV. Oh and Ka-zar shows up in this from time to time but seems to be a spectator in his own title.

RED SONJA #14

“Hell or Hyrkania”
Writers: Amy Chu & Erik Burnham
Artist: Carlos Gomez

Sonja and Wallace get a ride on Charon’s boat across the river Styx. It actually goes to the Hyborian Styx and the two find themselves in Shem. After trading for some horses the two make their way to Meru. They stop for the night and are attacked by followers of Kulan Gath. They have magic which makes them hard to kill. Luckily two woman come riding in and shoot the followers with arrows right through their forehead tattoos. It is Taya and Lera the two women that were helping Max. They tell Sonja of how Gath has taken over Meru and is harnessing the magic to rule the world. Gath also has Max a prisoner and forcing him to help. Sonja is more determined than ever to get to Meru and confront Gath.

Well they finally bring Sonja back to her time. Not a lot really happens except Sonja and Wallace wonder about what has happened since they left and traveling on horseback which Wallace can’t handle well. At the end we find out that Max is helping because Gath has threatened the people of Meru and so he helps Gath to save lives. At the end Sonja arrives so there is a big confrontation in store for next issue. So good artwork but in general a weak story with little happening. Hopefully that changes in next issue.

THE WARLORD #102

“Deathwatch”
Writer: Michael Fleisher
Artists: Paris Cullins & Martin King

Morgan is heading back to this crashed plane to retrieve more bullets for his .44. He finds that a cult has taken over the wrecked plane and is about to sacrifice a beautiful blonde woman. Morgan wastes no time and starts to hack his way through the crowd. Using his last bullet that seems to scare off the cultists. The woman he rescues shows little gratitude. For Zupara is queen of the Q’Enara Amazons and has no use for men. But she does swallow her pride to accept a ride with Morgan.

So along the way she tells her story. Her tribe fled the surface aeons ago to escape the male patriarchy. Zupara had just become queen and the funeral procession on the river was attacked by a giant lizard. She manages to kill the beast but is swept down and was captured by the cultists. Soon after the two are ambushed by slavers and captured. As the slavers play dice the two manage to get free and kill the slavers. Then they stop at a tavern for some drink. Zupara cuts off the ear of a drunken man who was coming on to her and they flee. Later they reach her lands and are captured by the Amazons. Morgan is sentenced to death and Zupara must fight a bald butch woman to save Morgan. She wins the fight and the bald chick goes head first into the burning cauldron they were fighting over. Morgan is freed with the warning not to return. Meanwhile in a sub-plot Machiste and Mariah are heading back to Kiro while those in power plot to stop them.

So this issue was OK. It was a bit hackneyed with the Amazons. It also seemed to be filler with the two getting captured and escaping. Then a bar fight and a challenge by the ugly bald chick for leadership. One thing that perplexes me is where did these woman get all the hairspray. Did a container of it fall off a ship and float down to Skartaris. You have the love the eighties. Oh and there were some things that bothered me. One is the SR-71 “black”bird was not black but yellow. Also the seats are back intact when they were ejected in First Issue Special and issue #3. Some very poor continuity in this issue. Matter of fact the art didn’t impress me either. Oh well you can’t have every issue perfect.

THE DESTROYER #3

“How Many Ninjas Does It Take to Screw Up A Light Bulb?”
Writer: Will Murray
Artist: Lee Weeks

At the Pentagon a driver wait for an admiral. While waiting a ninja secretly sneaks into the limo and replaces a light bulb in the fridge. As the car comes to the White House he opens the fridge and the limo explodes. The admiral was going to the President to report on a number of mysterious deaths in the Pentagon. Cure is tasked with the investigation. So Remo and Chiun have to sneak into the Pentagon. While Remo is investigating the admiral’s office he is locked in by security for the night. It is then that he sees a ninja come out of the file cabinet and replace a light bulb. When Remo turns it on it explodes. He follows the ninja to a storeroom where a group have gathered. They have been employed by Khadaff to show that the American military is not safe in its own headquarters. He confronts them but they kick his ass and leave him for dead.

Well this embarrasses Chiun that someone he is training was defeated by mere ninjas. The ninjas stole the techniques of Sinaju and are not worthy opponents. When he hears that the leader is not wearing a mask this infuriates Chiun. So he goes off and has Remo lead him to their hiding place. Chiun manages to easily defeat the ninjas by avoiding their sword swipes and having them kill each other. The leader actually ends up chopping his own head off. So the Libyan threat is eliminated and McCleary rewards Remo with a special Chinese pizza. It has a spare rib as a garnish. Only Chiun comes and throws it in the garbage. He instead makes Remo eat duck and brown rice.

“How Not To Draw Remo Williams”
by Chiun, Master of Sinanju
Illustrations by Lee Weeks

A humorous feature that has Chiun point out all that is wrong with Remo. Also has sketches of Chiun, Dr. Harold W. Smith, Conrad MacClery and a picture of Chiun and Remo dodging bullets.

This was another fun little story. I really love the interaction between Remo and Chiun. This is what really makes the series. So ninjas are infesting the Pentagon. Popping out of filing cabinets where they patiently wait. Apparently Khaddaff will reimburse expenses including gas mileage so they save all their receipts. The guy was a nutjob but apparently quite fair when dealing with his hired assassins.

KULL THE CONQUEROR #5

“A Vision of Lost Love”
Writer: Alan Zelenetz
Artist: John Buscema

The plague has subsided and Kull rides out into the country. At the small village of Durium the village is burying its dead in a mass grave. They are in an angry mood and take it out on Kull. One hothead who lost his wife tries to knife the king but is knocked down. Kull is magnanimous and spares his life. Baran Kaanuub gets the man into his scheme. He gives him a flute that will raise a demon to kill Kull.

Later at night Kull finds a beautiful woman waiting for him in his bed. The noble Lalandra planted her to distract Kull as he and two thugs come in and kill him. He was going to blame the girl for the murder and he in his zeal to avenge the king killed her. Only Kull is not taken unawares and makes short work of the fop and his two thugs. Then Kull and company hear the sounds of the evil flute. At the mass grave it raises a creature composed of hot ash. It kills the man who brought it to life and chases after Baron Kannuub. Kull comes to the rescue and lures it to the aqueduct and puts out the monster with water. The villagers praise Kull while Kaanuub worms his way out of the conspiracy.

So it looks like they dropped the extra long format and Baxter paper. The story is a good solid entry in the series. Zelenetz comes up with an enjoyable story involving Baron Kaanuub’s plot to assassinate Kull. Kull is his typical badass self as he cuts up the assassins with an ax and destroys a monster. The villagers are fickle cursing Kull in the morning and praising him in the afternoon. There have been such brilliant stories in this incarnation of the series that this one seems mediocre. Still it was enjoyable and this series shows no letup in the quality.