“A Season of Black Death”
Writer: Alan Zelenetz
Artist: Charles Vess
The City of Wonders is suffering from plague. Hundreds are dying. It is so virulent that pigs who eat the infected clothing keel over and die. Kull and his friends are stuck in the palace. Brule starts to tell a story of his past and Kull wants to hear so the gang settle in to tell their stories.
Artist: Ernie Chan
Before Brule came as an emissary for the Picts he was the chief of the Borni tribe. One night they welcomed four guests from the Sungara tribe. The guests prove dishonorable for they rape a woman. The husband is too cowardly to pursue for revenge so he is tied up with a hood and thrown into the river. Brule will have to avenge his tribe’s honor. So he tracks the Sungara and fights off a wolf. He gets to them and takes them out with ease and brings back the scalps. Only the woman who was raped has taken her life because she was shamed by her cowardly husband.
Artist: John Bolton
In the city of Kamula three brothers have inherited the wealth from their rich merchant father. They have a sister who is having an affair with their servant and not interested in marrying a baron’s son. So they take the servant out and kill him and bury the body. Later the ghost comes to the sister and implores her to dig him up and rebury him in the garden so he can be next to her. She does this and a tree grows. The brothers decide to eat its fruit and find that is has hellworms in it which kills them. The sister later dies from grief.
Artist: Butch Guice
Tu tells a story from the days of the tyrant king Borna. He took a fancy to a beautiful woman so he had her fiance killed and her taken for his harem. The woman proves uncooperative and scratches Borna’s face and breaks a vase over his head. So next morning he takes her to be married to her love. Her fiance is strung up and she is to be walled alive with him.
Artist: Bill Siekiewicz
In Zalgara the sheep herders discover that some cultist of Yagotha is stealing their goats for dark rituals of magic. They kill this cultist but not before he curses the land. In summer it starts to snow and freezes the land. A champion comes and uses his shield to focus the sun and warm up the land.
So we get four different stories with a different artist for each. Zelenetz is showing that he was a perfect choice to write this series. He hasn’t had a dud yet. Although the last story in this issue was a bit weak. Still the first three were so good as to make up for it. They were dark in nature and just brilliant. The plague is going to continue to be a source of conflict as Kull has decided to go out and see how his people are doing. I can’t wait to see what this will lead to.