KA-ZAR #3

“Untitled”
Writer: Paul Jenkins
Artist: Pascal Alixe

So the Pangea Horizon has blown and is leaking thousands of gallons of crude oil. It is seriously damaging the environment. The Tubanti an aquatic people have lost their home. As the tribes of Pangea debate what to do Torran comes and threatens anyone who collaborates with the outsiders. Charlie Moon is still trying to sell his plan for making Roxxon Oil pay carbon credits to stop them. Arwandi of the Zebra tribe is all in with the carbon credits and plans to go to New York and speak at the U.N.

So the tragedy of Pangea continues. Now we have a big oil spill that is causing oil covered pterodactyls and is killing the icthyosaurs. Roxxon oil is already putting a spin to the tragedy. That they turned over operations to the U.S. Coast Guard and are no longer responsible. The U.N. seems to be worthless. They aren’t providing any aid. The tribes are bickering and going to burn their forests to plant palm oil. Roxxon corp is really after the vibranium mines. A very depressing issue.

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WONDER WOMAN CONAN #6

“A Feast of Forbidden Flesh”
Writer: Gail Simone
Artist: Aaron Lopresti

Wonder Woman is back in her time and depressed that she abandoned Conan. Her mother makes her promise she won’t go back. But her sister Amazons decide to help out and break into the chamber with the magic mirror. Back in Shamar the Corvidae’s army has the city surrounded. Conan wages a one man war against it but can see it is not enough. So he approaches the sisters and offers a wage. He will fight their best champion without blades. They agree and he faces a monster crow creature. Conan manages to get it in a choke hold with the golden lasso. Wonder Woman and the Amazons arrive and start kicking butt. Soon all the human inhabitants of the city are inspired to fight and the army is routed. Conan and Wonder Woman manage to kill the Covidae. Conan is reunited with his childhood sweetheart Yanna. Only she is married with children so leaves but Conan is happy. He found out Yanna survived the fall into the chasm and is happy. Wonder Woman takes her lasso back and leaves for her time. In the present she is at a coffee shop when a guy in a business suit asks for the honey. He looks just like Conan so she asks him out to lunch.

The final issue tied up the plot nicely. Conan and Wonder Woman get together and kill the evil sisters. They save the city and Conan gets some closure with Yanna. I find it amusing to think of Conan in our time. Conan the stock broker. “By Crom sell high”. This was a cool idea. Putting these two characters together was handled well. They worked well together and had a believable story. The artwork was beautiful and it was interesting to see a young Conan in love. A new side to the character. I have no doubt that some more wild team-ups for Conan are in store for the future.

THE WARLORD #101

“Temple of the Demigod!”
Writer: Michael Fleisher
Artist: Andy Kubert

Morgan is off to see a warlock that could help his daughter Jennifer from the debilitating old age she is now afflicted with. Along the way he has to deal with the remnants of the Vashek assassins. He takes them out but gets an arrow in the shoulder. Morgan just walks it off and continues on. He arrives a the palace of Muldahara a drag queen. He/She is wanting the Eyes of Ankanar twin rubies in a golden statue of a bird. Morgan sneaks in and comes on another thief a beautiful blonde woman. She realizes that Morgan is not a priest but it is too late for they are discovered. The woman uses her bolo to take out the priest but he recites an incantation while he dies. This brings to life the golden statue into a giant bird. Only it consuming a human soul will turn it back to a statue. The woman takes one of the priests and feeds him to the bird. The two make it out and go their seperate ways. Morgan finds out from Muldahara that a powerful wizard V’zarr Hagar-Zinn who dwells in the House of the Celestials by the Greenfire Sea is Jennifer’s only hope.

So a new era in the Warlord saga. A new writer and some various artists until they settle on a permanent one. This seemed very similar to how Morgan started out to find Joshua in #16. A mystic with dubious motives who demands that Morgan steal a gem from the temple of a cult. There are also some differences. Morgan is working alone but runs into a thief. The beautiful thief remains unnamed and we never see her again. This was too bad because I thought she had great potential and was sure she would make another appearance. The drag queen wizard was funny and Morgan finishes off the Vashek assassins who were the most overrated assassins I ever heard of.

So for the most part this was a solid story and promised an exciting quest for Morgan that would take him to new unexplored lands and adventures. One thing I didn’t care for was the way Fleisher portrayed Mariah. He had her as a real whinny and crying woman which was not the Mariah that Grell created. Also she is starting to have this infatuation with Morgan which was just all wrong. Otherwise a good issue.

THE DESTROYER #2

“Golden Rule”
Writer: Will Murray
Artist: Mike Manley

A salvage operation is going on just east of the Dominican republic. An old Spanish Galleon has a solid gold table. The divers bring it up but their employer Mr. Rust is more interested in the stone embedded in the table. He takes the stone and dumps the table back into the ocean. Then with an Uzi he takes out the divers.

Some time later Cure is investigating the theft of uranium. The only clue is a precious metal brokerage named Golden Rule Limited. They have been making news because they are selling off gold below 20% market at the same time buying it at full price through a shell corporation. So Remo and Chiun are sent to investigate. They soon find out that Mr. Rust is using the philosophers stone to turn lead into gold. Just add some scrapping from the stone with uranium and voila lead turns to gold. Only problem is its radioactive. So Rust is on the verge of cornering the market in uncontaminated gold. Fortunately Remo and Chium manage to overcome their bickering to put a stop to this threat to the world economy.

“You Were Cheated”

A message from Chiun about a mistake from issue one. Some pages that showed Chiun were not included and boy his the master of Sinanju pissed. So these missing pages are included. They show Chiun teaching Remo how to dodge bullets and climb walls.

The second issue was another fun one. So once again another ridiculous kooky adventure that involves a missing alchemy procedure that turns lead into gold. Only the gold is radioactive and dangerous. The relation between Remo and Chiun continues to be established. Chiun is a very demanding teacher who constantly browbeats Remo. He is supposed to only eat rice for breakfast, lunch and dinner with alternating days including fish and duck. No other meat. Of course Remo eats burgers whenever he can. He also is constantly trying to escape to Mexico. We also get introduced to Chiun’s love of American soap operas which he thinks is the only art ever contributed by America. I have a desire to read the books after such entertaining stories.

KULL THE CONQUEROR #4

“A Season of Black Death”
Writer: Alan Zelenetz

“Framework”
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.

“Brule’s Tale”
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.

“Ridondo’s Tale”
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.

“Tu’s Tale”
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.

“Kutholo’s Tale”
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.

KA-ZAR #2

“Untitled”
Writer: Paul Jenkins
Artist: Pascal Alixe

So the tribes of the Savage Land have united to attend a council of tribes. The Zebra People have been trying for 700 years and finally succeed. Now they have Torran of the Ether make his appearance. Torran represents a mythical tribe known as the Ether. He admits to killing members of the Rock Tribe for setting fire to the land. He warns that any tribe will suffer the same fate if they agree to work with the outsiders.

Still the blight is spreading and all the tribes are suffering from starvation. Only by growing palm oil can they get needed food. Charlie Moon has come to offer a solution. He proposes that they force the corporations to buy carbon credits. This means it would be too expensive for them to let the tribes burn the forest and they would have to use less evasive measures. Most of the primitives don’t get it but the leader of the Zebra tribe is willing to go to the U.N. and work with Moon on this proposal.

Ka-zar goes to talk to Maa-gor the man-ape. He finds out that the Ether were the second people to be created by the Atlanteans after the man-apes. He leaves and finds out that the tribes are fighting over should they torch the forest. At the end the old derelict oil rig bursts into flames. The oil company decided to cut off maintenance.

Well this was another complex story. Oh the excitement of carbon credits and how they will save everybody. The corporation which was responsible for the abandoned oil rig is also the one behind the palm oil initiative. Lots of intrigue involving the U.N., multinational corporations and public opinion. Not one of the most exciting issues in the history of Ka-zar or for that matter any comic.

WONDER WOMAN CONAN #5

“Like Blood from the Sky”
Writer: Gail Simone
Artist: Aaron Lopresti

Back in modern times on the island of Themyscira the Amazons have finally found out where Wonder Woman has been taken. Queen Hippolyta assembles five Amazon warriors to go back in time and retrieve her daughter. A crow from the Corvidae confirms where Diana is held by taunting the Amazons. He threatens to poop on their statue but doesn’t reckon with the Amazons skill with a bow and arrow. The Amazons are transported to the city of Shamar and look for Diana. Instead they find the Corvidae and have to battle their crow monsters.

So back to Wonder Woman and Conan who are making their way to Shamar. They meet the Corvidae sisters who have captured the Amazons. They threaten to hang them with her golden lasso. As an added bonus they have found the real Yanna. Conan reluctantly tries to fight Diana to save the life of his childhood love. While they are fighting in a half-hearted way the Amazons manage to escape their bonds. One shoots one of the Corvidae sisters in both eyes. The other sister vows to make them all pay as she disappears with her dead sister and Yanna. The Amazons convince Diana to leave and return back to their time. They disappear but Diana leaves Conan her golden lasso.

Well this was an interesting development. Wonder Woman is getting her memory back and is joined by her sisters from the future. Conan meets the real Yanna and is willing to play the Corvidae’s game to insure her safety. I have a feeling that this is not the end and Wonder Woman will come back to help Conan with the final battle.

THE WARLORD #100

“Skartaris Unchained”
Writer: Michael Fleisher
Artist: Adam Kubert

Morgan and Krystovar are going down a river in a narrow gorge. The secret entrance to Cykroth’s palace is a ladder carved into the cliff. First thought the two have to battle a giant crab. Morgan makes it look easy by stabbing it in its brain. The two sneak into the palace. Unknown to them Graemore has followed because he is a dipshit and thinks he can be of some help. Instead he is discovered and alerts the guards. Now Morgan and Krystovar have to fight the guards. Krystovar stays behind to cover Morgan as he goes to confront Cykroth.

So Morgan confronts Cykroth in his throne room. His daughter Jennifer manages to shield him with her magic and a big fight ensues. Cykroth is impervious to Morgan’s attack but defending from him is draining his energy. Meanwhile in Skartaris the others mount an attack on Shamballah. They sneak in and successfully disarm the laser cannons and open the gates. Only the fight is short lived as Cykroth drains his followers of their life force to re-power him. So his troops turn to dust except Sabertooth who loses to Machiste and gets his head cut off.

With the infusion of new power Cykroth blasts Morgan which also manages to flow back to Jennifer and knocks her unconscious. It seems the end for Morgan when Graemore bursts in. Cykroth incinerates the fop but this allows Morgan to toss his sword which impales the cyclops in the eye. The New Atlanteans are defeated but at a cost. Krystovar gave his life to stop the guards by causing some statues to collapse and block the corridor. Graemore is toast. When Morgan gets back to Skartaris he finds his daughter Jennifer has aged to an old woman.

Well this was a big climatic battle for the hundredth issue and delivered as promised. Morgan defeats the evil wizard-king. Surprisingly it was Graemore who actually made it possible. So the little fop gets a noble death. What was sad was they also wrote out Krystovar. I really loved the warrior-scholar character and his death was a true loss to this series. I found the whole draining of life energy from the New Atlanteans to be a bit too easy for the plot. Still it did decisively resolve the occupation and it was about time to move on to something new. And the new thing was revealed at the end with Jennifer turned into an old woman. Clearly there was a new quest in store for Morgan to find a cure for his daughter. A great milestone for this series to last a hundred issues. Sadly this would be the start of the series decline in quality.

THE DESTROYER #1

“His Name is Remo”
Writer: Will Murray
Artist: Lee Weeks

A submarine comes at night to a lonely village on the coast of North Korea. They are there to hire Chiun a master of Sinanju. Chuin proves his worth when he takes a man’s pistol and throws it at an approaching North Korean patrol boat and sinking it. He is paid in gold and going to America to teach Remo the way of Sinanju.

In Newark, New Jersey a drug dealer is found dead with his head bashed in by a baseball bat. Next to the body is the badge of officer Remo Williams. He is found guilty of murder and sentenced to the electric chair. Instead of dying he wakes up in a sanitarium with a new face courtesy of plastic surgery. He has been recruited by a secret government agency formed by President Kennedy to fight the crime and corruption that threatens to undermine America’s democracy. Known as Cure it has only two members. Remo is the third and to serve as the enforcement arm for the agency.

Remo is introduced to Chiun who doesn’t like non-Koreans especially white men. He proves to be a harsh teacher and Remo decides to flee. Only nobody will believe him that he is the deceased Remo Williams and goes back to Cure. Meanwhile a defense contractor has invented a new weapon. A pistol that fires a small nuclear explosive. Only problem is the pistol has a limited range and using it is the same as suicide. The developer is taking it home to fix when he is hit by a pickup truck. The driver who is drunk flees not knowing the pistol flew into the back of his truck. He finds it and escapes as the police are coming for him.

Cure gets its first mission for Remo and Chuin. They have to recover the pistol before it is used and causes a nuclear explosion. So they track the man to a school where he has taken hostages. While they plan the attack we get some history on Sinanju. A poor village in Korea was always having to drown their babies during a famine. Known as sending the babies to the sea it was stopped when a man came and taught the villagers skills in fighting. Now the village hired out to emperors, pharaohs and czars as bodyguards and assassins. Later one man was visited by a flaming ring of fire and taught the art of Sinanju. Well the two manage to eliminate the man and retrieve the nuclear pistol.

So back in 1989 Marvel decided to resurrect the black and white magazines. Only The Savage Sword of Conan was still going at the time. They choose to use the Destroyer which was a popular adventure series of books. I never read the books but was familiar with the Fred Ward movie. Someday I would like to check out the books. Anyway this was a fun and enjoyable series. The first issue did a good job of introducing the characters and the background to Sinanju. A bit dark with the babies returned to the sea but for the most part was filled with humor. The nuclear pistol and that someone would be allowed to take home a nuclear bomb is absurd. Yet absurdity is an important ingredient to comedy. A strong start for this series.

KULL THE CONQUEROR #3

“Dead Men of the Deep”
Writer: Alan Zelenetz
Artist: John Buscema

Roc the Lemurian pirate has kidnapped some Valusian senators who were on a fact finding mission. When Kull hears of this he decides to go after Roc himself. He has a score to settle with the pirate. Years ago he suffered as a galley slave on his ship. He managed to escape and vowed revenge. Kull finds out that his former friend is a slave on the ship that was carrying the senators. He frees him and finds out where Roc’s base is. Meanwhile a Count Dal Sendor is plotting with the priest of Anu to kill Kull through supernatural means. So he is attacked while enroute by a flying bull. The bull is no match for Kull who stabs it with his sword.

So he gets to the base and attacks. From prisoners he finds out that Roc is holed up with the hostages in a nearby ice cave. Kull and company go there and after a battle Kull buries his ax in Roc’s chest. So with the newly liberated senators they head home. Only the curse of the priest of Amu strikes again. This time a horde of sea-men come out and swarm over the ship. Luckily his councilor Tu was following on another ship and rescues the crew as they set fire to the ship taking out the sea-men. Count Sendor kills the priest of Anu to cover his tracks and plots anew while sucking up to Kull.

Another excellent issue. We get a glimpse into Kull’s past as a galley slave. He manages to rescue his friend and take out an old foe. The senators see the wisdom of his proposal for a strong navy. Although the senate unanimously votes down his proposal to eliminate galley slaves. Kull was a man way ahead of his time. Zelenetz has a real good feel for the character and I have consistently enjoyed his well plotted stories. Combined with Buscema who was a natural for Robert E. Howard stories and this new series shines. Helps also that it was published bi-monthly so there was more time to work on it.