“Though Fiends Destroy Me!”
Writer: Michael Fleischer
Artist: Ron Randall
Shakira is gathering firewood and complaining about Morgan’s behavior with Mariah. She sees a whole bunch of cyclops ready to attack and sounds the alarm. Morgan, Mariah and Shakira battle the cyclops successfully. Then they continue on with Morgan fawning over Mariah. They finally reach the Greenfire Sea and the abode of V’zarr Hagar-Zinn. Then they are attacked by flying gargoyles that shoot lasers from their eyes. Zinn sees this in his crystal ball and diverts energy that is protecting him to save Morgan. This works and the three defeat the gargoyles. Only when they arrive at the castle it is empty. The gargoyles managed to capture Zinn and our heroes hear a sinister laugh. Meanwhile in Shamballah Tara is caring for an aged Jennifer when she gets news that the aging affliction is spreading out of the field it originated and heading toward the city. Machiste finds out that Mariah had herself transported to the man she loves. Redmond the CIA agent from the last annual is investigating the incident with the Mayans and finds out the tourist that was rescued by Morgan took a picture of the Mayans and probably knows something. So he arranges to pick him up in a taxi in New York and uses knock out gas to capture him.
Well the love affair between Morgan and Mariah does make me cringe. Morgan plays kissy face with her and just fawns over her real pathetically. This is definitely something that I never cared for. It does nothing for the story and is dumb. Now for the good things. The quest seems to be coming to an end finally. It was really dragging on too long and finally we see an end. It is an interesting end since it seems our heroes are too late so ends on a cliffhanger. We also get some action in other parts of the world. We finally get a little glimpse of Tara and Jennifer. We find out the aging plague is spreading so there is another cliffhanger plot point. Machiste is angry with Mariah leaving. This didn’t seem in character with him. Finally a new subplot involving the CIA agent from the last annual. This was a surprise but a pleasant one. So his quest for the truth will probably bring him to Skartaris.
So while I do have some major issues with the story I was happy that it is finally going in a new direction and out of the rut it was trapped in. Yet it has some good possibilities for future stories so there was some optimism for the future of this series.