PLANET OF THE APES #3

“Spawn of the Mutant Pits”
Writer: Doug Moench
Artists: Mike Ploog and Frank Chiaramonte

Jason and Alexander are caught between the mutants and Brutus’s gorillas. Fortunately for them they manage to have the two groups fight one another as they slip away. They go further into the underground complex and hijack a rocket rail car. They are captured and brought before the Gestalt. Several giant brains in glass jars. One talks with a poetic rhythm. Another like a thirties gangster. The Gestalt sentences them to die in the arena. There they are joined by a surviving gorilla from the ape supremacists chasing them. They join forces to fight off the various mutant creatures set against them. They manage to escape and find the Lawgiver a prisoner. The Lawgiver leads them to a flying rocket ship and they escape. But the gorilla then pulls a gun and takes over.

“Journey to the Planet of the Apes”
By Chris Claremont

An article about a visit to the set of the Planet of the Apes TV series. They are shooting the episode to simulate an earthquake and shake the cameras. He talks about how the ape makeup is always needing work in the hot summer temperatures and one funny time goats were interrupting the dialogue of the actor.

“McDowall: The Man Behind the Mask”
By Samuel James Maronie

An interview with Roddy McDowell who has appeared in four of the movies and stars in the TV series. He talks what attracted him to the roles and working conditions with the makeup.

“Chapter Three: Manhunt!”
Writer: Doug Moench
Artists: George Tuska and Mike Esposito

Taylor is explaining where he came from to Zira and Cornelius through writing. Zaius comes and orders the human back to his cage. Later an ape comes to take Taylor for gelding. Naturally Taylor knocks him out and tries to escape. He is chased throughout Ape City and interrupts a funeral. Finds his companion Dodge now a mounted head in a museum and finally captured and hoisted up in a net. At the end he utters “Get you stinking paws off me, you damn dirty ape.”

So this issue is another enjoyable one. The terror storyline is the most interesting and handled well. Their is humor with the weird Gestalt minds. They have some exciting adventures, find the Lawgiver and manage to escape. Ends though with the gorilla that works for Brutus taking over. This series was the heart of the apes series and I think what contributed to its success.

The article and interview were also enjoyable and informative. Finally the movie adaptation comes along faithfully adapting the movie. It does have Dodge head mounted on a wall instead of his whole body stuffed. In some ways I think that would have been a more effective way to portray it in the movie. Of course we end with the iconic lines. An interesting note is a letter in the letter column from J.M Straczynski the future creator of Bablyon 5 when he was still a college student.

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CONAN THE BARBARIAN #12

“The Dweller in the Dark”
Writer: Roy Thomas
Artist: Barry Smith

Reprinted in Savage Tales #4.

“Tales of the Hyborian Age! The Blood of the Dragon!”
Writer: Roy Thomas
Artist: Gil Kane

Roy and Gil are discussing that other adventures must have taken place in the Hyborian age. So Gil tells about one Kalligor. Kalligor is a knight in the Aquilonian province of Poitain. He is a social climber and all around dickweed. One day word comes of the Hydragon terrorizing the border. The baron’s son volunteers to kill it for it is in legends that only a single warrior can kill it. The son is not heard from and presumed dead. So Kalligor volunteers to kill it. The grateful baron promises him his daughters hand in marriage and half his lands. So Kalligor goes and fight the Hydragon a sort of cross between a medusa and dragon. Kalligon uses a sword with poison and tosses it in the creatures mouth. It dies and changes to the baron’s son. Kalligor is in a dilemma. He killed the baron’s son but the blood of the Hydragon changes him into a Hydragon.

Well the first story my opinion hasn’t changed. I still love it. The second story seems to have been a proposed backup series about other tales in the Hyborian era. Not a bad idea. Unfortunately in spite of Roy writing this I found it not his best work. A bit hokey and sort of more like the old fifties reprints they sometimes used than the excellent stories he was writing.

SHEENA QUEEN OF THE JUNGLE #3

“Untitled”
Writers: Marguerita Bennett and Christina Trujillo
Artists: Moritat and Dimi Macheras

Sheena and Chano are attacked by the Death Blossoms. Sheena manages to snap out of it and rescue Chano. They run further into the temple where the moonlight can’t nourish them. So they continue to look for the surveyor. They get separated by a trap with Sheena dodging acid arrows from an old machine. Chano has to run away from acid bugs. Sheena manages to find Chano with the help of his girly screams. They eventually find the surveyor who is a dried out husk of a corpse. They find that some creatures have been stalking them.

This issue is picking up the action. We get a spooky temple with all sorts of traps. A mysterious pool of blood and a dead surveyor. Ends with them being attacked by very strange humanoid type creatures. Sheena seems to be the only competent one around and Chano is pretty useless. Although he did at least have a flashlight.

BSG VS. BSG #6

“Chapter 7”
Writer: Peter David
Artist: Edu Menna

The two Galactica’s viper squadrons are attacking each other. On board the Pegasus Cain notices that they aren’t hitting each other. We flash back to just after the argument between the Adamas. Apollo points out that it is Kali who wants the two to fight so that probably the Cylons can pick off the survivors. So the two Adamas come to the agreement to use Omega Protocol which both have. It is training to shoot as close as possible without hitting the target. So the viper squadrons are given the order and pretend to fight in order to lure the Cylons into the open.

Kali sees this and orders Cain to fire on both Galacticas which he does. Sheba comes in to stop her father and Kali kills her. This breaks Kali’s control and Cain breaks Kali’s neck. Then he has the Pegasus crew abandon ship. He takes the Pegasus and rams it into the Cylon basestar. Iblis manages to open a wormhole that sucks the other Galactica and its fleet back to their universe. In the end the new Galactica crew wonders what happened to the other ship. Baltar drinks to Count Iblis who he see alive and floating in space.

And so the conclusion to this crossover. I thought it was a bit irrational for the two Galacticas to fight one another and think their plan was solid. Here in this alternate universe Sheba is killed and the Pegasus destroys itself along with the Cylon basestar. It any complaint it was the issue seemed rushed to end. I suppose that is better than dragging out forever. Not a bad series. It also left open the possibility of a return.

THE WARLORD #118

“Of Captives and Cannibals…Scavengers and Kings!”
Writer: Michael Fleisher
Artist: Ron Randall

The mysterious blonde is now revealed to be Power Girl from the surface. She recently found out that she is descended from Arion and is going to New Atlantis to find out her heritage. Along the way her ship is attacked by the Scavenger and his scorpion ship. She starts to tear into it but the Scavenger shoots at the ship and tears it in two. Power Girl abandons attacking him to save the ship. She brings it to an island and helps repair it before going to the abandoned city of New Atlantis.

Tara is heading back and is attacked by Y’smalla. She uses her technology from Desaad to subdue her. Morgan is worried about Tara and heads out to look for her. He saves a young girl from a creature and brings her to her village. The villagers attack Morgan because of Desaad’s success in tarnishing his reputation and they think he is there to rob them. Luckily a man that Morgan rescued from Desaad vouches for him. Redmond is about to get sacrificed to a pagan god and manages to break free using his hidden grenades. Jennifer is still recovering and Mariah decides to go back to Russia. At the end Morgan returns to Shamballah and finds Machiste. Machiste thinks Morgan is toying with Mariah’s emotion and beats him up then rides off declaring their friendship over.

So the series is getting multiple plot threads. All of them have some interest. Morgan has to deal with his ruined reputation thanks to Desaad. We now find out the blonde is Power Girl and why she is in Skartaris. Tara is a captive. Machiste is pissed at Morgan. Mariah is going home to Russia. Hopefully the issue will tighten up the multiple plot threads. Too much can be hard to follow. Also the first part of this issue felt like a superhero book with the battle between Power Girl and the Scavenger. I like superhero books but not in Warlord which is a unique different world. This definitely was the downward slide this series was going through.

PLANET OF THE APES #2

“I Never Met an Ape I Didn’t Like”
By Tony Isabella

An editorial for this issue. Most of it deals with the fact that they couldn’t find a picture of Michael Wilson for this interview.

“The Forbidden Zone of Forgotten Horrors!”
Writer: Doug Moench
Artist: Mike Ploog

Jason and Alexander have escaped and hide in a tree. Jason wants to go to the Forbidden Zone and find the Lawgiver. Alex wants to go back and convince Xavier the leader that they are innocent. Alex wins and they go back. During this time the funeral for Brutus’s wife is being conducted and Jason loses it and denounces Brutus. So they have to flee the gorilla police. They lead their pursuers to the secret Ape Supremacist camp but the guards kill the pursuing police. Then Brutus will use this to further pin on Jason. So the two head off into the Forbidden Zone. There in the ruins they find some hybrid ape-humans that are being captured by machines. They follow the machine back and find mutants building war machines. They are discovered and flee. At the end Brutus’s ape supremacists are coming and the two are caught between mutants and apes.

“The City of the Apes”
By Ed Lawrence

An article on building the Ape City for the movie.

“Simian Genesis”
By Gary Gerani

An article on comparing the book with the movie. He makes some good observations on the difference between books and movies in general.

“Michael Wilson: The Other Apes Writer”
By David Johnson

An interview with the other co-writer of the movie screenplay. Wilson is credited for the satirical humor in the movie. It also goes on about how he got started in writing and his other projects.

“Chapter Two: World of Captive Humans”
Writer: Doug Moench
Artists: George Tuska and Mike Esposito

Taylor is captive of the apes. His throat is damaged and can’t talk. Dr. Zira is the only one who seems sympathetic to humans and he tries to communicate with her. Dr. Zaius seems to have taken an interest in Taylor. Once he erases a message he wrote in the dirt. Finally Taylor manages to grab Zira’s notebook and write that his name is Taylor.

The second issue is another strong entry. The original Terror story is coming along nicely. They have established that Brutus is effectively in control of Ape City. They introduce a new mutant race that does not look up to any good. Ends with a cliffhanger.

The articles and interview were also interesting and informative about the apes movies. Sometimes these could be just padding for the magazine but in this series they are as interesting as the stories.

Finally the adaptation is sticking to the movie. Nothing really new but still an enjoyable addition.

CONAN THE BARBARIAN #11

“Rogues in the House”
Writer: Roy Thomas adapted from story by Robert E. Howard
Artist: Barry Smith

Conan is locked in the city’s dungeon. Jenna sold him out and drugged his wine than turned him over to the city guard. Now he faces the hangman. He gets a visitor in the nobleman Murilo. Murilo has been targeted by the true ruler of the city Nabonidus so he makes a deal. He will free Conan if he goes and kills Nabonidus. Conan has no other good prospects so agrees. Murilo goes home and later finds out his man was arrested so Conan was not freed. Murilo goes to kill Nabonidus himself.

Conan still manages to bust out. He first goes to the Maze to pay back treachery. First he guts the fop Igon. Then he drops the faithless Jenna into a cesspool. Done with his revenge he heads out to Nabonidus’s house. He easily breaks in and while going through the underground corridors meets Murilo. Murilo tells of how he found Nabonidus and he was a man-ape. Then he was knocked out and finds himself in the dungeon. They continue on and find Nabonidus also unconscious. When he wakes he tells that his pet man-ape Thak has rebelled and decided to ape his master.

The three come to an alliance and try to escape. Thak finds them and Conan must battle the creature. He slays him and the three are about to leave when Nabonidus turns on them. He activates hidden flame throwers but Conan manages to throw his knife and kill the Red Priest.

Well for the eleventh issue it is an extra length one and an adaptation of a Howard story. This is one cool story. I love how Thomas has weaved the characters from his ongoing story into Howard’s. Jenna is the faithless woman and gets her just reward. I loved how Conan shows he has a barbarian code that won’t kill women but a wicked sense of humor. The smug Igon gets his too. Then the elaborate house of Nabonidus with its myriad traps and corridors. A giant man-ape and a savage battle between them. And the final where Conan so casually disposes of the treacherous Nabonidus. There is so much little details like the jailer being arrested for tax evasion that make it believable. A very enjoyable issue.

SHEENA QUEEN OF THE JUNGLE #2

“Untitled”
Writers: Marguerite Bennett and Christina Trujillo
Artists: Moritat and Dimi Macheras

Sheena finds some guy wandering around and thinks he is the missing surveyor. Instead he is some student from the university. He is there to expose Cadwell for exploiting the off limits Zona Prohibita. Sheena is disappointed because she wasted time tracking him who is obviously a wimpy guy. He does have information on the missing surveyor so gets to accompany Sheena in finding him. They run into a pride of jaguars and Sheena manages to find out more info on the missing surveyor. The two stumble upon the ruins from the lost people The Lords of Paitaiti. She doesn’t like trespassing on the site and we find out for good reason. Deadly plants known as the Death Blossoms are secreting a hallucinogen to lull them so it can kill them.

So this issue was a mostly talky one. Still we get some more information on whats going on. Seems Cadwell has done the lost surveyor before as an excuse to wipe out villages. It has some intriguing possibilites with death plants and ancient ruins. This seems to have adopted the basic world that De Souza created for the character but ignores what was done in other comics. I find that not a bad idea. The character could use a new reboot. Too bad they still follow the pattern of teaming Sheena up with some wimpy soy boy.

BSG VS. BSG #5

“Untitled”
Writer: Peter David
Artist: Edu Menna

Kali comes back to the Pegasus and finds out that Cain has arrested his daughter. She seems to understand and goes to her room. There she is reunited with Iblis who is her lover. We find out that Kali is the one who created the Cylons and planned to use them to conquer the galaxy. The technology she found has enabled Iblis to have powerful mind control. Meanwhile old Galactica has issued an ultimatum to the new Galactica. Give up Athena for questioning. Bill Adama has no intention of complying and issues the order for Omega Protocol. The two Viper squads meet and both Starbucks have a playful dogfight. Athena is left behind because she might surrender to avoid all the fighting. Sheba manages to escape from her cell.

So we finally get some more insight into the mysterious Kali. Its obvious that she was evil and now it is confirmed. Also seems her plan to set the two Galactica’s against one another is a success. Otherwise a light issue that is getting ready for the final climax.

THE WARLORD #117

“Legacy of Nightmare!”
Writer: Michael Fleisher
Artist: Ron Randall

Morgan is reunited with his daughter Jennifer who now is back to her youthful self. The people of Shamballah are partying and everything is great. Or is it? Tara is still having nightmares from her ordeal with Desaad. So she decides to go for a ride. Out in the desert she is set upon by hill bandits. Her only shelter is the old citadel of Desaad’s. There she manages to use the fear technology in the place to whittle down her opponents. Finally on the last one she uses Desaad’s helmet which makes her feel the terror of her victim. Meanwhile Mariah meets with Machiste to tell him that she doesn’t love him. Machiste goes nuts when he hears she left him for Morgan. The mysterious blonde with superhuman strength books passage to New Atlantis after saving the ship captain’s daughter from falling cargo. Redmond finds a cave on dinosaur island and shoots a giant snake. He emerges in Skartaris but is captured by a primitive tribe.

So this story is mainly Tara’s. Apparently they wrote it to go with Mike Grell’s cover for this issue. I think it is a good time to give her some time. She has been mostly absent in this series and I loved that she finally gets the spotlight. A good idea exploring her trauma with Desaad’s sadistic machines. Also great idea to have her confront the citadel and she actually uses them against the arrogant hill bandits that chase her. She sure shows them that she is not an easy takedown. Still the experience give her new trauma and we know that a confrontation with Y’salla the female Vashek is still in the works.

The subplots are coming along fine. Redmond is now in Skartaris. The mysterious blonde now has a motive. Mariah confronts Machiste. All these are to feature prominently in future issues.