CONAN THE BARBARIAN #21

“The Monster of the Monoliths!”
Writer: Roy Thomas inspired by “The Black Stone” by Robert E. Howard
Artist: Barry Smith

Conan has escaped from the Turanians with an arrow in his back. He crawls up the stairs at the dock of Makkalet and does not get a welcome from the locals. Luckily the king’s guard commander rescues Conan. After his wounds heal he is taken to the king and his entourage. There they agree to hire him and Conan is assigned a mission. With three others he is to sneak out of the besieged city and reach Khurustan. The city is obligated by royal marriage to come to Makkalet’s aid.

So they manage to sneak out but first they must stop at The Black Monoliths of Xuthlan. To perform an ancient ceremony to ancient gods. The monoliths are cared for by an old hermit and his young female companion. The captain kills the hermit and knocks Conan unconscious. He wakes to find himself tied to an alter with the woman. The captain kills his companions then sacrifices the woman. This brings a hideous toad creature from the monolith. Conan manages to free himself but the creature continues to stalk him. Conan figures that the armlet the queen gave him is attracting the creature so he tosses it to the captain who is eaten by the toad. The toad goes back into the monolith and Conan rides off to delivery the request for aid.

This was another loose adaptation of a Howard story and so of course is excellent. Thomas knew how to write Conan and it shows. So we get a fun story with betrayal, royal intrigue, mysterious pagan rites and supernatural monsters. Conan manages to overcome everything and takes all the threats head on. Just like Howard portrayed him. Not really sure why he feels obligated to continue on with the message since he was clearly set up. Still Conan does have his unshakable barbarian code of honor. And the siege of Makkalet is still not over and has plenty of potential.

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THE WICKED RIGHTEOUS #2

“The Fury of the Fox!”
Writer: Terry Mayo
Artist: Lucas Romero

Two years ago in San Quentin. The plague is killing everyone and a guard decides to let out an inmate. Back to the present and that inmate is the one helping Lucas and his family. His name is Cross and he is helping this group for his own mercurial reasons. The group holds up in an abandoned apartment as the gang looks for them. The gang is lead by Fox and are called The Horsemen. Seems the girl the group rescued cut Fox’s face. Yet some more powerful figure is in charge and wants the girl.

Cross needs a new satellite phone since his last one was damaged by a stray bullet. Uncle Abe is dying from a bullet to the gut and promises Cross a new one if he gets his nephews back home out of the city. The group makes its way out and come on two guys abducting a woman. Cross doesn’t want to get involved but Lucas threatens to so Cross expertly shoots the two guys. Oh and that creepy kid from last issue is watching them.

So there is a lot of mystery to Cross. He seems like a cold killer concerned only for himself. So why is he helping Lucas and his family. The girl that was rescued JC is also a bit mysterious. Someone powerful wants her. Maybe Cross knows why. Also the Chin-Am are training an army of young boys at the ballpark. And creepy boy is still hanging around. A good post-apocalyptic series.

STARRING SONYA DEVEREAUX #1 DEBUTANTE DESPERADO

“Debutante Desperado”
Writers: Todd Livingston & Nick Capetanakis
Artists: Brendon & Brian Fraim

Sonya is at a showing of her new movie Debutante Desperados a western. She wonders where her co-star is and the movie starts. Several young girls from Philadelphia are on spring break in Nevada 1871. Prudence Conway Wellington is studying to be a school marm. She stops the stagecoach to go to the outhouse and pick some flowers. While away some cowboys shoot the driver and take the girls to jail because they were trespassing on Conrad Irving’s land. Irving is the local oil, land, cattle and pie baron.

Constance is in the saloon to sell her dresses to raise money and is confronted by Irving. She decides to bust out the girls and with the help of the local cowhand, who literally has a cow hoof for a hand, blow a hole in the jail with dynamite. The girls escape and Constance stays to put an end to Irving’s rule. So she hides out in the local whorehouse. She teaches the girls some refinement in exchange for hiding but Irving finds out and blows up the whorehouse.

So with the madam Belle Dorado they go to take Irving’s huge mansion to replace the whorehouse. Luckily the men from the town join in to help because they really need a whorehouse. There is a big gunfight that Constance wins. At the end a party is thrown and the dead whores are alive because Belle Dorado can bring the dead back. She plans on bringing Irving back as a zombie whore. Only Sonya seems to get this ending. She leaves the theater to find her co-star who played Belle. She is at a party for a friend at the same place and doesn’t remember Sonya’s name but would like a copy of the movie on DVD.

“Tour the Creative Process with Sonya Devereaux”
An article that shows how the comics are written and drawn. Kind of an insightful look at how comics are created.

So this one was a western and just hilarious. I mean there are just loads of historical anachronisms and downright historical inaccuracies. Not to mention bad dialogue and an inane plot. Ends with an ending that makes no sense whatsoever. Once again my kind of movie.

So this is the last issue for now. At the end were three upcoming titles that were advertised and I hope they make. Spider-Shark Vs. Bear-Snake(although I think the Asylum beat them to it), Return of the 50 Foot Woman, and Senorita Assassin 3 Margarita-Kill. Sounds like some more winners.

THE WARLORD #125

“Queen’s Requiem”
Writer: Michael Fleisher
Artists: Jan Duursema and Tom Mandrake

Shamballah is still in chaos due to the evil eclipse. Morgan is riding through the city and finds a strange figure standing over a fallen body. He finds out it is the Scavenger now transformed. The Scavenger has been stealing souls and almost gets Morgan’s. He flees and Morgan goes back to the palace to recover from his encounter. Meanwhile Jennifer tells Tara that the evil is located in the volcano and Tara decides to confront it. She gets some amulet and ring of truth to help her. So she goes to the volcano and confronts the Scavenger who overpowers her. Later Morgan is awakened by a cloaked figure that attacks him. He manages to throw the figure out the window and finds out that it was Tara. He cradles her in his arms saying “I killed her.”

In a subplot Mariah has traveled out of the eclipse and finds a cave. Going in she finds out that it leads to Siberia. A pteranodon has followed and attacks a group of soldiers. Mariah goes and saves them by killing the pteranodon. Now the Soviet soldiers show their gratitude by arresting her and taking her to the KGB.

Well some interesting things happened in this issue. Khnathaiti needs souls to grow strong so the Scavenger is gathering them. The Scavenger also has an infatuation with Tara and has been promised her body. He seems to have taken her soul and Morgan has accidentally killed her in a fight. A good cliffhanger to end the story. Also Mariah is back in the Soviet Union which was an intriguing idea. One thing I didn’t like is them getting rid of the large two page splash title picture that has always been a part of Warlord. But this series was coming to a close so its quality will soon be plummeting.

PLANET OF THE APES #11

“When the Lawgiver Returns…”
Writer: Doug Moench
Artist: Mike Ploog

Night in Ape City and the current administrator is unsure what to do about the growing unrest between humans and apes. He is visited by Brutus and his hooded ape followers who murder him and mount him on a cross in the city square. Now apes blame humans. Meanwhile the Lawgiver with his friends Jason, Alexander and Malaguena leave the riverboat Simian to make it to Ape City. Along the way they come on a group of humans fleeing the violence. The Lawgiver convinces them to return with him. When they arrive they find the city on the verge of open warfare between humans and apes. The Lawgiver manages to calm things down and plans on a speech tomorrow.

Brutus hears of this and goes to win the apes over to his side. He debates the Lawgiver and loses. So as a loser Brutus has his followers attack. They wound the Lawgiver and Jason manages to capture him and is going to beat him to death. Only he is restrained and Brutus is banished from the city. This enrages Jason that the killer of his parents is allowed to live. He turns on his friends and leaves Ape City.

“Outlines of Tomorrow: A Chronology of the Planet of the Apes”
By Jim Whitmore

An attempt to outline the history of the Planet of the Apes. Starting in 1973 to 3976 and using all five movies the TV series and the Marvel Comics. I found it an interesting attempt to outline the history with some logical attempts at speculating the history.

“The Hell of Holocaust”
Writer: Doug Moench
Artist: Alfredo Alcala

The ape army has arrived at the ruins of Manhattan and invaded. The mutants prepare to detonate the doomsday bomb. Taylor and Brent attempt to stop them. Along the way they run into a group of armed gorillas and Nova is killed. This unhinges Taylor who wants the whole world to be blown up. Brent convinces him to go on. At the temple Ursus shoots the mutant leader and plans to tear down the bomb over Dr. Zaius objections. Brent and Taylor arrive to stop them and Brent is shot. Taylor pleads with Zaius to help but Zaius refuses. Taylor is shot but before he dies he pushes the button that destroys the world.

The Terror storyline is back and now the Lawgiver finds his city rife with hate. The humans and apes are ready to go at each other but the Lawgiver manages to convince everyone to live in peace. Brutus is defeated but still lives to cause trouble. Jason is also consumed with hate and turns on his friends to continue to pursue his revenge. A story still relevant today. Too bad it isn’t as simple as a good speech to resolve everything.

The chronology was a good attempt to organize everything that has happened to date on the Planet of the Apes. I found it very helpful.

Finally the end of the Beneath the Planet of the Apes adaptation. It adopts the original screenplay so we get a look at what was originally envisioned. The main difference seemed to have Taylor threaten to push the button instead of accidentally fall on the lever. The movie had to have had the most pessimistic ending in cinema history. Still I enjoyed the movie and its adaptation.

The trailer to the movie.

And the final ending.

CONAN THE BARBARIAN #20

“The Black Hound of Vengeance!”
Writer: Roy Thomas
Artist: Barry Smith

Conan is assigned to Balthaz for a raid into Makkalet. The goal is to kidnap back the living incarnation of the Tarim. So at first it goes well. They are confronted by a small guard that is quickly eliminated. It is when Conan and some of the others get in the temple that the trouble starts. He meets a girl who is the queen but pretends to be a common temple priestess so as not be killed. Then Conan confronts the evil priest who conjures up a living skeleton. Finally as Conan reaches the chamber of the Tarim he falls through a trap door and has to fight the Black Hound of Vengeance. A big black dog that he eventually defeats by choking it with a chain then stabbing it. He makes it back to his ship and finds out Balthaz ordered Fafnir who lost an arm to be thrown overboard because it wasn’t worth wasting food on a cripple. This really angers Conan who stabs Balthaz with his own silver dagger. Prince Yezdigerd orders Conan killed but Conan slashes his way to Yezdigerd and gives him a scar on his cheek before jumping overboard.

Another enjoyable action filled story by Thomas and Smith. The big event in this issue is Conan giving Prince Yezdigerd a permanent scar. This is the start of an animosity with the prince and later emperor of Turan that follows Conan throughout most of his life. Interesting to see how Conan developed such a strong friendship with Fafnir who he was so intent on killing when he first met. A great story that showcases Conan’s loyalty to his friends and contempt for civilization’s religions as he states that he didn’t think highly of weak gods who would let themselves be kidnapped.

THE WICKED RIGHTEOUS #1

“…And The Children Will Lead Them All!”
Writer: Terry Mayo
Artist: Lucas Romero

A virulent plague is sweeping the world and civilization is collapsing. Four brothers in San Diego have to watch their parents die. Two years later one of the brothers Lucas is going through a pharmacy to look for inhalers for his brother. He is surprised and almost shoots another kid. He misses the kid Billy but offers him food for accidentally almost shooting him. The kid is creepy and Lucas leaves him since he has to get back to his family. Billy is somewhat mentally unstable and goes all psycho at being abandoned.

So Lucas links up with two of his brothers and uncle. They come on a young girl being chased by some of the psycho gang members that inhabit the city. They intervene but the gang has a member that ambushes them. Luckily a mysterious man comes and saves them.

The first in a new post-apocalypse series. Apparently in this future the Chinese are in control of the western coast. There is mention of the Chin-am army that still is active and weird Chinese type American flags all over the place. There drones make daily patrols of the city. There are also gangs that are referred to as psychos. Also children were the ones mostly immune to this mysterious plague so they make up most of the survivors. This first issue started out slow but has enough intriguing ideas that is shows possible potential.

STARRING SONYA DEVEREAUX #1 VAMPIRE ACADEMY 4

“Vampire Academy 4”
Writers: Todd Livingston & Nick Capetanakis
Artists: Brendon & Brian Fraim

Shane Slasher who runs the blog scaredshitless.com has come to Sonya Devereaux’s apartment for an interview. They watch her just released movie Vampire Academy 4. In it she is Elsbeth who is a senior at Bathory Academy. This is a school run for young female vampires. She has her two besties Anela and Caroline. Their nemesis is Scarlett who is the head of Borga House Sorority. So the first class has been given to the famous vampire teacher Dr. Damien Filius. The first assignment is for the girls to seduce and kill someone.

So the three girls go to the local pizza joint and manage to get the attention of some jocks. Anela and Caroline have no problem with taking out their jocks. But Elsbeth gets the geeky but handsome Derek and falls in love with him. So they leave but can’t find Caroline. Caroline was captured by vampire hunter Jack Stone who just joined the police and his partner. They torture Caroline for the info on the location of the academy. Later Caroline escapes and makes it back to her friends. They decide to have a threeway lesbian in the bath. This delays the two vampire hunters since they had planted a tracking device in Caroline’s fangs but decide to watch a little longer first.

So Jack Stone and his partner spring the trap. They manage to kill the bitchy Scarlett and are going to win but Derek comes to the rescue. Seems he wasn’t getting a response for his five texts in one hour. His arrival distracts the hunters long enough for the girls the take out the hunters. The academy is safe and Elsbeth and Derek continue their relationship.

“Interview with Sonya Devereaux”
By Shane Slasher

An interview with Sonya. We find out she doesn’t always get paid for her movies. The secret to her success is sleeping with the right people and that she would be a surgeon or Special Ops if not an actress.

So you know the vampires must not be able to manage their money that well. They can barely afford clothing for their students. This was just hilarious. Sonya is your typical dumb blonde. The interview was also hilarious. This series is just a great spoof of B-movies. Having the geeky blogger do an interview was a fun story device to really showcase Sonya’s moonbatery. Plus you get a hot lesbian scene so what more do you need in a comic book.

THE WARLORD #124

“Scavenger of Souls”
Writer: Michael Fleisher
Artists: Jan Duursema & Tom Mandrake

Shamballah is in shambles. The volcano is spewing lava and poisonous gas. Dinosaurs are stampeding through the city. Luckily Power Girl is still around to use her powers. Jennifer is also using sorcery and communing with good spirits. She finds out that a great evil is responsible for this mess. Meanwhile the Scavenger has decided to take advantage of the chaos and bust into the Shamballah treasury with his scorpion ship. Tara and Morgan defeat him and he is later transported to the evil that is causing all the chaos. Khnathati the Empress of Infernal Darkness is awakened and the evil demons that started this sacrifice their life essence to make her young. She has used her magic to transform the Scavenger into The Scavenger of Souls.

So in this issue we are finally saying good-bye to the superheroes. Power Girl is told by Jennifer that she is needed on the surface. The Scavenger is transformed into a new evil being. As Morgan said, “Skartaris doen’t need superheroes” and I agree. We are also tightening up the story and no longer have all the various subplots which I think is a positive development. This new evil empress has some potential and the apocalyptic chaos adds an urgency to the story. A good start to a new direction.

PLANET OF THE APES #10

“The Mantle is Passed and Other Events”
By Archie Goodwin

An editorial that introduces the new associate editor. Also explains why the glossary is not in this issue. The Kingdom story was too long so they used a future article to fill the space.

“Kingdom on an Island of the Apes Part II”
Writer: Doug Moench
Artist: Rico Rival

Derek Zane has tracked the gorilla that took his stuff to the ape city. There he sneaks down and witnesses the gorilla general Gorodon murder the orangutan administer so he could take over the position. Derek gets the drop on him and ties him up. Then frees the captive humans and steals a wagon. He comes to the ocean and sees and island. So he builds a raft and takes the barrels of gunpowder that were in the wagon.

On the island he is captured by an ape in a suit of armor and taken to a castle. There he finds out he is on the island of Avedon, a society where apes and humans live in peace. The ape knight that captured him wants to have him killed but Lady Andrea convinces the king to spare him. So he is given the chance to prove himself by killing the dragon which turns out to be a giant mutant lizard. Derek kills it with his pistol but must then joust Sir Gwain the ape who hates him. He manages to defeat him and Gwain is banished for trying to shoot him in the back with a crossbow.

Finally General Gorodon tracks him to the castle and attacks. Luckily all the gunpowder comes in handy and destroys most of the army. Derek manages to defeat Gorodon and marry the princess.

“Finding the Future on the Fox Ranch”
By Sam Maronie

An article on the sets that were created for the movies.

“The Children of the Bomb”
Writer: Doug Moench
Artist: Alfredo Alcala

Brent and Nova are witness to the bizarre religious service of the mutants as they reveal their deformed faces. Later Brent is taken to Taylor who the mutants have decided to mentally compel to fight each other to the death. Only Nova escapes and distracts the mutant long enough for it to be killed. They discuss the bomb and Taylor knows that it is a bomb capable of destroying the world. The ape army runs into the image of their scouts being burned alive and a giant statue of the Lawgiver bleeding. Zaius exposes the images as not real. So the army continues on and the mutants prepare the bomb.

The Kingdom story was a very interesting and well done story. I found it a fascinating look at another part of the apes world. I would have liked to have seen more of this story. It ended with the possibility open that further adventures would continue. But they decided not to do anything with it.

The article was OK but nothing outstanding. The movie adaptation continues to be faithful to the movie. Some minor differences but a solid adaptation.