THE WARLORD #130

“Past Lives”
Writer: Michael Fleisher
Artist: Jan Duursema

Morgan has hallucinations that he sees Tara. Aoife comforts him and that seems to calm him down. So they continue on their quest for Xur-Chemosh island. Danny Maddox is on the island and has figured out the alien ship. It can build a city instantly and plant crops. This earns him the adoration of the people but not the priests who resent the lose of their power. Maddox has dreams of establishing himself as god in all of Skartaris. He manages to kill the priests when they try to assassinate him. Morgan and Aoife reach the ocean and Aoife produces a magic carpet to take them to the island. They fly in a thunderstorm which crashes the carpet and Morgan loses Aoife. He goes to the city and meets up with Mariah who is happy to see him. He also meets Maddox who is also happy to see him but for different reasons.

So the second in Maddox’s Revenge was for the most part one big dull entry. Morgan is for the most part somewhat pathetic and does very little in the story. Most of the plot revolved around Maddox and his megalomania that is developing. Mariah is falling in love with Maddox and rationalizes his growing nutty behavior. Plus some small subplots with Khnathiaiti has retrieved the amulet that Jennifer gave Tara to protect her. This now give a direct link to Jennifer that can be used. Shakira is back and finding work at a tavern keeping the mice in check. I must say that I have never seen Shakira drawn so ugly. I like Duursema’s work but she is not the right choice for Warlord.

So combine all this and you can just smell the stench of failure for this series.

Advertisements

PLANET OF THE APES #15

“Future History Chronicles II Dreamer in Emerald Silence”
Writer: Doug Moench
Artist: Tom Sutton

Alaric has led the survivors of Hydromeda to a deserted island. There are also some gorillas shipwrecked on the island. The two groups come to a truce and build a great ship. The gorillas have the knowledge and the humans the numbers to pull it off. Then the gorillas will be dropped off on land and the humans will use the giant ram on the prow to sink city-ships and free the captive humans. There is tension between the two groups which comes out in a fight between the gorilla Greymalkyn and the human second in command Starkor. When Alaric tries to break it up the three get knocked overboard and them swallowed by a sea-monster.

The sea-monster turns out to be a bio-mechanical submarine captained by an orangutan named Ambrosia. The ships name is the Dwelleron. Ambrosia plans to sink all the city-ships because they bring war and pollution to the seas. So the group has some adventures with a giant octopus and savages on an island. Finally as he plans to sink a gathering of city-ships Alaric and friends manage to take over the ship and convince Ambrosia to abandon his ways. They return to their ship but Ambrosia was shamed by the nobility of Alaric and decides to blow up the Dwelleron.

“In the Cradle of the Father’s Sins”
Writer: Doug Moench
Artist: Rico Rival

The Presidential commission decides to give Zira and Cornelius into the hands of Dr. Otto Hasslein. He then has Zira put under with sodium pentothal. Here Zira reveals the future and how she did experiments on humans. We also learn how the plague killed the cats and dogs and thus replaced them with apes. The apes became slaves and eventually rebelled. At the end it is decided to terminate Zira’s pregnancy.

So only two stories and no articles in this issue. The first story continues the Future Chronicles and was basically a Captain Nemo on the Planet of the Apes. I actually found this to be an excellent story. Very original and interesting to see what was happening on other parts of the planet. The Escape adaptation was once again an accurate adaptation. Interesting to find that the ape revolt was supposed to happen two centuries from now which actually makes more sense than the 1991 date in the next movie.

CONAN THE BARBARIAN #25

“The Mirrors of Kharam Akkad”
Writers: Roy Thomas and Barry Smith inspired by “The Mirrors of Tuzun Thune” by Robert E. Howard
Artist: John Buscema

Kharam Akkad is upset. He has the mirrors of Tuzun Thune and one shows a barbarian standing over his dead body. Above are an eagle, snake and lion. He finds out the barbarian is close by and has him arrested. So Conan after a good fight is knocked out and taken to Kharam. There he is put in front of a mirror that shoots out tentacles that try to strangle him. A guard is sympathetic and tries to help but Kharam kills him. The guard’s sword gets within reach of Conan who uses it to free himself. Then he fights Kharam. The wizard puts up a good fight but hesitates when he notices the pommel of Conan’s sword is an eagle. Conan cuts the straps on his shield which he sees are made of snake skin. Then he tries to use his magic mirror but Conan runs him through thus fulfilling the prophecy.

So we find out what happened to the mirrors from one of Kull’s greatest stories. Kharam puts up a good sword fight for a wizard. Usually they aren’t that proficient. So Barry has left the art chores for the series although he does co-plot this issue. The big news is John Buscema coming on as artist. He would stay on for another 100 issues along with Roy. These two are where I started reading Conan so their style set the image of Conan for me. I think the two did some of their finest work with this series and look forward to their stories.

So the story was a fun one. It used an event from Kull’s time to good effect. With Buscema drawing this just feels like the Conan I remember from my youth. So Makkalet is on the verge of doom. Yezdigerd has decided to mount a final assault now that Pah-Dishah has deserted their allies. So next issue will be the ending of the siege of Makkalet story.

THE WICKED RIGHTEOUS #6

“Ashes to Ashes!”
Writer: Terry Mayo
Artist: Lucas Romero

So all the opposing factions have started in a melee. Lucas and his brothers manage to escape the building but Uncle Abe and his girlfriend remain. Unfortunately crazy Billy the creepy kid planted dynamite that goes off killing the two. Then he takes the youngest brother Johnny hostage. At this time JC escapes from her father and joins the brothers. The fighting stops when the Chin-Am army arrives. Made up of conscripted teens. The young conscripts rebel and shoot their officers. Then Berg takes her vengeance on Cruz and Fox. Cross manages to take out Cruz’s right hand man Guapo. Crazy Billy takes Johnny up in some museum and throws him down. Lucas then beats Billy and starts to choke him. JC comes and convinces him not to kill. So the four brothers are reunited and JC and Lucas are together.

The final issue of this series was all I hoped it would be. It had some tragedy in Uncle Abe’s death. It also saw justice to all the assholes. It ended with a happy ending. I hope that this series continues for the whole world it introduced is fascinating and so many questions left unanswered. The prologue had a scene two years ago where the cowardly President has a general give a press briefing to calm the public about the plague. It was a man made creation which still needs to get an origin. Also how the country was divided. A very enjoyable post-apocalyptic series.

RED SONJA HOLIDAY SPECIAL

“A Very Merry Sonja”
Writers: Amy Chu & Erik Burnham
Artist: Ricardo Jamie

Sonja finds a woman while riding in a snowstorm and decides to help her. This altruism has never occurred in the old woman’s life and she asks why. Sonja tells her of her time in New York. She had just met Max and it is Christmas. At a diner she witnesses the kindness of the proprietor to a homeless man. Max tells that this time of year everyone is more helpful. They run into a man in a Santa suit pursued by some of Gaunt’s thugs. Seems he was walking his dog and overheard some of Gaunt’s plans so he sent his goons after him. They manage to hide him in the Santacon gathering. So Sonja remembers this time of year and honors her friend by helping the old woman.

“Wizards of the Black Sun”
Writers: Roy Thomas & Clara Noto
Artist: Frank Thorne

Sonja approaches an Argossean city and meets a three legged goat. This goat can talk and warns her about the city. Not to enter the door with the black moon. Well Sonja ignores it and enters anyway. First she saves a boy from robed acolytes. Then a fortune teller takes her to a tavern which drugs her. She wakes on an alter to be sacrificed. Fighting back she faces a living skeleton and must choose which door to freedom. She chooses correct and escapes. Later she meets the goat and the city disappears just an illusion.

Well I had to do this one for Christmas. The Christmas story was a nice little tale with Santas and Kulan Gath’s men. Plus you get to see Sonja in a Santa hat. This woman seems to be immune to cold. She is always wandering around in the bikini in winter. The second is a reprint for the old days. It was a real psychedelic one with talking goats and skeletons and other weird things.

So an enjoyable holiday special. So Merry Christmas.

THE WARLORD #129

“The Vision Quest”
Writer: Michael Fleisher
Artist: Jan Duursema

Morgan runs into a warrior woman being chased by beast-men. He helps her against them. The woman is Aoife, Battle Maiden of the Cuchulainn Clan. She is on quest for the Isle of Xurchemosh in the Tourmaline Sea. She has psychic visions which later help save people in a village from an earthquake. Danny Maddox and Mariah are on the island in question. After Danny save Mariah from a flying serpent the two are greeted by the inhabitants. Because of the rifle they have the inhabitants think Maddox is a wizard. So at the village they find them worshiping a spaceship. Maddox investigates and puts on the helmet of the dead pilot. This allows him to activate the ship’s lasers and beat back an attack of the flying serpents. The people then declare Maddox their savior. Jennifer continues to try and find out what Khnathaiti is up to.

Well so it begins. The first of a three parter called Maddox’s Revenge. Of course the real beginning is the end of Warlord. Already it is announced the title is moving to bi-monthly because of poor sales. Honestly I am not surprised. I mean this issue has Mariah starting to fall in love with Maddox. Now Maddox is a tool and very obviously one. They really ruined the character of Mariah for this title. Otherwise the story was OK but just didn’t have the feel of what Warlord used to be.

BIZARRE ADVENTURES #34

“Son of Santa!”
Writer: Mark Gruenwald
Artist: Alan Kupperberg

A young homeless man in New York is approached by a midget with an offer. He claims to be a talent scout for a Japanese action movie and gives the man a plane ticket to Japan and a thousand dollar bill. So on the plane the little man hijacks it and forces the man to parachute out over the north pole. They come on the ruins of a building with dead reindeer and elfs. Santa is also encased in a block of ice. Seems the boy is Santa’s son who was abandoned with a family to raise. Only the family was not very good. So the man now has to battle the anti-Claus. He eventually traps him in the magic bag. So the son with Donner and Blitzen the only surviving reindeer assumes the mantle of Santa Claus. Only he decides to relocate operations to the Bahamas.

“Howard the Duck’s Christmas”
Writer: Steve Grant
Artist: Paul Smith

Howard the Duck is going to jump off the Golden Gate bridge on Christmas Eve. An angel comes to show him his life if he never lived. So first is Paul Same who he stopped from killing an art critic. Only in this life Paul is famous for the act and about to be pardoned. Then it is Arthur Winslow an author who Howard saved from being a slave to aliens. Only now he is a successful screenwriter. Then Bev his girlfriend who is about to marry a heir to a billion dollar fortune. Howard decides not to kill himself and the angel gets his wings.

“Dr Deth not to Mention Kip and Muffy”
Writer and Artist: Larry Hama

In a post-apocalyptic world Dr. Deth and his companions Kip and Muffy stop some mutants and rescue a little baby.

“Slaybells!”
Writer and Artist: Michael Carlin

A young boy goes around killing Santas at Christmas. Seems years ago his father was looking out a window and Santa fell on him and squashed him to death. So one Christmas the boy ambushes Santa. Years later he is released from prison but as he gets home his mother is squashed by a giant Easter egg. Promises another story if there is an Easter special.

“Santa Bites the Big Apple!”
Writer and Artist: Alan Milgrom

Santa comes to New York and has no luck. He is mistaken for a Hare Khrishna and attacked by guard dogs. He almost gets killed by a jealous boyfriend with a shotgun. The police throw him in jail for vagrancy but he manages to escape through the air vent. Later he finds his sleigh stripped and reindeer gone. He also got a parking ticket. So he comes up with the only way to give presents in New York a discount store. Everyone steals from the place but good is relative. At least nobody has tried to shoot him.

“Bucky Bizarre”
Writer: Steve Skeates
Artist: Steve Smallwood

Bucky travels to the time of Dickens because that Christmas was not commercialized. He meets up with a girl trying to sell matches who is a revolutionary who plans to blow up the home of the matches company.

“From the Warp of Denny O’Neil
By Denny O’Neil

An editorial on all the problems of Christmas.

So this was the final issue ever of Bizarre Adventures. It was in color and not in magazine format. As the cover suggests it is a very anti-Christmas issue. I loved all the stories. They were funny. Even the Bucky Bizarre and I never liked that character. A good tongue in cheek Christmas issue.

GIANT-SIZE CONAN #5

“A Sword Called Stormbringer!”
Writers: Roy Thomas story by Michael Moorcock and James Cawthorn
Artist: Barry Smith

A reprint of Conan #14.

“The Green Empress of Melnibone”
Writers: Roy Thomas story by Michael Moorcock and J. Cawthorn
Artist: Barry Smith

A reprint of Conan #15.

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

A reprint of Conan #12.

So the final Giant-size was nothing but reprints. The Hour of the Dragon was not finished but will be in the Savage Sword which I will someday hopefully get to soon. So I hope you enjoyed the bonus reviews that I did this week of my Christmas vacation.

DC’S NUCLEAR WINTER SPECIAL

RIP HUNTER: TIME MASTER IN “The Nuclear Winter Special”
Writer: Mark Russell
Artist: Mike Norton

Rip Hunter lands in the mid-twenty first century to recharge his time ship. He gets ambushed by three former employees of Oogle who are now cannibals. Rip tells them stories to distract them long enough to escape.

Batman 666 in “Warmth”
Writers: Collin Kelly & Jackson Lanzing
Artist: Guiseppe Camuncoli

Damien the son of Bruce Wayne wanders a cold and deserted Gotham. He gets ambushed by his grandfather Ras Al Ghul. Ghul blames Damien for the worlds destruction. They fight and Ghul stabs Damien only he comes back to life.

Superman One Million in “Memory Hearth”
Writer: Steve Orlando
Artist: Brad Walker

In the 853rd century Kal Kent is fighting a villain that goes back in time to kill Clark Kent. J’onn J’ozz manages to save him so this Superman comes to celebrate the Martian holiday Memory Hearth.

The Flash in “Once and Future”
Writer: Jeff Loveness
Artist: Christian Duce

Flash stops the Reverse Flash from destroying time and is forced to live in the limbo of the Speedforce.

Supergirl in “Last Daughters”
Writer: Tom Taylor
Artists: Tom Derenick & Yasmine Putri

Supergirl finds a young girl as the last survivor on a convoy. She takes her to the top of Mount Denali above the radioactive cloud. There she regains her powers and flies to the Fortress of Solitude. There the two use Kal’s capsule to leave Earth for a new home.

Aquaman in “Where the Light Cannot Reach”
Writer: Mairghread Scott
Artist: Dexter Soy

Aquaman is recruited to find valuable life that resists radioactivity. He has to fight mutant sharks to get it.

Firestorm in “Last Christmas”
Writer: Paul Dini
Artist: Dave McGaig

Firestorm checks out the ruins of an abandoned theme park and finds the Nuclear Family androids that use nuclear power are celebrating Christmas. The family is running out of power and try to use Firestorm to blow them up. But Firestorm instead helps them find the true meaning of Christmas.

Kamandi in “Northern Lights”
Writer and Artist: Phil Hester

Kamandi is north to search for a homeland for humans. He is attacked by King Ormyn of the bear people. Kamandi is rescued by two of the bear people. Ormyn has killed all sons born in the year of the comet. Kamadi helps them kill Ormyn and free the bear people from his tyranny.

Catwoman in “Nine Lives”
Writer: Cecil Castellucci
Artist: Amancay Nahuelpan

Catwoman is looking after Sophie the daughter of a friend. Sophie convinces Catwoman to help the refugees of Gotham by sealing rations.

Green Arrow in “The Birds of Christmas Past, Present and Future”
Writer: Dave Wielgosz
Artist: Scott Kolins

Oliver Queen is invited by Hawkman to the Justice League’s Christmas party after being estranged from the group. He reconnects with his old love Black Canary.

So I am a sucker for anything post-apocalyptic so an anthology of DC superheroes after one is just right up my alley. Not really familiar with the heroes nowadays but enjoyed all the stories We even get a Kamandi one which is a classic character. A nice little Christmas extra for the holidays.

GIANT-SIZE CONAN #4

“Swords of the South!”
Writer: Roy Thomas based on adaptation of novel “The Hour of the Dragon” by Robert E. Howard
Artist: Gil Kane

Conan and Albiona leave Tarantia in an Asuran boat. Disguised as pilgrims they will not be bothered. In Poitain Conan finds his loyal friend Count Trocero in charge. A priest of Asura comes and informs Conan that the Heart of Ahriman was stolen from the thief and taken to a bandit’s castle. So Conan goes there disguised as a mercenary seeking employ. After proving his worth he is assigned to help torture the information on how to open an iron box that the jewel is located in. Zorathus has his last laugh as he gives instructions on how to open the box but it also poisons the opener. A thief Beloso knocks Conan out. So Conan gives chase and his horse trips. When Conan comes to he has to fight a cannibalistic ghoul. Then he makes it to Messantia in Argos and looks up an old contact from his pirate days. He finds the location of the thief but is too late as Stygians have taken the jewel.

“The Lurker Within!”
Writer: Roy Thomas based on story “The God in the Bowl” by Robert E. Howard
Artist: Barry Smith

A reprint of Conan #7.

So Conan’s quest takes him further from his kingdom. A lot happens in this story. Conan finds that Poitain is all but declared its independence and wants to make Conan its king. But Conan has to regain all of Aquilonia and must retrieve the Heart of Ahriman. So another disguise and more adventures with a bandit band. Ghouls and old fences from his pirate days. Now he has to go to Stygia and on his trail are the four mysterious Khaitains that Valerius sent after him.