CARSON OF VENUS #1

“Fear of Four Worlds Part I”
Writer: Christopher Mills
Artist: Cyrus Mesarcia

Abby decides to build two hang gliders and sail off the cliffs to their ship. So Abby and Ethan are the two that try this. Only they are attacked by a pteranodon and somehow disappear. They find themselves on Amtor or Venus. Fortunately they are rescued by Carson Napier and Ero Shan. The two are searching for their mates Nalte and Duare who were captured by Skor the leader of Morov. Skor is from the books and the one who has an army of undead zombies. Carson tells how him and Duare were flying in their plane when a storm forced them down. They found Ero Shan looking for his kidnapped mate. Later Skor’s zombies also kidnap Duare. Abby and Ethan agree to accompany Carson and Ero Shan.

So the group is ambushed by Skor’s zombies and Kazars. Kazars are like parrot dogs used for hunting. The group manages to drive off the attack and Nalte escapes. Skor still has Duare and escapes. So Carson continues his quest to rescue his mate as Abby and Ethan go back to where they first entered Amtor. They find a portal and go through and are now confronted by a beautiful woman under attack by centaur like creatures demanding flesh.

“Mars or Bust”
By James Kuhoric

An article on the new shared universes of Edgar Rice Burroughs.

So this is the first of the new shared universe concept. We are going to be introduced to the worlds of Venus, The Moon and Pellucidar as well as Caspak. I love the idea and the first with Carson was just excellent. The characters were so Burroughs like. They are always having to rescue their kidnapped mates and Carson seems to always be crashing somewhere. I love seeing these worlds finally getting the proper comic book treatment they deserve.

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RED SONJA TARZAN #5

“Untitled”
Writer: Gail Simone
Artist: Walter Geovani

It starts with a flashback to Eson Duul’s life. His mother died in childbirth which was the start that whenever Duul arrives death follows. He is even at a young age feared. As a child he has his father killed by the local witchdoctor. When he grows up he leaves to find more power. In London one of Tarzan’s Waziri friends seeks out the Khaitain gardener for help in finding Tarzan. In Africa young Jack speaks his first words. The great apes decide to stop running and fight Duul’s men who are chasing them.

Back in Cimmeria Duul threatens to break Sonja’s neck if he doesn’t surrender. Only Sonja is not done and kicks Duul in the face. Then Tarzan starts in and starts beating on him. Duul is forced to escape with his followers. Later while trying to figure out where Duul ran to Sonja tells of the clue that Catherine Duul’s follower gave her. That he goes to a place where the sun is a lie. Where pockets of time exist. Tarzan knows this place and the two go to Pellucidar. They are ambushed by a Mahar which Tarzan kills. The two fall into a river with a waterfall coming up.

So we get a look into Eson Duul and he is definitely the anti-Christ. I have to say that Simone has created one of the most vile villains that I ever read. Even as a boy the guy is a total tool. Enjoyable to see him getting his ass kicked for a change. Duul actually has to run away to Pellucidar where the Mahars will protect him. Looking forward to the ending.

THE WARLORD #3

“Ballad Part III”
Writer: Mike Grell
Artists: Dameon Willich & Rich Hoberg

The bard and old man reach a small way station for caravans. Here they rescue a woman being attacked. The woman is headed to Thera. The bard makes an offer to accompany her to the Theran border since its on the way. They introduce themselves the old veteran is Petrus and the bard is Tinder. So they have an uneventful ride and drop the girl off at the Theran border. Then they go to Kiro. Here Petrus introduces Tinder to it’s king Machiste and Mariah. Machiste tells of his time when he first met Morgan. Their time in the gladiator school and the rebellion. He tells that Morgan seemed to loose interest in others plight. They he knew he couldn’t live up to the legend although he tried. At the end the girl they rescued makes it to a temple. There she is willingly sacrificed on an alter and Deimos is reborn in a stone statue.

So some big revelations with this issue. The first is the names of our two main characters. Surprise that one is Tinder the lost son of the Warlord. Now grown up and traveling as a bard. Seems he is just like his father in rescuing damsels that don’t deserve it. Morgan rescued the witch Ayesha who later resurrected Deimos. Now the son also rescues the woman that resurrects Deimos. Grell decided to bring back the old arch enemy after swearing that Deimos was never coming back from the dead. I didn’t mind since this series needed an old enemy and Deimos is the best. Also was excited that he was finally bringing back Morgan’s son. Interesting that Grell ignored the story that Fleisher did and had Mariah still with Machiste. That was something that was better left forgotten.

So now we have Tinder back and the one who was responsible for his separation from his parents.This was shaping up to be an excellent series with the tying up of old threads that were never resolved in the old series.

PLANET OF THE APES #23

“Messiah of Monkey Demons”
Writer: Doug Moench
Artist: Tom Sutton

Brutus has the nuclear weapons and crates of laser rifles in the Psychedrome. He can’t wait to use them to destroy all humans. Just then Jason, Alex and Lightsmith come in the subway car they stole. Brutus gloats and is about to kill Jason when the monkey-demons attack. This allows Jason and his friends to escape. They eventually find themselves back in the Psychedrome and force the alien keeper to lead them out. He takes them to another subway car that leads to the outside.

Meanwhile Brutus is distracted by the arrival of Maguanus of the Asissimians. One of the mutant drones radios his masters and informs them of the situation. They order him to destroy the missiles which he does. Brutus is angry at losing his weapons and casually has Maguanus shot. Then goes off to find Jason. Jason and company find themselves on a snowy hill. Meanwhile in Ape city the Lawgiver lies at death’s door. A young orangutan decides to go to the Forbidden Zone to find the knowledge to save him.

“Ape Out-takes!”

A montage of pictures showing the actors in ape costumes doing various things.

“The Weapons Show of Paradise!”
Writer: Doug Moench
Artists: Vicente Alcazar & Sonny Trinidad

In 2670 A.D. North America an orangutan tells the early story of Caesar. The ape city is being build but there is clear tension. Aldo thinks he should be in charge. At school he gets angry because he isn’t very smart and the human teacher inadvertently uses the forbidden word no. This requires the intervention of Caesar to stop him from being killed. Later at dinner Caesar and MacDonald talk about the situation. MacDonald tells Caesar that the future is grim and offers proof in the testimony of Caesar’s parents. It is in the command post of the old city. So the two with an orangutan go to get weapons for the journey to the old city.

The Terror story is one weird story. Which isn’t a bad thing but I was glad to see it come to a conclusion. Time to move on to more interesting parts of the world. Malaguena and Jason’s relationship is heating up. I loved Lightsmith and his brainwashed babbling. So Brutus mad plans are stopped for now. Still plenty of future action between our main protagonists and antagonists.

The outtakes were a filler with some behind the scenes pictures. Was sort of amusing.

Finally the beginning of the Battle adaptation. So far an accurate adaptation. Interesting to see how this series was not very nice to the gorillas. They are the dumb brutes while the chimpanzees and orangutans are the smart ones. I remember they also just used the clothing the apes wore in the future which I found a cop out. They should have had some different clothes but I suppose it was easier to use the old clothes.

CONAN THE BARBARIAN #32

“Flame Winds of Lost Khitai!”
Writer: Roy Thomas adapted from novel “Flame Winds” by Norvell Page
Artists: John Buscema & Ernie Chua

Conan has been sent on a mission by the Turanians to scout the Khitain city of Wan Tengri. He is to see if its ripe for conquest. So he hires a sheepherder to smuggle him into the city in a wool cart. Then at night a curtain of flame covers the city. Conan steals from a merchant and immediately the flame winds yell at him to surrender. Conan manages to evade the guards and find a fence for the stolen loot. Only the gems disappear and in the pouch is a viper. Conan stole from one of the wizards that rule the city.

Not long later the city guard comes to arrest him. He manages to beat them and flee. He finds the seraglio of the fence and is lured by a beautiful blonde woman into a pool. He follows her down a tunnel hoping it leads to freedom. Only the woman turns into an octopus monster. He cuts the tentacles off but they immediately grow back. The woman/octopus also has hypnotic powers. So Conan closes his eyes and chops off the head. He manages to crawl out of the water and pass out. A mysterious hunchback figure climbs down from a building and approaches.

So Roy is adapting a non-Howard book for this storyline. I never heard of the author but I like the story. It fits well into Conan’s world. A mysterious city ruled by wizards. A supernatural monster and ends with a cliffhanger. A good start to an adventure in the mysterious east.

THE LAND THAT TIME FORGOT PELLUCIDAR #3

“Terror from the Earth’s Core”
Writer: Mike Wolfer
Artist: Jazz Dela Cuesta

Abby and Lys have escaped from the Germans and come on the rest of the group. Unfortunately they then find themselves surrounded by Coripies and giant ants. As this goes on Dian’s bonds are cut free by the Weiroo so she can rescue See-Ta. The Weiroo flies Dian to the little island so she can jump in and pull out See-Ta. Of course they both turn on the Weiroo and chop his head off. They then escape and find the group battling the Coripies and giant ants. Ahm and his tribe join the fight and save Bowen and company. They go to where the invasion army is coming out of the ground. Just then Tanar comes from the opening on a giant ant eater. Bowen notices the U-33 and shoots at it. Von Schoenvorts fires the deck gun which causes an avalanche that seals the entrance. Dian and Tanar escape in time to enter and go back to Pellucidar.

The final crossover story was an enjoyable and exciting story. There was almost nonstop action. Plenty of beautiful kickass women. It also established another Burrough’s world that American Mythology will add to their line. I look forward to more adventures in Caspak, Pellucidar and beyond.

RED SONJA TARZAN #4

“Untitled”
Writer: Gail Simone
Artist: Walter Giovani

Tarzan’s grandson is safe with the great apes. His daughter-in-law Meriem is captive of Duul and now in Cimmeria. Which is where Tarzan and Sonja are also. Sonja starts a fight with a blacksmith to get some clothes for Tarzan who is still dressed in a suit. Then they visit the Traveler who helped Sonja find Duul. Only now the Traveler is an old woman. She tells how Duul managed to steal her greatest sword. A Sword that is the key to all dimensions. Duul has been hunting everything that offends him. Then he moved on to legends for a bigger challenge. Seems every time he takes a trophy the fabric of time is damaged. Duul’s only failure is that he has been unsuccessful with Tarzan and Sonja.

So Duul and his two companions arrive with the captive Meriem. He threatens Meriem if Tarzan doesn’t come out. So he does and starts a fight with Carl the German. He manages to kill Carl but Sonja was not so successful. She is beaten and Duul threatens to snap her neck if Tarzan doesn’t surrender.

So we are halfway through the series and Tarzan is still in a suit. We actually only see him in his loincloth in a flashback scene. An unusual thing for Tarzan to be wearing for so long. So he does get a change of clothing to something more barbaric. We start to find out about Eson Duul. He has some unbeatable power that can manipulate reality itself. Ends with them in defeat or so it seems. I am enjoying this series and look forward to how it ends.

THE WARLORD #2

“Ballad Part II”
Writer: Mike Grell
Artists: Dameon Willich and Rick Hobers

A man is coming from the arctic wastes carrying something wrapped in cloth. He comes to the outpost of Hazrak and fights off some robbers. He comes to a temple and enters placing the bundle on the alter. The priestess rewards him by cutting his throat. The first to die for the glory of their master. Meanwhile the young bard issues a challenge to the veteran. That he should accompany him on the quest to find the truth about Morgan. He wants to prove the old veteran wrong. The old man agrees and the first stop is Castle Deimos. Here after overcoming the fear spell they meet Jennifer Morgan the Warlord’s daughter. She tells about her upbringing. How her father was always traveling and after her mother died he went off to war. That her father never meant to become a leader and legend. That he just wanted to explore the fantastic world of Skartaris. That the Warlord had become too much a legend to ever be the father that she needs.

The second issue was an interesting one. It spotlights Jennifer Morgan’s sorceress daughter. She seems to be a lonely and tragic figure spending her time all alone in a gloomy castle. She obviously has daddy issues and I think this was portrayed realistically. She comes off as a real person. Plus we get a subplot with a sinister cult that practices human sacrifice. I like the idea of the two men. One a young idealist and the other an old disillusioned man. They balance out the quest to find the real Travis Morgan.

PLANET OF THE APES #22

“Quest for the Planet of the Apes Part I: Seeds of Future Deaths”
Writer: Doug Moench
Artist: Rico Rival

A story set between Conquest and Battle. It is two years after the nuclear war. Apes are using humans as slaves to build their new city. Aldo is particularly a brutal overseer. This causes Caesar to intervene. A fight for leadership of the apes ensues. Aldo challenges Caesar to a quest to the old city. The one who brings back the most valuable item is the leader. So the two head off. Caesar is shocked at the devastation and decides to bring back the knowledge of what happened. Aldo finds an armory with guns and brings those back. Meanwhile Governor Breck with his followers escape and manage to grab the guns.

“Thirteen Decades of the Ape”
By Jim Whitmore

An article of apes in fiction. Starting with the first stories from the ancient Romans to the early explorers. Goes on about King Kong and the various imitations until the current times and the Planet of the Apes.

“From Shakespeare to Simian”
by Robert Cleveland

An article on Maurice Evans who played Dr. Zaius in the first two films. He started out as a Shakespearean actor on Broadway.

“Quest for the Planet of the Apes Part II: The Keeper of Future Death!”
Writer: Doug Moench
Artist: Alfredo Alcala

Governor Breck and his followers take Lisa the wife of Caesar hostage. They manage to defeat the renegade humans with great casualties. Caesar chases Breck and his followers Mendez and Alma out of the city. Then he has to fight Aldo for leadership. He uses his brains and defeats the dumb witted Aldo. Caesar decides to free the humans and have them live in an integrated society. He charges the old orangutan Mandemus to watch over the guns in case they are needed in the future.

So we get a story to bridge the gap between the two films. It was an interesting story and shows the ability to create some unique ideas in this series. Moench has been basically the one man behind this entire series and has done an admirable job of it. He sets up the conflict with Aldo and the mutants that happened in the final movie.

The articles were just not that great. I think the well of ideas has run dry for interesting articles.

CONAN THE BARBARIAN #31

“The Shadow in the Tomb!”
Writer: Roy Thomas
Artist: John Buscema & Ernie Chua

Conan continues his service in the Turanian army. He is with a force that has gone to subdue rebellious hill-men. These hill-men are huge and savage brutes. They attack and drive the survivors into a cul-de-sac. The hill-man chief proposes that the best Turanian fights their champion. If they win then they can go free. The captain remarks that he would need a magic sword to defeat the giant. This brings back a memory that Conan had.

Back in the winter that he left his village to see the world. He was being pursued by Vanir. Along the way he is ambushed by a huge bear. In the fight they break through the ground into an underground cave. The bear is killed and Conan finds himself in some tomb. He needs a sword and takes the one sticking out of the tomb grasped by a skeleton hand. Then his shadow comes alive and he defeats it by throwing a curtain on the fire. After he leaves the cave he discards the sword.

So back in the present he knocks out the Turanian captain and takes his place. He manages to cause a rock slide and crush the giant. So the survivors go free. At the end we see that the crushed giant was wielding the sword that Conan found in the tomb.

This was an enjoyable story. It starts with Conan battling savage hill-men. Then a story from his early youth. His first encounter with the supernatural and how he manages to triumph. We get to see his distrust of the supernatural when he discards the sword. The story nicely ties his past adventure with the current one. A good stand alone story and next issue will go back to a multi-issue storyline.