Writer: Marc Andreyko
Artist: Rodney Buchemi
The Nautilus has arrived at the mysterious island with the powerful element that can be turned into a weapon. Sonja and Dnar suit up in radioactive suits and row ashore. The plan is the go to the volcano that is in the center of the island. The volcano is honeycombed with caves so they enter and plant the explosives so they can bring down the whole mountain and isolate the element. On the way back they are attacked by some men of Kulan Gath. Sonja has no problem defeating them but when they return to the sub they find that Kulan Gath has taken it over.
So this issue is mainly involved with gathering the various people together. Gath has arrived and a brief page shows Crime boss Thorne also on the way. There is also exposition about how Dnar found the island. A short issue but probably one needed to move the plot forward.
“The Lost World of Skartaris Part 3”
Writer: Dan Jurgens
Artists: Dan Jurgens and George Perez
Cody the titan that was blown out of the sky city by Mortella crashes into the craft flown by Prysm. He hits and hurts his leg bad but still manages to save the falling Prysm. Meanwhile the others are fighting Mortella who has Prysm’s power as well as other powers. She is winning this fight. The Atom manages to shrink and escape. He finds the room with the power source for Mortella and it is a captive Jennifer Morgan. On the surface Cody and Prysm manage to catch a ride on a pterodactyl and come back in time to fight Mortella. Only now Jennifer is free and can use her powers. Prysm decides to take back her powers to help her teammates and Jennifer helps her. In the end this turns Mortella back to an old hag and ends her threat. The final scene has Jennifer use her power to open a portal home and the Teen Titans are on their way.
So the final issue of the visit of the Teen Titans to Skartaris ends. It was an enjoyable story. This one had guests of the main characters that I loved from the Warlord. Helped that Jurgens wrote for the series so knew how to portray them. Of course it was a mainly superhero story so didn’t really feel like a Warlord story. It was handled well and a nice little bit of nostalgia for the series I missed.
“Another Song of Red Sonja”
By Roy Thomas
An introduction by the writer. He tells that this was commissioned for the Spanish market and he came up with the dialogue to fill in the story that the two artists drew. He also goes on about how he first conceived of Red Sonja to be a sometime companion to the wandering Conan. Also it was Esteban Maroto who came up with the famous metal bikini look she has.
“Letter to a Redheaded Goddess”
By Esteban Maroto
A prose piece written in the first person to Red Sonja.
“Drawing on the Shoulders of Giants”
By Santi Casas
A more straight forward piece on how this book was drawn.
“Sing a Song of Sonja..”
Writer: Roy Thomas
Artists: Esteban Maroto and Santi Casas
King Thallos has just conquered the kingdom. But he is depressed because he is old and has realized that he will die. That his best days are behind him. So instead of marrying the conquered princess he decapitates her. Then he has his bard sing him a song. So he sings about Red Sonja. How she was raped by brigands. Then the goddess Morrigan appeared and gave her a sword and will to use it. Although Sonja refused the armor and wanted to show her enemies she was a woman so gets the metal bikini. Her first task is the hunt down the brigands and kill them.
As the bard ends his song Sonja appears at the castle. Her next task is to deliver justice for a stranger and she decides to avenge the people of the kingdom and their murdered princess. So Sonja chops up the king’s men and saves the cruel tyrant for last.
Written and Drawn by Esteban Maroto and Santi Casas
A sketch gallery with commentary on how they came up with the sketches.
So this was an enjoyable graphic novel. Done in black and white and red as the only colors. It was a beautiful work of art teaming up the original creators of the iconic character. It is mainly something to be enjoyed for its beautiful artwork and that is why you should get it. Also has some nice background on the creation of the character by Roy.
“The Garden of Death and Life!”
Writer: Roy Thomas
Artist: John Buscema
Conan comes to a small desert village looking for a place to rest. Instead he runs into a young woman fleeing a mob. Naturally Conan being a noble barbarian rescues her and they flee to the desert. The woman is named Zhadorr and she is a bit off. She tells that there is an oasis close by called Shar-Al-Tjinn. They meet four brigands and flee to the the oasis. When Conan arrives he jumps in the pool for a swim and finds skeletons underneath. He remembers the name of the oasis translates to The Bones of Fools. Coming up he is captured by the brigands who plan to sell him and Zhadorr as slaves.
At night the leader decides to take Zhadorr away to rape her. Conan manages to free himself from his bonds. He goes to rescue Zhadorr but finds nothing but bones of the leader. Zhadorr dies and he buries her. Later he hears screams and finds the other brigands and horses being attacked by the huge tree in the oasis. It picks them up and eats them. It then grabs Conan who manages to throw a torch at the tree and sets it aflame. In the morning the only thing left is a pod that gives birth to Zhadorr. Conan hacks the pod woman to pieces and rides out of the oasis.
So this story was an interesting one. Sort of an invasion of the body snatcher type story. Its obvious from the beginning that Zhadorr is weird. She craves sunlight and never wants to eat. This was a different opponent than Conan has been encountering so that was a nice change of pace. A solid single story for this journey back to the Hyborian lands.
Writer: Erik Burnham
Artist: Ediano Silva
A small group of Tharks find the first ships from Drakulon after they land. The Drakulon come out feral and thirsting for blood. An army of Helimuites then destroy them. Back at Issus palace Vampirella is about to give Issus immortality. At the last minute she tears her throat out instead of biting it. Vampirella got a glimpse with her telepathy that Issus was not going to honor her bargain and save her people. So the First Born now worship Vampirella as their new goddess since she killed their old one.
They show her the ancient technology that Issus had which included a device that could teleport anywhere even other worlds. Using it they see the plan that Dejah’s grandfather is hatching with the Okarians. They will use the Okarian science of magnetics to force the Drakulon ships crashing into the moons. Vampirella and Dejah with some First Born use the transporter to go to the north pole and stop the plan. Dejah has a plan to save Vampirella’s people by using the Okarian technology to bring them down.
So this is an interesting story. Issus is killed and Vampirella takes over the First Born. There is some very advanced technology that Issus has which wasn’t in the original book series. This and the red men’s knowledge of the Okarians I suppose are different in this alternate reality. A fast paced story with beautiful artwork. Looking forward to the conclusion.
Writer: Marc Andreyko
Artist: Igor Lima
Sonja agrees to help Tesla rescue her lover from Kulan Gath. So first they must go to Gath’s island which is magically shielded. The whole island is infused with Gath’s evil and Sonja and Tesla land. Then they go to Gath’s castle and Tesla knows a secret entrance. They find her boyfriend D’nar injured from torture. Sonja has to kill a guard and the three escape. Gath seems to know what is going on. In fact he has one of his minions pose as an informant to inform Tesla’s father Thorne of where they are going. So D’nar is taking the Nautilus to an island that has a material to create a devastating weapon. He plans to use it to destroy Gath.
So the story seems interesting so far. Obviously Kulan Gath has been well established as a super villain. This world’s incarnation is no different. Gath seems to know everything and also knows where the crew of the Nautilus is going. I have some feeling that Tesla and D’nar may be up to something and not being truthful about everything either.
“The Lost World of Skartaris part II”
Writer: Dan Jurgens
Artists: Dan Jurgens and George Perez
The Titans are being escorted by Tara back to Shamballah when they are attacked by a herd of triceratops. They use their powers to stop them but one member falls into a pile of dino poo. They make it back and get to clean up and a change of clothes. They find out from Tara who learned English from Morgan that a sky city that comes at irregular intervals is back. It brings cobras that come out of the ground and take people away. Just then the cobras come and the Titans attempt to stop them but they nullify their powers and transport them away.
Meanwhile Morgan, Shakira and Prysm find themselves on the city. Mortella shows an interest in Prysm. Morgan wants to just leave and as him and Shakira are going to the floaters they fall through a trap door. Prysm is interested in Mortalla’s offer to get rid of her powers so she can be normal which Mortella does.
So the Titans find themselves in a chamber filled with skulls and Morgan and Shakira chained to a wall. They free them and bust a hole in the wall. Only Mortella is there now with the powers of Prysm and blasts one of the Titans clear out of the city. At the end Prysm is on a craft now human and looking forward to a new life.
So this issue had a lot going for it. There was plenty of humor. You get a real feeling that the Titans are immature teens. It sets up the main villain in the sky city and Mortella. A mystery that will be revealed in the next issue. So far I enjoy this crossover with Skartaris. Morgan is more prominent. Others like Tara and Skakira have a part in the story. Skartaris looks as it should be. Not to mention the artwork is beautiful.
“The Once and Future Tarzan”
Writer: Alan Gordon
Artists: Thomas Yeates and Bo Hampton
It is two hundred years in the future and the Earth has gone through some catastrophe. Most of London is underwater and wild animals roam free. Still life goes on. Tarzan lives in the ruins and one day is attacked by a tribe of women. He manages to make peace with them. Later some mysterious man called George Schultz of a cabal that is after Tarzan comes for him. The man is looking for the Kavuru formula that has extended the lives of Tarzan, Jane and Jad-Bal-Ja the lion. They come to an agreement to go to Africa.
So on the boat they go down the river Thames and battle various pirates and hordes of tigers. They reach the channel and recover an old submarine. The trip takes them to a mysterious island composed of old ships like an aircraft carrier and cruise liner. It is lead by a Dr. Jorgenson who was a friend of Tarzan and Jane. Well it starts to get weird with Tarzan and the others somehow getting transported to Africa. They have a battle with Schultz’s men and are rescued by troops in bright blue uniforms.
So this take on Tarzan was originally published as a series of short stories in Dark Horse Presents. The positives are the beautiful artwork. The sort of serialized adventures that it was written as gives it a feel of the old serials from the thirties. Tarzan and Jane are written as the characters were originally written by Burroughs. Indeed the whole story idea feels like something that Burroughs would have written if he were alive today.
Now for the bad. The story is somewhat overwritten with too much exposition that goes nowhere or poetry quotes. In fact the ending was very weird and not satisfying to me. We did get some idea of what happened to this world. Some was actually plausible. The whole experience was just not as fulfilling to me as I was hoping. Still I would be open to reading more chapters in this unique take on Tarzan so it wasn’t that bad.
“The Fiend from the Forgotten City”
Writer: Roy Thomas adopted from plot by Michael Resnick
Artists: Rich Buckler and Ernie Chua
Conan is riding to Shadizar when he comes on a man dying in the desert. He saves the man and Libro tells of a lost city he was searching for. He offers Conan treasure if he helps him find this city. Naturally Conan likes that idea and they find the lost city of Ababenzzar. At the city Conan finds that some brigands are already fighting over the treasure. He stumbles on a silver-haired woman who he rescues from the brigands. The old man Libro manages to call forth a giant demon to slay the brigands. Then he turns the demon on Conan who manages to throw his knife and kill Libro. The silver-haired woman wants the big diamond which Conan gives her. This transforms the woman into the goddess Ishtar. She was held captive by her former priest Libro but the gem managed to restore her. She then warns Conan not to take any of the gems and Conan leaves once again empty handed.
Writer: Stan Lee
Artist: Steve Ditto
A medieval king has the face of a baboon. He is seeking a wizard that will make him the handsomest man in the kingdom. He finds such a wizard and threatens him with death if he doesn’t deliver. So he turns the king into a beautiful swan. He did want to be the most handsome male in the kingdom and got his wish.
So this is another lost city story. Yes there have been several already and Roy has a slight nod to that effect when Conan believes Lipro since he has already been to a few lost cities. Nevertheless this is another enjoyable story. Lost cities are fun and Conan has plenty of adventure in this one .
As for the short back up story. It was OK but nothing special.
Writer: Erik Burnham
Artist: Ediano Silva
Vampirella and Dejah are prisoners of the Therns. The Therns are attacked by the Black Pirates of Barsoom. In the fight Dejah manages to free Vampirella from the 8th ray device keeping her prisoner and she slaughters the remaining Therns. This impresses the Firstborn and they agree to take the two women to meet the Goddess Issus. So they meet Issus. The goddess can see Vampirella’s mind and has a plan to save her people. She offers to have her people replace the Therns and plant-men in greeting the pilgrims to the Valley Dor. Her people can drink the blood of the pilgrims. In exchange Vampirella would make Issus young and immortal. Vampirella accepts this offer.
So the two have found their way to the hag Issus. Her plan is actually a logical one from her point of view. Dejah is having her faith shattered to find out the truth about Issus. The story is good at staying true to what was established by Burroughs. It is a safe bet that the two leading ladies will now be at odds which should prove to be very interesting.