LEGENDERRY RED SONJA #1

“Untitled”
Writer: Marc Andreyko
Artist: Igor Lima

Sonja is playing with the notorious crime lord Tobias Thorne. She exposes him as a cheat which gets him angry and he puts a bounty on Sonja’s head. So Sonja has to fight her way out of the place and a rooftop chase ensues. She manages to make it to her submarine The Nautilus. A mysterious woman is following her and jumps in and attaches herself to the sub. Sonja has to go out and rescue her. The woman is Tesla and seeking Sonja’s help. She is in love with the son of her father’s greatest enemy. She is the daughter of the crime lord Thorne and her love is the son of the dark magician Kulan Gath.

So the second series starts off to a strong start. A sort of Romeo & Juliet story that will draw Sonja into an adventure. We also establish an old familiar villain in this steampunk world. The artist does an excellent job and looking forward to this new story.

TEEN TITANS #9

“The Lost World of Skartaris Part 1”
Writer: Dan Jurgens
Artists: Dan Jurgens and George Perez

Prysm finds herself in the world of Skartaris. She has lost her powers and is being chased by a T-Rex. Luckily Travis Morgan is in the area searching for his daughter. He jumps on and tries to kill the T-Rex with his sword. Doesn’t help that Prysm tries to stop him from killing the poor T-Rex. The wounded dinosaur decides to go find an easier meal.

Meanwhile Prysm’s team is looking for her over the Arctic. Prysm was captured by some villain named Vault and locked in a cage that drained her powers. Another team member used her energy powers to revive Prysm which caused her to shoot out into the arctic and disappeared. The jet they are flying come to a thunderstorm and they emerge into Skartaris. The storm damaged the craft and it crashes. They then fight an army of sword-men lead by Tara. At the camp of Morgan and Shakira they continue their conversation. Suddenly a giant snake comes up from the ground. It shoots rays from it’s eyes knocking our heroes out. From the mouth comes a beautiful woman named Mortella who has an interest in Prysm.

So another guest appearance for Travis Morgan and Skartaris. I liked this one better then the one in Justice League. First is Dan Jurgens had his first professional assignment on the Warlord so he understands the character. This shows in the writing. I also think the artwork is much better. Now this series is another one I have never read and I don’t know any of the characters. Except Atom but he has been turned into a seventeen year old so not up to speed on the background for this series. As I said though this feels much more like the Skartaris I know and the story so far is a better fit for that world.

MARVEL SUPER SPECIAL #29 TARZAN

“Tarzan of the Apes”
Writers: Sharman Divono and Mark Evanier based on novel by Edgar Rice Burroughs
Artist: Dan Spiegle

In 1888 a young English lord John Clayton and his newlywed wife Alice set sail for an African colony. They never reach their destination for there is a mutiny that kills all the ships officers. Clayton and his wife are spared by the leader Black Michael because Clayton intervened when the captain was about to shoot the head mutineer. So instead they are put ashore with supplies on the African coast with a promise from Black Michael to inform the government about their whereabouts.

So the two build a small cabin and settle in. Alice gives birth to a baby boy. Only she dies and the father is killed by a wandering tribe of apes. A young she-ape Kala who just lost her baby adopts the young boy. He grows up to be Tarzan. Soon Tarzan finds the cabin and uses the books to teach himself how to read and write. He finds a knife which allows him to fight and kill a gorilla. Later he has to take out his step-father Tublat.

One day a black warrior Kulonga is lost and kills Tarzan’s foster mother Kala. In grief the young Tarzan tracks him down and delivers his vengeance. Afterward he manages to take the warrior’s bow and arrows. He uses them to kill a lioness. This is a threat to the tribes leader and Kerchak picks a fight that he loses. Tarzan comes into the kingship of his tribe.

So this is a very faithful adaptation of the first Tarzan book Tarzan of the Apes. It is the first part of the book and a very enjoyable adaptation. The bright colored art is excellent and the story is told very closely as Burroughs wrote it. For some reason I remember expecting a continuation since it was only the first half of the book. For reasons unknown to me they never bothered to finish their adaptation. That’s a shame since this is a very good adaptation. I think this was about the time that the Christopher Lambert movie came out so that is why they did this. Oh well this stands as a good solid comic.

CONAN THE BARBARIAN #39

“The Dragon from the Inland Sea!”
Writer: Roy Thomas
Artist: John Buscema

Conan is ambushed by three brigands. Naturally the brigands become food for the vultures. Unfortunately Conan’s horse is killed and he is bitten by a snake. He passes out but finds himself being cared for by Ben-Hussal and his niece Rachalla. Ben was the ruler of a city by the Vilayet sea called Keshaan. This city was plagued by a dragon from the sea. His high priest urged leaving a young woman out for sacrifice. This priest Ghul-Azalel soon became the real power and demanded that Rachalla be sacrificed. So Ben and his niece left for Zamora. Only recently they hear that the mad priest died so they are going back.

When they arrive they find out that it was a trick to lure them back. The three are captured and Rachalla is left out to be sacrificed. Conan manages to pull the stake he is tied on out of the ground. He grabs a sword and goes out to free Racalla. Instead he has to battle a giant crocodile. He lures it back to the village where the villagers band together to try to kill it. Conan mortally wounds it with a fence post he pulls out of the ground and throws the mad priest into the netting around the dragon. It goes back into the sea to die thus freeing the people of Keshaan.

So this was a cool story. Conan does just about every bad ass thing a barbarian can do. Kills some bandits. Kills the snake that bites him and sucks out the venom. Pulls the stake he was tied to out of the ground and fight a giant crocodile. I found the twist ending where we find out the mad priest was Ben-Hussal’s brother and the father of Racalla the girl he was trying to kill. Seems Ben-Hussal couldn’t bring himself to kill his brother which is why he fled. Which helps explain how such a brave man would flee this nutjob. Also loved how Conan didn’t necessarily defeat the beast himself but had help from everyone in the village. A very well done story.

VAMPIRELLA DEJAH THORIS #2

“Untitled”
Writer: Erik Burnham
Artist: Ediano Silva

Dejah brings Vampirella to her father the emperor of Helium Tardos Mors. What he hears he is that a horde of vampiric refugees that will be driven mad from lack of blood are coming. He refuses to help Vampirella or her people. This gets her angry and a fight breaks out. Dejah manages to calm things down and tries to convince her grandfather to help. Tardos Mors does have an idea. Vampirella should seek out the goddess Issus. With no other options she agrees to make the pilgrimage. Dejah goes along to show her the way. They take a raft down the river Iss and find plant men attacking some green Martians. They manage to kill the plant men but then find themselves captives of the Therns who plan to enslave them.

So this is an alternate reality before John Carter. I can see why Tardos Mors would be leary of hordes of potentially blood thirsty vampires coming to his planet. Dejah is forming a friendship with Vampirella and the two make a good team. The plant men were fearsome and the artwork captures what I would envision as Mars from Burrough’s imagination. Enjoying the series so far.

LEGENDERRY RED SONJA #5

“Untitled”
Writer: Marc Andreyko
Artist: Aneke

Sonja and Nemo are fighting Victor’s animal men. Nemo gets his head torn off by an elephant man. Sonja is captured but Elizabeth comes and manages to prevent her from being killed. Instead Sonja is knocked out and wakes up in the lab of Victor hanging by a chain. Victor is going to create an army of Frankensteins to conquer the world. Elizabeth has managed to regain her will and frees Sonja. Sonja manages to destroy the machine and stop the plan to revive the dead army. Victor is electrocuted and his creations are now free. So at the end Sonja gets the submarine Nautilus and agrees to transport back the captured scientists. Elizabeth will stay on the island and help the now freed creations of Victor.

So a somewhat predictable ending but still an enjoyable story. I did enjoy the novelty of this steampunk world. Sonja had a much more lighter personality than her regular series. Now she has a submarine which should lead to some interesting stories.

JUSTICE LEAGUE TASK FORCE #36

“Godwar”
Writer: Christopher Priest
Artist: Ramon Bernado

Truimph is attempting to stop the Minuteman III missile. He does destroy it but three warheads manage to break off. At this time Morgan and the others are fighting the horde that is attacking Vlandar. Ray the superhero has been taken over by the wizard Quantum. Now Quantum is in Ray’s body and vise versa. Quantum is finally pinned by Martian Manhunter and forced to switch bodies. The missile warheads are stopped by Triumph. The warheads were dummy ones because the missile was a test launch that somehow found its way into Skartaris. Morgan at the end takes the task force to the shuttle craft from issue 6 that leads to Peru.

So this issue comes to a close. A very confusing issue with all sorts of stuff being thrown at you. I didn’t feel like the writer really understood Skartaris. Even at the end at the Atlantean shuttle station the shuttle is covered with graffiti in English. Were the fuck did that come from? Interesting to see the Warlord in this but just didn’t feel at all like the writer really got the character.

PLANET OF THE APES #29

“Future History Chronicles V To Race the Death Winds”
Writer: Doug Moench
Artist: Tom Sutton

Alaric, Reena, Graymalkyn and Strakor are now trapped on the city-ship Cathedralus. Their ship the Freedom Reaver has been sunk now trapping them. Soon the radioactivity on the ship will turn them into mutants. But some mutants decide to escape launching a balloon. The four manage to jump on and escape the mutant ship. Soon though they are attacked by three dirigibles and shot down by flamethrowers. They land in a jungle and are attacked by apes riding giant frogs. They wear top hats and speak with English accents. Calling themselves Her Majesty’s Cannibal Corps they capture the group and put them over a bubbling pot. They manage to escape and at the end find the base where the dirigibles came from.

“10th Anniversary on the Planet of the Apes”
By Samuel James Maronie

An article on the tenth anniversary of the start of the apes franchise. It tells about Arthur Jacobs and how he refused to do the movie as a cheapie and held out for quality. His further unexpected development of sequels and how he refused to do another after the fifth.

“Kim Hunter: The Woman Behind the Ape”
By Samuel James Maronie

An article on Kim Hunter who played Zira in the first three films.

“From Simians to Sharks: An Interview with Richard Zanuck”
By Samuel James Maronie

An interview with the producer who greenlighted the first apes film.

So the final issue. Seems they never knew this was the final issue for the letters page went on as normal soliciting for more letters. Still they only had one story and three articles. The story was the final adventure in the Future History Chronicles. I loved this series as it was a unique look into some other aspects of this future world that were never explored. It ended with us never finding out about who the mysterious people that had the dirigibles.

As for the articles they were OK but nothing special. They must have just decided to throw all the ones written into this final issue. As I said they didn’t even bother to inform the reader that this was the last issue.

So looking back at this series I loved it. Credit has to go to Doug Moench who single-handedly wrote ever single story in it’s 29 issue run. That is hard working talent and all of the stuff was original and excellent. A real shame that it didn’t last for it had some exciting and interesting stories about the world of the apes. The articles started out excellent but over time just became fillers. I am so glad I found someone selling these for $1 a piece at a show in a bowling alley some twenty-some years ago. I know they have reprinted them and I definitely recommend getting them if your a fan of the original apes series.

CONAN THE BARBARIAN #38

“The Warrior and the Were-Woman!”
Writer: Roy Thomas based on story “The House of Arabu” by Robert E. Howard
Artist: John Buscema

Conan is at a banquet given in his honor for rescuing the princess. He has to deal with a cowardly cousin of his captain Narim-Bey, a fop that tries to blackmail him and a possessed servant girl that tries to stab him. Later he has a dream of a dark vampire woman. His lover Amytis comes and when she hears the story says its Lilitu. That only the wizard Gimul-Ishbi could help him. So off he goes to the wizard.

The wizard give him a talisman with the powder of a soul to stop the were-woman. His price is a human life which Conan gladly gives by stabbing the wizard. Then he goes to some ruins and traps Lilitu’s mate another were-creature. He gets the name of who set her on him and then releases her mate. But he forgets to have them swear not to go after him. He flees and runs into Narim-Bey who is the one who cursed him. Conan knocks him off his horse and leaves him to face the were-creatures. He decides Turan is no longer safe and head off to the Hyborian lands to the west.

So Conan finally decides to leave Turan which is about time. I didn’t see much point in staying around. He needs to be traveling and having adventures in new lands. This story another excellent Howard adaptation was a good one to end his time in Turan. I loved all the cool touches. How he stabbed the dark wizard. I mean he met his obligation. Oh and at the banquet how he threatened the fop by offering to let him live. The final fate of the cuckold Narim-Bey who brags about beating his wife so you know he deserves his fate. Another enjoyable Conan issue.

VAMPIRELLA DEJAH THORIS #1

“Untitled”
Writer: Erik Burnham
Artist: Ediano Silva

The astronomers of Helium detect a ship coming toward Barsoom. It will land in the dead city of Aanthor. Aanthor is claimed by both Helium and Torquas. The military want to send troops to secure the ship which would cause a war. Dejah offers to go alone and check out the ship. So she is waiting around in Aanthor when the ship crashes. As she goes to it she is attacked by white apes. A big one is about to eat her when Vampirella comes to the rescue. Only Vampirella is driven mad from lack of blood. After drinking the white ape she attacks Dejah but through telepathy comes to her senses. She tells of how her planet Drakulon is dying and she came to scout out this system. Only her people have decided to follow and also misjudged the supply of blood they needed for the trip. So hundreds of her people will land starving and thirsting for blood.

So this is a crossover that was probably bound to happen. Both characters are popular and done by Dynamite. Dejah is particularly on a roll lately. So far they set up an interesting story. It sticks to both mythologies of the characters. Dejah Thoris is definitely given more character in the comics than the original stories. She is an accomplished fighter and scientist. Not to mention real hot. In fact they partnered up two real hot chicks which is always welcome.