DEJAH THORIS #4

“Untitled”
Writer: Amy Chu
Artist: Pasquale Qualano

The Jeddak of Thurd leads Dejah and her companions to a large hole. He claims it leads to Ephysium. So they climb down and find an ancient chamber with an image of the Tree of Life on the ceiling. After blowing a hole in the wall with a radium bomb they find an underground reservoir. It appears Dejah has found the mythical city of Ephysium. While frolicking in the water Kajas is attacked by a giant creature. Dejah and Sajad rescue her. Then they notice the green men have left. A quake starts and they find the water level rising.

So it looks like they found the lost city. An underground reservoir has a huge creature and plenty of mystery. Ends on a cliffhanger which I am looking forward to its outcome. So far the story continues to interest me. I would like to see where this leads.

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SWORDQUEST #3

“Waterworld”
Writers: Roy Thomas & Gerry Conway
Artists: George Perez & Dick Giordano

The twins Torr and Tarra find themselves on Waterworld. They see a crown which then disappears and the next moment a giant water spout transports them. Torr gets tangled up in seaweed but manages to find a skeleton with a helmet that lets him breath underwater. He then has to fight a giant octopus. Tarra makes it to the surface but finds the skeleton that Torr found floating entangled in Torr’s armor. Thinking her brother dead she lays down and cries.

Konjuro and Tyrannus observe this. Konjuro manages to cast a spell that makes the twins forget. So Torr is chased by sharks to an underwater city and frees the beautiful Aquana who was imprisoned in a giant clam. Tarra is rescued by an ice ship called the Ice Queen. It’s handsome Captain Frost takes her in. The thief Herminius has also been rescued and plots against Tarra. Frost is hunting the whales because they are allies of Aquana. So a battle begins between Aquana and Frost. Her whales and sharks against depth charges. Eventually the Serpent Unspeakable a giant sea snake that breaths flame is unleashed.

Both Aquana and Frost are injured and the amnesiatic Torr and Tarra fight. Eventually they remember that they are brother and sister and unite. They also find the crown and split it in two. They give one half to Aquana and Frost so they will rule Waterworld jointly. Then a sword appears and takes them off the world. Konjuro and Tyrannus plan to personally go to Airworld to deal with the twins.

The final comic of the short lived Atari game series. Sadly they never released the planned fourth cartridge so there was never the final epic conclusion to the quest. It would be nice to get that final issue of Airworld. Maybe Dynamite will do it some day. This was a very enjoyable series. For a mini-comic included in a video game the writers and artists put forth a worthy effort. It had an excellent story and could have stood on its own as a series.

THE WARLORD #8

“Funeral for a Fallen God!”
Writer: Bruce Jones
Artist: Bart Sears

Morgan and Regine are found on the beach. Morgan is dead and Regine unconscious. Tara decides to frame Regine for Morgan’s murder by planting a dagger in her hand. She has her taken to recover so she can hang her. Meanwhile on the island Terry, Alexa and Brovis are fighting a T-Rex. Alexa manages to kill one with a pistol and the three retreat into the ship. They get it going but it just crashed in the sea. While they try to get the ship started Brovis tells the two that Morgan is now a meglomaniac who thinks he is a god. He offers to help the two take over Skartaris with the new ship. In Shamballah Regine is hanged but the ship starting brings Morgan back from the dead. He is angry at Regine’s death and starts to kill the soldiers of Shamballah. At the end he finds out Tara is responsible for having Regine hanged.

Well another craptacular issue. I really have no idea what the purpose of this series is. Where is it going? What is the point? A whole cast of unlikable characters. Thankfully it is soon to be put out of it’s misery.

SAVAGE SWORD OF CONAN ANNUAL #1

“Beware the Wrath of Anu!”
Writer: Roy Thomas
Artists: Barry Smith and Sal Buscema

A reprint from Conan Classic #10.

“The Forbidden Swamp”
Writer: Roy Thomas
Artists: Marie and John Severin

A reprint from Monsters on the Prowl #16.

“The Death Dance of Thulsa Doom!”
Writer: Roy Thomas
Artists: Marie and John Severin

A reprint from Kull the Conqueror #3.

“Web of the Spider-God”
Writer: Roy Thomas and John Jakes
Artists: Barry Smith and Sal Buscema

A reprint from Conan Classic #11

So this is the first and only annual for the Savage Sword of Conan. As you can see it was reprints from Conan the Barbarian and Kull color comics. These were excellent stories but already done. So if you missed them or want to see them in large black and white these were great. Otherwise nothing new.

CONAN THE BARBARIAN #48

“The Rats Dance at Ravengard!”
Writer: Roy Thomas adopted from novel “Kothar and the Conjurer’s Curse” by Gardner F. Fox.
Artist: John Buscema

While riding to Phalkar, Stefyana gets Conan to talk about his youth in Cimmeria. He tells how on his fifteenth birthday he was send out in winter to survive with nothing but his sword and a fur coat. Conan manages to kill some wolves and find shelter on his first day. He decides to explore the nearby mountains that are forbidden. There he meets a beautiful woman with two polar bears for companions. The woman named Ursla takes him in and turns the young Conan into a man. As they continue on they come on Torkal Moh, the Baron of Ravengard. He demands tribute from Conan. Conan naturally refuses but is overwhelmed by numbers. He is knocked out and wakes staked out on the ground. The baron likes Conan’s defiance and puts a gourd of water in his hand. As he leaves the rats come out.

“Episode!”
Writer: Roy Thomas
Artists: John Buscema & Dick Giordano

Red Sonja rides through the forest of Darkwood in Nemedia. She turns a corner and gets caught up in a giant spider web. A giant spider then tries to eat her. Fortunately some Kushites come and save her. They take her to their master’s castle. The master Vincentius is overjoyed at Sonja’s presence and offers her ale. The ale turns out to be drugged and she finds herself tied to an alter. Vincentius also has a blonde warrior named Hunwolf tied up. He plans to sacrifice them to his dark gods. Sonja manages to grab him with her legs and take his knife. Vincentius refuses to surrender and gets killed for his efforts. She frees Hunwolf who then starts a fight with the Kushite slaves. Later Sonja finds out Hunwolf killed a friend and takes revenge.

So we get the second half of the story that was supposed to be in last issue. A great story about Conan’s youth and his first experience with a woman. Nice to get some glimpses of his youth in Cimmeria. Also he continues to be a badass by taunting Torkal Moh and knowing Conan I’m sure he’ll get his revenge.

To fill the second half of the issue they give us a quality Red Sonja story and not some hokey reprint from the fifties. This was also an excellent story. I love how Sonja was going to spare Vincientius since she had no quarrel with him, other than him trying to kill her. Sonja sure is forgiving and Vincentius should have taken advantage of it. But he was too dumb and got what he deserved. An enjoyable issue with two great stories.

DEJAH THORIS #3

“Untitled”
Writer: Amy Chu
Artist: Pasquale Qualano

Dejah is now a prisoner of the Jeddak of Thurd. The Jeddak turns out to be the green warrior that Dejah helped escape from prison. He is grateful but doesn’t want to let her go for fear of revealing that Thurd is not uninhabited. The city is home to the castoffs of the green tribes. The Jeddak does confirm that he knows the location of Ephysium and makes a deal. A game of Jetan the Martian chess. If he wins then Dejah stays with him and if Dejah wins then he will tell her the location of Ephysium.

The game is played using live players as the pieces. The green warriors for the jeddak and captive red martians for Dejah. The jeddak cheats so Dejah manages to grab the guards knife and take the jeddak prisoner. He agrees to show Dejah the location of Ephysium which is the city that they are located in.

So we get some backstory on the Jeddak of Thurd and find out the location of the fabled city of Ephysium. I love the idea of live players in Jetan. A very Burrough’s idea. Unfortunately this was not handled very well in the story. We never get shown any of the play and it felt like something was missing in the story. It just jumps from some unknown trick to Dejah managing to take the Jeddak hostage. Otherwise a good story.

SWORDQUEST #2

“Fireworld!”
Writers: Roy Thomas & Gerry Conway
Artists: George Perez & Dick Giordano

Torr and Tarra continue to fall into the Fireworld. The evil wizard Konjuro watches and shows his master Tyrannus where the twins are. We get a flashback to the two twins growing up. How the evil captain of the guard cruelly runs over their adopted parents because they got in his way. Tyrannus tries to communicate with the twins and offer to share the kingdom with them if they will abandon the quest. Wisely the two refuse.

So they arrive in Fireworld a world filled with volcanoes, flame and rivers of lava. The heat gets to the twins and they angrily split up to search for the sword. Torr manages to get help from one of the mysterious wizards and finds out he must find the Chalice of Light. He finds some armor and has to fight fire demons with ice arrows he finds. Then he fights a lizard in a pool of water. His sister also has to fight an octopus thing and a firebird. Eventually they unite and find the chalice. Herminius the thief has also found it and moved on. The twins are drawn into the chalice which is the third world they must visit Waterworld.

The quest continues with Fireworld. I always wondered what that adventure was and now I know. Another excellent story with encounters with strange creatures in a magical world. We get some more background on the twins and the evil Tyrannus. What a name to name a kid. No wonder he turned into a tyrant. Obviously the story was meant as clues to the Atari game. These little mini comics had some quality story and art. Glad I finally get to read it.

THE WARLORD #7

“The Hunting Ground!”
Writer: Bruce Jones
Artist: Bart Sears

Shamballah is free and the Warlord proclaims that the city is back under the rule of King Milius. Also Princess Tara hints that the two should get married. This doesn’t go over well with Regine who is still in love with Travis. She does give him the journal of Travis Morgan that she was keeping hold of. Alexis on the deserted island is rescued from a raptor by Brovis. Brovis then decides as a reward he will rape Alexis but fortunately Terry comes to the rescue in the ship. He shuts the ship down to conserve power.

This then turns Travis back to normal but that’s OK since he doesn’t need the Warlord power. But turns out bad for a giant crab then attacks the two. He manages to get his power back and kill the crab but not before Regine is killed. Travis is mad with grief and curses out the gods.

So by now I could really care less about the story. I mean it makes no sense at all. This is really just one big stupid series. I wonder if Bruce Jones even knows what’s going on. He seems to be just spewing out babble to get something written without any care for quality.

SAVAGE SWORD OF CONAN #7

“The Citadel at the Center of Time”
Writer: Roy Thomas
Artists: John Buscema and Alfredo Alcala

Conan is chieftain of the Zuagirs and is raiding caravans around the city of Akbitania. One caravan only has a captive saber tooth which gets loose and Conan has to kill. On questioning the woman in charge Conan learns that the cat came from a mysterious Ziggurat that suddenly materialized in the city. Occasionally the wizard inside trades jewels or exotic animals that are sold north for arenas. Conan decides to check out this Ziggurat and see if he can’t liberate some wealth from the wizard.

So he goes into the city and at a local tavern is drugged by a dancing girl. He finds himself captive of the wizard Shamash Shum-Ukin. Shamash was a king of Babylon until the armies of Assyrians were about to conquer his city. He used the Well of Time to escape back into the past. Now he gives sacrifices to the well and it gives back stuff like man-apes, cave bears, neanderthals and a T-Rex. Conan manages to escape and in the ensuing fight the T-Rex escapes and destroys the temple. Luckily Conan manages to use the giant crossbow the wizard had conveniently hanging around.

“Crom and Mitra: Gods to Swear By part II of The Gods of the Hyborian Age.”
By Robert L. Yaple

This article deals with the gods that Conan swore most by. Ymir of the north. Crom from his native Cimmeria and Mitra from the Hyborian kingdoms. Tells a brief history and worship of these gods.

“The King is Dead part IV of Chronicles of the Sword”
By Lin Carter

An article that deals with the huge success of Conan after the failure of the Kull stories. A high point in Howard’s work that was tragically cut short by his suicide.

“Lines Written in the Realization That I Die”
By Robert E. Howard
Illustrations by Barry Smith

A poem by Howard that was dark and beautifully written.

“The Hyborian Age chapter I: The Pre-Cataclysmic Age Circa 10,000 B.C.”
Writer: Roy Thomas
Artist Walt Simonson

A history of the Hyborian age that fictional age created by Howard. It starts with the Pre-Cataclysmic Age. The age of the Thurian civilization and Kull. Ends with a great upheaval that sinks continents.

So this was the longest non-Howard adaptation of a Conan story to date. I found it a very original story. I loved the idea of this Babylonian who travels back to Conan’s era and uses this mysterious well to bring prehistoric creatures to Conan’s world. I know that this was later used as a What If? issue that brought Conan to the the present circa 1977. My favorite What If? that will appear on this blog someday.

The articles were informative and an enjoyable read. Most of the articles in this magazine were of high quality.

The poem was a smart idea after reading about Howard’s suicide. Gives a feel that the man had some serious inner demons.

Finally the history of the Hyborian world is an excellent idea to present in illustrative form. Amazing to the detail that Howard went into for his fictional world.

CONAN THE BARBARIAN #47

“Goblins in the Moonlight!”
Writer: Roy Thomas adapted from novel “Kothar and the Conjurer’s Curse” by Gardner F. Fox
Artists: John Buscema & Dan Adkins

So Conan has found what appears to be the corpse of the wizard Zoqquanor. Stefyana insists he is alive and they must take the body with them. Conan reluctantly agrees and makes a travois to drag it along. The two make their way to some ruins and settle in for the night. They are wakened by a horde of goblins that are trying to take the wizard’s body. Conan manages to kill all the goblins.

“Conan’s Parents”
By Fred Blosser

An article that speculates that Conan’s mother was an Aesir.

“Sanctuary!”
Writer & artist: Wally Wood

King Hamand hears that to be truly king he must wear the crown of the ancient kings. The crown is in the tombs at Dragonhenge. So he goes there and takes the crown but angers the druids. A druid keeps giving Hamand dreams of his death. Riders on flying pterodactyls are attacking so he builds a metal roof on his tower. Demons coming up from the ground lead to a paved floor. Eventually he builds a completely enclosed tower with one door that can only be opened from the inside. Hamand kills his workers to keep the secret. Then he tries to kill his wizard Abarac. Only Abarac is the druid and now Hamand is trapped in his tower.

So we get only half a story for this issue. Seems artwork was lost in the mail. Even the half we get was excellent and shows that the story is going to some fascinating places. I love the interaction between Stefyana and Conan. She manages without words to get our barbarian to agree to drag around a dead corpse.

Otherwise the article was interesting. Some good arguments for Conan’s mother being an Aesir. Still mainly speculation and not what I think Howard envisioned. The backup story was an old hokey one that was slow and turgid but they do have a certain charm to them. Next week hopefully a full Conan issue.