“Vengeance in Vendhya”
Writer: Roy Thomas adapted from “The People of the Black Circle” by Robert E. Howard
Artists: John Buscema and Alfredo Alcala
Conan and Kerim Shah have defeated the acolytes and now assault the main castle. They break in and are confronted by four of the mystics. They have hypnotic powers and manage to freeze in place the attackers. Then they have the Irakzai henchmen come forward and give their sword to the wizards. They then use it to decapitate the henchmen. Conan manages to grasp the Stygian belt that Khemsa gave him. It gives him the power to go and break the glass globe that gives the wizards their power. This kills the four wizards and Conan and Kerim continue on. Then they confront the master who uses his power to split open Kerim and take his beating heart. Only Conan manages to almost kill the master. The master turns into a giant snake and tries to kill Yasmina. Conan seriously wounds the snake. Then takes Yasmina out where he plans to take her with him since he loves her.
They come on his hill-men being slaughtered by the Turanian army and Conan can’t abandon his former men. They see in the distance the approach of the Vendhyian troops. Yasmina goes to them and with Conan rallying his men defeat the Turanians. At the end a giant vulture that was the master attacks but Conan kills it. Conan then must watch Yasmina go back to her duty of being Devi of Vendhya as he continues to lead the hill-men.
“The Buscema Barbarians”
Art by John Buscema
A portfolio of four full page drawing of Howard characters. They are Conan, Red Sonja, Solomon Kane and Kull.
“The Man Who was Conan”
By Fred Blosser
A review of “The Last Celt” by Glenn Lord. Blosser fells that it is a definitive biography of Robert E. Howard with an extensive Bibliography.
“The Castle of the Devil”
Writer: Don Glut adopted from story by Robert E. Howard
Artists: Alan Kupperberg and Sonny Trinidad
Solomon is in the Black Forrest and comes on a naked woman strung up. He frees her and finds that she was placed there by Baron Von Staler who she claims is the devil himself. Kane being a devout Puritan can’t tolerate such an evil man and vows to put an end to his reign. Along the way he meets a fellow countryman named John Silent. He convinces him to join his quest and the two set out to the castle. They try to gain employ as mercenaries and after a brief fight are allowed to meet the Baron.
Baron Von Staler they find out has been born with the legs of a goat. So he does look a lot like the devil incarnate. They find he does worship Satan and are hired on. Later at night the two sneak to his secret chamber and find that he has to sacrifice a virgin every year for five years and bath his legs in the blood. Then with his pact with Satan he will gain human legs. Only Kane and Silent break in and set fire to the Satan Carving. This turns the Baron into a full image of Satan. His own guards are convinced the creature killed their employer and destroy the Satan Baron.
So we end the epic adaptation of “The People of the Black Circle.” The second longest story Howard ever wrote and probably one of his finest. It had a climactic confrontation with the seers and the master. A spectacular fight that sees Kerim have his beating heart torn out and Conan fighting the master as a giant snake. This was a story that had Conan have real feeling for Yasmina which hasn’t happened since Belit. Alas the two were not meant to be and must go their separate ways. Yasmina was one of the strong female characters that Howard created and one of the few that won the affections of Conan. An excellent story well written and adopted by Thomas with the usual beautiful artwork by Buscema and Alcala.
The portfolio was of course beautiful. The article was an interesting review of a book.
Finally the Howard adaptation of another fine tale. This one a Solomon Kane story. In it he gets to battle a worshiper of Satan which Kane lives to battle. He’s captured here nicely as an avenging Puritan and this villain is just perfect for him. Solomon Kane is probably the most underrated of Howard’s creations and is nice that Marvel did him justice.