CONAN THE BARBARIAN #66

“Daggers and Death-Gods!”
Writer: Roy Thomas
Artist: John Buscema

Conan and Belit with some of the crew of the Tigress are sneaking into Messantia the capital of Argos. They go to fence their plunder with Publio. They are ambushed along the way by rivals to Publio but manage to easily beat them off. At Publio’s they get paid and he has a proposition. He offers gold if the two will retrieve a page from the Book of Skelos. It is in the Temple of a Thousand Gods. This temple has statues of gods from every land. Inside they are confronted by the priest that guards the temple. The statues of Dagon and Derkata come alive and attack the two. Conan figures out that the statues coming alive are illusions and breaks the spell. The priest admits defeat and shows them the page. As Conan goes for it he is confronted by Red Sonja who is also there for the page.

You know this is probably the first Conan comic I ever read. I remember some of the scenes as a young boy reading this while waiting at the dentist office. Never really realized this until many years later. So anyway this was a fun issue. Belit and Conan having to sneak into Messantia to fence their loot. Some comic relief with the two city watch telling Brythunian jokes. The Temple of a Thousand Gods was a cool idea and the statues coming alive was handled well. Ends with an appearance by Red Sonja so we can look forward to a fight with her next issue.

THE MOON MAID #1

“Catacombs of the Moon”
Writer: Christopher Mills
Artist: Gabriel Rearte

Nah-ee-lah and Pal-don are heading back to Laythe after their adventures with Abby and Ethan from the Fear on Four Worlds series. Going through a swamp the two are attacked by a giant toad creature. They are saved by a hunting party of Kalkars. They take the two back to a ruined city. There the commander gets information from Nah-ee-lah by threatening to torture Pal-don. The two are thrown into the dungeon as the Kalkar commander plans to use Nah-ee-lah to find the secret entrance to Laythe. Nah-ee-lah finds an opening in her cell and crawls through it. She ends up falling threw the floor into a pool surrounded by bats.

So we get the first mini-series on the Moon. So far it looks good. The art and story are top notch. It has a feel of Burrough’s world that he created. The weird creatures. The evil Kalkars. The ruined cities. I am so excited that Burrough’s creations are getting the proper treatment they deserve. A very good time to be a Burroughs fan.

THE SIX MILLION DOLLAR MAN #2

“Part 2: The $4,178,512 Man”
Writer: Christopher Hastings
Artist: David Hahn

Steve Austin has just had his leg cut off. Now him and Niko have to escape by going through the missile silo. The guards manage to puncture a fuel tank with their gunshots. Soon the missile will explodes. Niko leads the two to an underground mine that leads out. Steve sets off the fuel and incinerates the guards as the explosion blows up the missile. The two than make it to an abandoned monastery and Steve manages to repair his leg. But the battery is low so he climbs up on the roof to power it up with a lightning strike. Only the Soviet helicopter finds him on the roof.

So we learn that the Japanese industrialist was planning to nuke Hawaii in revenge for Hiroshima. Steve and Niko do manage to inadvertently blow up the missile and thus foiling the plan. Niko is upset that the mission has gone south. An interesting idea to have Steve’s bionics failing him and thus turning his bionic powers into a liability and asset at the same time. An enjoyable series so far.

THE WARLORD #16

“Storm Over Skartaris”
Writer and Artist: Mike Grell

Joshua goes to Machiste for help in uniting the forces of Skartaris against the coming alien invasion. Machiste then leads McBane to the crashed SR-71 where the old radio is salvaged. McBane manages to get it working. Joshua finds the crew of the airship that they brought down last issue. He offers them help in fixing it up in exchange for helping against the aliens. A female captain Bloodhawke has to lost a fight before she agrees to help.

So the ship is launched and loaded with the old laser cannons that Deimos used to attack Shamballah. Jennifer will use Morgana and her powerful magic to power the cannons. They open the portal to Wizard World for all the magical energy that existed back then. This allows Deimos who is back in Wizard World to escape. McBane contacts the U.S. Air Force and warns them of the aliens. The military fail to stop the ship with missiles and it enters Skartaris. There the magically powered cannons destroy it. The explosion closes off the polar opening from the surface world. At the end the Air Force general is watching the video documentary that McBane filmed about Skartaris and Travis Morgan The Warlord.

Well the final issue. On the whole it was a well done ending. It felt a little rushed but I suppose if your getting cancelled its better to get everything tied up. Grell gave us a solid ending that give this series some type of closure. Warlord has been with this blog from the beginning. Every Monday I read a new issue. Now its over and I feel sad. This was my favorite series and rereading them just made me realize how much I do miss this series. Hopefully Grell can get some kickstarter campaign to give us another mini-series or graphic novel. I would love to find out what happened to the characters. I still didn’t like them killing off Travis Morgan but I got into the new Warlord. This title has seen many resurrections so hopefully there’s still a future for the Warlord.

SAVAGE SWORD OF CONAN #26

“Beyond the Black River”
Writer: Roy Thomas adapted from story by Robert E. Howard
Artists: John Buscema & Tony Dezuniga

In the Aquilonian border province of Conajohara a young Balthus has come to maybe find a new home. Walking through the forest he is rescued by Conan from a Pict. Conan has signed on as a scout with the local fort. The Picts under the witch doctor Zogar Sag is uniting the Pict tribes. Along the way they find the body of a local trader that Zogar Sag wants revenge against. Zogar is pissed that he was arrested for stealing ale and now uses a swamp demon to take his revenge on those that imprisoned him.

Conan and Balthus take the headless body back to Fort Tuscalan and there Conan gets an assignment to kill Zogar Sag. So with Balthus and some frontiersmen they cross the Black River. Balthus is left behind with another to guard the canoes while Conan takes the main group to the village. Balthus is captured and finds himself tied to a stake with another survivor. He finds out the Picts ambushed the group. Conan managed to escape.

So Zogar Sag comes and performs his juju and a sabretooth tiger comes and kills the survivor. Then a giant snake comes to eat Balthus. Only Conan throws a spear into it’s head and causes the snake to blindly attack the Picts. Conan frees Balthus and the two escape the village after killing Zogar Sag’s pet ape.

“The Other Queen of the Black Coast”
By Fred Blosser

An article on a Mexican comic that adopted the story “Queen of the Black Coast” in 1965. Called La Reina de la Costa Negra it had the ship crewed by Vikings and Conan a blonde viking. They battle a talking ape for the treasure. A very loose adaptation of the story.

“Retribution in Blood”
Writer: Don Glut
Artists: David Wenzel & Marilitz

Solomon Kane has come to Transylvania to kill Dracula. Years ago he had the chance but owed the vampire a favor so spared his life. He comes on a funeral lead by a woman. The woman Morgit is the daughter of the local priest. Dracula recently kidnapped her sister Julka and her father went after her. Neither was heard from again. Dracula came and caused the death of her mother.

So Solomon with Morgit goes out to Castle Dracula. Kane climbs the wall and is confronted by Dracula. Dracula takes Kane’s wooden sword and is about to kill him when he hears a scream. Julka has been turned into a vampire and is about to kill her sister. Dracula wants both sisters as his brides and stops her. This gives Kane time to set both vampires on fire and kill Dracula by driving a wooden crucifix through his heart.

So this issue had another Howard adaptation. One of his more violent and downbeat story. I think this is my favorite of the Conan stories he wrote. The second part was the first black and white Savage Sword that I ever read so when I finally got this issue it was exciting to read how the story started. One heavily influenced by James Fenimore Cooper and his frontier stories. The Picts being the Indians and Aquilonians the settlers. An excellent adaptation with beautiful art that captures the mood.

The article was OK. Interesting to learn about this unauthorized Mexican comic. A very crudely drawn one that had a very weird story.

Finally the Solomon Kane story was excellent. A moody piece that complemented the main story. I suppose only a badass like Kane could kick Dracula’s butt.

CONAN THE BARBARIAN #65

“Fiends of the Feathered Serpent!”.
Writer: Roy Thomas adapted from “The Thunder Rider” by Robert E. Howard
Artist: John Buscema

The Tigress is sailing toward Argos to fence their loot. Along the way they are ambushed by Stygian warships and forced to flee far from land. They arrive at a strange island with a tall mountain. Landing for supplies they find a stairway carved into the mountain and a hut by the beach. Inside the hut is the preserved dead body of Ahmaan the first black corsair who disappeared over a century ago. Next to him is his ax which only Conan can lift.

Leaving the hut the group is confronted by a horde of dwarfs that have descended the stairway. The leader strikes a hand held gong that knocks the group out. Conan, Belit and N’yaga are taken to the leader Tezcatlipoca. Tezcatlipoca was summoned by the islands inhabitants by magic when the pirate Ahmaan landed. He defeated the pirate with sorcery and left the preserved body as a warning. He throws Conan in the dungeon and want to have fun with Belit. Belit manages to grab a knife and plunge it in his chest. N’yaga leaves to get help as Belit goes to free Conan. She frees him and they are confronted by a feathered serpent. Conan manages to cut it’s head off. Then they find that Tezcatlipoca is still alive. Conan stabs him and it doesn’t kill him. As Tezcatlipoca chokes Conan, Belit yells that Ahmaan has come back to live. He drops Conan and at the window sees Ahmaan standing and taunting him. This was enough of a distraction for Conan to grab the enchanted ax and kill Tezcatlipoca. We later find out that N’gaya uses his magic to move the corpse. The ship departs the island.

So we get another non-Conan Howard story that was adapted into a Conan story. This was an excellent story with a strange magical island. An invincible wizard , a lost pirate legend and a giant feathered serpent. Howard was a brilliant writer and this story once again reinforces that. A good one shot story to fill the time between story arcs.

BARBARELLA DEJAH THORIS #4

“Untitled”
Writer: Leah Williams
Artist: German Garcia

Dejah and Barbarella are finding out why they have been brought to this future Mars. The Wind-Walkers are a race that travel around stripping worlds of their R.U.S.T. Dr. Gitu has a plan to use the R.U.S.T to open a portal that will take the inhabitants back to the planet’s primordial beginning. It will also destroy the Wind-Walkers and save countless worlds from being destroyed. So the two agree and open a portal. They talk about their feelings some more. Gitu comes back animating the mud and gives them both some valuable possessions. Then the two kiss and leave back to their respective times.

Well the story ends and I can’t say I’m impressed. A lot of endless talking about feelings. The whole plot was one big nothing burger. I loved the art. The two heroines looked beautiful. Still this was a missed opportunity that could have seen a really fascinating story with these two. I like the characters and they worked well together. Sadly they didn’t get a writer that could deliver. So ends a very disappointing series.

THE SIX MILLION DOLLAR MAN #1

“Untitled”
Writer: Christopher Hasting
Artist: David Hahn

Niko Abe a Japanese agent has uncovered that a powerful Japanese industrialist has a nuclear missile on his private island. So she contacts the Americans and is disappointed that they send only one man. Colonel Steve Austin is a very cocky and arrogant guy. He brags about being a bionic cyborg. So the two infiltrate the island and find the missile. The KGB has arrived and brings a nuclear warhead. As the two try to leave they run into the guards and Steve manages to beat them up. A guy in a suit with a devil mask manages to chop off Steve’s legs with a samurai sword. Niko uses one of the severed legs to electrocute the attacker. As she carries Steve off they are confronted by more of the guys in devil masks.

So I enjoyed the first issue of this series. It had a tongue in cheek quality that was just meant to be fun. The setting of 1974 and an island of a Japanese industrialist with a nuclear missile really fits into the times. Now the only complaint was the writer did maybe overdue a little too much the arrogant cocky attitude. The TV character didn’t have that. I also don’t remember Steve Austin having a laser in his eye. Been a while since I watched the show so maybe that was there. Overall this was a fun and enjoyable start to this series.

THE WARLORD #15

“Everything Changes”
Writer and Artist: Mike Grell

On the surface the military is consulting specialists on the recent transmission to outer space that used the pyramids in Egypt and Central America. The specialists say that the coordinates transmitted are eight hundred miles below the surface. In Skartaris Joshua and friends return to Shamballah after the battle with the alien. They find that Tara gave birth to a daughter named Morgana. She has very powerful magic.

Later Joshua and Alysha are out in the woods and come on a hippogryph. Some sort of flying horse like creature. It is captured in a net by passing sky raiders in a dirigible. Alysha jumps on the net and Joshua follows. The two free the hippogryph and while in the sky see the lines on the ground. They look just like the ones in Nazca Peru. Alysha figure out that the alien was a scout for an invasion. When they get back to Shamballah, Joshua asks McBane how to use his father’s pistol.

So this issue had a lot of Chariots of the Gods stuff that you see in Ancient Aliens. The aliens are coming and Skartaris better be prepared. Joshua gets to meet his new sister and she has powerful magic. He also is getting comfortable with his role as the new Warlord and his new family. The surface world is becoming aware of Skartaris. Interesting to find out that Skartaris had sky raiders flying around. The issue is setting up an interesting story but unfortunately there is only one more issue until the end.

SAVAGE SWORD OF CONAN #25

“Jewels of Gwahlur!”
Writer: Roy Thomas adapted from story by Robert E. Howard
Artist: Dick Giordano

Conan has come to the nation of Keshan and gets a job training its army. One day an old rival a Shemite comes with an offer of alliance with Zembabwei in exchange for some of the Teeth of Gwahlur. Conan finds out that they are kept in the lost city of Alkmeenon. The city is located in a valley surrounded by mountains. Conan has no trouble climbing them. Along the way he finds a mummy with a scroll.

So Conan goes to the palace and finds the well preserved body of Yelaya. He continues to explore and falls through a trap door to an underground river. He manages to find his way back and this time is confronted with the living Yelaya. Only he recognizes her as the slave of the Shemite. She is part of a scheme to get the Teeth of Gwahlur. Conan convinces her to instead help him get the jewels, then goes out to get the Shemite. He finds the severed head hanging from a tree. He goes back to the temple and overhears the slave girl Muriela pretending to be the goddess Yelaya. She tells the Keshian priests to expel the Shemite and give Conan the jewels and command of the army.

Well after that Conan gets lost and losses track of Muriela. He tracks the priest to their temple where they are confronted by the image of Yelaya. This one wants to have the Shemite given the jewels and Conan flayed alive. He finds out a priest in league with the Shemite has taken the body of Yelaya and faked the voice. Conan kills the priest then tracks down Muriela. He finds her tied to an alter. We now find out what was in the scroll that Conan found. A priest named Bit-Yakim had followers of man-apes and used the legend of Yelaya to control the priest. He died and his followers then starting to eat the priest that visited which is why they haven’t come back until now.

Conan then tracks the priests who are recovering the Teeth. Once they do the followers of Bit-Yakim attack them. Conan manages to recover the jewels but a fight with one of the followers results in the chest falling into a river. So Conan and Muriela continue on to Punt where Conan has another scheme to get rich.

“The Cold Hands of Death”
Writer: Don Glut
Artists: Steve Gan and Dino Castrillo

Solomon Kane is traveling through the Carpathian mountains on his way to Transylvania to kill Dracula. He comes on an old Roman temple with a statue of a beautiful woman. This statue temps him and he ends up smashing it. He later stops at an inn and is visited at night by the beautiful woman. He succumbs to her advances but finally manages to pull his pistol and shoot her. She disappears and Solomon decides to visit the temple.

At the temple he finds out when he smashed the statue he released a succubus. She once again holds Kane in her power. Luckily a mirror conveniently around shows the true appearance of the succubus and Kane manages to cut off it’s head. Then its on the way to Transylvania.

So this issue had full length adaptation of a Howard classic. I enjoyed this one. It had a very complex plot but was enjoyable with its hidden city in ruins. Mysterious priests, a plot with a slave girl to get these valuable teeth. Also had a new artist who was a nice change of pace. Giordano did a great job of conveying the scope of this valley with its ruined jungle covered city. I also loved that we got a complete story and not one that was broken up into two or more parts.

The Solomon Kane tale was also well done. This one has Kane have to fight his the temptation of lust which is unique in Howard characters. Usually they have no problem giving in the lust which does make this character unique. Two good solid stories in this issue.