“Chapter One Child of War”
Writer: Meredith Finch
Valeria was born on a battlefield in Aquilonia. Later as a young child her parents were killed by Zingaran pirates that raider her village. So she than goes to live with her brother Cassian a knight of Mitra. Her brother is killed so young Valeria grows up training to be the best swordwoman in all of Aquilonia. She still seeks her brother’s killer and the search leads her to a blacksmith. At night as she sleeps she wakes to find a knife at her throat. The man demands to know how she has a sword of a knight of Mitra.
“The Fall of Thoth-Amon Part 1”
By Matt Forbeck
Thoth-Amon is pissed as a servant has managed to steal his Crown of Set and staff. He takes it out on the guy who was training the thief and left him alone so he could steal. His punishment is to be thrown into a pit of snakes. As Thoth-Amon goes to his chambers to relax he notices that his Ring of Set is phony. The real one is also stolen and with it the power that he welds.
So the next Age of Conan is the origin of Valeria. She is one of my favorites that Howard created and I always loved her appearances in the Conan titles. Finally she gets her origin told and so far I like what I am reading. This is much better than the Belit origin. The artist is also quite talented as Valeria has never looked more beautiful.
The backup story is how Thoth-Amon fell from power. Thoth-Amon appeared in the very first Conan story ever written as a wizard who lost his ring and forced to be a slave to an Aquilonian nobleman. Now we get the origin to his story. Surprised they didn’t choose a Valeria story as they did in Belit’s series. Not that I have any complaints as the Thoth-Amon story is quite good and interesting so far. I have good feeling for this series.
“Book 4 The Conqueror”
Writer: Gary Cohan
Artist: Ron Randall
Zhengla has invited Jinal, Yisrah and Barasha to a ceremony. They will take the Mulge mushrooms and have a vision. But it is a trap to find out who is a traitor. It reveals Yisrah as an agent of the Old Ones. He manages to escape with a hidden transporter. So the group makes plans to take D’roz. Jinal comes up with a plan to have 100 of them infiltrate the city. They arrive posing as pilgrims. Seems many pilgrims have arrived to offer their machinery. The Old Ones are building two robots. Jinal and the horde manage to break into the city after destroying the robots. Then they come to the chamber and Zhengla declares victory. Only Jinal uses that time to shoot him. Zhengla was too good to be offered a chance at a fair fight. His dying breath he offers the Earth to Jinal. She later takes the Mulge mushrooms for a vision of her own. She talks to the Old Ones and finds out they are the ones who created the Qlov. She sees herself uniting the world and reactivation the star cruisers. At the end the ship from her people arrive.
The final ending to this wonderful series. A bit surprising to have Jinal just gun down Zhengla. Yet she was right in that he was too good to let him have a fair fight. At the end we get answers to the mystery of the Old Ones. They were those who stayed behind and genetically engineered humans for the new Earth. The Qlov being one of their creations. It ends with the arrival of the colonist humans and a thank you from the creators. They state they have plans for the continuation but sadly that came to be. I would have loved to see where the story would have went. Yet they did end it and gave some closure to the fans. I hope someday they get that chance to continue to the story. Who knows with so much obscure stuff coming back through crowd funding.
“Part Two: Direct Encounter”
Writer: Gerry Conway
Artist: Jose Garcia Lopez
On Roc’s world Dart and Blackjack are now fighting for the rebels after General Ki cheated them. They manage to take out a fortified laser cannon and thus win the battle. On New Earth Tempest visits his girlfriend and she rejects him. Her father a senator doesn’t like him or his father. On the Atari space station Morphea visits Martin Champion who lives like a hermit. He is obsessed with finding the cause of all the evil in the universe and sends out probes. Babe is still captive on a freighter bound for New Earth to be sold as a slave. Pakrat is also a stowaway on a space liner bound for New Earth.
The Mysterious figure after Dart sends down The Warbeast. A creature designed by a race for war that ended up destroying the planet. He is the last and was reduced to cannibalism. So the Warbeast attacks the rebels and Dart and Blackjack manage to toss a grenade down it’s throat thus blowing it up.
There are at the end three character profiles. One for Martin Champion. One for Pakrat and the final for Chris Champion. A basic summary of the characters history.
So the second issue has set up Dart to be the main protagonist. We find out she is the daughter of Mohandas and Li San from the original series. We also get introduced to Martin Champion the only original character for the first series to have a prominent role in this one. A guy obsessed with some dark force causing chaos in the galaxy. With this mysterious being he may not be so far off. Another solid issue that keeps these various characters moving to a meeting.
“The Ghouls of Yanaidar”
Writer: Roy Thomas adapted from “The Flame Knife” by Robert E. Howard and L. Sprague de Camp
Artists: John Buscema & Tony Dezuniga
Conan finds out the Tiger is Olgerd Vladislav the former chief of the Zuagirs who he deposed and left for dead in the desert. Naturally Olgerd has some nasty plans for Conan. Conan isn’t one to submit meekly. He grabs a sword and starts swinging. Some archers come and he charges them and cuts his way to freedom. Soon he is looking to escape and fights a guard on the wall. They plumed off and Conan uses the body to cushion his fall. He later uses it as a shield for the arrows fired at him. Olgerd says he will wish he submitted to the tortures than what awaits him where he fell.
Conan finds himself in some maze with a creature. This creature is a snow-ape that Conan has to fight with a knife. Of course being Conan he kills it. Then waits for a guard to bring it food for him to escape. He forces the guard to lead him to the dungeon. There he finds the Zuagirs locked up for allowing Conan to enter the city. He gets a pledge to follow him if he lets them out. So the group then searches for Nanaia who was left on the stairs. He finds out she is with the Magus in his throne room being tortured. So he gets there and frees her after killing the guards and the Magus.
Conan, Nanaia and his Zuagirs are forced to barricade themselves in a tower. Soon the Yezmites bring up a siege tower and it looks like the end. But Conan’s men and his hillmen allies come to the rescue. A big fight ensues with Conan killing Olgerd. Then a third force enters. The Iranistani under general Gotarza. The two start to fight but another force has entered the fray. The demons of Yanaidar have come up from their subterranean caves to attack everyone. Soon all the men are running out of the city. A messenger comes from the capital. The king died and his son now rules. He has pardoned Conan and the rebel hillmen. He requests Conan’s help in fighting off Turanian invaders. Conan decides he will go into the desert and resume his life of banditry.
The conclusion of the Flame Knife adaptation. This was an enjoyable story. It had plenty of action. Conan was on the constant move and fighting off men, beasts and demons. Ends with a free for all and mysterious demons coming after everyone. Howard knew how to write a good story. De Camp knew how to adapt his non-Conan stories into Conan stories. Roy of course just does his usual excellent job of writing to give us one fun story. It was great to get a full issue devoted to Conan and the beautiful artwork was great.
Writer: Gary Cohn
Artist: Ron Randall
The Harahashan horde under Barasha has come to get revenge on Zhengla. Instead of the two armies fighting they agree to settle it in a dual between the two. The two have an epic fight that results in Barasha losing. Jinal intervenes and gets Barasha to agree to join them. So the two armies unite and head out to capture the open city of S’keen. This city is under the protection of the Old Ones. So the army heads out and meets a ship from the Old Ones. They claim to support Zhengla and lead the way to a meeting. Only the ship leads them into a trap. A village of Qlov attacks them. The village is lead by the renegade Qlov and their battle globe. Jinal manages to bring the globe down. Then they fight the Qlov and Zhengla manages to crush one with his bare hands. They use the captured Qlov globe to ram the ship guarding S’keen. They capture the city and are well on their way to taking the entire planet.
So this one shows that Jinal seems to have fully accepted Zhengla as her lord and master. She openly works to unite Harahashan with his army. They battle what looks like a primitive Qlov settlement on the Earth. They also soundly defeat the Old Ones. The final issue is one I looked forward to for it will answer all the mysterious questions and give a resolution.
“Soul of the Beast”
Writer: Mike Wolfer
Artist: Roy Allen Martinez
Townsend Harper Jr. with his fiancee Virginia has come back to the island where Dr. Maxon was conducting his experiments. With Sing and some Lascars the group lands and goes to the abandoned compound. They are there to see if Experiment number 13 is still alive. When Sing substituted Harper for the creature he left it out and the body was gone. Did an animal drag it off or is the creature still alive. Harper, Virginia and Sing check out the laboratory which was inhabited by an orangutan. The guards outside at the front gate are killed by an unknown intruder. Inside the lab Virginia is looking around and opens the curtain. Outside is a figure of a monster. It grabs Virginian and takes her outside. Harper goes after them and fights with the creature. Harper is about to be strangled when Virginia picks up the fallen pistol and points it at the creature. The creature says please no in German then runs away.
So a new addition to the ERB universe. This one was one of the first novels that Burroughs wrote back in 1913. The Monster Men was a sort of homage to The Island of Dr. Moreau. A story of a mad scientist who was trying to create life but ended up with soulless freaks. Number 13 the hero was a man with amnesia who Sing the Chinese servant put in the vat and tried to pass off as a successful experiment. An enjoyable action adventure as all of Burrough’s stories were. This was a standalone book and it is cool to see them resurrecting it. The plot of looking for the real number 13 who was assumed to have died is brilliant. So far this introduction sets up the atmosphere and story. I am looking forward to the upcoming miniseries for this title.
“Book 2 The Captive!”
Writer: Gary Cohn
Artist: Ron Randall
Jinal is now captive of the brutal conqueror Zhengla Koraz. Zhengla had a vision that Jinal would be his consort and doesn’t really take no for an answer. After a fight she is invited on his next conquest a small desert settlement. Zhengla’s army rides right over the small settlement. Jinal uses the battle to try and kill him. She fails and this infuriates Zhengla. So he makes Jinal his slave and uses every chance to humiliate her. Jinal during this time gains a grudging respect for Zhengla. He is a harsh but fair ruler. One who has a commitment to make peoples lives better.
One day after a conquest the Mulge leader asks for Jinal. Zhengla at first grants the request but decides not to. He wanted to show that there are worst things than being the consort to him. He then gives Jinal a pistol and offers her the chance to kill him. Jinal decides not to and instead become his consort willingly. Later Zhengla tells her his story. He was a brigand who rescued a woman from the Mulge fungus ceremony. As a reward for putting her out of her misery she gave him a vision. A vision that showed him conquering the world with Jinal at his side. The story is then interrupted by news that the Harahashan hordes under Barasha have arrived.
Well this was a fascinating story. Jinal goes through all these hardships with Zhengla. It was a surprise to see her give in to him. Also we start to find out about Zhengla and his origin. Someone very capable of conquering the Barren Earth. At the end we get another cliffhanger with the arrival of Jinal’s allies the Harahashan. A very interesting story with beautiful artwork.
“The Secret of Ashtoreth!”
Writer: Roy Thomas adapted from “The Marchers of Valhalla” by Robert E. Howard
Artists: John Buscema & Ernie Chan
Conan, Belit and the Black Corsairs are in the dungeons of Kelkan awaiting their turn to be sacrificed. Only M’Gora finds a hidden passage that leads out of the city. They get out and Conan decides he wants revenge on Akkheba the fat priest of Ashtoreth. So Conan and Belit sneak back into the city. They make their way to the temple and find one of the gruesome sacrifices. Akkheba manages to escape them. While chasing him they come on a beautiful woman locked in a cell. She is the goddess Ashtoreth. She tells her story. That long ago she is from a land and was the daughter of it’s king. She was sent off on a boat to be the bride of a sea god. The god gave her immortality. She survived the cataclysm that destroyed her homeland and washed up on the shores of Kelkan. Because of her immortality the people thought she was the goddess Ashtoreth. The priest kept her prisoner to control their power.
So they free her and at this time the Barachan pirates return. During the fight Belit manages to impale Akkheba with a spear. The girl free of his magic then summons help from the sea god. This god sends a giant tidal wave to wipe out the island. Conan and Belit make it back to The Tigress.
The conclusion to this non-Conan Howard story was quite satisfactory. Conan and Belit manage to take their revenge on the fat priest. They free the captive goddess who calls down the power of her god and destroys the evil island. We see that Belit is somewhat neurotic in her jealousy. Kawaku the coward had sided with the Barachans but Conan still rescued him. Obviously this guy is going to cause trouble in the future. I love Howard’s work and this showcases another of his brilliant stories.
Writer: Cameron DeOrdio
Artist: Soo Lee
Jamie Sommers visits Oscar Goldman as he works out. The two spar while Jaime finds out what he knows about the Adrenalizine. Later the angels are discussing how they can break into the safe even after Jaime gave them her key. A knock at the door reveals Jaime with a plan to do just that. So she sneaks the angels into Naris in the trunk of her car. Then sets up a security checkpoint to replace Oscar’s keys with phony ones. Then they go and try to open the vault and guess at the password. Only Oscar noticed the theft and comes there and takes Andrenalizine to fight Jaime. Yet Jaime manages to convince Oscar to help her. He does and they get the formula.
Well this had to be the lamest comic I ever read. What a dumb story. Just a lot of moralizing and talking and not much else happening. This the second time Dynamite messed up a crossover series. I hope they aren’t going to make a habit of this. So I hope you all have a Merry Christmas.
“Wings of Death”
Writer: Mike Wolfer
Artist: Vincenzo Carratu
Dian manages to avoid the Horibs after her escape from her cell. But she runs into a Mahar who delivers her to the Sagoths. She is to die in the arena. Tanar and Navano also get captured by the Sagoths and taken to the arena to die. So first a pack of jaloks are sent in. The Weiroo manages to get a spear to them but gets thrown into the arena to die with them. The group manages to kill the jaloks then the thag that is sent in. The Weiroo tries to take Dian but gets killed. Finally the Horibs arrive and attack the Mahars. Navano finally gets to have his revenge on the creatures that killed his fellow Va-gas. The Horibs are killed and the Mahars decide to set Dian and Tanar free for their help in defeating the Horibs.
“The Monster Men”
Writer: Mike Wolfer
Artist: Roy Allen Martinez
A preview of the upcoming Monster Men comic. It has black and white excerpts with three pages of script.
So the final end to this story arc has our heroes get recaptured. Then they fight off all sorts of creatures and a big final with Horibs, Sagoths and Mahars. Dian and Tanar get their freedom for helping defeat the Horibs. I didn’t really see that coming. An enjoyable issue that told the story with a minimum of exposition and let the visuals do the work. Which is what I like to see in comics. Another excellent Burroughs Universe story from American Mythology. Wolfer has a strong grasp of the world and characters. I look forward to more that’s coming.