“Swordless in Stygia”
Writer: Roy Thomas
Artists: John Buscema & Ernie Chan
Conan has survived his fight with the hawk rider. Now he goes to Harakht to rescue Belit. He finds a hawk rider helmet and puts it on as a disguise. This gets him access into the city. Meanwhile Belit and Neftha are presented to the warrior king Hor-Neb. Then this brother who is the high priest and co-king comes and demands his share of the loot from the merchant. He also wants Belit but Hor-Neb refuses so he must take Neftha. Back at his temple, Mer-Ath the priest king tells the story of Harakht. That they found three giant hawk eggs and a meteor. They brought all these back and started raising giant hawks.
Conan has been found out and has to battle the hordes of Stygians that are after him. He climbs up a wall and pushes the statue of their hawk god onto them. Conan then has to surrender when Belit’s life is threatened. The warrior king throws Conan into the dungeon and will use him to get Belit to agree to use her Black Corsairs in helping him gain full independence from Stygia. In the dungeon Conan comes on the meteor and a giant that guards it.
So far I am really loving this story. A city with two kings who are brothers. One is very ambitious and could be a threat to King Ctesphon which threatens the city of Harakht. Conan once again gets an opportunity to show off how much a badass he is. He manages to boldly bluff his way into the city. Then easily evades the entire guard and topples a stone statue. Only the threat to Belit results in his capture. Ends with him fighting the giant over the meteor. The next issue was the first I ever read of the color Conan and it was many years later that I finally got the story of how Conan came to be there.
Writer: John Jackson Miller
Artists: Edu Menna & Daniel Hdr
The fleet has been taken by the Okaati. They plan to trade it to the Cylons for fuel. As Adama tries to find where they are taking the fleet the Comitat arrive. They demand that Adama stand trial for helping the Okaati. So he goes over and finds out the real story behind the Okaati. They were a race that destroyed their planet and started attacking others. So these victims banded together to stop them. The Comitat are open to anyone who was a victim of the Okaati with those the most current allowed to lead them. Just then Baltar sends a message and offers to exterminate the Okaati in exchange for the Galactica. The Comitat refuse for they are not murderers. So Adama joins the Comitat and accepts the chair. Now the Galactica and Comitat are united against the Cylons.
Well the story is taking some interesting turns. Now we find out the true nature of the Okaati. Also that the Comitat are very fair and not out to destroy them but just bring them to justice. Adama has control of the Comitat and leads them to a confrontation with the Cylons and Okaati. Looking forward to the grand finale.
“Chapter Five Heart of Vengeance”
Writer: Meredith Finch
Valeria has snuck into Antonius’s room to kill him. Yet she can’t and is confronted by Antonius. He tells her the real story of her brother. That when he took her in he was spending well beyond his means. So he worked with Lord Blasius and was the one responsible for killing the Zamoran ambassador. When confronted by Antonius her brother Cassius drew Antonius’s sword and killed himself. So she goes out and kills Blasius and decides to devote her life to helping others.
“The Fall of Thoth-Amon Part 5”
By Matt Forbeck
Thoth-Amon is now slave to the merchant that smuggled him out of Stygia. One night raiders attack the camp and Thoth-Amon does not sound the alarm. His captor is killed along with the others. The man leading the raid Ascalante of Aquilonia decides to spare Thoth-Amon. He will use him in overthrowing Conan in Aquilonia and guarantees Thoth-Amon’s loyalty by leaving a letter with a hermit. If he dies an unnatural death than the hermit will tell King Ctesphon where he is. So Thoth-Amon has no choice but to serve Ascalante.
So the final issue ties up the mystery of what happened to Valeria’s brother. A bit underwhelming but I still liked this series. It was better that the Belit series. I thought it stayed true to the character and world that Howard created. Also the artwork was just beautiful. I hope they continue to improve with the next Age of Conan.
As for the prose story it was very interesting from beginning to end. The author captured the personality of Thoth-Amon perfectly. The scenario fits into the story that would eventually become “The Phoenix on the Sword” which was the very first Conan story. The plot gives a logical reason for why Thoth-Amon became an exile and slave to Ascalante. I’d like the author to do another about Thoth-Amon’s triumphant return after he gets back his serpent ring.
“Part Six: A Meeting with Life and Death”
Writer: Gerry Conway
Artist: Jose Garcia-Lopez
Scanner One has found the Dark Destroyer’s ship and thinks it’s shielding is hiding it. It is decided that Tempest should use his phase power to scout the ship. He phases over and finds himself in a crowded crew quarters. So he quickly goes back before the crew overwhelms him. They then decide to have Tempest go there and drop a canister of gas to knock out the crew. This he does but instead of the crew he is confronted by the Dark Destroyer. The Dark Destroyer beats him unconscious. Dart and Pakrat then go through the hatch and find out it is a trap. Luckily being corned brings out the madness in Pakrat and they fight their way to a vent shaft. The Dark Destroyer then projects himself on Scanner One and taunts Martin that he has his son and plans to torture him to death. Dart and Pakrat in the vent shaft come on Tempest being readied to be tortured.
So they finally confront the Dark Destroyer. He knew they were coming and set a trap. Tempest is captured and Dart and Pakrat are on the run. I enjoyed the emotions between the crew. Tempest is trying to impress his father. Martin finally at the end has some real emotions about his son being captured. Pakrat has his moments of comic relief and bravery. Dart is showing her natural leadership. In the background is Pakrat’s brother waiting for his chance to take back Scanner One. A very fast paced story filled with emotion and action.
“Hawks Over Shem”
Writer: Roy Thomas adapted from story by L. Sprague deCamp and Robert E. Howard
Artists: John Buscema & Alfredo Alcala
Conan has come to Asgalun in Shem to kill Othbaal. Othbaal betrayed the mercenary army Conan was with and now wants revenge. On the streets at night he is confronted by a man who thinks that Conan is following him. Then some Kushites that are really following the man appear. They decide to kill both Conan and the man which proves to be a mistake as Conan easily handles them. The man turns out to be General Mazdan who leads the mercenary Hyrkanians. The Kushites were from a rival Imbalayo who commands the other. The third is the Anakim commanded by the man Conan wants to kill.
Mazdan proposes helping Conan kill Othbaal. So the two sneak into his house through a secret passage and Conan manages to kill Othbaal. Than Mazdan plants a ring next to the body to implicate Imbalayo for the killing. Meanwhile Othbaal’s concubine escapes as this is going on and is wandering the streets at night. She is found by the mad king Akhirom and about to be killed for violating one of his laws on women being on the street. To save herself Rufia convinces the king that he is a god. The madman then gets delusions of his godhood. He orders the priest of Pteor the city’s god to be thrown into the sacrificial fires. This causes the citizens to revolt.
Conan decides he wants to leave and take the woman Rufia on his journey north. So he sneaks in again and has to fight a mad Stygian witch and Imbalayo. Meanwhile the city descends into chaos and the mad king fleeing the mob thinks he can fly and jumps off the roof. Needless to say he figures out the hard way he isn’t a god. Conan and Rufia head north with plundered loot.
“A Gazetteer of the Hyborian World of Conan Part V”
By Lee Falconer
The continuing glossary of places in Conan and Kull’s worlds. This time from L-M.
So we get another full length story. This one was a really enjoyable one. DeCamp had a good idea in adapting Howard’s other stories to Conan. They fit perfectly and showcase just how brilliant a writer Howard was. We also get a re-teaming of the Buscema/Chan artwork. An excellent issue filled with a unique cast of characters.
“The Hawk-Riders of Harakht!”
Writer: Roy Thomas
Artists: John Buscema & Ernie Chan
Conan, Belit and Neftha watch the Stygian fleet burn. Then they must continue on their way to Luxor. Neftha comes through with a contact in Khemi. Belit persuades the merchant to take them to Luxor on his barge. They disguise themselves as Stygians and head down the river Styx. While passing a city the merchant gets worried. This is Harakht the city of the Hawk God. Nominally under the control of King Ctesphon it is in reality independent. It is home to riders of giant hawks. Five of these riders attack the barge. They shoot an arrow into the merchant and demand the ship go aground. The rowers panic and jump into the river where they are eaten by crocodiles. Only Conan and Belit fight back. Belit is captured and Conan manages to jump on one of the hawks. He throws the rider off but loses control of the giant hawk. He is forced to break it’s neck and it falls into the marshes by the river. Then Conan has to fight a giant crocodile and knifes it to death. Now he heads off to Harakht to rescue Belit.
This was a fun issue. Conan and Belit with the mysterious slave girl make their way to Luxor to rescue Belit’s father. Neftha has knowledge that so far is coming in handy. They also have a run in with this city of giant hawk riders. Conan gets to show off his badass abilities. First jumping on a giant hawk and breaking it’s neck with his hands. Then fighting a giant crocodile right after that. As I said a fun action packed issue. A great start to their adventures in Stygia.
Writer: John Jackson Miller
Artist: Daniel Hdr
The Okaati plan to use their ships as booster rockets for the Human fleet works perfectly. So perfectly that the Council of Twelve authorizes all the ships of the fleet to be so joined. The Humans get further bad news when a broadcast from Baltar announces that the Cylons have joined with the Comitat to hunt down both fleets. Apollo has been captured by the Comitat and is being taken to their leader. As the fleet celebrates their success at joining the ships the Okaati then implement their plan. They take all the ships and leave the Galactica alone. The Okaati were in alliance with the Cylons. It was all a plan for the Okaati to get fuel from the Cylons in exchange for delivering the Human ships.
Well this was an interesting development. So the Okaati are not the good guys they claimed to be. In fact they were from the start in league with Baltar. Now the Galactica finds itself alone with its fleet being delivered to the Cylons. It looks dark for the fate of the Human race. Yet the Comitat may not be the villains that they initially thought. Should be interesting to see how this story develops.
“Chapter Four Lord of Lies”
Writer: Meredith Finch
Valeria meets the man that she thinks killed her brother. Antonius is quite friendly with her and talks about how Valeria has grown into a young woman. Valeria decides to not kill him just yet. She wants to find out the reason for her brother being murdered. So later she sneaks out of the monastery and goes to see Blasius. Blasius tells Valeria that her brother was undercover with the Mitran knights. The knights were the real power behind the thrown and Cassius was working to break that power. He found out they were responsible for assassinating a Zamoran ambassador. This information destroyed the knights but Cassius was killed for it. Blasius tells Valeria that Antonius was the one. So later that night she sneaks into Antonius’s room to kill him.
“The Fall of Thoth-Amon Part 4”
By Matt Forbeck
Thoth-Amon is in the catacombs of the Temple of Set. It is easy to avoid the guards in the catacombs but very difficult for him to get past the walls of Luxor. He has to find a foreigner that doesn’t know who he is. Thoth-Amon hates that he has to rely on a stranger and even more be polite to this stranger. He finds a Kothian merchant and gives a story that the guardsmen robbed him and he needs the merchant to smuggle him out. The merchant is more that glad to help for he sees in Thoth-Amon a slave that he can sell in this native Koth.
So we get the reason for why Valeria’s brother was killed. Valeria is shown to be a very determined woman. She climbs the walls and sneaks in to Blasius’s quarters. She also struggles with killing Antonius in the monastery for she is grateful for the priests that helped her. Yet she made a vow. I am interested in how this story ends.
The prose story has just been excellent. The writer really captures Thoth-Amon’s personality. How he has such disdain for people and how it grates on him to have to be nice to someone. Of course the guy he looks to for help is selling him into slavery. Couldn’t of happened to a more deserving guy.
Writer: Gerry Conway
Artists: Ross Andru & Jose Luis Garcia-Lopez
Martin Champion his son Chris and Dart have come to the Atari museum. Their goal is to steal Scanner One. Dr. Morphea finds them and agrees to help them if they will rescue Babe from the station. So they take off but not before Parkat who is fleeing his brother Rident manages to get on board before the ship vanishes. They make a quick stop on the station and take Babe. Then its off to the new universe to find the Dark Destroyer.
On New Earth Rident manages to convince the council to loan him a ship with a multidimensional drive so he can go after Scanner One. Pakrat is captured and finds out he is on some crazy mission that could result in his death. Martin smashes the nav-chip so the Dark Destroyer can’t use it to find his way to their universe. Then they find the Dark Destroyer’s ship. Rident also enters and the Dark Destroyer was waiting for them.
So the various characters finally manage to join up into a team. Each of course for their own reasons. Chris to seek his fathers approval. Dart because she is bored. Morphea to get Babe back home. Pakrat to escape his brother and Hukka the pet is along for the ride. Interesting to see how their encounter with the Dark Destroyer turns out. Also nice to see Scanner One again and Dr. Orion who is part of the ruling council. I love the mixture of this misfit crew and their battle with the evil entity.
Writer: Roy Thomas adapted from story by L. Sprague deCamp & Lin Carter
Artist: Ernie Chan
At the edge of the Red Waste the Turanians waits in ambush for the Zuagirs. A traitor has sold them out. The traitor Vardanes leads his fellow Zuagirs into the canyon and the Turanians spring the trap. Only Conan manages to rally his men and defeat the Turanians. The commander is captured but let go by Conan because he was a comrade during his days as a mercenary for Turan. So Conan with his Zuagirs goes after the traitor into the Red Waste. Yet his Zuagirs are superstitious of this desert and desert Conan. Conan finds himself left with two goatskins of water in the morning. So he heads out alone in the direction the traitor Vardanes went.
Vardanes comes on a small walled city and is taken captive. He is fed well than lead to a building and locked in. Inside are statues and in the center is a mummified woman with a mask of gold and a black sapphire. He takes off the gold mask and the woman opens her third eye in her head and he starts to scream.
Conan collapses and wakes to find himself rescued by Enosh. Enosh is from Akhlat the Cursed. He explains that the city overthrew its king by the urging of a sorcerer. This sorcerer than took over and summoned a demon. This demon a beautiful woman enforced his rule. Eventually she killed the sorcerer and took over. The woman drains the life force from living things so the city has been dying. Enosh had a prophecy that Conan would free them. Also Conan is trapped because of mystical barriers so agrees to help. He enters the temple and kills the demon woman who can turn people to stone.
“A Gazetteer of the Hyborian World of Conan Part IV”
By Lee Falconer
A glossary of place names in Conan and Kull’s world. This entry covers I to K.
“The Poems of Robert E. Howard”
Writer: Robert E. Howard
Artists: John Buscema and Michael Moyle
Three poems of Howard’s with illustrations to go with them. They were “The Singer in the Myst”, “A Song of the Race” and “The Ghost Kings”.
Well the main story was another adaptation of deCamp and Carter. An OK story but nothing that really stood out. Lifted from the Medusa mythology. Yet the Ernie Chan art did bring it up to an enjoyable story. Otherwise another entry of the gazetteer which is interesting and informative. I’m not really into poems so the third feature didn’t really do much for me. A sort of ho-hum issue.