“The Queen and the Corsairs!”
Writer: Roy Thomas
Artists: John Buscema & Ernie Chan
Conan and Zula are reunited with Belit after saving her from the Devourer of the Dead. Belit tells the story of how she was captured while guiding them through a secret passage to the palace. How after being turned to snakes they were inside the palace. Neftha guides Belit to the chambers of the Stygian king Ctesphon II. Only they find out its a trap. The king with his wizard advisor Hath-Horeb are waiting with guards. We find out that Neftha is the sister of the king and the true heir. Belit tries to fight her way out and takes the king as hostage. Only the king is revealed to be Hath-Horeb using his sorcery to impersonate the king. He knocks Belit out and that is how she wound up floating in a sarcophagus.
So they reach the palace and Belit finds her old clothes and sword. They come on the main chamber and Neftha is about to be executed. The three attack and Belit corners the king on a balcony. She finds out from him that he killed her father so she kicks him off the balcony to his death. Now Neftha with the help of Hath-Horeb is made the new king. Her first order is to command that Conan and Zula be imprisoned while Belit is killed. Belit manages to kill Hath-Horeb and thanks to Zula’s wizard skills are able to escape.
Well finally the conclusion to the Stygian quest. It took a lot of twists and turns along the way. Now the stories told were excellent but finally good to reach a conclusion. What a conclusion. Belit finds out her father’s fate. The weak and cowardly Ctesphon II is killed while begging for his life. Neftha the mysterious slave girl how is king. Apparently the Stygians were ahead of their time. Only men can be kings and a woman can become a man by just saying so. There was always something about Neftha and Roy didn’t let us down. Zula is shown to have some skills as a wizard from his days as a slave to one. A really exciting issue that I enjoyed greatly. Now they have to escape Stygia.
“Conan the Searcher”
Writer: Frank Tieri
Artist: Andrea Di Vito
Conan is riding in the Kothian hills after some quarry. He speculates on who they are and the wrath he plans to bring on them. The story shifts to Argos some days before. Conan has just finished wrecking a bar in a fight and decides to buy a leg of some meat. A little girl begs for food and Conan shares his meal. He finds out the little girl named Tama has a collar around her neck and is running from her family that put it on. Conan goes to look for tools to remove the collar and red robed figures kidnap Tama. So Conan has now tracked them to an active volcano.
He finds the group with Tama and attacks. He manages to kill all but one of the group. The last a woman named Saleria pauses his sword. Just then Tama reveals herself to be a demon and runs off. Saleria tells that her sect was trying to throw the demon in the volcano until some dumb oaf of a barbarian stopped them. So Conan helps her to get the collar back on the demon. After a fight Conan succeeds and the demon turns back into a little girl. He than throws her in the volcano. Later back at Argos Conan tells the vendor that he was right to try and shoo the little girl away.
“The Shadow of Vengeance Part XII”
By Scott Oden
Ghaznavi the regent of Khawarizm gets a message that he thinks is from the Sicari. He hurries to the meeting place to find out if they were successful in killing Conan. He finds Octavia with a box. Opening it he finds the head of the leader of the Sicari. Conan then reveals himself to be alive. What’s more is his forces are capturing the city. Khawarizm tries to knife Conan but gets thrown off the tower to his death.
The final issue in Marvel’s revived Savage Sword ends with a good solid story. We get to see a more soft side to Conan as he helps this little girl. Of course the little girl is a nasty demon that was using him. By Crom no good deed goes unpunished. Also the prose story ties up nicely. Conan gets his revenge and it is a satisfying ending to this saga.
I have the say that Marvel did a good job with this series. Marvel has steadily devolved into a dumpster fire of woke shit so its good that they didn’t mess with Conan. The stories were OK with the first one. They definitely improved with the subsequent writers. Of course bringing back Roy Thomas was a stroke of genius. A nice tip of the hat to us nostalgic for the good old days. His story was a joy to read. Overall I am satisfied with the revived series. I would have liked a magazine format in black and white but otherwise no complaints.
“Pleased to Meet Me”
Writer: Alex de Campi
Artist: Robert Hack
Betty, Veronica and Predator-Archie have met the gang from the alternate universe. They find out that the two universes have some major difference. The new Betty and Veronica are not interested in Archie. They also don’t have flip phones like the old universe has. Anyway they don’t have time for much since Archie-Predator is reverting to his predator form. Also his friends are coming. At the high school a Halloween party is starting. The predators land and start to take heads at the party. Archie-Predator with the original Betty, Veronica and new Archie go to confront them in the gym.
Well this was kind of a wild issue. De Campi seems to have some fun at poking fun at the original Archie. Betty and Veronica are shocked that their counterparts have no interest in their Archie. They have never used Voodoo or Satanism or magic love potions. In fact this new Riverdale is pretty dull and normal. Of course the predators are coming to do what they do best. Shoot laser holes in people and tear their heads and spines out of their bodies. A strange series so far but also interesting.
Writer: Mike Baron
Artist: Ed Bareto
Scanner One has made it to New Earth. They decide to land on the surface instead of dock at the space station. So they pick an isolated piece of desert. Only this piece of desert has a new Atari Force automated weapons system called Warmech. It shoots at Scanner One and forces it to land. The crew get out and enjoy their freedom. Suddenly a giant mech scorpion attacks them. It destroys Scanner One. Tempest tries to use his phase power but it is shielded from phasing ability. Kargg and Blackjack work together to get a grenade into the automated scorpion and destroy it. Than Hunter with his security forces arrives to arrest the crew. Martin, Dart and Tempest are put on trial. Pakrat is captured to be turned over to his brother. The others are let go since they have done nothing against the law.
Writer: Ed Hannigan
Artist: Bill Wray
Taz and her mate are fighting some aliens. A fighter strafes them and kills Taz’s mate. She manages to shoot it down and a survivor confronts her. Only the fighting has opened the ground up and both fall into an underground cavern. They have to join forces to fight off some giant creature and climb out of the cavern. On the surface Taz than shoots the alien for revenge. The end has the moral hang on to your gun.
Atari force manages to return to New Earth. They know that they face arrest but get the surprise of discovering a secret Atari weapons development. Apparently Atari has started developing weapons for sale. So now there is a big trial for the humans. A good solid story. The crew seems to work well together especially the new ones of Kargg and Blackjack. Pakrat is good for some comic relief. Finally the Tazlings are stealing equipment from Martin’s old research station so something is going on there. Sets it up for the big trial finale.
The backup story was a fun one. Spotlights Taz and her background. A cool little moral for this story. I have to agree. You should always hang on to your gun. Never know when you might need it.
“A Wind Blows from Stygia”
Writer: Roy Thomas adapted from “The Treasure of Tranicos” by Robert E. Howard and L. Sprague De Camp
Artists: John Buscema & Klaus Janson
Conan leads the pirates Zarono and Strombanni to the cave where the treasure of Tranicos is stored. They arrive and Conan convinces the two pirates to accompany him with only one of their men. He tries to lock them in but they are too quick and escape. Only now the Picts have found them and attack. So once again Conan forms an alliance with the two pirates and they manage to drive them off.
Meanwhile back at the fort Count Valenso tells his niece Belesa the story behind his exile. Years ago he hired an exiled Stygian wizard Thoth-Amon to kill a rival with sorcery. Then he betrayed him. Thoth-Amon made it back to Stygia and regained his power. So he now seeks revenge on Valenso. Later the pirates come back with a horde of Picts chasing them. They manage to fight them off after getting into the fort.
Sometime later one of Strombanni’s men is found killed and Strombanni blames Zarono. The two start to fight and their men join in. Only they abandoned the wall and the Picts are now over it. Soon the Picts manage to slaughter all the men of both parties. Conan escapes to the main castle and finds that Thoth-Amon has freed the demon that was captive at the treasure. It killed Valenso and now threatens Lady Belasa her ward Tina and Conan. Conan manages to kill it with a silver candelabra and fire. He escapes with the two girls. Later the next morning a ship comes. Only it is his old friends from Aquilonia the counts Prospero and Trocero. They used a wizard to locate where Conan was. They ask him to lead their army of revolt. Conan also has the treasure of Tranicos now that the demon is dead. After giving the Lady Belasa some jewels he comments how King Conan sounds.
“The Barbarian in Babylon Conan’s Greatest Challenge”
Bu Kenneth Turan
A reprint of an article that appeared in the “New West” magazine. It had a very good telling of the background of Robert E. Howard. How the Conan stories became popular. Also the movie that was in production. Some interesting tidbits are that Milnius envisioned Raquel Welch in the romantic lead and Sean Connery as the main villain. Also Lou Ferrigno was to be the villain’s henchman. Some interesting casting choices to envision how the movie could have been different. Of course Schwartzenegger was always planned for the title role.
So the final installment of “The Treasure of Tranicos” comes to an end and what an end. This was an incredible story filled with plenty of action. There was treacherous double dealing with the various parties and alliances reformed after the double dealing failed. The big fight scenes are drawn on an epic scale. DeCamp did alter this story to have Thoth-Amon as the wizard and at the end have the Aquilonians find Conan. It was meant to tie in to DeCamp’s novel of how Conan became king. The ending was a bit too convenient but still plausible. Also made sense on how Conan managed to get all this gold to buy a mercenary army to overthrow the king of Aquilonia. This was definitely one of the better of the Savage Sword adaptations.
“Demons at the Summit!”
Writer: Roy Thomas adapted from story by Bjorn Nyberg
Artist: Tony Dezuniga
A reprint from Savage Sword of Conan #3.
“The Hyborian Age”
Writer: Roy Thomas adapted from essay by Robert E. Howard
Artist: Ernie Chan
A brief history of the Hyborian age. How the various tribes after the great cataclysm formed into the nations that existed during Conan’s time.
So another issue with a reprint from Savage Sword. Once again a good story and this time the coloring wasn’t too bad. Yet I prefer original stories and the original appearances. The Hyborian age was an abridged retelling of Howard’s essay done by Walt Simonson in the Savage Sword series. This was good for a filler but the series in Savage Sword was better.
“Dark Cavern, Dark Crystal Part II”
Writer: Roy Thomas
Artist: Alan Davis
Conan has been tied to a tree to die as Pakim forces the Lady Serra to lead him to the treasure. Only Conan manages to break the branch off that he was tied to and kill his guards. Pakim meanwhile has managed to find the entrance to the cavern leading to the treasure. They find a large dark crystal. Zubair the hired nobleman reveals himself to be a wizard. He frees himself and set the giant bats that guard the crystal against Pakim and his men. Conan at this time arrives and takes this revenge on Pakim. Then he rescues Serra and goes after Zubair. Zubair is killed while trying to conjure a spell by a well thrown knife from Conan. Conan than tosses the crystal at the bats so they can escape. Serra gets angry at that and stabs Conan. Only she also has a piece of the crystal in her ring and the bat creatures take her. The cavern collapses leaving a wounded Conan to go and take charge of the Himelian tribesmen.
“The Shadow of Vengeance Part XI”
By Scott Oden
Karash Khan managed to transfer his spirit into a wooden statue of a lady serpent. This statue destroys the ship and Conan manages to swim to shore. The wooden statue follows but Conan uses fire to destroy it. Now with his united Kozaks and Red Brotherhood pirates he plans to go after the man who started all this.
So a Roy Thomas story comes to an end. It was a brilliant story. Roy really knows how to write Conan and I just loved this story. It had all the cool elements. A lost treasure. An evil bandit. A traitorous woman. A wizard. Giant bats. Conan felt like the Conan of old. The opening where the two guards are wagering on spiting in Conan’s face. His badass tearing the branch off and killing these two guards while tied to it. Also tied in to how Conan became the leader of the hillmen during this time in his life. Roy always manages to keep the established canon started by Howard and other writers. A very fun nostalgic return to the golden age of Conan comics.
The prose story also ties up the plot. Karash Khan is killed and Conan now has united the pirates and his Kozaks. The only thing left is for him to get his revenge which I’m sure will be exciting in the final chapter.
“The Darkness at the End of the Lane”
Writer: Alex de Campi
Artist: Robert Hack
Betty, Veronica and Predator-Archie are wandering the streets of a destroyed Riverdale. Everybody is dead. Betty is narrating to the audience what happened. They decide to go down Memory Lane which should restore everything. Only Memory Lane is gone. Veronica worries that the series has been cancelled. The group decides to head out and hot wires a sport car. They drive out only to find themselves back in Riverdale.
Meanwhile in an alternate reality Dilton has bought a Predator helmet on e-bay for his Halloween costume. He activates it which I guess somehow transports Betty, Veronica and Predator-Archie to this new Riverdale. They are only mildly surprised to meet alternate version of themselves. Also the Predators have traced the helmet and are about to land in Riverdale.
So they decided to do a sequel to the first crossover. So far the same writer has decided to do a sort of existential story. We have the main characters very conscious of them being comic characters. They are also a bit worried that their series seems to be cancelled. Not really explained well how these two realities have crossed. A very weird story but I do admit I have some interest to continue reading and finding out where its going.
Writer: Mike Baron
Artist: Eduardo Barreto
Tempest held prisoner at Atari HQ manages to get some of his phasing power back. Enough to disable the device that was suppressing it. Than he is able to phase out and return to Scanner One. Only the multi-verse is now different and the finds himself in some strange universes. He manages to make contact with Dart telepathically and concentrating on her, he manages to make it back.
The crew of Scanner One now has to make some choices on getting back to New Earth. The food is running out. Dart had a vision that Blackjack with two good eyes would drive Scanner One back to Atari HQ. So Martin decides to give him a chance. Blackjack’s new eye helps him but the destroyed universe next to their universe is upsetting his new eye. So the Tazlings install his old eye and that helps Blackjack navigate home.
“A Boy and his Hukka”
Writer: Dave Manak
Artist: Marshall Rogers
Chris Champion a.k.a. Tempest is a young boy on New Earth. He goes to the toy store in the mall for the new toy X-V Bots. He also takes along Hukka. Hukka strays while in the store and Chris leaves without him. The store closes and Hukka has to fight off the guard dog. Chris notices that Hukka is missing and goes back. He phases through the window and rescues Hukka from the dog. Only now the security guard finds him and plans to call his dad.
So Tempest manages to escape from Atari. He finds his way back and using what he discovered the crew can plot their way home. Martin still doesn’t trust Blackjack although he does warm up to Kargg who now is free of the Dark Destroyer’s influence. Also we find out the next universe over was the one destroyed by the anti-matter bomb. Not sure how that came about but maybe will be revealed soon.
The backup story was a good one. We get to see Tempest as a kid and a glimpse into the society of New Earth.
Oh and I got a notification of my 6 year anniversary on WordPress. Can believe how long I’ve been doing this.
“The Treasure of Tranicos”
Writer: Roy Thomas adapted from story by Robert E. Howard and L. Sprague De Camp
Artists: Gil Kane, John Buscema & Joe Rubinstein and Co.
After his successful campaign against the Picts Conan was made a general and invited to the court of King Numedides. The king jealous of Conan’s popularity tried to have him killed. He escapes and is forced to flee into the Pict wilderness. Captured by Picts he is traded to the Eagle clan. He escapes and now makes his way to the coast with a horde of Picts following. At the mouth of a cave it looks like Conan has run out of time. Only the Picts run away. They seem afraid of the cave. Conan explores and finds a door. Inside are twelve perfectly preserved corpses sitting around a table. The room is filled with treasure. Also a creature materializes out of the air and attacks Conan. He escapes the room and the creature dissolves into the air.
Meanwhile down at the coast is the stronghold of Valenso. A Zingarian noble who has fled some unknown menace to hide out in the Pict Wilderness. One day a Barachan pirate ship comes. Captain Strombanni demands the treasure. Valenso doesn’t know what he is talking about. Strombanni attacks the fort and almost breaches it but the appearance of another ship forces him to flee. The other ship is the Zingarian buccaneer Black Zarono. He too is seeking the treasure and offers to share it in return for marriage to his niece. When Valenso hears that the Black Stranger has come from his niece’s young ward Tina, he goes into a panic. A big storm than comes and sinks Zarono’s ship
The next day Stronbanni comes back and negotiates a truce for the three men to find the Treasure of Tranicos. A Barachan pirate one hundred years ago hid the treasure in the area. Also at this time Conan snuck into the fort and reveals himself. He reveals that he knows where the treasure is and will split it with the three. So the next morning a group will head out to recover the treasure.
“Secret of the Black Stranger”
By Fred Blosser
An article on the Howard story “The Black Stranger”. It started out as a Conan story but was rejected. So he rewrote it as a 17th century pirate story. Only that was also rejected. In the fifties De Camp rewrote it as a Conan story only set it as after his time as a frontier scout and included Thoth-Amon.
So this was an excellent issue. I really enjoyed the story. Interesting that the artwork has history. This was originally started by Kane. He didn’t have time to finish it so it was shelved. Than Marvel obtained the rights to the non-Howard stories and decided to adopt the De Camp version. As it happened Kane left off just at a point where it diverged from the original so Buscema was assigned to fill out the rest. This was a very interesting story filled with several guys each looking to betray the other at the first chance. Something Howard was very good at writing. Plus the setting with Picts, pirates, Thoth-Amon and a treasure.