“The Fangs of the Serpent!”
Writer: Michael Fleisher
Artist: Gil Kane
Conan is in Zamboula when an old woman recognizes him and offers to tell his fortune. Conan gives her a copper to keep her quite about his name. She tells of his fight with the serpent god Xka’Ahk and the way to defeat it is an amulet and steel. Conan scoffs at this but later is given a sword amulet by a merchant. It is a gift from a wealth old woman looking for Conan to be her boy toy for a while. Naturally Conan rejects her and has to fight her guards sent after him. He has no trouble taking them out but it attracts the city guard who recognize him as the former warchief of the Zuagirs. So Conan steals a horse and rides out with the guard in hot pursuit.
The chase leads to the river Styx and Conan forces an ferryman at sword point to take him across. The river is too rough this time of year and the ferry breaks up on the rocks. Conan is washed ashore and comes on some men assaulting a beautiful woman. Conan rescues her and finds out the girl Tamera is on a mission. Her kindly sorcerer master was killed by a rival sorcerer. He was after the Ivory Fang of Xka’Ahk. With both fangs the evil serpent god can be destroyed or controlled to take over the world. She begs Conan to help her recover the other fang and destroy the serpent god. Soon more of the Egyptian dressed men of the evil sorcerer come and a fight sees Conan go over a cliff. Only Conan manages to grab on a ledge and climb back. He goes after the men and the captured Tamera.
It leads him to a ziggurat and the sorcerer. He finds out it is the time traveling Shamash-Sham-Ukin who he met back in issue #7. The sorcerer has come back to the Hyborian age and wants to revive the serpent god so he can travel through the neatherworld. Conan jumps in aand fights his Egyptian men. The fight results in a fire that burns down the ziggurat and Conan and Tamera flee with both Ivory Fangs. At the temple in the swamp Tamera inserts the fangs but Conan soon finds out she lied to him. She killed the good sorcerer and wants the power to rule the world. The serpent comes alive and merges with Tamera. It turns into a giant snake with the torso of Tamera.
Shamash comes with his men but the serpent god shoots beams from his eyes and incinerates the Egyptians. Shamash bails out ands travels somewhere in time. Conan remembers the old crone’s prophesy and uses the amulet to stab the serpent god. Then a steel ax and that kills it and saves the world.
“Death of the Mind–Rebirth of the Soul!”
Writers: J.M. DeMatteis and John Buscema
Artist: John Buscema
In a future dystopia Emmanuel Cody citizen 09346-NW2 is being sentenced for his crime. The trial shows a recreation where the Societal Balance Squad comes to his brother’s apartment. There they gun the brother down because he was leading a resistance movement. Cody then attacks the squad and kills a number of it’s members. Cody says he never killed anyone and the video is doctored. Yet the government sentences him to personality eradication and exile to Backworld.
So Cody is wiped of his memories and put in a capsule and dumped on Backworld. The world is a primitive one filled with dinosaurs. A giant tiger comes on his capsule but a beautiful woman attacks it with her bow and arrows. She just makes it angry and Cody wakes up to the tiger attacking this woman.
Fleisher show he has a knack for writing exciting stories. He even manages to bring back an old character that Thomas created. One I thought was dead but I suppose he could still be alive. A fun story with many chases and fights. A traitorous woman who turns out not to be good. Finally a world threat of this serpent god but luckily he miraculously has the means to easily destroy it. A fasted pace and enjoyable story.
The backup is from an idea by Buscema. He created a fascinating character that I remember fondly from my youth. The futuristic Orwellian world was done quite believably. The guy gets exiled to this savage world filled with all sorts of adventure. A good solid and enjoyable issue.