“Warlords Part 1”
Writers: Brian Michael Bendis and David Walker
Artists: Michael Avon Deming, Mike Grell and John Timms
So Superboy and Travis Morgan have a talk where crybaby Superboy is all upset with how life is going. Morgan tells him about his life and how he arrived in Skartaris. After that some lizard men have tracked down Morgan and the two have to deal with them. Meanwhile in Oregon Young Justice finds out something is going on in New Mexico. So they decide to go to Nevada? They take Wonder Woman’s invisible jet and Jinny’s pickup truck which they make fly. In Skartaris after defeating the lizard men a wizard called Green Manaleeshi attacks. This wizard has a Kryptonite sword. Back on Earth Impulse meets with the real Young Justice. Whatever that means.
So this issue we get some beautiful work from Grell and his Warlord. The origin story is something not new but I love the nostalgia of it. Otherwise the issue is a complete piece of garbage. I never read a comic that had so many characters do so little. I have no idea what the plot is or where it’s going. In fact I really don’t care and just got this for the Warlord appearance. I really miss that series. Unfortunately I doubt this appearance will result in any revival of the character.
Writer: Roy Thomas adapted from novel “Sons of the Bear God” by Norvell W. Page
Artists: John Buscema & Ernie Chan
Conan has come to the Aesir after escaping Buryat. He manages to convince Niord that he can free them from the Sons of Heaven. He finds out they were drugged in their homeland and brought to Buryat. The dwarves then spiked their mead with Lotus. So Conan gives them the cure and shows them the tricks the dwarves were using. He gets them to go to where they keep the bears. The Aesir dress themselves in bearskins and the people of Buryat think that the Heaven Bear has turned on them. They flee the city and Thanamund kills the king. Conan takes most of the Aesir to chase down the fleeing dwarves. When he returns he finds that Thanamund is actually the husband and not brother of Tossa. They have decided to take over the city of Buryat. Only they get into an argument and kill each other. Conan decides to continue on north with Erfu.
The conclusion of the Sons of the Bear God tied up things nicely. It wasn’t a real exciting ending. We find out why the Aesir were following the dwarves and how they got there. I found it a bit odd that Conan was talking about being king of Buryat but the Aesir were interested in going home and the dwarves fled so what is the point of being king to an empty city. Something Conan seemed to realize at the last moment. Also a bit out there was Tossa being married to Thanamund. Then the whole thing where they killed each other over control of the city was a bit anti-climatic. This was a good interesting story that had a disappointing ending.
“Lost in the Multiverse Finale”
Writer: Brian Michael Bendis
Artist: John Timms
Wonder Girl and Teen Lantern go to the Justice League to help find their teammate Superboy. Only the Wonder Twins are there and really not much help. Impulse comes and has access to the Justice League computer and gets stuff done. Meanwhile we find that Superboy is in Skartaris and meets Travis Morgan the Warlord. Superboy starts to cry which attracts a dinosaur that he punches. Back on Earth the other members of the team talk about their feeling. They text and more of them show up. Reporters come and there is something about some dimensional portal that S.T.A.R. Labs screwed up. Then they start to go somewhere.
So I heard that Young Justice would have my favorite character The Warlord making a guest appearance for a few issues. I always have to get anything that has the Warlord in it. So first I admit to coming in the middle of a story and not really knowing what’s going on. Still I would think any good writer would at least have a reasonably coherent story. This is just a mess. There are an endless bunch of characters constantly coming in. They just do nothing but yak and text. The brief appearance of the Warlord has some crybaby of a Superboy. God is this the state of modern superhero comics. No wonder they are in trouble.
“Battle for the Serpent Crown”
Writer: Saladin Ahmed
Artist: Luke Ross
Conan has come to Las Vegas on his quest to destroy Kulan Gath. First he has to steal some money and decides to rob an armored car. Only the guards manage to taser him. Luckily a woman was also there to rob the car. She has electronic jammers that disable the guards weapons and communications. Conan is able to knock them out. Nyla offers to split the money and offers Conan a job. He accepts and finds out she plans to rob a rich evil man named Imus Champion. He has a fortune in emeralds and has this hotel that looks like a giant tree with a flame on top. They climb it and Conan knocks out the guards. Only the safe has already been robbed by the Black Cat. As this goes on Champion is talking about how their plan is so far going well. The person he works with is revealed to be Mephisto.
Another Conan series this time set in our present. Conan is still Conan in our time. He has no problem resorting to being a thief to get by. He conveniently teams up with a woman who has skills to break into more high tech safes and places. A good solid story but it has Conan reduced to being a sidekick which just is something that I don’t think should be in a Conan story. Otherwise the story was interesting. The art is beautiful. It is a series that has potential.
Writer: Amy Chu
Artist: Maria Laura Sanapo
The gang is eating lunch at the mall food court talking about their respective worlds. Vampirella tells of the draught on her world and how an Earth spaceship landed. This is how she arrived on Earth and now wants to go home. Just then a man comes up to them and asks from help. Before he can say anything else a man in a skeleton mask and hood stabs him. He gets away because he has inhuman speed. The dying man gives the girls a flash drive and a cryptic message to stop someone from killing us all.
The man turns out to be a scientist at Pulaski Pharmaceuticals. Dilton can’t unencrypt the flash drive but does figure out that Vampirella’s spaceship crashed on the site of Pulaski Pharmaceuticals. So Veronica uses her dad’s influence to get an interview with the founder of the company. They meet with the founder who has a mostly automated futuristic office. Meanwhile Vampirella and Sonja sneak into the building and find Vampirella’s old spaceship. They are attacked by robots and forced to flee through the air ducts. They fall into a hole and find themselves on Drakulon the home of Vampirella.
So the second story arc starts and so far it’s good. It has an interesting setup. The plot was easy to follow and coherent. There is one artist so the arts good. It introduces several things that raise many questions and get the reader’s interest in continuing on. Moving the action out of Riverdale was probably a wise idea.
Writer: Tom DeFalco
Artist: Barry Windsor-Smith
Machine Man has decided he has had enough of being hunted by Sunset Bain. After the attack on Sanctuary he is going to go to her. His friends try to dissuade him but he manages to find the coordinates to her HQ from a damaged robot mercenary. So he takes off on a flying motorbike. His friends follow him. At the NY HQ he is met by thirty security guards. His friend Slick jumps off his bike and it plows into the security men. Machine Man is really angry as he just wants to talk and didn’t want any killing. So as his friends continue to battle the security troops he takes his bike and flies it into the office of Sunset. There he battles Arno Stark the Iron Man of 2020. He kicks his butt. Then threatens to kill Sunset but Jocasta his old girlfriend intervenes. Senator Brickman decides to commit suicide. We find out Machine Man was just scaring Sunset and not really going to kill her. MM gets a promise that Sunset will leave him and his friends alone. Jocasta will make sure that she follows through. The police arrive and they take off into the sunset.
The final issue comes to a very satisfying conclusion. Machine Man finds out his long lost love Jocasta is still alive and working with Sunset. He has his final confrontation and gets some closure. He reunites with Jocasta and has his moment before riding off into the sunset. This is the first that we find out police are actually around. The first three issues gives you the impression that they didn’t exist and corporations do what they please. Maybe the defund movement is something they correctly envisioned.
This was a blast reading about what they envisioned 2020 almost forty years back. Clearly it was inspired by Blade Runner. I love all the fashion, slang and technology that we were supposed to have now. While most of it is clearly outdated, in reality 1984 just transposed on 2020. I will say that the series holds up after all these years. It is still an enjoyable and fun read as it was back in 1984. Machine Man is shown to have more humanity then many of the humans in the series. Good storytelling never goes out of style.
“Lady of the Silver Snows”
Writer: Chris Claremont
Artist: Val Mayerik
Conan has come to the far north to hunt for furs and stops at the small trade fort The Inn of the Bright Lady. While there he is hired by Kendrick to escort a woman to the far north. He must give a blood oath that he will kill her if she is in danger of being recaptured. The woman Astriel is a mysterious beauty. Conan soon falls in love with her. He also finds a group of mercenaries lead by an old kinsman rival named Shard is after the girl. He has two Stygian wizards and was hired by Thoth-Amon. Conan finds out the girl is a goddess kidnapped from her land. He battles the wizards, their demons and his old rival Shard. They manage to make it to Astriel’s lands and are rescued by talking beasts.
“The Black Stone”
Writer: Roy Thomas adapted from story by Robert E. Howard
Artist: Gene Day
An American named Costigan has arrived in a small Hungarian village. He is there to study a mysterious black obelisk. The locals shun it especially at night. While looking at it Costigan goes to sleep and wakes to witness a pagan ceremony. A woman is whipped to death. A baby is smashed against the obelisk. This awakens a giant toad creature who comes down. He wakes and thinks it was a dream but finds a small figurine of the toad in the field and flees in terror.
“Conan the Movie Conan in Zamora”
By Steven Grant
An article on the upcoming movie with pictures. This time how Conan meets his companions and how they steal from the temple of Set in Zamora.
“Island of Pirate’s Doom Part Two”
Writer: Roy Thomas
Artists: John Buscema and Danny Bulandi
Mettalus and Valeria watch from their hidden place behind the waterfall as the pirates search for them. After they leave Valeria decides to go to the rowboat on the beach and steal some food. Mettalus is wary but goes along. While stealing food they are attacked by two pirates.
So this issue was a special treat. We got a new writer and artist that normally don’t contribute to the series. Both are talented and we get a very enjoyable story of Conan. At first I didn’t care for the artist’s take on the series but it did grow on me. A fun story that had Conan fall in love with a goddess and battle both his old wizard foe Thoth-Amon. We also get another foe in a childhood rival. An offbeat but interesting tale.
The Black Stone was a non-Conan Howard story. I have to say it was a very dark piece. Surreal and strange without any of the action I have come to expect from a Howard story. Still it was interesting.
Some more on the upcoming movie. Needless to say I have seen it many times and it was awesome.
Finally a short installment to Roy’s Valeria story. A short one but still very enjoyable.
“Cimmerian–Against A City!”
Writer: Roy Thomas adapted from novel “Sons of the Bear God by Norvell W. Page
Artists: John Buscema & Ernie Chan
Conan tries to get some information out of Tossa about this dwarf city and why the Aesir are here. She avoids the questions and soon Erfu comes. He tells Conan that King Aosoka has heard of Conan’s talk of rebellion. Now guards are coming for him. Erfu also gets into a fight with Tossa for basically calling her a slut. Conan leaves them and there seems to be some plot between Tossa and Erfu. Conan meets a troop of dwarfs and convinces them to take him to the king. Along the way he meets the Aesir who are also coming to take him to the king. At the palace the high priest with the big ears yells at the men to disarm Conan. Instead Conan uses the high priest as a shield as he bolts himself inside the palace. He also takes the priest’s big ears he wears.
Once inside he defeats the guards. He confronts the king and finds an electrical net dropped in front of him. After getting a shock he finds the king was just a mirror image. The guards have broken in and he flees. He climbs a tower that has a golden globe. Up there he uses the priest’s ears and finds out you can hear great distances. A voice belonging to Thanamund the brother of Tossa tells him to crawl along a wire that leads to his position on the palace roof. Thanamund dumps bags of black smoke to conceal Conan’s movement. He then shows him the way out of the city through a secret passage. Conan promises to come back and goes to the tents of the Aesir.
Another installment in this crazy adaptation of Page’s book. It is a very offbeat story so far. Filled with strange science and Conan bluffing his way around. So far we are still in the dark about this whole city. Why the Aesir are there and serve the dwarfs. Tossa and Erfu are secretly working together to some unknown end. The final chapter is the next issue so I hope we get all the answers. I will say I am very curious to find out how this ends.
Writer: Erik Burnham
Artist: Jonathan Lau
Sonja is fighting Kulan Gath who has possessed the body of Purgatori. He also manages to kill Evil Ernie. Ernie manages to infuse his power into Sonja’s sword before he dies. This is enough to cut off Purgatori’s hand. The pain is enough for Purgatori to focus and regain control of her body. Sonja still has to fight her. Sonja manages to get hold of Gath’s amulet. She places it on a dead corpse and Gath finds himself brought back. Because Sonja has altered the future Purgatori dissolves and all the characters go back to their time. The events did not occur and the future is safe. Sonja lets a weak Kulan Gath go wander off into the desert vowing to kill him later.
So the series ends. I have to say I am very underwhelmed. It was a quick read since not much happened. A very anti-climactic ending. This wholes series just didn’t really do anything for me. I’m not a fan or familiar with the Chaos characters so I was already not invested in the characters. This was a crossover that I don’t think should have happened. It didn’t fit well into Sonja’s world. I suppose a different writer could have done something better but the whole concept just doesn’t seem all that interesting.
Writer: Amy Chu
Artists: Maria Laura Sanapo, Ivan F Silva with David Anton
Betty and Veronica are prisoners of the Vampiri who have been responsible for all the deaths. Their science teacher who was missing and thought dead and a guy who dresses like Dracula but named Vudosol are the leaders. They have been using their followers by giving them a Drakulon blood serum that enhances them but is highly addictive. So some have been getting greedy and they decided to frame the Cult of Chaos for all the murders. Just then Vampirella comes to the rescue. She finds out the two and others have followed her from their planet which is in the middle of a blood drought. Sonja also comes to the rescue with the football team. The two Draculons are holding their own until Dilton comes and hits them with a school bus. The two vampiri disappear and the teens that were helping them are arrested. Later Vampirella is determined to go back to her home and the others pledge to accompany her. Outside Vudosol and Eve are watching. Eve is in fact Vampirella’s sister Draculina.
OK so there was a bunch of stuff going on in this issue. In fact it seemed to be a bit rushed. Now the series was originally meant to be a six issue run. But it was so successful that Dynamite extended it for another six. So this story arc is coming to an end and another starts next issue. Now I don’t know how this extension affected the ending for this one. So far it ended on a very confusing note with really no explanation of why Sonja and Vampirella came to Riverdale. I will say that the next idea of visiting Draculon is an interesting idea. So we will see where it takes us.