“The Eye of Amtor Part 1.”
Writer: Mike Wolfer & Matt Betts
Artist: Vincenzo Carratu
Carson with his mate Duare and friends Ero Shan and Nalte are flying in the anotar(airplane) on their way to Sanara. They decide to help some herders of zaldars by chasing off attacking tharbans. They land in Loton and are welcomed by their Jong Kabalo. He seems friendly and they are shown around the city. Carson and Duare are taken to their library and shown the maps. The jong also shows them plans to a telescope that Carson says he could build. So the jong then gives Carson an ultimatum. Carson and Duare must retrieve the materials to build it in three days or Ero Shan and Nalte will be executed. So the two take off for the Aprith Stones. The stones are clear coral located in Maltor. Carson dives for the stones and gets one but the two have to fight off Vortos.
“Pellucidar Dark of the Sun Part 1”
Writer: Christopher Paul Carey
Artist: Mike Wolfer
Jason Gridley and Victory Harbin are attempting to set up a radio antennae to get the Gridley wave working again. The tower emits some beam that turns the sun of Pellucidar black. Just then a Mahar comes up from the entrance to the old Mahar city they are by.
This was an excellent comic. It is a prequel to an actual book Carson of Venus The Edge of All Worlds. The story has a real feel of being written by Burroughs and I love it. I also love the introduction the authors write. They explain that Betts gets a visit from Carson’s projected image while visiting ERB Inc. While Carey tells of his finding the lost Gridley wave radio and getting transmissions from Pellucidar. They keep the old Burrough’s feel of being just a teller of the stories that are told to them.
The second backup story is short but also good. It introduces a new character in Victory Harbin a young 18 year old who already graduated Oxford and is brilliant. So far I like her but I hope she doesn’t turn out to be too Mary Sue. So far they are setting her up to be too perfect and characters are at their best with human flaws that the reader can relate to. Still a good start and I am also interesting in reading the new books coming out.
Writer: Meredith Finch
Artist: Vicente Cifuentes
Gabrielle has been kidnapped and Xena has to find her. She knows that Jax a former member of her army was responsible. She also knows what places to look for him. She finds him at a dog and rat fight. Using her persuasive methods she finds out Gabrielle is aboard Callisto’s ship. On Callisto’s ship Gabrielle is reunited with her sister Lila. Lila was captured by slavers while going to a village to watch the Roman legions. So the two try to lift Gabrielle to the porthole so she call for help. The guards come to investigate the disturbances and they beat up Gabrielle for not kneeing and mouthing off. She is taken to Callisto and it is here that Xena arrives. Now Xena is confronted by Callisto holding a sword to Gabrielle’s throat.
This issue was an OK one. It had a lot of exposition and the characters talking. Yet it managed to move the story along. At the end you get the feeling its going somewhere. Gabrielle’s sister is a ditzy blonde which I can’t remember how the TV series portrayed her. So it could be an accurate portrayal. Ends with an exciting cliffhanger that interests the reader to find out more. So far a decent series.
“Freedom Never Dies”
Writer: Steve Engelhart
Artists: Mike Vosberg & Vince Colletta
Starfire is surrounded by the Yorg. She manages to find a secret passage to the weapons room. It only costs her a rusty nail sticking out that tears off her tunic. She finds laser weapons and starts killing the Yorg. The Yorg start demanding help in finding Starfire from Djinn and the Keeper. The Keeper decides to help Starfire and brings her friends that are captive of the Mygorg to her. Only he doesn’t know what power to use in the transport spell and kills all of Starfire’s men except Moonwatcher.
Starfire finds Moonwatcher and they rescue Thump. They find out from the Keeper that the Lightning Lords were the ones in charge and decided to collaborate with the invaders. Lady Djinn was responsible for turning the master computer programmer into the giant slow witted Thump. The Mygorg comes to the citadel looking for Starfire and instead finds their enemy the Yorg. The two species start to fight. Thump remembers enough of computers to transport the three to safety. Djinn is transformed into a computer just before the citadel explodes. Starfire, Moonwatcher and Thump now armed with laser rifles continue their quest to free their world.
Well a lot of things happen in this issue. First off the bat is once again a new costume change for Starfire. One that involves even a skimpier one. Nothing wrong with that but it is an obvious attempt to increase sales. So did it work? Well there would be only one more issue so I guess not. We also get to find out the origin of Thump and why he understands computers. Finally they also very coldly through computer error kill off most of Starfire’s men. They decided to tighten up the story with just three strong characters. Not a bad idea but that was a cold way to do it. This series was really starting to get good which is a shame it soon ended.
“The Demon in the Dark!”
Writer: Michael Fleisher
Artist: Alfredo Alcala
Conan finds out from his travel companion why he goes to the temple of V’Zhorr-Lok. This demon once demanded hundreds of sacrifices to feed himself. One day a priest stole his magic mace and banished him to another dimension. Only the magic was flawed and every twenty years a portal opens. So every twenty years a descendent of the priest sacrifices himself to keep the demon from entering our world. Meanwhile Bor’aqh Sharaq continues his quest for Conan. He goes to a witch and gets a glass bauble that ages a person.
Conan and his companions continue their quest and fight off assassins, two giant cyclops and a giant crab. The crab kills the old priest and his daughter must now make the sacrifice. At the ruined temple she gets into the big bowl as the portal opens. Bor’aqh Sharaq comes and tries to age Conan with the bauble. Only Conan shatters it with a thrown rock. Then he tosses Sharaq at the demon who accepts him as a sacrifice. The daughter is safe and so is the world.
“Hunters and Hunted!”
Writer: Alan Zelenetz
Artist: Mary Wilshire
Conan as a youth in Cimmeria is hunting boars with his friend. They meet two beautiful women who turn out to be were-boars. His friend is killed but Conan manages to kill his attacker. The other leave him for like Conan who refused to kill more than needed so too does she.
Writer: Roy Thomas
Artists: Esteban Maroto, Neal Adams and Ernie Chan
A reprint from Savage Sword of Conan #1.
Writer: Jo Duffy
Artist: Danny Bulanadi
Solomon Kane is heading back to England aboard the Athena. The ship sights a Portuguese trader and attacks. The captain is about to slaughter the crew when Kane intervenes. His intervention allows the Portuguese ship to destroy the English one. Kane is now on the Portuguese ship bound for Japan.
The second part was a fun read. Fleisher really likes to pack in the monsters that Conan has to fight. It does make for an exciting story. Bor’aqh Sharaq once again makes an appearance and this time gets taken by a demon to another dimension. You would think this would be the last of him but Fleisher still had plans making him a formidable and recurring villain that Conan has to fight.
The two original backups were good. The first a story of Conan as a young fighting were-boars. The second was an excellent Solomon Kane story. It looked like it was setting up for further adventures with Kane in Japan. A cool idea that was sadly never followed up on.
“Graves With No Names”
Writer: Robert Kanigher
Artist: Ric Estrada
In a concentration camp in Poland the Nazis know that the underground leader Artur is a prisoner there. They start to execute the prisoners until he is revealed. Control the head of O.S.S. has to get him out. So he recruits four Polish circus performers. They put on a show for the Nazis but engineer an uprising of the prisoners to cover their escape. Artur insists on bringing alone a man who tried to impersonate him to stop the executions. The group is chased by the Nazis and two the strongman and clown sacrifice their lives to slow them down. Eventually the man they brought along was a S.S. spy and tries to kill Artur. The leader sacrifices himself to save Artur.
“The World’s Greatest Spy”
An article on Wild Bill Donovan. A hero of the first world war who founded the Office of Strategic Studies. He faced opposition from the military intelligent branches and FBI initially. He put together an organization single handedly of 30,000 that became invaluable to the war effort.
“Another Pin–Another Death!”
Writer: Robert Kanigher
Artist: Bill Draut
Control overhears some of his men talking about how cold he is to assign men to their deaths. He thinks back to the beginning when with his wife they were in occupied France. They managed to destroy an ammo dump but where captured. Control let his wife be executed before revealing an info. So that is why he got the job he has now.
“The Friendly Killers!”
Writer: Bob Kanigher
Artist: Ric Estrada
A German pocket battleship code named ‘Tiger’ is causing havoc on allied shipping. It is protected in a Norwegian Fjord from air and sea attack. So Control recruits a trainer of dolphins to train his two dolphins to swim to the battleship and attach explosives. They have to fight through Nazi frogmen but manage to destroy the ship.
Showcase was a sort of series to try out potential new series. This issue they gave us some stories from the O.S.S. spy series that was a regular in G.I. Combat. I loved these stories of espionage during WWII with this Kojak type guy as Control. There were three very solid stories plus and interesting article on the man who created the spy agency. This never got off as a series on its own. Probably the DC war line was already very crowded and Robert Kanigher seemed to single-handedly write them all. So we had to settle for our spy drama in the other war books.
“The Voice of One Long Gone”
Writer: J.M. DeMatteis
Artists: John Buscema & McLeod
Conan is in the Shemite village now celebrating the destruction of Myya R’rrasleff from last issue. Yet he is taciturn. Together with Jenna they ride off and stop for the night. We find out Conan has been thinking of his grandfather Drogin. He tells how it was his grandfather that got him interested in seeing the Hyborian kingdoms. Drogin like all who are too old went out to die on the frozen plains. Just then Drogin comes to Conan as a healthy young man. Conan thinks its a demon but comes to realize that the man is his grandfather. Jenna is in a deep sleep and Drogin takes Conan through a mystical portal. The portal brings them to a palace run by Ravenna. Ravenna is very fat little man.
From here Drogin tells his story. That he was waiting to die when Ravenna came and offered him a chance to travel the world. Ravenna made him young and with his spirit occupying Drogin was able to live vicariously through him. Now Drogin is tired and wants release. Conan is forced to fight characters from his past like Yag-Kosha, bat creature from Nerghal, Thak and Belit. We find out that Ravenna is taking Conan as a replacement. Drogin has been sucked dry and feels nothing. Yet Drogin manages at the end to regain his feelings and attack Ravenna who has revealed itself to be a giant blue blob. Ravenna is forced to expel the two back to Shem. Drogin is once again an old man and goes off to die.
DeMatteis is now settling in as the main writer for the series. He has a good grasp of it. This story has many references to Conan’s past which shows an understanding of the character. We knew of a grandfather for Conan that told him of his exploits outside Cimmeria. This was an enjoyable story. Conan seemed in character and his grandfather was handled in a believable way. Also seems Jenna is along as a companion and I always enjoyed that character. The series seems to be in good hands.
“Invade the Inferno”
Writer: Paul Levitz
Artists: Steve Ditko & Wally Wood
Stalker has entered Hell and has to defeat the three-headed gatekeeper. Stalker manages to knock the poison dust the keeper was going to use into the keeper’s eyes instead. Then he fights some living skeletons and fire demon. All the while some obnoxious imp is guiding him. He then gets transported to a realm of nothing which is supposed to mentally break him. This doesn’t work and Stalker manages to free the captive warrior champions. He leads his army to Dgrth. Yet he finds that Dgrth can’t give his soul back. Only Dgrth dying can do that and as long as a single mortal believes in him that won’t happen. So Stalker goes back to the world to kill every worshipper of Dgrth.
So ends this short lived sword & sorcery entry from DC. They put out a lot and like most they didn’t last too long. This was a fairly interesting character. It had some good art and was well written. I think it’s major weakness was the character. He wasn’t very likable. He gave his soul freely and now whines about it constantly. Also I hated the costume he wore. Anyway the series was doomed to failure and the four that were released are an interesting historical curiosity.
“An American Killogy”
Writer: Scott Duvall
Artist: Vincenzo Federici
The plane that Ash and Elvis is on crashes into Graceland. Only it the Graceland in the present. The plane went forward in time for some reason. Ash has to fight Bubba Ho-Tep. The present day Elvis comes in to help out. Eventually Ash figures out an incantation from the Necronomicon and Bubba Ho-Tep is destroyed while freeing all the souls it ate. Ash and Elvis decide to go on a road trip where Elvis tells how he managed to escape the crashing plane back in the past.
The final issue in this series is a real disappointment. The art looked rushed and not very coherent. In fact the story seems like it was rushed in a hurry to end it. This is something I see so much in modern comics. The writer starts out with a strong idea. Then he seems to get bored or distracted and just sloppily ties up the ending. Anyway I loved the idea for this series. As I said the two Bruce Campbell movies are my favorite and the characters are a natural team-up. Maybe they can find a writer who is capable of following through on a good idea next time.
“The Freezing Flames of the Burning Isle”
Writer: Paul Levitz
Artists: Steve Ditko & Wally Wood
Stalker is on his way to the Burning Isle when Dgrth sends an electrical storm to stop him. A harpy comes and knocks him off his boat. He washes ashore and finds a beautiful woman named Srani. She was exiled to the island because she was considered a witch. She tells that she has a boat but can’t get off because of a sea monster. Stalker fights the many headed monster and kills it. He also kills a fire demon sent by Dgrth. As the search continues for the portal he finds out Srani is the harpy that attacked him. She is a guardian to the portal and Stalker manages to defeat her. Stalker enters the portal to Dgrth’s realm.
So this issue was a fun one. Stalker has to beat off several monsters. The island he is on is located right above the south pole of this world and has an active volcano. Srani was a mysterious character that is part of an ancient race of invaders from the stars that were driven through the portal. Sounds like a bit of sci fi creeping into the series. Ends on Stalker basically going to Hell to confront the Satan of his world. An enjoyable issue with the great art of Ditko and Wood.
Writer: Meredith Finch
Artist: Vicente Cifuentes
Gabrielle is wandering the market in Athens when a young boy steals her purse. She goes chasing him and comes on Xena on the steps of the Temple of Eleos. She is confronted by a legion of Romans that want to arrest her. Gabrielle intervenes and convinces the Romans that Xena is actually her poor sister Lila who is a bit touched in the head. She just thinks she is Xena. So Xena after this reluctantly allows Gabrielle to tag along with her. They stop at a shady tavern and Gabrielle is forced to wait outside. While Xena conducts business Gabrielle is kidnapped. Xena gets a message from Jax telling that Xena must appear at the Parthenon at midnight if she wants to see Gabrielle again. Meanwhile Gabrielle finds herself captive on a slave boat and also finds her sister Lila is also a captive.
The story continues with Gabrielle now joining up with Xena. This was an amusing way she got Xena out of a fight. Now she is also a prisoner and finds her sister one too. The writer keeps the characters believable from the TV series. The story has my interest so seems to be going good so far.