“The River of Death”

Writer: Bruce Jones

Artists: John Buscema, Bulanadi & Candido

Conan is riding along the Thunder River when he hears the scream of a woman. Investigating he finds a group of hooded men beating to death a woman and taking her baby. Naturally Conan won’t stand by idly and promptly cuts these men down. Unfortunately he was too late and the mother died leaving him with a baby. So he continues on and finds a man hanged from a tree. He cuts him down and finds out he was the brother of the woman killed. The hooded men were followers of Dratha and were going to sacrifice the baby to her. He tells Conan that the father lives in the loch at the end of the river. He tells that there is a great reward for bringing the child to his father and they have a raft.

Conan agrees to help and the two with the baby continue down the river on the raft. They have to deal with vines that come alive, a tidal wave, a whirlpool and horde of mosquitos. Finally as they approach the loch they have to fight Dratha who is a huge tentacled old hag. Conan manages to kill her and they give the baby to his father. The father is revealed to be a huge tentacled male and the baby also revealed to be tentacled. For the reward Conan gets to take all the gold ore lying around.

This was a good story. One where the main antagonist is nature and not some bug-eyed monster or men. Although the ending has the big monster. A surprise reveal at the end that the baby is also a monster baby. (Never bothered to look under the blanket the baby was wrapped in.) Plus Buscema returns as artist. After the next three issues he was to take up the regular artist position which I have to admit I missed these past issues.


“NYC 1920”

Writer: Jordie Bellaire

Artist: Drew Moss

Red Sonja is looking for the missing Vampirella. She continues to work with the corrupt cops and has the talking rat as a guide. One night they go to a club and the main act is Vampirella. She is under the mind control of Blue Baby. The entertainment is interrupted by gangsters busting in with guns blazing. Blue Baby has these strange mulit-eyed creatures attack everyone. Sonja tries to get him and ends up pulling down the balcony he is on. Blue Baby goes to finish Sonja off but something happens. There is an explosion and Vampirella and Sonja are unconscious grasping hands. It switches to Sonja waking up in bed and Vampirella telling her she is on Drakulon.

OK so I guess the writer must think the plot isn’t any of the readers business. What the hell is going on? This series is really becoming a mess. Not a fun mess either just a mess. I dare someone to find some type of coherence in this story. Well we are now on Drakulon somehow and I guess stuff will continue to happen. Lets see next week if something starts to make sense.


“Angry Red Planet Conclusion”

Writer: John Layman

Artist: Fran Stukan

Red Sonja has been defeated and now her head is in a jar. Xi’Zeer the Martian scientist who now rules the kingdom of Bryssendyn plans to use Red Sonja in endless gladiatorial combat. Her head will be mounted on some obscene monstrosity. His bride to be Green Sonja thinks this is wrong and she should be given a warriors death. Xi’Zeer doesn’t care and plans his wedding and continual conquest of Earth. So in the throne room he is about to execute the Princess when he is attacked. Both Red Sonja and Green Sonja now confront him. Green Sonja managed to put Red back together and because she has Red Sonja’s DNA she rebels against the cruelty of Xi’Zeer. Xi’Zeer pulls a huge ray gun and shots at Red but Green Sonja sacrifices herself to save her. The princess uses this time to stick a sword through Xi’Zeer. The rebel Martian convinces the other Martians to leave Earth and return home. The Earth is saved and Red Sonja continues her adventuring. It would be much later when Mars once again will attack Earth.

The final issue came to a satisfactory conclusion. It was Red Sonja’s essence in Green Sonja that was the evil Xi’Zeer’s downfall. I actually enjoyed this series more than I thought I would. It had a strong cast of characters. It had a great villain. A good happy ending and a fun story.


“Riders on the Sky!”

Writer: Bill Mantlo

Artists: Sal Buscema & Sonny Trinidad

Skull and his friends have survived the pits and are now worshipped as gods by the Incans. They find out that Captain Cochran was a topographer for the Navy in 1945. He went out on a plane looking for the TBY Avenger squadron that disappeared and was sucked through the time warp to the past. He was considered a god because he came from the sky although half his face was scarred in the crash. While they are getting this story the high priest who tried to kill Cochran manages to break out of his cell with help from his followers. These followers mount an attack on the city mounted on pterodactyls. They wound Cochran and the priest using some magic of his own propels a vase into Skull’s head and knocks him unconscious. Ends with Skull knocked out and his friends being captured for future sacrifice.

So this is unfortunately the final issue of Skull. Poor sales gives us an abrupt end with a cliffhanger. Now two people have pointed out that Skull’s story gets some closure in Marvel Two-In-One. I have ordered them so next week we will get to see how Skull and company get out of their situation. I think this was a really cool and unique idea for a comic. Every issue so far was excellent and this series had some real potential. It had time travel in the Bermuda Triangle, dinosaurs, aliens, robots, lost Incans and a likable cast. Who knows why some good things never catch on.


“When a God Lives!”

Writers: John Buscema and Michael Fleisher

Artists: John Buscema and Ernie Chan

Conan is a thief in Arenjun and goes to his fence to sell a stolen golden statue. Only the fence betrays him to the guard. Conan manages to fight his way free and steal a horse with the guard in hot pursuit. He makes it to this isolated valley that has a race of Kushite dwarves living in the ruins of a city. Conan is captured and taken to their golden haired goddess and the shaman. The shaman finds that Conan has the golden statue which is of their god. He sentences him to be sacrificed along with the Zamoran guards who were also captured. Fortunately the young blonde woman falls in love with Conan and slips him a knife so he can free himself. As he fights the dwarves the statue of their god comes to live. The god starts to kill everyone including the young woman who help him. A giant stone eventually crushed the statue and this destroys the god.

“The Gift”

Writer: Larry Yakata

Artists: June Brigman and Armando Gil

Conan is riding to meet an old friend and saves an old man from brigands. The man in his gratitude gives Conan a gift and advice on going the long way. Conan ignores this and finds himself captive of a beautiful witch. She keeps Conan as her lover until one day his old friend comes in. He was also a captive and is now one of her demons. So Conan gets her drunk and slips out. He finds himself back where he started and the witch passes him without seeing him. Apparently the give from the old man was him starting over and not getting captured.

The big 100. This was a monumental event in this is the only black and white magazine series that ever made it to such a number. None of the others made it past twenty so this attests to the quality and popularity of the series. So was there anything special done? Not really. This was a good solid issue with Buscema getting another change to plot the story. It was a good story but not great although it had the excellent Buscema/Chan artwork. The backup story was also good but not great. It was a bit confusing as to the gift.

I will say that they did give us one of the best covers to this entire run. It is my personal favorite and very welcome after the shall we say substandard run of covers this series had. The series would continue on to another 100 plus before being cancelled in the nineties.


“The Forest of the Night”

Writer: Steven Grant

Artists: Mark Silvestri, Joe Rubinstein and Danny Bulanadi

Conan is in the Border Kingdom working as a scout. While out he is ambushed by Picts and loses his horse. So in a strange forest he kills a stag and while eating a beautiful woman appears. She immediately seduces Conan who has a good tumble for the night. When he wakes the forest is gone. He goes to the fort and finds out there is a witch that seduces men and makes them her pets. Later at night Conan has a dream of an owl breaking into his room. It turns into a stag and he wakes with everyone around him. His shrieking woke up everyone and they find the head of the stag he killed last night at the foot of his bed. So now everyone in the fort thinks he is doomed and shuns him.

Conan decides to go to the forest and confront the witch. He finds her and she is an Argossean who was shipwrecked in Pictland. While escaping the Picts she jumped off a cliff into the sea. She called on the gods to help and Arawan rescued her. Only Arawan was to make her his bride. The woman Merya resisted and was sentenced for seven years to this magical forest. She wants Conan to rescue her since the seven years are up. She gets him to help by claiming she is pregnant with his child.

Conan fights Arawan and has to kill a stag and snake. He manages to set fire to Arawan’s gateway and he surrenders. Arawan promises his revenge. Merya is free but she is returned to her state before Arawan rescued her. She was dying and dies but free of the dark god.

A new guest writer and artists for this issue. Nice to get a change of pace and this was a fascinating issue. A very surreal one with beasts and a dark god. Conan gets involved in this battle and it ends tragically. Conan loses the girl and his unborn child. An interesting story with some strong artwork.


“Blue Baby”

Writer: Jordie Bellaire

Artist: Drew Moss

Sonja and Vampirella are confronted by gangsters in 1920’s New York. They easily manage to overpower them and take their clothes. Vampirella finds a note in the jacket with a time and place so they go to check it out. Along the way Sonja gets hungry and finds a rat to eat. Only this rat can talk. It is the old witch that originally had the Generation Stone. The two find out the gangsters were meeting some corrupt police. They are working with someone called Blue Baby that uses kids to brew illegal alcohol. Blue Baby is actually some kind of demon that is mind controlling the kids. He sends the kids to get the Generation Stone. When Vampirella chases after them, she is knocked out by the mind power of Blue Baby and taken prisoner. Sonja finds the stone abandoned and no Vampirella.

Well the story has moved into 1920’s New York. Once again it is really weird. I mean why in Hell is Sonja going to eat a rat raw. She can’t be that hungry. Luckily the rat can talk so it doesn’t get eaten. So for no apparent reason they are in New York. Beat up some gangsters and go to meet some corrupt cops. They work with a demon who controls kids and makes moonshine. Yeah this makes perfect sense. Well there are some more issues so it might start making sense.


“Angry Red Planet Part 4”

Writer: John Layman

Artist: Fran Strukan

The story opens with a narrator telling the story of the epic battle between Red Sonja and Green Sonja. The two battle and Green Sonja is victorious. She chops off Red Sonja’s head and takes it back to Xi’Zeer. The rebels surrender after this and are also taken back as prisoners. We then jump back to before the battle. Red Sonja is teaching the young princess how to fight. Jerak comes to put a stop to it. So the next day they find a patrol and ambush it. They have success against the reinforcements but a giant walking golem and flying saucer turn the tide. Red Sonja finds herself confronted by Green Sonja and loses her head. Only she wakes up alive and very surprised. For Xi’Zeer had put Red Sonja’s head in a jar for some nefarious future use.

This had a nonlinear type of story which I though was a unique idea. We get the big fight that sees Red Sonja lose to Green Sonja. It skips back to the day before and some time with Red Sonja and the princess. Then the origin of the big battle. It ends with the surprise that Red Sonja is still alive if not without a body. The ending really sets up a cliffhanger that the reader wants to find out how Red Sonja gets out of this.

Interesting not is this I got a message from WordPress that this is my 7 year anniversary. I can’t believe I have been doing this for seven years now. Hope to see for another 7.


“Bury My Heart in the City of Gold”

Writer: Bill Mantlo

Artists: Sal Buscema & Sonny Trinidad

Skull, Ann, Corey and Jeff are taken by the Incans to a city of gold. There they find out the king and high priest both speak English. They also are tossed into these pits. Ann, Jeff and Corey into a pit with pteranodons. Skull has to face a stegosaurus. Skull manages to get his alien belt working as the high priest turns on the king and pushes him into the pit with Skull. Skull drives the stegosaurus through the wall into the other pit where his friends are. Ann manages to find a grenade belt lying around and uses a grenade to destroy the pteranodons. It is revealed that the king is a U.S. Navy captain. While this is going on we find out Senator Turner has hired Lancer to mount an expedition to get his son. He has hired mercenaries and a group of fighter jets to accomplish this. His motives are he betrayed Skull while he was a P.O.W. and fears that if he doesn’t get Skull then Skull will get him.

Well another fun and exciting issue. Skull and the gang have an adventure in this Incan city and fight off dinosaurs as a test. They also run into someone from their own world. This Navy captain is an intriguing fellow. He has half his face all blue which sounds like an interesting story. We get some backstory for Lancer and why he is out to get Skull. This subplot has great potential to turn into a wild meeting. I am glad Mantlo brought back Skull’s companions. They add to the story and don’t make Skull this loner which has been done before. It gives him some more depth to his character.


“The Informer”

Writers: John Buscema and Michael Fleisher

Artists: John Buscema and Ernie Chan

Conan is with the survivors of his crew after being attacked by Zingarians. The group is in a small skiff and in the middle of a hurricane. The ship breaks up and only Conan and one member make it to shore alive. They find three guys buried up to their neck in the beach so the surf will drown them. While freeing them soldiers that put them there come and take everyone prisoner. Conan now finds himself the prisoner of Queen Arakthalia of an unnamed Shemite city-state. Conan leads a breakout and eventually ends up leading the rebels.

Conan is very successful but one of his men the young Maynar finds his girlfriend prostituting herself. She wants money and a depressed Maynar is captured by the city guard. They torture him and he figures to get a reward so he can get his girlfriend. Only they kick him out after his betrayal. Conan finds himself the queen’s prisoner and turned over to her giant companion to be executed. The rebels have attacked the palace and Maynar gets Conan a sword to free himself. Maynar is then killed by the queen who reveals herself to be a monster. Conan kills her and they burn down the palace where she was creating a zombie army to conquer the world.

“One Night at the Maul”

Writer: Jim Owsley

Artists: Stan Woch and Ned Sonntag

A noblewoman comes to Conan in the Maul in Arenjun. She wants Conan so he takes her to his room. Then he goes downstairs and gets a drunk guy to go up to her. Just then the woman’s husband comes in and Conan directs him to his room. The woman was trying to get her husband killed but is foiled in her scheme by Conan.

Buscema plots out another story and it is enjoyable. He has some solid ideas and by now must have the clout to get them published. Fleisher does a good job of filling in the story and dialogue. Of course the artwork is excellent and this is another enjoyable adventure of Conan’s.

The backup story was also a fun one with plenty of humor. Owsley is a talented writer and these unknown artists do a good job. This was a good issue as we approach the big 100.