John Wick confronts Calamity and the Bills in downtown El Paso. Wick manages to take one of the Bills hostage but Calamity takes three innocent civilians hostage. One of the Bills tells how crazy Calamity is and that she was found as a baby in a box. She kills for the fun of it. Wick tries to convince her it would be fun to kill the Bills but she decides not to. So Wick to get out of this standoff calls Maria on the phone and agrees to work for her. Immediately the police come and take away the hostages. This leaves Wick alone with the Bills and Calamity. Needless to say he comes out on top. Now he works for Maria.
The conclusion to how John Wick became an assassin. It had a conclusion that just felt like what you would see in a John Wick movie. The corrupt police and Machiavellian dealings that go on with the criminal underworld. Not to mention the wall to wall over the top action. This was a fun series and I recommend it to anyone who is a fan of the movie franchise.
Jack Burton is an old man now living in a small Florida town. He is the only one there and it is surrounded by fire. He spends his days eating, drinking and looking at porn. We find out from a flashback that Jack accidentally released Ching Dai the Demon God of the East. For a reward he is placed in a save area that magically generates stuff as the rest of the world goes to Hell. This existence gets a bit boring and one day he picks up a voice on the CB. A young attractive woman needs help. So Jack gets in the Pork Chop Express and drives through the flame wall. He finds himself in a hellish landscape. The woman on the CB tells him that Ching Dai united the world of the living with the underworld of the dead.
The voice leads him to a hole that enters the Hell of Minor Discomforts. A little green creature runs this. It has someone getting static shock from a door handle. A guy getting a text message from a girl saying “Okay” which he doesn’t know what it means and a guy at a restaurant who after getting his meal says “you too” when told to enjoy it. Naturally Jack is not impressed with this namby-pamby Hell. He tells the text guy that the girl isn’t into him. The restaurant guy to man up and kicks open the static shock door. The creature is horrified that someone has absolutely no shame so this hell has no effect on Jack.
He continues on to the next level which is the Hell for Dudes who Creep on Women. A horseman is about to creep on a woman when he was interrupted. Jack tosses his knife at the creature but misses and it imbeds itself hilt first in the wall. Then Jack trips and knocks the horseman into the knife blade head first. He finds that the woman he came to rescue isn’t a buxom Chinese blonde woman between 18-25 but Lo Pan.
Big Trouble in Little China is probably my second favorite Carpenter movie. Finally got around to reading this. I feel I may have missed a series before it that shows why Jack released Ching Dai. Yet the exposition at the beginning tells everything the reader needs to know. This is a Jack who is in his sixties but still the same lovable screwup who comes out on top. It helps that Carpenter is writing this and it has started out strong.
Terrorists have seized the Concorde at DeGaulle airport that has the American delegation to NATO. There are three superpowered terrorists that keep back the army. Peacemaker comes in and takes them out with his advanced weapons and electronic devices. He saves the hostages but there are many other terrorist attacks occurring that succeed, including one that kills nine members of the Soviet Politburo. Dr. Tzin-Tzin feels that Peacemaker is a threat to his plans and assigns his top man to eliminate him.
Christopher Smith the Peacemaker is mentally losing it. He goes and tortures a terrorist in Ireland to find out who is behind the attacks. He gets a contact who runs a cathouse in Budapest. So he goes there and finds out it is a trap. The guy Tzin-Tzin assigned is there with twenty men and electronic devices that jam Peacemakers tech.
This is a really interesting character. Unlike the Charlton stories this guy is really borderline insane. He talks to the image of his Nazi father who is always criticizing him for being too weak. He has no qualms about torturing people and threatens to make the terrorists deaths slow if they harm anyone. A fictional report at the end tells that the government wanted someone mentally unstable so they could disavow him if he ever got caught. A really dark antihero. I definitely love this reimaged character.
The demon cult is performing the ceremony to resurrect Wraal. They are too greedy and spill the blood of the harlot in their fight to be the first to drink it. So they must get more blood and delay the ceremony. Nicos Irestides is a young apprentice scholar at the Nemedian academy. His job is to chronicle the adventures of Conan. Being an apprentice he gets the grunt jobs of getting supplies. While doing this he comes on the demons taking the blood from a prostitute. He overhears they are trying to revive Wraal. Unfortunately his superiors don’t believe him. Neither do the city guard. So he goes off to find Conan. One of the guard is sent along to see if he can find Conan. Along the way he comes on mercenaries chopped up by him. A tavern wrecked. Some prostitutes who have been very satisfied with his visit. He finally tracks Conan who has just rescued a bride from a marriage to a noble to return to her true love. Of course the young girl has to be sexually satisfied by Conan.
It is here that young Nicos finds Conan and tells him of the cults plans. Conan takes him as serious as everyone else. Only the cult also needs a bride who has not consummated her marriage and go to kidnap her. They manage to grab her and young Nicos. Conan gets captured by the Nemedian guard but the young man that hired Conan also arrives to get his revenge on him. He escapes in the fight and comes to the temple where the cult is reviving Whaarl. Conan throws his knife killing the demon about to sacrifice the young girl. Only the knife falls and manages to prick her throat and release some drops of blood. This is enough to bring back Whaarl. The ceremony has revived a Shatterer of Worlds. This being will destroy both Earth and Wraal’s world. So Wraal sacrifices himself to stop the creature and save both worlds.
Artist: Tony Salmons
Two full page drawing of Conan. Not really a good artist.
“The Vezek Inn”
Writer: Jim Owsley
Artist: Mike Docherty
Conan has just successfully destroyed a Zamoran regiment leading Turanian mercenaries. Now he stops at an inn for a good nights sleep. Only the defeated Zamorans stop by to lick their wounds. The two commanders get in an argument about whose fault it was for the defeat. Soon the Zamorans are fighting amount themselves. Conan wakes to find them all knocked out and rides off.
Now this was a really fun issue. I liked the idea of telling the story through the eyes of this young scholar. We get to see the aftermath of Conan being someplace. He naturally leaves a trail of death, destruction and satisfied women. There are several factions out to get him and they fight among themselves. I was surprised that it ended with Wraal sacrificing himself to save the world. He regards humans as worms but truly cares about his world and people. He showed real courage and bravery in his self sacrifice. This with the beautiful Kwapisz/Chan artwork made this an enjoyable read.
As for the backup story it was good. A solid little one that has Conan be Conan. Yet it had the irony of his enemies fighting among themselves instead of getting their revenge. All around this was a very enjoyable issue.
Valen is a sculptor in the village of Solvanthia . One day an earthquake occurs which puts the whole village in a panic. The villagers rush to a statue up the mountain. They find the sword gone and the guard drunk. A roar comes from the cave and the village is doomed unless they get back the sword. Later Conan is with Theta and are waiting to ambush a brigand. This brigand is attacked by Valen and Conan comes to break up the fight. He easily puts the brigand in his place and the guy runs away. Conan finds a jeweled sword that Valen wants. Conan decides to keep it and gives Theta the horse to go on her way.
Valen manages to convince Conan to take him as an apprentice to being a thief and offers to lead him to a rich village. Later after a rabbit meal, Valen goes to scout out the village. He comes back with the guard chasing him. Conan pulls the sword to fight and finds that the bodies fall without him hardly touching them. He passes out and wakes to find he killed all the guard. Conan and Valen go to the village and everyone thinks that Conan is Captain Johell and he is a hero for defeating the bandits. He even has a beautiful fiancee. Later at night he takes Valen to examine the bodies. He finds that they are him and Valen. Valen suggests a necromancer that could help.
They go there and he says that their bodies were transferred in the men that they killed. Only by taking the sword back to the statue at dawn will they return to their bodies. So they take the dead men and put the sword in. Only the dead men come alive and push Conan down a cliff in the cave. We find out this was all a ruse to get Conan to bring back the sword. The dead men had clay masks that Valen made to make them look like Conan and Valen. Apparently they have to sacrifice the stealer of the sword to satisfy the dragon in the cave. Valen decides to save Conan and jumps in with the sword. He gives Conan the sword just as the dragon appears.
This was a wild adventure. I really found it interesting to see what the hell was going on. I mean why was Conan mistaken for the captain and what was the secret of the sword. We do get the answers and ends in a cool cliffhanger. Now the story did have some stuff a bit hard to swallow. I mean realistic clay masks in the Hyborian age. Or you could ask how Conan didn’t notice the dead bodies were alive. Or the convoluted plot that was a bit silly. Yet the story moved along at a good pace and kept me interested. I am looking forward to see how this ends.
The two Bills have managed to check out Calamity from the secret underground mental facility. Only her time there was a complete waste for the first thing she does is kill her doctor and the orderlies. She then finds out that she was released to kill John Wick. John meanwhile is in his room digging bullets out of himself. Charon arrives with a doctor and news that Calamity is out the get him. She has put out the word that she is hiring. Charon offers to get Wick out or get him more weapons. John looks out and sees that there are several assassins already waiting outside. He then goes and kills them and takes their guns and ammo. He sends a message for Calamity to meet him outside of the city at a quarry. Calamity notices that it is far away from where innocent civilians could get hurt. So she takes a rocket launcher and puts one into an office building downtown.
So this issue does a very good job of establishing Calamity as a very psychotic woman but also very dangerous. She has problems at first understanding that someone would care about all the people that she killed for fun. This was just pure Wick that he casually takes what he needs from the assassins. This establishes the world we know from the movies. That assassins lurk everywhere dressed as normal people. We also see the beginnings of the friendship between Charon and himself. A great series that builds up to a big final.
Spencer takes his dog and the captive Martian through the city. In the background the military is attacking a huge bug. They camp for the night and the Martian wants to eat the dog. Spencer says he is lucky that he doesn’t let the dog eat him. They arrive at Fort Woods and find it completely leveled. Just then the Martian jumps Spencer and tries to take his laser pistol. Only Spencer recovers and is about to shoot the Martian when these cylinders rise from the ground. Inside are the President and some soldiers. Spencer finds out his capture of the laser box and the Martian has helped the military plan for their attack on Mars. The President asks if Spencer would like to sign up and join the attack. He agrees and gives his dog to the President’s daughter to take care of. Later he is a soldier blasting off to Mars. Before an attack on a city he leaves the Alamo salt and pepper shakers on the ground in tribute to his father.
I liked the ending to this series. We get to see Spencer finally become a man that his father would be proud of. It had some nice artwork with large epic pages. The beginning has them casually walking through the ruined city as a battle is taking place in the background. There was some humor. At the end we see Earth fighting back. Don’t really know how they accomplished this but really don’t care. It was a good ending with a touching tribute to Spencer’s father the Major. This series is not as good as the Topps or IDW runs but it was a decent effort. I liked the characters and the story for the most part flowed smoothly.
A group of Soviet and American diplomats are meeting at the French Riviera to discuss an upcoming peace conference in Berlin. Terrorists on boats land and start shooting everyone. Their target are the delegates and they succeed in killing them. As they leave they are attacked by an advanced helicopter flown by Peacemaker. He is too late to save the delegates but manages to kill all the terrorists. All the while having a conversation with his helicopter. The conversation is a delusion in Christopher Smith’s mind. It is a projection of his father Wolfgang Schmidt who was a Nazi concentration camp commandant.
Back at his chateau in Switzerland Christopher greets his girlfriend and talks to his maid who is actually a psychiatrist hired by the agency that employs Christopher. We cut to his girlfriend having lunch with an American police detective. She tells him the story of Christopher. That he was born in Austria to an Austrian munition industrialist and American children’s book author. At five it was revealed that his father was a Nazi war criminal and his father committed suicide in front of him. His mother took him back to the states and changed the name to Smith. Christopher had behavior problems and eventually joined the army. In Vietnam he massacred some villagers and was sentenced to life in prison. Only the government recruited him for a squad that was to fight terrorists in the Middle East. After the Nixon administration went out of power the program was disbanded and Christopher found himself a free man. He decided to become Peacemaker and now the government is using him to fight terrorism.
On a small island in the Aegean Sea Dr. Tzin-Tzin is training his army of terrorists. He plans to collapse the Soviet government and take over his own country from the chaos. Then build an empire selling arms and services to terrorists worldwide. An agent is found and Tzin-Tzin uses his hypnotic power to get his confession. The agent is sentenced to death but never reveals the presence of another agent.
Christopher gets word that terrorists are holding a NATO delegation hostage at Charles De Gaul airport. They have flying men supporting them so he takes off in his jet.
DC acquired the character from the defunct Charlton Comics and decided to give him a reboot. First off there version is much better in every way. Better written. Better art and quality of paper. This character has much more depth and also has a boatload of mental problems. He apparently had a problem of believing that the souls of terrorist victims and terrorists he killed were trapped in his helmet. The psychiatrist monitoring him as his maid recommends he get treatment. So far I love this comic. Plus we get this Fu Manchu type villain who has hypnotic powers and dedicated to chaos. A very well done reboot.
Conan has hired on to a city-state in Corinthia being attacked by Baron Gorbek. They are about to bring up the siege tower and Conan has a plan. He will throw grapping hooks on it and they are attached to a capstan which will pull them down. Only the attackers catapults manage to take out the capstan. Never fear for Conan is so strong he manages to pull over the tower all by himself. For now they have driven back the invader. Count Nerval has placed all his faith in a brilliant inventor named Pol Tiurno. Conan finds out the inventory is secretly working with the enemy. He comes to get him and Pol tries to fly away on a hang glider he as made. Only Conan manages to cut the strut and it flies into a tall peak.
Conan is then assigned to infiltrate Baron Gorbek’s city-state as a gladiator to find out his plans. He manages this while some mysterious creatures in hoods take the blood from a prostitute. At this time Pol has survived and wants revenge. During a storm a bolt of lightning strikes a huge osprey flying along. Pol takes the wings and talons and attached them to himself and flies off to find Conan. Conan finds out that Gorbek has an army of men with hang gliders and plans to attack. So he goes back to want Count Nerval. While they get ready Pol swoops in and grabs Conan. Only Conan managers to grab a torch and set the wings of Pol on fire. Then as the hang glider army attacks he has the catapults throw flaming ballast which sets the gliders on fire. At the end the mysterious creatures go to a cave an revive Wraal.
“The Fear of Crom!”
Writer: Don Kraar
Artist: Mike Docherty
Argos is attacking the Stygian city of Khemi. The army is demoralized for they think all their bad fortune is the work of dark sorcery. Conan comes to put the fear of Crom into the army. He has them haul up a catapult to breach the wall. Along the way they find a spy and use the catapult to toss him back to the Stygians.
This was a fun issue. The story had all sorts of crazy stuff going on. In fact it was a bit over the top. I mean Conan is strong put pulling down a siege tower all by himself? He also not once but twice survives a fall from great heights without a bone broken. Not to mention the goofy inventor and his taking osprey wings to fly. Yet the story moved right along and the artwork was just beautiful. The final few pages were just without any dialogue or exposition and they told the story brilliantly. At the end we find out that Wraal the Devourer of Worlds is coming back so Fleisher once again brings back a popular villain.
As for the backup story that was also amusing. Conan gets the Argossean army into shape and I love the ending. He tells he catapult crew to aim for the red smear on the wall. This was good if somewhat goofy issue. Also if you can’t get Buscema then I think Kwapisz is the next best thing.
The story opens with an escaped slave lost in a maze. He meets something sinister but unknown to the reader. We then go to Conan and Theta are they pull into the city of Belthem in their rowboat. Theta wants Conan to help her find her sisters that were sold into slavery. Conan naturally agrees and they find that a rich noble named Forbos the Bull always buys up the young pretty women. So Conan comes up with the plan to sell Theta to Forbos and infiltrate his castle. They run into a problem when some pirates decide to outbid Forbos for Theta but after Conan has a tussle with them he manages to sell Theta to Forbos.
Theta finds that Forbos has a huge harem and she finds one of her sisters. The girl is very plump because that is how Forbos likes them. She is about to be promoted to his special harem and she will join her other sisters. Only she finds out her destiny is to be feed to the minotaur like creature in the maze. Conan manages to infiltrate the castle but he and Theta are captured. They are staked out in the maze and find that Forbos was cursed by a jealous lover when she found him fooling around with a milk maid. So she joined him with a bull. Now this bull creature has to be satiated with sacrifices.
The minotaur creature comes and Conan manages to pull out the stake in the ground. He defeats the minotaur and this also kills Forbos. Forbos is revealed to have the legs of a bull and he was linked to the creature. Conan and Theta continue on.
Obviously Jones decided to rip off the minotaur legend and make it into a Conan story. He did a good job for we get a good solid story. It had action and mystery. Theta finds one of her sisters and she is actually happy with her lot in life and doesn’t want to be rescued. Yet she finds out the sinister truth. Jones does have some fun humor like Conan chastising the eunuchs about his name. It isn’t really in Conan’s nature to joke around but it was funny. He also sets it in Cimmeria which doesn’t make much sense either geographically or culturally from what Howard established in his stories. Still this can be overlooked for a strong story.