“The Mercenary”

Writers: Gary Kwapisz & Larry Yakata

Artist: Gary Kwapisz

In a small Brythunian village a group of pissed off slavers are after Conan. He cleaned them out at gambling and they want their money back. They ambush him with a trap of poisoned stakes that kill his horse. They also stab him and he passes out from the poison. Luckily a peasant named Petrus saves him. With his mother and sister they nurse Conan back to health. Petrus is fascinated at the idea of traveling the world and agrees to have Conan teach him to sword fight. After this Petrus goes to a nearby village and is recruited into a rebel peasant army. They have captured the local castle and the king wants it back. Yet the fop of a prince is too dumb and cowardly to succeed. In desperation he hires Conan to sneak into the castle and open the gates. Conan does this and the prince is successful at taking the castle back. Conan is disgusted at the torture of the prisoners. He comes on Petrus who was hanging on a stake by the road. He gives money to some traveling mercenaries to give to Petrus’s family and rides off to enlist in the army that is opposing the prince.

“The King’s Dream”

Writer: Charles Dixon

Artists: Val Semeiks & Fraja Bator

Kull is on a field lying around half dead after a major battle. He is visited by the spirit of King Borna who he slew to gain the crown. After defeating him he has to battle other foes he has defeated. The final one turns out to be a woman he loved named Laria. He then gets up and finds his crown to go back to his army.

Looks like Kwapisz like his predecessor Buscema gets to plot out stories. He also has a knack for good story ideas. This one with a young peasant caught up in an idealistic war for freedom. Conan is the cynical mercenary who just fights for money and picks the side that wins. A sad ending that I remember well from when I was young. A good solid story without any supernatural element but just real people. Plus the beautiful artwork of Kwapisz who has to draw the most beautiful women.

The Kull story was a good backup filler for this issue. We see Kull wounded and having to fight off the ghosts of his past. A good enjoyable issue.


“Cauldron of the Doomed!”

Writers: John Buscema & Michael Fleisher

Artist: John Buscema

Conan has entered a pit fight for some money in a small Border Kingdom city. He beats up the local champion and then meets a beautiful woman. Marielle is a local noblewoman and invites Conan to dinner. There she gives him a drugged wine that turns Conan into a mindless slave. For a week he becomes this fop who goes around shopping with Marielle. After a week she gets tired of him and is going to turn him into a stone statue. Only a servant girl manages to stab Conan with a knife and bring him out of his mind control. With his mind clear it is a simple task for Conan to take care of Marielle’s men. Conan then finds a horse and with the servant girl rides out for further adventures.

By now it looks like Buscema is responsible for plotting the stories and Fleisher just fills in the dialogue. This seems to be working for we are getting some interesting stories. This one has Conan becomes this effeminate fop who follows Marielle around like a lap dog. This was kind of funny. Needless to say thankfully there was an oppressed servant girl who helps Conan break the spell. A good original story.



Writer: Dan Abnett

Artist: Jonathan Lau

Red Sonja cuts Captain Future in two with her sword. This shocks the other members of the superpower squad. Only Captain Future can’t be killed and uses his power to put himself together. He grabs Sonja and has Vana imprison her in a force field. The group then goes on to find the metahuman that they detected. Sonja stuck in the force field is surrounded by wolves. Just in time for the field to dissipate. She has to grab her sword and kill the wolf pack. Angry she heads off to finish her mission of killing Skarab Nor. When she gets to his castle she finds that the superpowers are Skarab Nor’s prisoner. He plans to sacrifice them to his dark gods so he can transcend to an all powerful being.

This issue was a fun one. Sonja proves even without any superpowers to be almost a match for these visiting superbeings. I love how she just swears up a storm while being held prisoner. How she gets real angry fighting the wolves. The sorcerer is obviously a powerful being to be reckoned with. Sonja will have an interesting time defeating him.


“End of the Golden Age”

Writer: Ray Fawkes

Artist: Johnny Desjardins

2525 and Samson arrives at the ruins of San Francisco. The Earth has been destroyed and he comes to fight this large black blob. Then we jump to 2020 in the Lost Land. King Turok is celebrating his rule. He has brought peace and prosperity to the valley. Yet a storm comes and he knows it brings evil. So he mounts a raptor and with some of his followers rides out to confront this new evil. It is the same black blob that Samson is confronting in the future.


Writer: Kyle Higgins

Artist: Jorge Fornes

It is 2020 and a blue figure runs through a city filled with other aliens and old ancient buildings. This figure named Cliff is chased by a woman. The woman captures him and forces him back to some place. We switch to an office and find out she has captured an AI program for a young girls toy dog.


Writer: Chuck Wendig

Artist: Alvaro Sarraseca

2017 in the Lost Valley. Two dinosaur men are dragging another behind them as they ride raptors. They talk about taking their prisoner to a tar pit because he dared love the daughter of Hysthrak. These dinosaur men are ambushed by Turok who wants to know the location of a young girl.

“Doc Spektor”

Writer: Aubrey Sitterson

Artist: Dylan Burnett

A young loser goes to the park in New York 2017 to bang on a drum for rent money. Some creature takes his money and this loser goes away to find some better way to make money.

“Discussing the Sovereigns with the Writers of Issue #0”

Byron Brewer interviews Ray Fawkes, Chuck Wendig, Aubrey Sitterson and Kyle Higgins about what they plan to do. It is mostly a fluff piece that goes on about the classic series and how they love what they are doing.

So this series is an introduction to the rebooting of classic Gold Key characters. I got it because of the Turok that was coming out. For the most part it is a mixed bag. I enjoyed the main story with Samson and Turok. Sets up this evil entity that was responsible for destroying the world. A very intriguing idea. I was especially interested in the future world of Samson.

We also get some glimpses of the upcoming characters in three short stories. Once again a mixed bag. The Magnus one was the most interesting with some woman recovering rogue AIs trying to escape in the cloud. The Turok one was somewhat interesting. The Spektor one was just dumb. The writer in the interview goes on about this millennial loser which is something I have absolutely no interest in. This guy was a dumb dipshit loser. Otherwise an issue with some promise.


“Tycoon for the Taking”

Writer: Joe Gill

Artist: Frank Bolle

Eric Redd was a treasury agent who got framed and sent to prison. When he got out six years later he had a hatred for crime. So he formed his own private security firm. His two partners are Candy Orr a former policewoman and Tulsa Coyle. Tulsa a former Vietnam vet loves Candy Orr but also loves violence most. Together they form the Vengeance Squad. We first meet them breaking up a jewelry store robbery. They have to toss a grenade into a safe that the criminals throw. Later they go home to their mansion. The new neighbors are Manfried Von Wolfheim a weapons dealer and his beautiful wife Michele. One night Rubio Rodriguez an international jewel thief and his thugs take the Von Wolfheim’s prisoner. He wants $70,000,000 for their safe release. The squad sees this and sends Candy in to pretend she is a friend. Only Rubio gets suspicious and locks her up. Now the two guys go in and kick butt. They free the Von Wolfheims and get a hefty reward of $100,000.

“A Little Homework”

Writer: Unknown.

A short story about rookie cop Bill Davis. Davis is disgusted by the local thugs that act with impunity. So with his policewoman girlfriend they disguise themselves as old people and draw the thugs out. When they try to mug them, they beat them up and arrest them.

“The Inheritance”

Writer: Nicola Cuti

Artist: Joe Staton

Mike Mauser is a private eye that carries a Mauser pistol. One day a guy claiming to be an attorney is looking for a Jenny Whitcomb. She has inherited $50,000. He offers $200 a day so Mauser accepts. Mauser first goes to a seedy bar and gets someone to beat the information out of the bartender. This leads Mauser to find Whitcomb as a singer in a dive club. Mauser soon finds out that the guy who hired him was a bank robber. Whitcomb is the only witness and he wants to kill her. The guy was following Mauser and traps them in an alley with a submachinegun. Only Mauser gets on a fire escape and ambushes him.

This was a short lived series back in the seventies. Another fun Joe Gill story of this group of former agents now in business for themselves. This was a fun time when men were men and women were women. Candy Orr is just as capable as the men and they have these over the top adventures. Didn’t see much vengeance going on unless I guess you consider that Redd is getting vengeance against crime for ruining his life.

The backup story is a typical noir crime story. Complete with a trench coat and fedora wearing private eye. Carries a Mauser which is just a cool name and pistol. I am not a big fan of the genre but love these stories. In some ways it outshines the main one. Rounds out with a one page prose story. I love these old Charlton comics. Just good clean fun.


“At the Altar of the Goat God”

Writers: Gary Kwapisz & Jim Owsley

Artist: Gary Kwapisz

Conan has been hired my a wealthy merchant in the Zamorian city of Zemizar as a bodyguard. He foils an attack by ninjas from the local cult. Seems that the merchant Slogg has been using goat meat in his slaughterhouses. Goats are sacred to this cult. The merchant and the cult had come to a truce but with tough times Slogg decided to go back to slaughtering goats. His wife is the daughter of the cult priest which was part of the original truce. Conan soon figures out that someone is out to kill him so he quits and goes to an old witch. This witch tells him about the cult’s upcoming sacrifice of 1000 babies and that they fear Conan will interfere with it. He decides to go back and be the guard of Slogg. This is a good thing for his wife has been conspiring to take their infant son to be sacrificed. Conan and Slogg go after them and fight zombies. They come on the ceremony but the wife summons the goat god. He comes as a giant goat-man. Only he decides to eat the wife and Slogg. Conan rescues the infant and finds a good family to raise him.

“Trail of Blades”

Writer: Charles Dixon

Artist: Geof Isherwood

King Kull is with his men hunting for bandits that prey on caravans entering Valusia. He sets up an ambush at a likely spot. Sure enough the bandits attack and Kull’s men destroy them. Kull fights the bandit leader who he knew in the old days when Kull was a bandit. He plans to crucify him until the bandit points out what the caravan was transporting. It had weapons to arm rebels. So the bandit leader is freed while the caravan leader is taken prisoner.

Kwapisz like Buscema before him gets his chance to plot out a story. I found it a very interesting and unique story. Conan is involved with a fight between two factions. The idea of a merchant using goats for his slaughterhouses that are sacred is a unique twist to the idea. Naturally Conan is much more smart then everyone gives him credit for. The disgust he has with the whole crazy civilized people is dead on what Howard would have written. A fun story with many twists, beautiful artwork and plenty of action.

The backup Kull story by Dixon was of course up to the expected standards. A story that starts out as expected but has a twist at the end I didn’t see coming. Dixon was a good choice to write these Kull backups. Also at the end are a series of portfolios by Ernie Chan that are beautiful to look at. A good solid issue.


“Night of the Wolf”

Writer: John Buscema & Michael Fleisher

Artists: John Buscema & Rudy Nebres

Conan is riding in the desert when he comes on two men dragging a women in a box. Conan decides to free her and so kills the two horsemen. Soon after the girl’s father comes looking for her. He is grateful and invites Conan back to his camp. During the night a werewolf attacks Conan but the sheik’s men manage to pull it off Conan and drive it into the desert. The next morning the daughter has once again been kidnapped by a rival sheik. So Conan joins the chase and they come on the daughter tied to a rock. The other sheik threatens to kill her. A big fight ensues between the two groups when the full moon comes out. The daughter turns into a werewolf and starts to kill people. The father is the one that ends her life. We find out that her mother was a demon and her father was keeping the secret. Unfortunately he had to end her. Conan goes riding off for other adventures.

Another Buscema plotted story. This one was a fairly simple one. A girl turns into a werewolf and gets killed by her father. We are at first led to believe the other sheik was kidnapping her to be his wife. We find out that it was for revenge in that she killed his son. Conan in this one was more of a spectator then the main character. For most of the story he just goes along for the ride. As I said a fairly simple story. Nothing special but still mildly entertaining.



Writer: Dan Abnett

Artist: Jonathan Lau

Red Sonja is in the wilds of Corinthia when she is ambushed by a group of very dumb thugs. They have been sent by the sorcerer Skarab Nor. Sonja easily handles these morons and we get a flashback to how Sonja started on this mission. The queen of Corinthia hired her to kill this evil sorcerer that was threatening the world. Sonja is a bit nonchalant about it but is convinced to take the job. She has to go through a ceremony and get a witch mark drawn on her forehead. So back to the present and Sonja yells her defiance at Skarab Nor during a thunderstorm. The next morning she comes on a strange group of people. Four members of the superpowers have come to explore this Earth. There is this organization of superheroes from many different dimensions that keep the peace in the multi-verse. Seems that they detected a metahuman on this world. They do find Sonja and a fight ensues as Sonja thinks the superheroes are demons. She surprises them by holding her own and actually cutting them with her sword.

So another Red Sonja crossover. This time with a superhero organization that is multi-dimensional. This series is supposed to have Sonja recruited in the organization and become a superhero. So far the story has got my interest. It does a good job of introducing the superheroes and Sonja. We get the idea that her sorcerer foe may be a metahuman. Sonja is a total badass who exudes confidence and power. Not really familiar with the Project Superpowers but looking forward to where the story is going.


“The Three Keys”

Writer: Mike Wolfer

Artist: Mirana Puglia

Loh-ee-nah manages to convince the Va-gas to stay and defend the city of Groethe from the Kalkars. They man cannons that fire poison darts but the Kalkars use gourds filled with explosives and poison gas. The male Va-gas die fighting and it looks like the two girls don’t have long. So Loh-ee-nah goes to a vault and opens it with three keys. This is where she hid when the Kalkars came and killed her family. This vault protects them from the weapon that is activated. As the sunlight comes through the crater it unleashes lighting that destroys the Kalkars. We find out at the end that Loh-ee-nah was preserving a library that had the last books on Va-nah. Now she and her companion are all that is left to preserve the knowledge for future generations.

So ends this series of The Moon Maid with a new character. A fun and enjoyable story with a likable character fighting against the evil Communist Kalkars. I was a bit confused by the ending with the sunlight turned into deadly energy. It wasn’t really explained how that happened. Loh-ee-nah and Voh-nay are interesting and likable characters. I hope to see future stories with then. Also interested in how this is tied in to the Burrough’s books. We learn from the Kalkars that Or-tis is already in charge so this must take place in 2050. I would love to see how this is tied in to the canon universe that American Mythology is creating.


“The Imp!”

Writer: Robert Kanigher

Artist: Nestor Redondo

Rima and Abel are swimming in a lagoon when they hear the cries of help. They come on a bear attacking a young boy. Abel shoots it which upsets Rima. Rima knows the bear and it wouldn’t attack anything unless provoked. She doesn’t like this safari and leaves. The safari is for Ida Van Cleve and her son Cecil. Ida invites Abel to join them and he agrees. We find out after that Cecil killed the bear’s cub which is why it attacked. Anyway Ida flirts with Abel and Cecil feels ignored. So he finds some jaguar cubs and tosses them in the river. Naturally this upsets the mother but Rima arrives in time to save the brat. Cecil still in a mood then pours gas into a lake and sets it on fire. The fire spreads and forces the brat into the water where he is eaten by crocodiles. The mother seems mildly upset her son is dead and leaves for home. Rima and Abel get back together.

“Space Marshal”

Writer: Robert Kanigher

Artist: Noly Zamora

Lic Wade is prospecting on an asteroid when someone comes up behind him. He thinks the intruder is there to steal his claim and shoots him. Only the guy was unarmed and lost. He just wanted some water. Linc calls the marshals and is put on trial for the murder. Because he admits his guilt he is sentenced to be a space marshal. He goes through the training and for his last test he is given a pistol. Then the guy who gives it to him starts to beat him up. Because he didn’t shoot the guy he passed the final test. He gets a deputy and they go off to preserve peace in the galaxy.

“Jungle White Men: Fact or Fiction?”

By Allan Asherman

Tells about an article sent in by a reader of a white tribe with blonde hair and blue eyes discovered in the Amazon.

The final Rima story gives us this downbeat story. This kid was definitely a grade-A brat. It was a good thing he got it because you just know he would grow into a grade A-Asshole. The mother was also incredibly unlikeable. She didn’t ever really seem to care if her bratty son bought the farm. Sadly this was a very believable story because their are people like this in the world. Also the main character didn’t do much in this issue just like the last one. Maybe that had something to do with it being cancelled.

The backup was also a strange story. So in the future you murder someone you get sentenced to be a marshal and enforce the law. Once again that is nut but this looked like it was being set up to be the new backup. The idea had some promise. Ends out with an interesting article on a white tribe in the Amazon.

So the series was an interesting attempt to introduce a female character. Rima proved to be more then just a female Tarzan. She had a mysterious background and a more spiritual bond with nature. The art of Redondo was beautiful and made her and the jungle a joy to look at. Rima did appear later of all places Saturday mornings. She was part of the affirmative action characters on the Superfriends. She made some guest appearances. They browned her up and made her talk like Charro.

There was also a movie in the fifties with Audrey Hepburn as Rima. Someday I will have to check that out.