Conan has decided to leave Valeria and jumps ship at the Vanaheim port of Lireigh. Now he makes his way through the wilderness with thoughts of going back to Aquilonia. At his campfire he meets three shady guys looking to share his fire. They are brigands that just recently robbed a wealthy merchant. Unfortunately, this merchant hired men to hunt them down. They mistake Conan as with them and he gets an arrow in his back while escaping. He makes it to some ruins and binds his wound. Then he goes to sleep and has a dream of meeting a beautiful woman. She needs Conan’s help for she was raped, and the rapist must be brought to justice for her to move on.
Conan wakes after the dream ends with him battling demons from the darkness. He finds the corpse of the woman and sees how she died in his mind. He buries her and moves to a siege. Two barons are fighting, and Conan joins the besieging side. In a dream he sees a tunnel that leads to the fort. Conan shows the baron this and leads a force inside the fortress. There they successfully attack and the walls are breached. Conan finds the man who raped the woman and kills him. He takes the medallion from the baron and returns it to the grave of the woman and thus freeing her spirit to move on.
Writer: Charles Dixon
Artist: Vincent Waller
In the City of Wonders a young woman is killed by a group in hoods. Kull dreams that his court has been infiltrated by serpent men. He wakes and has the impression that the Cult of the Serpent is back and he will have to deal with them.
This was another excellent story. Dixon is giving us some continuity in his stories. Mentions the last story and how Conan came to his current state. I loved this story. It had some really great moments with Conan telling Crom that he’s coming for him if he is allowed to die. Only Conan would chew out his god. The final fight scene was a very savage one where Conan was mad and determined to kill the rapist baron. As always, some beautiful full-page artwork to go with this story.
The Kull story was another excellent one. We get a nightmare with Kull battling the evil serpent men. He wakes with the premonition this was a warning. A warning we see with the murder of the innocent girl. Dixon is setting up the plot and enemy for future Kull stories. An all-around excellent issue.
Zacharus a Brythunian nobleman is traveling through Pictland. He is looking for a man named Keiv who can lead him to a treasure. They are attacked by Picts and Zacharus is captured. Later around the wagon, some Picts are still looking through the dead bodies when Conan comes. He kills them and finds a young woman in the wagon. A seventeen-year-old named Tetra is the daughter of Zacharus. Conan agrees to rescue her father in exchange for half the treasure they were looking for. They track the Picts to their village where Zacharus is awaiting to be sacrificed for the annual harvest. Conan creates a distraction so Tetra can sneak in and free her father. Zacharus is angry with Tetra for allowing Conan to tear her dress off and slaps her and leaves her. Conan now has to go back to rescue her. He is about to be captured when Tetra stops the Picts. She has the witch doctor prisoner and threatens to slit his throat if they don’t let them go. Later at the wagon Zacharus is despondent because the map to the treasure was in Tetra’s dress. Luckily Tetra noticed and saved it. She makes herself a new sexy bikini from the remnants and negotiates with her father a cut of the treasure.
A new writer for this series and it is about time. Fleisher was good but he seemed to be in an aimless rut with just one stand-alone story after another. Owsley is setting up a story with continuing plot and character and it starts out very interesting. I love the new character of Tetra. She starts out as this naive mousey girl. At the end she is a total badass and sexy as hell. Zacharus also has potential as a character. A total asshat but one that has potential for comic relief. The quest for this treasure is starting out on a high note.
Writer: Buzz Dixon adapted from novel by M.S. Murdock
Artists: Chuck Wojtkiewicz and Ian Akin
Hauberk was a military satellite built by the Soviets in 1999. RAM bought it and turned it into a powerful military satellite that now holds the Earth in their iron grip. RAM decides to use it to attack the NEO HQ located under Chicagorg. They attack killing many innocents, but Buck Rogers and NEO manage to escape. They go to Salvation which is an orbiting junkyard but secretly a military base of NEO. Huer.doc while looking for information on Hauberk in the cybermatrix gets an offer from Ardala. She sells NEO information that can destroy it.
Now the NEO needs advanced krait fighters and enlists Black Barney. Barney instead of mounting a raid uses a clever ruse involving hacking into RAM accounts and ordering paint for the fighters. Through a bureaucratic snafu the fighters are dumped in space and Barney picks them up. With the krait fighters NEO attacks and it looks like they will win. Unfortunately, RAM kraits arrive led by Colonel Killer Kane and trap the NEO between them and Hauberk.
“New Gennies Part Two”
By Scott Haring
The second article about genetically created creatures from the computer game. This one is about Swamp Hornets on Venus and Hexadillos and Sand Squids found on Mars.
“Sins of Ardala Chapter One: Employment History”
A young girl is sold into slavery by her father and brothers. Ardala buys the girl, and she tells her about her past. Ardala Valmar is born on the colony Starsalem. It is inhabited by a cult of Normanites who reject modern technology. The colony needs conductors and decides to sell some of the excess young girls for the parts. Ardala is one of those girls. She gets sold and sent to a brothel in the asteroid belt.
By Paul Arden Lidberg
Artwork by Gloria Yuh
A two-player board game with NEO lead by Wilma Deering on one side and RAM on the other. The objective is to either hold or capture the Hauberk station. Sort of like a game of checkers.
Now we are getting into some exciting and interesting story. The last three issues were mainly more about Black Barney then Buck Rogers. While an interesting character I think the real focus should be on Buck. Now TSR decided to adapt one of their novelizations. I just recently bought this trilogy last year and hope to read it this year. It seems like an action-packed story with Buck and the NEO taking the fight to RAM. So far it has plenty of excitement. I loved the part where Barney cons RAM into giving him the krait fights through bureaucratic maneuvering. Poor guys who fell for it were executed for their incompetence. RAM can be a very harsh employer.
The backup story is giving us the origin of Ardala. So far, a very interesting story with lots of potential. It gives us a more sympathetic understanding of what has so far been a ruthless character. TSR does a great job of creating multidimensional characters for their world. Plus, we get another game to cut up your comics module for. Basically, a game of checkers only with spaceships. Also continues to give us creature stats and history of stuff from the fun computer game.
Turok is chased by bionic dinosaur men with laser guns. He comes to a cliff and is about to be killed when a blue portal opens up and he escapes. Back in front of the pyramid the futuristic guy is determined to kill Turok. Turok manages to shoot the guy in the neck with a rifle. The wounded guy runs into the pyramid with Turok in pursuit. He tracks the wounded guy to a mirrored chamber. The wounded guy tells Turok that this is the center of time, and he protects it. That there are many Lost Valleys in the timeline, and each has a Turok. For some reason Turok had to die to save time. The guy then dies of his wounds and disappears in a blue flash of energy. Andar comes in and tries to get Turok to leave the place. Turok is fascinated by a glowing object and touches it. This releases a whole bunch of different guys each claiming to be Turok.
This was a fast-paced story that still gives the reader a coherent and interesting story. The evil bounty hunter/futuristic cyborg was actually fairly easy to kill. We get an idea of who he is and apparently, he needs to kill Turok to save time. Not a real effective guardian of time. At the end we get all these different Turoks from the various comic book versions. I do recognize most of them. Nice to see the author did his research on Turok. The final issue should clear up the mystery.
1813 Northern Spain. A man in a British officer uniform is confronted by four weird looking characters. They are time travelers like the man and need the man’s time machine. The man is reluctant to kill them for some reason but gets to his machine and escapes to 2015. The characters follow. In 2015 Restin Dane is a grad student obsessed with building a time machine. He has a great-great-great grandfather who wrote a time travel story from the Victorian era so he must have built one. Dane’s girlfriend forces him to take time off and go to a Halloween costume party. He goes as an astronaut.
The man from the beginning arrives in 2015 and looks for Restin Dane. He finds him at the costume party but the four chasing him also arrive. A fight ensues with the man cutting off the hand of the geisha woman and killing the reptilian guy. He takes Dane from the party and flees to save the others at the party from harm. The two alive catch up and the little toad guy kills his companion. Then he rips out the throat of the man. The toad guy hopes to enter the castle machine with the man’s blood. Only the man states his blood is now poison to the toad guy. Restin backs away and the door to the castle opens for him. The computer Man-Rs greets him and teleports him away to the far post apocalypse future.
Later Dane arrives back and finds his girlfriend in a coma. She was traumatized when she found out the geisha was her. Everyone thinks the fight was a prank for no bodies exist. Dane then travels back to Victorian England to meet his relative.
This was an incredible story. Starts with some guy who obviously without stating it was the future version of Restin Dane. He has these weird guys after him. Now the younger version has the time machine. I loved this so far. It keeps the iconic castle yet updates the character to 2015. No more leisure suit. Sets up a very interesting story that you want to continue reading to find out the answers.
Conan last issue decided to join Valeria on her pirate ship. They find it waiting on the coast but there was a mutiny. Fortunately, Conan is there to help put it down. Later the ship is attacked by an Aquilonian war galley but is driven off when Valeria uses her globes filled with oil. They then land on an island for water. The island is really weird with weird vegetation and no animal life. At night a naked girl lures one of the crew into the jungle. This crewman is then ambushed by a horde of naked men and taken to a giant tree where he is feed to it. Later a duplicate of him emerges from a pod.
At night the horde of naked pod people swim out to the ship and attack. Conan and the crew put up a fight with Conan setting off the oil. Seems this vegetation is very flammable. The Aquilonian war galley then arrives and rams the pirate ship and splits it in two. Conan and the crew then board the ship and take it over. The fire set reaches the island, and the entire island goes up in flame. Now Valeria has a new ship to continue her pirate enterprise.
Writer: Charles Dixon
Artist: Fraja Bator
A merchant has decided to take a route across the border that avoids the main road. He doesn’t want to pay King Kull’s tariffs. Yet a horde of bandits attack but the timely arrival of King Kull saves the merchant. Although he is not saved from paying his taxes.
Dixon has decided to give us a continuing story for the Savage Sword. Picks up from the last adventure. I like the idea of him having pirating adventures with Valeria for a while. As always, the writing is excellent, and the art is beautiful. We get epic full-page spreads. The pod people were really creepy and the whole story is one filled with adventure. I do wonder why he had the war galley be an Aquilonian one. It was common knowledge that Aquilonia is a landlocked country. I would think Dixon knew that. Anyway, a minor goof that in no way distracts from the story.
The Kull backup was also another excellent one. The observation by the merchant that Kull is a bandit himself only his crown and army make his banditry just and right. An interesting observation on government in general.
Conan has successfully led the Nemedian army in expelling Aquilonian invaders. The king wants to grant Conan command of his armies, but Conan decides to move on. While riding through the countryside he comes on a woman being abducted by the Brotherhood of the Falcon. Conan comes to the rescue and defeats these enemies of his. Conan finds out from the girl, Tasmara that they were hired by a Baron Gerdeg to abduct her. She tells that one day while tending sheep she was visited by a god. For sleeping with him, she was given a gem. This gem could show the future. The baron wants this gem. The gem later shows Conan that he will die and be entombed in the royal crypt.
Conan takes Tasmara to a tavern in Belverus and they are ambushed by the Brotherhood. A falcon with poisoned talons slashes Conan and he appears to be dead. The city guard find him and take the body to the king who decides to honor Conan by entombing him in the royal crypt. Conan is alive and gets out. He finds the Baron’s place and defeats the Brotherhood assassins. He also takes care of the baron and rescues Tasmara. While leaving the god comes and we find out Tasmara is his daughter and ran away with the gem to have some fun. The god takes his naughty daughter and Conan looks on in amazement.
This was an interesting story. Conan once again fights the Brotherhood of the Falcon. These guys have got to be the most overrated assassin guild in history. Conan just keeps chopping them up every time they meet. An interesting twist to have Tasmara be a god’s daughter and not some peasant girl. A good story with solid artwork.
The Free Enterprise is about to get destroyed by RAM when Black Barney comes to the rescue. On a jet pack he takes out the fighters while Yorder uses an atomic rocket to destroy the heavy cruisers. Barney takes his crew to the inside of Wydlin’s lab. It is called Paradise and has an environment that is genetically tailored for maximum pleasure. The crew takes off to frolic in the rivers as Barney and Yorder go to meet their maker. Remus Wydlin is happy with Barney and takes him to his lab. There Judee is waiting and kills Yorder. She reveals she is also a Barney and was working for RAM. She heard that they were betraying her and decided to steal the cure for the genetic bomb herself. Only the cure was a trap and instead accelerates the process. The real cure is the air of Paradise which has cured Barney.
Barney then gathers up his crew and battles battlebots of the Wydlin heirs. The heirs have decided to kill their father and take the cure. Only Remus Wydlin has boobytrapped Paradise and sets off nukes that destroy it. He escapes with his genetically created animals to continue his research. Barney will distribute the cure to his fellow Barneys for free.
“Battle In Paradise”
By Paul Arden
A game that simulates Black Barney on one side and the Wydlin heirs on the other. Barney has to rescue his first mate Peg and the Wydlin heirs their father and escape before the station blows.
Writer: Buzz Dixon
Artist: Mark Winchell
Buck has Huer.doc looking for information on Kharkov and finds the files are missing. Buck inadvertently has Huer.doc sent to a children’s learning program. Huer.doc escapes and is chased by the learning program in the form of a nurse. The chase eventually leads to Huer.doc barely escaping after Buck pulls the plug on the program.
“New Gennies for the XXVC Roleplaying Game”
By Scott Haring
Gives us stats and background for two genetically created races in the computer game. The Martian Desert Apes and Venusian Acid Frog.
The final chapter in the Black Barney story. We get a fun conclusion to the search for a cure. Barney finds one and his maker. There are some humorous moments like a battlebot that has an existential crisis about the meaning of life. A satisfying ending to the story.
The backup gives us another humorous story with Huer.doc trapped in the Cybermatrix. Back in the nineties they envisioned the internet as some weird virtual reality simulation. Maybe that will happen in the future. Also gives us some more exposition on the world of the Twenty-fifth century. This includes genetic modifications and types of warships.
The game sounded interesting and tied into the main story. There was also another article that gives us info from the computer game. That was a fun game. Love if they released it again.
The mysterious bounty hunter that followed from 1873 is attacked by a T-Rex. He destroys it with a laser pistol. Meanwhile the mysterious blonde rescues Turok and company from the Neanderthals. She takes them to her cave, and we find out her story. Sarah Nathaniel and she is a paleontologist from 2019. She was studying an intact raptor skeleton that she later finds out the calvary men shot back in 1879. She has been marooned in the Lost Valley for a year now and still knows very little about the place. She does know of a crystal pyramid at the other side of the valley. With Turok and the calvary they might be able to make the trip there. So, they embark on the journey and fight off Neanderthals and dinosaurs. They reach the pyramid and out comes the mysterious bounty hunter. He disintegrates two calvary and reveals himself to be some futuristic cybernetic being. He also states that Turok must die.
We introduce some new characters in this issue. Beautiful blonde that gives us exposition on the Lost Valley. The other is this cybernetic villain that seems to be out to kill Turok. Both move the story along and give us something to think about. Introduces some futuristic elements to the series which is also part of the Lost Valley. Plus, we still have plenty of cavemen and dinosaur action to fill the plot. A fun and interesting story.
Artists: Kirk Van Wormer, Joe Weems and Marco Galli
The Rook is battling Spider Donovan who has been transformed by the chaos bullet in his chest. Unfortunately, Slough loses his power, and the Rook is captured. Seems that because Hitler is coming to power about now, Chaos can draw power from the air and neutralize Slough. Spider has his goons throw the Rook into the lake.
While this is happening the club owner manages to escape out the back with the Spider Obsidian. He is killed by the showgirl who sees her chance at getting something of value. She later tries to make a deal with Spider. When she arrives at the warehouse he is located at, Spider decides to kill the girl and take the Spider Obsidian. At this time other gang members arrive because they heard that Spider is now a freaky monster, and they decide he is bad for business. The Rook being submerged in the lake has recovered and comes back. He kills Spider and takes the Chaos pieces to somewhere safe. Back in the Rook’s world, the Danse Macabre has resurrected the Rook’s great-great-great grandfather Bishop to help in killing the Rook.
This ends the Harris run for the Rook. It leaves on a bit of a cliffhanger with his great-great-great grandfather Bishop being brought back. It did say that the Rook would return in an issue of Vampirella. Someday I might find that. This was a very interesting and fast paced story. I liked this reboot of the Rook. It had a lot of potential that apparently never found an audience. Now I do admit that I do miss the old seventies version with his leisure suit and MP-5 submachinegun. A guy who was having fun and blasting away people in the past without any concern for the consequences. Still this version had potential and am glad I had these issues to enjoy. Next, we will look at Dark Horse’s take on the character.