Artists: Lee Ferguson with Marc Deering and Alessandro Miracolo
Dejah has to face the two jeweled killers of the witch queen Sabal Than. Llana uses her strength to fight them off, but Sabal knocks her out with an energy burst. Then it is Jefferson Cylde’s turn, and Sabal tries to retake over his mind. Dejah also has some of the arcanotech and frees his mind. Jefferson then fights the two killers but gets stabbed. While this goes on the Jeddak Kurz Kurtos tries to get away and gets chopped up by Tars Tarkas.
Just as it looks like Dejah is about to lose, Llana comes to the rescue. She knocks off the helmet of one of the killers and he is revealed to be John Carter. This angers Dejah so much she manages to gather her strength and burn out Sabal Than’s power. She then shoots her and later it is discovered that two of the jeweled killers are both John Carter and Carthoris. Their minds seem to not remember what happened and Dejah is now the Jeddara of Helium.
The final issue in this series ties everything together. Dejah defeats both Kurz and Sabal. They discover John Carter and Carthoris. Now the big fight with the Longborn is about to happen in the next series. A good set up to that series.
The series as a whole was a mixed bag. Some stuff I liked. A fairly well written plot. The idea of Barsoom facing this invasion of a new powerful alien threat was an idea I liked. Some weaknesses were the whole Earth visit which was boring. Some stuff just didn’t feel like the Barsoom that Burroughs created. Also, I hated the vandalization of Llana in the name of intersectional feminism. Really, really hated her. So, we shall see how this plays out in the next series.
Hercules, Kevin and the dog Basil descend into the underworld. They come on the River Styx with Charon waiting in his boat. They also find a guy with a lyre. Hercules is attacked by a shadow beast and seems about to lose. Kevin gets the guy with the lyre to play some music that weakens the shadow beast. Enough for Hercules to knock it into the Styx where is dissolves. The guy that helped them is Orpheus a son of Apollo. He tells how his young wife Eurydice died and he goes to the underworld to implore Hades to release her. He does but tells that Orpheus can’t look at his wife until they get to the surface. Orpheus screws this up and loses his wife.
Cerebus takes Jennifer to Hades and his wife Persephone to wait for Hercules. While there he forms a friendship with Jennifer who is sympathetic to his losing the woman he loved. On the surface Ares kidnapped the other two companions in Paris. Hercules arrives and fights with Cerebus. Hercules knocks down a wall and it collapses on Cerebus, killing him. Jennifer is upset and they are free to return to the surface world.
This one uses a lot of the classical Greek mythology. I believe I remember the story of Orpheus. It takes place in the classical Greek version of the underworld complete with the Styx and Charon. Not to mention Hades and his wife Persephone. Except for the very brief scene in Paris the whole story is set in the underworld and not the futuristic post-nuke world. Could actually be more of a classical Greek myth then a futuristic story. Something that I am sure we will return to in the next issue.
In a small Shem kingdom, Conan makes his money as a bounty hunter. After getting some gold for bringing in rebel heads, he starts to have a change of heart. The kingdom is ruthless and makes its money selling slaves. Conan decides to join the rebels and comes up with a plan. He recruits the Zuagirs to help take over a key garrison. They succeed and Conan wants to move to the next garrison. Only the Zuagir chief is jealous of Conan’s success and hold over his men. So, he betrays Conan to the kingdom and his army is ambushed and defeated. Conan finds out that the chief was the one who betrayed him and vows revenge.
Writer: Jim Owsley
Artists: Luke McDonnell and Armando Gil
Conan dreams of making love to Red Sonja while he fights her. He challenged her to a fight so he could get her. Only Sonja proves too good, and she wins.
Another excellent issue. This one we get to see Kwapisz draw and ink. Plus, he helped co-plot the story. It is set up as a two parter so it will continue in the next issue. It was also advertised that we would get a return of the Iron Damsels, that all girl mercenary unit. The story was a fun read with Conan deciding to fight for the rebels instead of the corrupt kingdom. Had betrayal which of course needs to be avenged.
The backup was an interesting story. Conan was distracted by his daydreams too much and gets his ass kicked which doesn’t happen too often. Of course, someone of Red Sonja’s stature could do it. All around an enjoyable issue.
El Shah Maddoc is going insane after the death of his love Swan. He develops an obsession with killing Conan. Conan also has an obsession with killing Maddoc. He gets the survivors of his army along with Kiev and Imhotep to ride to the city. Once there Imhotep and Kiev take out the palace guard while Conan goes to Maddoc. He finds him in the throne room and a big fight ensues. Maddoc is nuts and his ego is hurt that Conan seems to be the better fighter. He tries to lure him away and ambush him with a throwing star. Doesn’t work and Maddoc ends up getting thrown out a window to his death. Everything seems to be going Conan’s way, when Tetra appears. She uses her power to blow up the castle.
This was an exciting issue. Conan confronts the insane king Maddoc. Maddoc is also going completely nuts. He is still the cowardly, egotistical asshole that he always was. There are some interesting moments like the budding romance with Conan and Anneka. Imhotep needs the amulet to return home which Conan uses to keep him in line. Tetra comes back and blows up the castle which sets up a cool cliffhanger. A very well-done issue.
Baron Raaf hires a group of mercenaries to kill Sonja. We get to see why they are specialists, and the baron is confident of their victory. Only Sonja manages to kill each of them. At the end she deposits their severed heads in the throne room with a message saying, “You’re next”. She appears with an ax behind him.
“The Chill Touch of Sorcery!”
Writer: Oliver Gerlach
Artist: Alex Moore
Sonja is after a witch that she wounded. She has to climb a mountain in the snow. Then she has to defeat some werewolves. She finally catches up to the witch and finds she died of her wounds just in front of her castle. Sonja sets the castle on fire and thinks, “So much for sorcery”.
“Erik The Black, He-Demon with an Axe”
Writer: Frank Tieri
Artists: Lee Ferguson and Kike J. Diaz
Sonja is drunk in a tavern when Erik the Black, He-Demon with an Axe comes in. He goes to Sonja and tells how he has come to kill her. He proceeds to brag about all his accomplishments and kicks Sonja’s sword leaning on the wall away from her. He thinks he’s got her but Sonja stabs him with her knife. Seems that Sonja is a She-Devil with a sword and knife.
These were some really excellent stories. All of them were just such a fun read. I loved the last one the best. This braggard gets killed so easily. All of this in beautiful black, white and red colors.
Dejah Thoris with the help of Thuvia is able to make the Jeddak of the Tharks understand her. With the help of the Kaldane she is able to show him the real enemy, the Longborn. She gets a truce between the Thark and Warhoon and together they march on Helium. Dejah with her friends is able to use secret underground tunnels to enter the city. Dejah attacks the throne room with the goal of deposing Kurz Kurtos. She finds him but he is with the Jeddara of Zodanga and her jeweled Earth warriors.
This wasn’t a bad issue. Dejah manages to get the green tribes to stop fighting and unite. Kurtos is losing control with many deserting. Yet the witch queen of Zodanga and her Earthmen soldiers come to save him. Sets up an interesting final to the series.
Hercules, Kevin and Basil arrive in Paris. They are immediately attacked by demons sent by Ares. Naturally Hercules with his friends make short work of them. They then discover three survivors of the war. A British guy and his two companions invite them for tea. Hercules is a bit suspicious, but Kevin accepts. Meanwhile Ares calls Cerebus with his two two-headed dogs to go after Hercules. Hercules is walking along the Seine with the girl Jennifer Monroe a fashion model. They are attacked by the Hellhounds and Jennifer is captured by Cerebus. Cerebus then uses his power to hit the ground and cause an earthquake that buries Hercules in rubble.
The others find him, and Hercules with Kevin and Basil go after Cerebus to rescue Jennifer. The trail leads to the Louvre and the Hellhounds attack. Hercules and friends beat them but find that Cerebus has taken Jennifer down a fiery pit to Hell.
This was another fun issue. It establishes that Ares is the main protagonist for Hercules. He sends a fearsome guy in Cerebus with this two-headed Hellhounds. Cerebus is revealed to have something against women because the woman he loved didn’t want to enter an arranged marriage. So, this woman somehow made a deal with Ares and that is why he is now a servant of Ares. There are also some more survivors and I have to agree with Hercules in finding them a bit off. The two guys are cowardly, but the woman has potential. Obviously, this series needed a hot chick and Jennifer definitely fits the bill.
Conan is in the deserts of Stygia and playing the shell game with some Turanian merchants. He finds out the game is rigged and start cutting into them before taking off. At this time various shamans and holy men gets visions of a great evil being revived. The Stygian queen plans to revive an evil god. A mysterious man comes to a twin brother and sister to get information. The brother was born deaf, blind and mute but can see into other realms. He sees the evil and gets the man to take him and his sister along.
They are traveling and get ambushed by brigands. Conan comes to the rescue and is surprised to find his old friend Vitellius a Mitrian priest he thought dead. He gets on this quest with promises of riches in the holy temple. They hook up with some tribesmen who also have come to stop this evil. After killing some of the evil queen’s guards, they attack the ceremony. The huge hideous god is awakened, and Conan manages to extinguish the flame with holy water. He saved the world and continues on with his new friends.
Writer: John Arcudi
Artists: Dale Eaglesham & Armando Gil
A slave shouts out to Kull at the market. Kull recognizes his old friend from his galley slave days. They reminisce and Kull is introduced to Bakas in a flashback. A man who is always optimistic. They are attacked by pirates and forced to fight for their lives. Kull kills the slave driver and is forced to flee the ship. Kull takes his friend as councilor Tu pays for him.
Another excellent issue. What can I say? Great story and great art. The weird god was truly an epic creature. The full-page spread was beautiful. Conan is his usual barbaric self. I like Vitellius and was glad to see him back. He makes an interesting companion to Conan. A pious holy man with the self-interest of Conan. The Kull backup was also short and yet to the point.
Conan faces Imhotep as both Kollos the M’gai chief and Conan’s second in command Shapur watch. Kollos sees that Imhotep won’t attack Conan because of the amulet. So, he rides down and steals it. Shapur decides to go after Kollos with the surviving men. He manages to take back the amulet. Conan doesn’t need it as he defeats Imhotep. Now Imhotep will be Conan’s slave and Shapur also pledges his loyalty. Conan decides to go and kill King Maddoc. Yet back in the city, Maddoc has to battle Tetra. Tetra snaps the neck of Swan the slave girl that he loves. This breaks his spirit, and he grovels at Tetra’s feet.
This was an excellent issue. Conan has a big fight with Imhotep and wins the demon’s respect. He also gets the respect of Shapur. The surviving men urged Shapur to abandon Conan and reclaim his titles. I was surprised at Shapur remaining loyal to Conan. He seemed a bootlicking toady but has respect for Conan. After all he stuck with him and also saved his daughter and grandson.
The big surprise is how Tetra broke the braggart, Maddoc. This guy really is a pathetic coward. Not surprising as most braggarts are. The demonic possessed Tetra is really a cruel woman now. A big change from the young innocent teen girl. A fascinating story that the reader will want more of.
Sonja collapses wounded and wakes up to a young girl caring for her wounds. She collapsed in front of a statue to a goddess in a peaceful valley. The woman named Oenila is a bit arrogant and puts down Sonja as a barbarian. Later Sonja finds that Oenila is going to marry some brigand to save her village. She tries to save her but she refuses and insists on marrying the brigand. Sonja threatens the brigand if he ever harms her.
“The Iron Queen”
Writer: Phillip Kennedy Johnson
Artists: Steve Beach & Hassan Otsmane-Elhaou
Turanian bandits are attacking the city. The inhabitants are leaderless as their queen is now too old to lead them. A young shieldmaid goes to the old woman and puts her sword in her hand. This brings back memories for the old queen. She remembers she is Sonja and manages to lead her kingdom to victory.
Writer: Chuck Brown
Artists: Drew Moss & Hassan Otsmane-Elhaou
Sonja saves some guy from gremlins and asks why this land is so cold. She finds out that the king has used magic to make this land cold. Only he can provide fire to warm the subjects. Sonja goes to him and kills him but not before the king touches Sonja’s face. Sonja dies but frees the kingdom.
Another strange and eclectic collection of stories. Once again beautiful artwork for each of them. The stories were also interesting and unique.