“The Horned God”

Writer: Charles Dixon

Artist: Jorge Zaffino

The king of a city-state in Brythunia has trouble producing an heir. His advisors decide that they need the horn of a unicorn to give him the virility to produce one. Conan gets hired to lead the expedition into the savage wilderness of Hyperborea. They have to fight the savage hillmen and Conan starts a romance with the sister of the king. They find the valley, but the unicorn is not the peaceful creature they expected. It is a fearsome carnivore. One of the leaders knocks Conan out as the men flee and takes the princess. He hopes to use her as bait since it is rumored that unicorns love the taste of virgin blood. Only it is too late because thanks to Conan, she isn’t a virgin. Just then Conan arrives and is pissed off. He easily takes out the cowardly guy. Seems the unicorn decided to leave Conan alone when he was unconscious, and Conan will return the favor and not kill it. Instead, they will find a goat’s horn to pass off as a unicorn horn.

“Solomon Kane’s Homecoming”

Writer: Robert E. Howard adapted from his poem. Adapted by Steve Carr

Artists: Steve Carr and Al Williamson

Solomon Kane comes home to Devon after his world travels. At a tavern he talks about his many adventures. How he fought the Spanish and was imprisoned by them. His later travels to Africa battling vampires, ghouls, spirits, slavers and a mad witch queen of a lost city. He then leaves to continue his wandering ways.

This was an interesting issue. The unicorn idea had a cool twist in that the unicorn was this bad ass carnivore with huge teeth. Otherwise, a fairly standard quest epic. Didn’t really care for the art. Zaffino has a sketchy style that uses way too much shadowing. There were whole panels that had way too much blackness to them.

The Solomon Kane story was beautiful. I love Howard’s poem and they did a great job of putting it to a visual image. There were whole pages devoted to some of Kane’s most famous adventures. So an interesting if somewhat flawed issue.



Writer: James C. Owsley

Artists: Val Semeiks and Geof Isherwood

Conan comes to a northern outpost to see how it’s doing. He finds that Simeon who he sent to prepare the way has been locked in the stockade. Apparently, he is acting nuts which gets Conan angry. He takes Simeon with him to inspect the other outposts. Simeon suggests going through the forest even though there are reports of savage Kushites in the area. They are ambushed by these Kushites and ride out. The Kushites don’t follow them because of the clearing. Tentacles come out of the ground and drag the two into some creature. Conan has to fight a creature called the Keeper. The Keeper tries to bring out the negative stuff like, greed and envy from Conan. Only Conan has none of these emotions and Conan forces the Keeper to release him and Simeon.

This has to be the weirdest Conan that I ever read. He gets caught in some strange creature in the ground. There are strange little green men that try to help him. A stranger creature that takes the form of others Conan knew in life. Grabs onto some flying slabs that race around in this creature and drags the Keeper into some energy barrier. This was a very weird one but not necessarily an uninteresting one. Still I hope the story continues to a less weird one.


“Warriors of Zandar”

Writers: Christopher Paul Carey and Mike Wolfer

Artist: Alessandro Ranaldi

Victory Harbin with her pet creature Hucklebuck and the alien Tii-laa have arrived at the Keelar city. Tii-Laa is impatient and jumps in the river to swim to the walled city. Victory instead crosses by having Hucklebuck grow to huge size and jump the bridge. She is met by the Keelars but her pistol scares them. They talk of someone from above and wonder if Victory is also from above. Victory plays along and convinces them she is this powerful being. She finds out this other visitor left a machine. A machine that sucks the lifeforce out of people. They are using it on peaceful Ki-vaas. Just then Ti-laa comes and fights her way into the room demanding that her people are freed.

So, there is some interesting developments in this issue. We find out that Victory has had an adventure with Tangor the Earthman from Poloda. We get a nice explanation about the system of Omos and its eleven planets. There is some other alien at work on the planet of Zandar from the planet of Banos. Tii-laa is a protector of her people and has some amazing physical strength. An enjoyable story so far and makes me want to read the novels.


“Vampirella Horrible People Doing Horrible Things to Horrible People”

Writer: Scott Bryan Wilson

Artist: Mariano Benitez Chapo

In 2002 Vampirella is at a bar when someone comes in. The man is celebrating a book he wrote being published. Horrible People Doing Horrible Things to Horrible People is a book that explores the darkness of humanity. During the conversation this man admits to Vampirella that the book is really the crimes he has committed and gotten away with. Vampirella asks a question if the guy would rather spend eternity here or in Hell. The guy choses here and finds himself then tied to a stake. Vampirella used her powers to sentence him to an eternity of torture. He is later tied under the ocean to be eaten by sharks, hung on a tree and tied to railroad tracks eaten by vultures. Vampirella also after twenty years admits to reading his book and finding it a failure.

“Allan Quatermain and the Missionaries of Madness”

Writer: David Avallone

Artist: Will Rios

Quatermain is in 1883 Natal on the trail of a dangerous cult. These missionaries are the Servants of the Great Old Gods and have been killing the natives. He tracks them to the sea where they are conducting a ritual. Quatermain shoots the leader in the head with his Winchester and waits for the onslaught of the other cult members. Only a giant tentacle faced god rises from the ocean and scares them off. This god just walks away and Quatermain burns the cult’s book.

Red Sonja the Executioner’s Sword”

Writer: Scott Bryan Wilson

Artist: Al Barrionuevo

Sonja arrives in a village in time to see an executioner chop someone’s head off. She finds that the guy loves his job and is just killing people left and right. He started after finding a sword on a battlefield. He then tries to kill Sonja, but she takes his sword and sticks him with it. The sword was cursed, and she buries the man and sword, so it won’t harm anyone ever again.

“Captain Gullivar Jones His War”

Writer: David Avallone

Artist: Hamish Munro-Cook

In 1918 France Captain Gullivar Jones leads his men against the Germans. He has a conversation with his sergeant. We find out Gullivar was a navy captain but recently lost his wife to the Spanish Flu. He decides to join the army. At the end he sees a carpet flying in the sky and recognizes it.

Another one-shot of Savage Tales. Seems Dynamite likes to release one every year. Wonder if they will revive the series someday. Anyhoo this was an enjoyable issue with beautiful artwork. Two of the stories feature Dynamite’s most popular characters. The Vampirella was a fascinating if somewhat confusing story. I don’t really know what happened to this murderer. Not familiar with Vampirella’s powers but I guess she can put people into some type of dream.

The Red Sonja story was excellent and very understandable. So was the Quatermain story with a bit of Lovecraftian mythology thrown in. The final Gulliver Jones was a confusing one. I believe that this character was a Civil War vet who gets transported to Mars. Not sure what he is doing in WWI or the meaning of the carpet at the end. Overall, an enjoyable read.


“The Darkside of the Gods”

Writer: Cary Bates

Artist: Walter Simonson

Hercules gets a new suit of armor thanks to the Atomic Knights. In an old car factory, they smelt the alloy. Then it is off to the Knight’s HQ on the western shore of Lake Ontario. Flying the flying wing, Kevin suddenly gets possessed by an evil force and attacks his friends. Hercules and the Knights are thrown out of the plane. Hercules stops Kevin by tossing a large rock into the lake which short circuits the plane.

While this happens, the gods on Olympus watch and wonder about their predicament. Some evil force has trapped Olympus in a temporal storm. Only Hercules can save them, and they shoot a bolt to Earth. It takes over Jennifer and she is now possessed by Athena. She starts to warn Hercules but a giant fire-breathing dragon forms from the campfire. It strikes down Jennifer before Hercules can destroy it. Jennifer is now dead, and Hercules decides to release Kevin from his chains since he thinks the evil is destroyed.

Only Kevin is once again possessed and jumps into the flying wing. Hercules grabs on and the wing crashes in the Mediterranean off the island that Hercules was chained to. Kevin is fully taken over by Ares who brags that he will release the Anti-Gods from the rock that Hercules was chained to.

A lot of stuff happens in this issue. The big event is Jennifer dying which is a surprise. I really liked this character and a brave move to kill her off. The other is Kevin being possessed by Ares. The letters page already informed us this title was being cancelled. So, they set up a big final ending which should give us all the answers for this series.


“Call of the Howling Shadows”

Writer: Charles Dixon and Gary Kwapisz

Artists: Gary Kwapisz and Mark Pacella

Conan is haunted by the spirit of Shameel who he left in the Valley of Howling Shadows. He agrees to come back and rescue her. The apparition tells him to go to a wizard named Thanamar Zalix. This wizard is the one behind the apparitions. He needs Conan to lead him to the valley so he can get a gem that will make him supremely powerful. Conan arrives and agrees to lead the wizard and his servant a graverobber he encountered in the last adventure in the valley. Once again Conan is in this weird valley with all sorts of horrific creatures. They arrive at a castle of giant ants, and they find Shameel. Conan is angry when he finds out this was all a ploy by the wizard. The wizard finds the gem but only the person holding the gem can use the portal he opens. His servant turns on him and kills the wizard. Shameel kills the servant and begs Conan to kill her. She has been impregnated with the evil demons, so Conan does and escapes through the portal. He destroys the gem and continues on.


Writer: John Arcudi

Artist” Ernie Chan.

A pretender to the Topaz throne starts a rebellion against Kull. This man claims to be the son of the former king. Kull prepares for a bloody fight, but a shaman has another idea. The next morning the rebel mob is confronted by the image of the dead King Borna. The pretender panics and admits to not being his son. The image strangles him before disappearing. The shaman created the image to end the rebellion.

This issue brings us back to the Valley of Howling Shadows. I think this was a Kwapisz creation and like its predecessor it is filled with surreal and horrifying imagery. Does a good job of giving the reader some needed exposition on the last visit. It has been a long time since that issue.

The Kull backup is also excellent and a nice filler for the issue.


“Bride of the Oculist!”

Writer; James C, Owsley

Artist: Ernie Chan

Richel is an Oculist or eye doctor in a small Corinthian town. He has an obsession with eyes and is in the process of taking some poor guys eye out. Conan hears that he is very rich and goes to rob him. He surprises the guy’s wife who is with her young lover. The lover knocks out Conan and the wife decides to use Conan to cover the fact that she steals the gold. The Oculist later comes to free Conan from jail if he will track down his wife and the stolen gold. He gives him a list of her known lovers which is very long.

Conan starts with the guy who knocked him out and beats out where the girl went. This takes Conan on a quest to many men. The Oculist also mixed a chemical in his wife’s perfume that infects the men she is with. The young lover joins Conan in the search because he really loves her. They go all over the country and find many, many men affected with the disease. Finally Conan finds the gold and the young lover goes to the Oculist. He finds out the Oculist actually killed his wife and this drives him insane. Conan rescues the Oculist and forces him to give the young lover the cure. At the end the Oculist gets hung because the guy he took the eye from was the captain of the guard.

Time for another annual. This was a really fun issue. Starts with the Oculist narrating his story as they build the gallows. Some real humor in all the men his wife sleeps with. Literally hundreds and you sort of feel sorry for the young lover since he really loves this girl. A nice twist ending in finding out that the gallows was being build for the Oculist. A fun celebration for another year of Conan.


“Warriors of Zandar”

Writers: Christopher Paul Carey and Mike Wolfer

Artist: Alessandro Ranaldi

The planet Zandar lies in the Olmos system some 450,000 light years from Earth. It is one of eleven planets that circle the sun equidistantly. Victory Harben comes on some strange creatures with their faces in their chests killing some blue people. She chases them off with her pistol. A blue woman comes and attacks thinking Victory killed her people. Victory manages to convince her otherwise. This woman named Tii-Laa is of the Go-Vass and the Keelars took some of the children. So, the two go off to rescue them. Along the way they are attacked by a Frozah but Victory has a creature friend called Huckleback who can grow to huge size. Huckleback saves them and Tii-Laa is a bit suspicious of Victory but allows her to accompany her. At the Keelar city they are already preparing captive Go-Vass for supper.

The first in an original series. Victory Harbin is the daughter of Gretchen Harben from the last Pellucidar series. She has her own series in the new novels that ERB Inc. is putting out. She was also in a short backup story from a previous series. Some stuff is a bit of a mystery to me. Which shows I should read the new books which someday I hope to do. The Olmos system was created by Burroughs in his one book Beyond the Farthest Star, but he sadly never got to explore the other planets of this system. Fortunately for us ERB Inc. is doing that. This story has some great potential and I look forward to finding out more.



Writer: Dan Abnett

Artists: Alessandro Miracolo & Vincenzo Carratu

The big battle with the Longborn. John Carter fights the Longborn in their clone bodies. Meanwhile Dejah fights a clone of John Carter. They both have a tough fight and talk about their feelings. Eventually John Carter kills the Longborn. Dejah kills the clone Carter but not before it kills Rotak Gall. At about this time, Kantos Kan detonates a radium bomb at the ruins to seal in the Longborn. Carter and Dejah manage to find a portal to another world. They are in some new world and kiss.

The final issue of this series was a very mediocre ending. Not a lot happens with the writer giving us a whole bunch of talking while they fight. Naturally they win and get blown into a new world. Sadly, Dan Abnett is not the guy to write Dejah or Carter. While some of his ideas have promise and there were some interesting moments, the reality is he just doesn’t understand the characters. I never really felt like I was reading a Barsoom story. So, we will see what the new writer can do for the upcoming John Carter series.


“Water, Water, Neverwhere!”

Writer: Cary Bates

Artists: Walt Simonson & Bob Layton

Hercules and his friends bury their former companion Dave Rigg at a cemetery in London. Soon after a big explosion of water spouts out of the ground. Hercules manages to throw a streetlamp that cuts a huge trench into the ground and stops the water. They find a survivor that tells he was conducting an experiment on a substance found by the Great Lakes in America. The group decides to go there and warn people about the substance’s danger. Fortunately, some guys at the nearby museum offer to give them a flying wing. Even more fortunately, Kevin can fly it using some power of his that manipulates energy.

The group arrives at Lake Ontario and find it bone dry. They also find some giant Dalmatians and two guys in armor. After a brief tussle they make peace, and we find out about these knights. They are the Atomic Knights and were investigating the compressed molecules of the water that an evil scientist named Scuba created. They arrive at their camp unknowing that their companion was taken over by an alien energy being. This being needs the compressed water to power itself. This creature takes off to grab the big block and Hercules pursues. At the block it draws immense power and beats up Hercules. Hercules grabs the water block and stuffs it into the helmet. This block blows and destroys the alien and restores the water to Lake Ontario.

A new writer with Cary. Lots of stuff happens. Dave Riggs apparently died, and this makes sense since he didn’t really fit into the group. A goofy compressed water causes trouble. Convenient plot points get the group to America. We get introduced to the Atomic Knights. While never having a series of their own, they were regulars in an anthology series from the fifties and sixties. Also Dr. Skuba was something from the Omac series. So, they have now successfully integrated the Atomic Knights and Omac into the Kamandi universe. I really love these old issues with their goofy science and outrageous plots.