Conan and his friends face a giant Devourer of Souls. He causes a small atomic explosion to destroy them. Only the elder god’s sword shields them. In a fit of rage, the Devourer sends out flaming fireballs. One destroys El Shah Maddoc. The Devourer goes off in a huff. Thulsa Doom makes a deal with Xuthl to find out the location of the Devourer.
Meanwhile Xuthl then goes to the Devourer to collect on a debt. Xuthl wants the Devourer to make the most beautiful, unblemished woman fall in love with him. The Devourer finds her in Poitain. He creates a beautiful mortal body and masquerades as Acheron a noble from Brythunia. He courts the daughter of Count Trocero the beautiful Seraph. Over time he actually falls in love with her. When he does, Xuthl comes and kills her. Conan and friends arrive and battle their way through an army of skeletons to get to the body of the Devourer in the crypt. Conan kills Acheron which brings the soul back into the Devourer’s body. The Devourer is really angry, and an epic battle occurs. Conan wins and it looks as though the Devourer is destroyed. Solaise and Sedrick come back to life. Only at the end Acheron is brought back by Xuthl on a far island.
The big 200th issue. A very rare occurrence and shows that this series was quite popular. This is something that can’t happen nowadays. Series never last that long. This was a decent issue. We get a conclusion to the Devourer of Souls saga. Sets up some new stuff like Thulsa Doom now hanging around. Acheron is still around and probably angry at Conan. El Shah Maddoc is destroyed.
If there was a complaint it was that Conan was more of a guest, then the main star. The story was mostly focused on The Devourer/Acheron. For such a momentous event I would have liked Conan to take center stage. Otherwise, a great conclusion to 200 issues.
Yellow Sonja is a vampire hunter in Transyrkania. It is a family tradition, and she captures a vampire that she already killed. It was released from Hell and there are also others back. Her parents she killed because they turned into vampires. Now they are back and seem normal. While studying the blood of the captured vampire, she is approached by Hell Sonja. She tells Yellow Sonja that her parents are vampires but hiding it. Yellow Sonja doesn’t know if she believes her but is suspicious. Later after dinner she is attacked by the captured vampire set free. She manages to kill it and finds out her parents are vampires. They have mutated by eating cooked human flesh which slows the progress. The story ends with Purple Sonja being approached by Hell Sonja in the future.
This time we get a steampunk horror story with vampires. Yellow Sonja is a scientist and has to deal with her parents that are vampires. It is ambiguous at the end if she kills them again or not. Sets up the next issue as being one set in the far future with giant robots and kaiju. I like this idea of exploring all these different worlds with different Sonjas. A lot of potential variety to the stories.
Barbarella recovers from being shot to find the agent’s robot getting ready to dispose of her. This robot is too busy complaining to notice Barbarella has recovered. She manages to find an electrical cord and short circuit the robot. She immediately goes to a body loom and restores herself. The little creature she picked up last issue that parrots people fills her in by recreating the conversation between Jury and Pendrum. Pendrum’s plan is to destroy the genetic satellites so they can’t create new babies. Then he will introduce a virus into the central body looms so the Parosians can’t reconfigure the women to have babies naturally.
She sees the missiles launch and also finds a robotic unicorn named Pegasus. Pegasus can fly and takes Barbarella to the main body loom controls. She calls the police, so they arrive and stop Pendrum’s plan. Later the Parosians decide that worshippers are more important than purity. Soon it is every Parosians religious duty to procreate. The war stops since they are too busy procreating. Barbarella leaves Jury who stays behind to help the Parosians with learning how to have sex. This involves distributing steam romance novels.
This actually wasn’t a bad story. It started out slow but really picked up. Tied it up quick and didn’t drag it out. The art sucks but an amusing plot. Something I wasn’t really expecting.
Slash Maraud and Wild Blue are confronted by Commander Kargh and shapers while escaping. Slash manages to shoot off the lock to the mutant panda cage causing pandamonium. They escape to Blue’s motorcycle and shoot their way out of Las Vegas. Dr. X is supposed to be in Provo, so they head out that way. Only along the way they run into Angela and her Damazons. The Damazons are a gang of lesbians that hate men. Fortunately, Blue manages to tell them about their mission to find Dr. X and save the world. They decide to help out.
They later come on a group of the Family. The Family are nutjobs that worship serial killers and like to cut people up and use the parts for furniture. They capture one and finds out Dr. X has been captured. So, they go to their HQ which is a recreation of the Bate’s house from Psycho. They attack and make it to the dungeon where they are confronted by a guy in a leatherface mask and chainsaw. They find the body of the guy they were chasing, and Slash deduces the guy with the chainsaw is Dr. X.
Wow big tires on cars. Yes, this is definitely the eighties. This has got to be the most original story I have ever read. The kooky gangs are just nuts. I love this series so far. We find out that Slash hates people but hates the shapers even more and is an ultimate survivor. So that is why he decided to take on this mission. Wild Blue is a great companion to him, and the blue hair is definitely way before its time.
Conan gets in trouble by sleeping with a chieftain’s daughter in Vanaheim. This chieftain assembles a group to go after him. Red Sonja who happens to be in the area offers her services. Meanwhile a Vanir ship finds a guy on a raft. Before he dies, he tells of a great emerald mountain far to the north. Valeria, who is on the ship, was able to translate and convinces the captain to go after this treasure. Conan comes to the port and meets his old friend Valeria who invites him on the quest.
Conan agrees since the chieftain is after him. The chieftain is not swayed by Conan leaving and hires a ship to pursue. Conan and the crew do find an emerald mountain. Only it is soon discovered that the mountain is made of green ice and not emerald. The chieftain’s ship arrives and attacks. During the fight the ice mountain collapses and destroyed both ships. Only Conan, Sonja and Valeria survive. They head south and battle the cold and huge walruses.
“The King Kull Portfolio”
Artists: Steve Carr and Al Williamson
A portfolio of full-page drawings from some of Kull’s greatest stories.
Dixon and Kwapisz are back to the series, and we get another fun story. This one has both Red Sonja and Valeria. I didn’t think that the super jealous Valeria was really in character for her. Otherwise, it was an interesting story. Now there was a story taking place in the far north about two issues ago. So, it seemed a bit repetitive. Yet I have no complains about the art. It was beautiful especially Sonja and Valeria. The Kull portfolio was also enjoyable to look at.
The Devourer of Souls now has Solaise and Sedrick. He goes to Arallu to talk to Thulsa Doom about Sedrick. Doom tells that in his time a young shepherd saved a knight of Valusia. For a reward this knight made him his squire. Only the other squires constantly bullied him because of his peasant origins. Sedrick decided to join with Thulsa Doom in a plot to assassinate Kull. He got an audience with Kull and used an enchanted staff to summon beast men. Kull managed to defeat them, and Doom turned Sedrick into an immortal cat. The Elder Gods used Sedrick to hold their power.
The Devourer thanks Doom and frees him from his chains. He then goes to the footslave of the Elder Gods and takes him for a ritual to get the power from Solaise and Sedrick. Conan after defeating some scavengers also goes to look for the footslave and finds the portal to Arallu. There Doom tells Conan of the Devourer’s plan and the two fight their way back to the world. Only he finds that the Devourer has now the power to destroy the world.
The final annual of the Conan series. I loved this quaint little custom of celebrating a series yearly anniversary with a special double size issue. Unfortunately, by the nineties this was phased out. This issue though ushered in the big 200th issue. We get some more background on things like the origin of Sedrick. There was a backstory of Red Sonja losing her fighting ability after being raped and getting it back when a comrade dies protecting her.
Thulsa Doom from Kull is brought into the story. Not necessarily as a good guy but someone who is acting on his self-interest. A fun and enjoyable story that gets us all set up for the big 200th issue.
In the modern city of Makkalet City, Sonja Noir is a private eye and former cop. She wonders why Pickles Zingara has come back to life after she killed him. She soon finds out the local wizard she rents her apartment from wants his three months of rent tomorrow. Sonja is about to leave town when Hell Sonja appears to her in a reflection in the puddle of water. Hell Sonja gives Noir the place where she can find Pickles and a cache of valuable magical items. So, she goes there and finds the police waiting to catch her after she kills Pickles. She also finds a bunch of other guys she killed that have been freed from Hell. They want Pickles dead again so they can take over. Sonja decides to kill them and then Pickles. She finds a valuable artifact to pay her rent. In another alternate, Yellow Sonja is approached by Hell Sonja.
I loved this issue. A noir crime drama set in a modern Hyrkanian city complete with zeppelins, gangsters and crooked cops. Noir still wears her chain mail and sword but has a fedora and trench coat. A goofy world filled with magic, swords and Tommy guns. This is a cool idea to have stories that showcase the various different realities. You can have infinite fun with the idea. Also shows that Hell Sonja is behind the scenes trying to get back all the souls that escaped from Hell.
Barbarella and Jury are falling after their shuttle was blown out of the sky. Barbarella manages to grab hold of a passing drone and the two end up crashing through a stain glass window. They are in a House of Penitence. Robots whip themselves and the pain transfers to the remote operators. The two find some robes and pose as sisters. Jury manages to make contact with an agent who takes them to his secret hideout. There he removes a component that was implanted in Jury’s shoulder without her knowledge. They find out that Earth and not Parosia is building a doomsday device. The component was the last part. Barbarella tries to stop it and gets blasted by the agent.
The story is getting better. I was interested in it. The weird society with all the kooky fundamentalist stuff going on was fascinating. I also love the twist where we find out that Earth and not Parosia are the really bad guys. I have to admit that the Parosians didn’t seem too competent to build a doomsday device. I also like the goofy robot sidekick of the evil agent. A veterinarian robot that loved being able to improvise and improve on treating injuries. The art is still ugly as hell, but this was a big improvement over the first issue.
A guy on a motorcycle rescues a man from a dinosaur. Later at night over a campfire the two talk and we find out Earth has been conquered by aliens. They are now terraforming the Earth. The two get into an argument and the motorcycle guy ends up killing the guy he rescued. The guy on the cycle is Stash Maradovitch or as he is called Slash Maraud. He used to be a mercenary and bodyguard to the rich and famous. Now he is going to Las Vegas to see an old acquaintance. A woman named Blue who has blue hair and a zebra pattern jumpsuit.
Blue has a proposition for Slash. She knows of an alien scientist called Dr. X who wants to help reverse the terraforming. Slash will think it over and goes downstairs. While there, a new alien leader has come to replace the current commander. The current leader is bored and has let things go. After killing some of the humans for fun, this convinces Slash to take the job. Only Blue was an alien or shaper because they can shapeshift. Slash kills her and finds the real Blue tied up. The shots attract other shapers and the two blast a hole in the floor and fall on a cage of a giant mutant panda.
Wow is this a time capsule from the eighties. Mullets, Blade Runner trench coats, zebra patterned jumpsuits, big hair and Ray bans. The hero is your typical Snake Plissken type anti-hero. The aliens are shapeshifters that in their real form look like fuzzballs with big black eyes and a mouthful of teeth. We get introduced that these aliens had no problem taking over and did something to degrade the humans. Very few fight back and most seem to be content to wait around until the Earth is fully transformed and they die.
I really love this series. I saw an ad in an old comic issue and thought that it had potential. Surprised I missed it back in the day. A very original series and I look forward to finding out more of this crazy eighties’ future world.
Conan finally makes it back from his adventures in the New World. He finds that the capital Tarantia is in pretty bad shape. Crime is rampant as he finds out when some thugs try to collect a toll from him. He finds his general Pallantides drinking in a tavern. From him he finds out that while he was away many suitors came to marry his queen. They were sent away but one an Akhmet Ta a noble from Turan. He had a sinister retinue called The Brothers of the Skull. He gives Zenobia a skull gem which mesmerizes her. Just then a sailor claims to have seen Conan die in a shipwreck off the coast of Kush. Zenobia sends the Black Dragons off to find the body. She then has Trocero take the army and city militia to the border. This is why the city has fallen into such lawlessness.
Conan has Pallantides go and fetch the army. He sends his companions lead by Gobo to infiltrate the palace using the sewers. Conan goes to enter through the front door and confronts The Brothers of the Skull. He finds out they are zombies and is captured. Akhmet Ta has used his magic to control Zenobia and orders her to kill Conan. Only her love is too strong and breaks the spell. Just then Gobo comes into the throne room being chased by rats. The rats eat Akhmet Ta and his zombies. Trocero comes back and Conan is once again King and reunited with his family.
“The Endless Stair”
Writer: Peter B. Gillis
Artists: Steve Carr and Armando Gil
Red Sonja is in a village in northern Aquilonia. She is waiting for an event known as the Endless Stairs. A bright light that shoots up into the sky. Rumor has it that it leads to treasure. Sonja goes to it and finds a beautiful man. This man tries to win Sonja in fair combat and does defeat her. Only Sonja still resists him. Because of that, he is taken back by the light.
“Death and Taxes”
Writer & Artist: Dave Simons
Kull has decided that some rich people have not been paying taxes. So, he sends out his tax collector. Bollag Zajak runs the local gambling house and hasn’t paid taxes in 28 years. He has no intention of paying and hires a wizard. This wizard lifts the gambling house into the air and thus Bollag Zajak is no longer residing on Valusian soil. Only the wizard gets drunk, and the place comes crashing down. Kull is there to collect the taxes with interest.
In spite of the lackluster cover this was a really good issue. Like Homer’s Odyssey, Conan comes home to find his wife besieged by unwanted suitors. Only all the suitors were turned into zombies by a wizard who managed to mesmerize Zenobia. Needless to say, Conan as Ulysses did, takes out the unwanted suitors and reclaims his manor. Conway did an interesting story with Conan going to the Hyborian New World.
As for the two backups well, the Red Sonja was a bit of a letdown. I didn’t care for the art. It makes Sonja just too ugly, and the story didn’t have much to it. Now the Kull one was excellent. Kull makes some deadbeat pay his taxes and it had a humorous ending.