“Tiger-X Special”

Writer & Artist: Ben Dunn

It is 1993 and Libya decides to conquer its neighbors. The Soviets have to intervene and reveal a new weapon, huge battlesuits. They intimidate Europe into surrendering. Soon they launch an invasion of America. They capture the middle from the Mississippi to the Rockies and split America in two. Two resistance members led by the beautiful Marlene go in search of a deadly guy operating alone. Known as Lone Wolf, he is a teenager that saves the two from a Soviet helicopter. At first, he doesn’t want to join with them, but the beautiful Marlene convinces him.

The Soviets meanwhile have captured a scientist that knows the location of the secret American project Tiger-X. This was the American’s version of a battlesuit. This is also Marlene’s father and she and Lone Wolf infiltrate the Soviet HQ in Austin. They rescue the scientist and now have to race the Soviets to the location of the Tiger-X base.

Think of Red Dawn with giant robots and you have an idea of what this story is about. Naturally I love it. This is the kind of stuff I use to live for. Dunn has a kind of Manga style to his work. The first special was to introduce a mini-series and it does an amazing job. We get the set up to this future 1993 and the evil commie Soviets. The Soviets have a brother and sister in the leadership and there is some rivalry between them. Lone Wolf has a father who is in the army and went off the fight the invasion. His mother, sister and dog named Wolf were killed by a giant Soviet robot. The resistance is losing and needs this new prototype of an American robot to defeat the Soviets. Just some great stuff from the eighties.


“Blade of the Demon Slayer”

Writer: John Arcudi

Artist: Armando Gil

An Iranistani adventurer on the borders of Khaitai is fleeing two mountain lions. They get his horse but he manages to climb a cliff to safety. There he finds a strange valley filled with skeletons both human and other. He also finds a huge sword that can cut through rock. We then switch to Conan and his fellow bounty hunters ambushing a camp of bandits. The bandits are actually working for Dai-Ling a wealth man in the border town of Shar-Pei. Dai-Ling secretly has a hatred for Conan for his raids on his men but can’t openly do anything. The Iranistani bumps into some of Dai-Ling’s men and a fight breaks out. Both Conan and Dai-Ling see the sword and secretly want it. Later Conan visits the inn and finds that the man was murdered, and the sword stolen. He goes after it.

He finds the two men using it to make money at a small village in fights. Conan challenges the wielder and wins. Dai-Ling also wants the sword and is approached by a witch woman who gives him the power of invincibility. Dai-Ling decides to punish the people of Shar-Pei and he slaughters the city. Conan hears this and comes to fight Dai-Ling. He manages to defeat him and later decides to throw the sword into a lake. It was demanding too much from him.

“Dave Simons Portfolio”

A collection of full-page drawings of Conan by the artist.

This story by Arcudi has a fun read. Has mystery and intrigue, along with a sorcerous sword. We find out it was created by wizards long ago to battle invaders from a dark magic world that threatened to destroy mankind. The sword wanted a lifetime commitment from Conan, so he decided to get rid of it. Probably a good idea for he has too much adventuring to do with his life.



Writer: James Owsley and Val Semeiks

Artists: Val Semeiks and Vince Coletta

Red Sonja is in the Corinthian city of Naplonia about to rob the local baron. She has managed to get the key to his treasury. While his is happening, Keiv pretends to be the barons tax collector. He swindles the guards by pretending to need to launder some excess money. Sonja meanwhile makes it to the treasury and opens the door. Only instead of treasure, she is attacked by a giant toad creature. She manages to run away and picks up Keiv in the process. The two run into Conan. The toad creature finds them and knocks Conan unconscious. Then it jumps on Sonja and kisses her. This turns it to a young man. He tells Sonja that the baron was guarding him, and she released him. He will turn back to a toad creature when the sun comes up. Only if Sonja goes back with him to his world will the world be safe. As added incentive he threatens to kill Conan. She agrees and they go through a door to this guy’s world.

Red Sonja is back which is a welcome development. The story is mostly hers with Conan being a guest in his own book for this issue. A fun story that was weird but interesting. I loved Coletta inking Semeiks. He is a much better choice than Isherwood. There is also a subplot with Kobe and Anneka. Sadly clear that Anneka is deluding herself that Conan loves her. Naturally looks like Conan has to go and rescue Red Sonja.



Writer: Christopher Hastings

Artist: Pasquale Qualano

On the planet Belagor an evil warlord named Hrodulf is conquering it. He serves a dark god and sacrifices many of his captives. This time though there are those to oppose him. The Hell Sonja team which consists of Red Sonja, Blue Sonja, Moon Sonja, and Gold Sonja have come to stop him. They easily defeat his soldiers and Hrodulf tries to escape on a giant fly. Gold Sonja gets a flying dragon, and they go off after him. They manage to get Hellfire from Hell Sonja which incinerates Hrodulf. Hrodulf finds himself in Hell greeted by Purple Sonja and her giant robot. She is the guardian of the gates of Hell. The Sonjas take a break with another world saved and evil souls feed to keep Hell from collapsing.

Hell Sonja has her own title and I love it. She has recruited more Sonjas since the last issue of Sonjaversal. Only Red is familiar but I love the new Moon and Gold ones. Each Sonja has her own personality and set of skills. Yet they have a common badassness to them. This has the potential to be a fun and goofy series.


“Hard Labor Part Three: Everybody Knows this is Nowhere”

Writer: Mike Carey

Artist: Kenan Yarar

Barbarella and soyboy companion find themselves in a 1930’s city on Earth. They mistake a policeman asking them question as a sexual proposition. They continue to track the source of the R.U.S.T and it leads to the sewers under a speakeasy. Pulver and his sons also track them. They find that a giant dragon is responsible for the R.U.S.T. It is also pregnant but having problems with a breach pregnancy. Sally-Ann the digital personality of Pulver’s dead wife now in his pistol agrees to help. They successfully help the dragon give birth and everything goes back to normal. The shells from the bubble are pure R.U.S.T and Pulver is rich. Soyboy doesn’t need any of it and Barbarella takes some to travel back to the past and save the life of a childhood friend.

Well, this was a disappointing issue. A very dull one with not much happening. The whole being in the twentieth century was handled awkwardly. Like anyone would want sex with soyboy. We also get some education at the end in gender being non-binary. Can never get enough of that. Plus, the less than stellar artwork and this was a big disappointment for this story arch.


“Mama Nature’s Cold Turkey Mega-Hype!”

Writer: Doug Moench

Artist: Paul Gulacy

Slash Maraud and friends make it to Paris. They find that the shapers are purging the humans because they know of their plans. The group parachute out as Wingo crashes his plane to create a diversion. The group splits up and a big fight ensues. Dr. X and Castagliano successfully mix the antidote. Rex Rumble and Angela take it to the feed ship. They get help from Commander Sarkh who has joined with the humans. The antidote is injected, and the planet goes through a major upheaval. Sarkh distracts Commander Kargh long enough for Slash to kill Kargh. At the beginning of new day only 7 survived as they start a funeral pyre for the fallen. A new future is starting for the Earth.

The big final delivers. A huge action from beginning to end. Naturally they win and save the Earth. Everyone gets his or her moment to shine. Plenty of self-sacrifice and bravery. I really enjoyed this series. A unique premise with very engaging and interesting characters. I loved this eighties fashion time capsule and recommend to anyone looking for a fun and unique read. They just don’t make them like they used to.


“Red Stones”

Writer: Gerry Conway

Artists: Mike Clark, Brad Vanicata, Joe Rosas, Mickey Ritter and Alfredo Alcala

Conan is a young thief in Arenjun who was hired to steal a crystal snake from a rich merchant. The crystal snake proves to be protected by a larger crystal snake that comes alive. Conan manages to escape but is captured by the guard. He finds out the real person behind this endeavor is a young woman named Siddhara a Vendhyan noblewoman. She needs a thief to steal six Red Stones of Ramatha Karn. She tells that long ago Ramatha Karn was part of some Aquilonian soldiers who deserted and fled to Kush. There they were attacked by a huge reptile and slew it. Karn was the sole survivor and found these gems inside the monster. They had to power to heal. Now Siddhara needs a thief to steal the other gems that she doesn’t have.

Conan agrees and with Siddhara’s guard captain goes to Corinthia. There they find a maze that leads to a fortress. The maze is filled with traps and Conan and Palus go over it. Palus tells Conan his story He was a young Turanian officer when Siddhara visited his lord. She seduced him and got him to steal the first gem. He is madly in love with Siddhara. The two have to fight some two-headed wolves and are captured by a giant Ramatha Karn. He has lived a long time by using the gems. Only their power has faded and they need human blood to recharge. Palus is bled dry, but Conan manages to escape and defeat Karn. He uses the last gem to save Palus and let Siddhara die of old age.

This one by Conway was a really interesting and unique story. It is set just before The Tower of the Elephant and has a young Conan new to civilization. I loved the characters and the strange mystery behind the story. The art was beautiful, especially the full-page scene of the fortress with the maze. A good solid issue.


“Wrath of the Necromancer!”

Writers: James Owsley and Val Semeiks

Artists: Val Semeiks and Geof Isherwood

Conan has been shot in the back with an arrow by Anneka. He finds himself on a ship controlled by Thulsa Doom. A sea serpent destroys the ship and Conan comes to a house on an island. Doom threatens Anneka’s life if Conan doesn’t give his. Conan chops off Doom’s head. He wakes and with Kobe’s help binds his wound. He goes after Doom who has taken Anneka to an abandoned temple of Set. Conan confronts him before he can sacrifice Anneka, and they go back to the dream realm. Conan knocks Doom into a pit that leads to Arallu. A big explosion and Conan finds himself back in the world with Anneka alright.

This was a disappointing issue. Not a lot really happened. Conan gets tossed around in a dream reality. Doom plans to take Conan’s life to bring his back. Conan does something and poof, Doom is defeated and everything back to normal. It just seemed that after introducing Doom to the story, Owsley/Semeiks decided to just get rid of him quick. Probably a good idea if this is the best they can come up with. Hopefully the story goes somewhere better next issue.



Writer: Christopher Hastings

Artist: Pasquale Qualano

Blue Sonja, Purple Sonja, Sonja Noir, and Yellow Sonja all end up in Hell after following tunnels that were formed of the recently killed enemies. They find that Hell Sonja gathered them together. She tells them her story which was that her universe was plagued by tears in the fabric of time and space. She fell into a dimension and preyed. The godhead answered her and gave her the power to be the pan-dimensional guardian of the nexus to the multiverse. She basically built a Hell from all the souls of the enemies that the Sonjas killed. After the godhead was killed, she released all the souls. Only she later found out that her realm was falling apart without the souls. So, she wants to recruit the Sonjas to band together and hunt down all the dangerous souls throughout the multiverse.

The final issue in the series basically sets up the next series Hell Sonja. I really enjoy this series with all the alternate worlds and different Sonjas. They are different but basically the same. This continuation has some great potential for interesting and unique stories. The series had a consistent story arch and look forward to its new direction.


“Hard Labor Part Two: Rust Never Sleeps”

Writer: Mike Carey

Artist: Kenan Yarar

Barbarella and a young researcher named Vossamin have jumped through a hole in the R.U.S.T bubble. They find themselves in a primitive environment from millions of years ago. They have to leave as a horde of giant insects attack them. They jump through another hole into a mishmash of places from all over the universe. Meanwhile Pulver and his sons get all their guns, and he downloads the program of his dead wife into his pistol. They break through the R.U.S.T. bubble and chase down Barbarella. Barbarella and Vossamin have to escape once again through another portal. This time they find themselves in a city.

The story is somewhat weak. Not a lot happens to really excite me. The characters are also somewhat uninspiring. I mean how many wimpy effeminate men do comics need to come up with these days. The character of Pulver and his sons are just a bit over the top for me. Also, the artwork is not my thing. I wish the guy who did this cover was the artist. This is how Barbarella should be drawn.