KULL THE DESTROYER #15

“Wings of the Night-Beast!”
Writer: Steve Englehart
Artist: Mike Ploog & Ernie Chua

Kull and Brule confront Sarkoz and his priests on losing their companion Ridondo to a dragon. Sarkoz and his men try to kill Kull and after he shatters his sword on the tower is forced to flee. Outside the village they meet Santha the former woman of Sarkoz. Later at night Kull and Santha get romantic until Kull notices a wound on Santha’s back that looks just like the one he gave the dragon last night. Santha then turns into a dragon and carries Kull off to a cave.

When Kull wakes he is tied up with Ridondo. Santha then explains how she became a dragon. A priest came to the village and she tried to seduce him. The priest had a vow of celibacy and cursed her so she would turn into a dragon and eat people. Sarkoz and his men loved her so much they converted to the priest’s religion in the hopes of appeasing his god. They also periodically sacrifice themselves to her. Sarkoz and his men decide they had enough and attack her cave. Ridondo manages to free himself and Kull. Kull goes out and slays Santha.

“Help!”
Writer: Stan Lee
Artist: Steve Ditko

A man answers the phone and finds out it is a call for help. Someone claims to be from another world and pleads for the man to set him free. The man thinks its a joke but hesitates to hang up because the voice sounds so sincere. The voice is trapped in darkness and convinced only the man can set him free. The man gets angry and slams down the receiver. He slammed it so hard that it breaks. This frees a tiny spaceship that was trapped in the phone. The man wonders about the big insect he sees.

So Kull is once again being cancelled but was to continue in a new black and white magazine devoted to him. They decided to tie up this story and it has a lot of things that make no sense. Why does Kull shatter his sword on the tower. You’d think that hitting a stone wall is a dumb idea. Also the men really love this woman so much they become celibate priests and sacrifice themselves to be eaten. Personally she didn’t seem that worth it. Not the best Kull story and a poor one for the series to end on.

The reprint suffered some gaps of logic just as the main story. How did this little advanced spaceship get trapped in a telephone. How can he not know anything but still manage to figure out how to work the phone. Still I kind of liked it. A bit offbeat but has a certain charm.

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KA-ZAR #4

“The Concrete Jungle”
Writer: Mark Waid
Artist: Andy Kubert

Parnival Plunder thinks he is safe in his office surrounded by security personal. Ka-zar manages to evade all the security and come crashing through the window. He picks up Parnival and tosses him out. Parnival lands in a net that Ka-zar set and forces him to tell why he wants him dead. Now Parnival did not fall through the ice, that was some other flunky. He did get serious frostbite in trekking back to civilization hence the cybernetics. His motives are to be declared the sole inheritor of their fathers estate. The medallion that the two inherited leads to some invention that will make Parnival a god.

The security men arrive and chase Ka-zar from the building. The men are not too careful about who they hit so Ka-zar leads them to Central Park where he has room to maneuver. Shanna meets him at the park and they manage to defeat Parnival’s men. Parnival meanwhile is in communication with a mysterious figure that is trapped in another dimension.

This was a real excellent issue. First there was lots of action. Also we find out how Parnival survived the Antarctic. What his motives are is also revealed. Yet enough is held back to keep the reader curious. What is this super invention that their father created? Who is the mysterious being in the dimensional closet and what part does he play in Parnival’s scheme?

Parnival himself seems to be a germophobe. He was more upset about being outside with all the unsanitary germs then actually falling. He is becoming a real good villain for Ka-zar in this series. Also Ka-zar and Shanna are making the first steps to reconcile their relationship. This adventure in New York is turning quite interesting.

GRUMPY CAT GARFIELD #3

“Untitled”
Writer: Mark Evanier
Artist: Steve Uy

So Grumpy Cat and Garfield are back home and definitely changed. Grumpy Cat is happy and wants to play games and enjoy the beautiful day. In fact she wants to change her name to Happy Cat. Garfield is no longer lazy. He helps around the house with the chores. Instead of eating lasagna he gives it to a cat named Nermal. Nermal is a cat he loved to torment. He just lately mailed him to Abu Dhabi.

So Ichabod Gross the CEO of Mogul Pet is elated that his new process works. Unfortunately for him he intimidates his scientist too much so he doesn’t tell him that the process is only temporary. The scientist goes to work out the bugs in secret as Gross has his spies Snoop and Slink kidnap the cats back from their homes. They do this and are put in front of the cameras to show how happy and agreeable the two are. This is when the process wears off and they throw the chemical goob that they are being fed into Gross’s face.

Well Gross says out loud on TV that he hates cats which alienates his customer base. Grumpy and Garfield meet up with Odie and find out that Pokey is also prisoner and about to get the treatment. They free him and Gross falls into the beam which turns him into a happy nice guy. The group leaves the building and find Nermal who is happy with his new found friends. His new found friends decide to mail him to Antarctica.

The final issue in the Grumpy Cat Garfield team-up comes to a satisfying conclusion. Both cats manage to escape their mind control and turn the tables on the evil Ichabod Gross. A fitting ending for the villain. A fun irrelevant comic series. Its fun for both children and adults.

THE WARLORD #82

“Revolution!”
Writer: Cary Burkett
Artist: Dan Jurgens

Morgan and his friends are taken to Washington D.C. The city is covered by an energy force field. It doesn’t take long for Morgan to find out the situation in this future post-holocaust America. He tries to explain the situation to the presidential adviser and gets beaten unconscious. He wakes up in a slave pen with Krystovar. Here he learns that martial law was declared and all survivors not in the military were conscripted into slave labor. Washington and some other key military installations survived the war because of the energy shields but it was not feasible to cover the entire country.

Morgan is put to work in the hydroponics tanks. Here he inspires his fellow slaves to revolt. They plan to clog up a pump which blows. This opens an opportunity to grab some guns and fight the guards. Morgan is in the forefront and responsible for their victory.

“Open City”
Writer: Gary Cohn
Artist: Ron Randall

Jinal and her friends reach the city of Skeen. This is the embassy that the ancients of D’Roz maintain so they can interact with the people of Earth. Barasha goes off to arrange a meeting with the ancients. This leaves the others to explore the city. Renna and Jinal go to the baths for women and have a relaxing bath. This is interrupted by some butch women that start a fight. Soon the whole place erupts into a brawl. Renna and Jinal jump out the window into the street. It is up to Yisrah now that he has equipped himself properly to retrieve their clothes and weapons.

The story goes back to Morgan’s future adventures and it hits the ground running. America is now nothing more than a slave state run by a tyrant. Morgan manages to inspire the slaves and forms a revolt in short order. Good to see Cohn keep Morgan in character that Grell established for him. He is a natural leader that inspires others. A very exciting issue.

The Barren Earth has a nice little humorous adventure. Jinal gets some girl time out and has a good old fashioned brawl. Yisrah shows that he has some impressive skills when properly equipped. Should be interesting to find out what the deal is with these ancients.

KULL AND THE BARBARIANS #1

“Hail The Barbarians!”
By Roy Thomas

An editorial on what this magazine is about. That thanks to Roy leaving the editor in chief position he has more time to directly edit comics and managed to sell a title dedicated to Robert E. Howard’s other creations. Kull will be the main lead with Red Sonja, Solomon Kane etc.

“A King Comes Riding!”
Writer: Roy Thomas based on story by Robert E. Howard
Artists: Ross Andru and Wally Wood

A reprint of Kull the Conqueror #1

“The Shadow Kingdom”
Writer: Roy Thomas based on story by Robert E. Howard
Artists: Marie and John Severin

A reprint of Kull the Conqueror #2

“The Valley of the Worm!”
Writer: Roy Thomas and Garry Conway based on adaptation of Robert E Howard story.
Artists: Gil Kane and Ernie Chua

James Allison lies dying on his death bed. He tells of his past life as Niord. Niord was leading the Aesgard south after some great cataclysm before recorded history. They fight a battle with the Picts and Niord knocks a brave warrior out that he spares. This warrior named Gorm manages to make peace between the tribes and becomes Niord’s friend. A group of the Aesgard decides to go set up a village in a valley that the Picts say is inhabited by a beast. Niord goes to visit this village and finds its people massacred. He vows revenge. First he kills a giant snake and takes its venom to coat his arrows. Then he confronts the creature which turns out to be a giant worm. He slays it at the cost of his own life.

“King Kull A Retrospective”
By Fred Blosser
Art by Roy G. Krenkel

A review of the lance paperback that came out in the sixties. It collected all of Howard’s Kull stories plus some finished by Lin Carter.

So this short lived magazine had great potential. Anything with Robert E. Howard is bound to be interesting. Add to that Roy Thomas being in charge. He has a great love for Howard’s works. Sadly this first issue was mainly reprints. Good reprints but still reprints from the color comics which I would assume any fan would already have.

The third story appeared in some issue I never read so it was new to me. It is considered to be Howard’s best work and I enjoyed it. Niord was typical Howard barbarian. A brave warrior who takes on both hordes of savage men and beasts. Definitely top quality work.

Thankfully the next issue would have more original content.

KULL THE DESTROYER #14

“The Black Belfry!”
Writer: Steve Englehart
Artist: Mike Ploog

Kull with Brule and Ridondo leave the village they were staying at. Kull is going to a secret valley he knows of from his time as a bandit. He wants to recruit an army to take back his kingdom. They reach the valley and first Kull has to fight a man-ogre guarding the passage. He then meets up with a woman from his past named Santha. He finds out that the chieftain Sarkoz has become a priest. He banished his woman and they now build a mysterious black tower.

Kull finds that all the old outlaws are now some religious fanatics. They are not interested in joining Kull’s army but allow him and his companions to stay the night. During a heavy rainstorm the three are attacked by a dragon. Kull manages to fight it off but is knocked unconscious. He wakes and finds Brule was wounded in the leg. Ridondo was carried off by the dragon. Kull vows to hunt it down.

“My Name Is Death!”
Writer: Stan Lee
Artist: Joe Mannelly

A woman narrates how she came into the world. She only has a father one Sigmund Graasp. During the Spanish Inquisition he takes his daughter to the governor. The governor is skeptical but has an enemy kiss the daughter. It is so effective the governor decides to take her and get rid of Graasp. He has her daughter embrace her father. It is revealed that the daughter is an iron maiden.

Well Kull is now a fugitive and has decided that the only way to take back his throne is with an army. So this brings him to the bandit valley. An interesting idea for the bandits to be under sway of some religious cult. Also we get a glimpse of Thulsa Doom and find out he has some nefarious plan that goes beyond just being king. It was announced that this title was being cancelled again after the next issue due to sales and the scarcity of paper. It is fascinating that a 5 cent raise in price was such a big deal. Prices have gone up from those golden days.

The reprint filler was a fascinating little story. I don’t know if it is the real story behind the iron maiden or just made up but a very well done story.

KA-ZAR MINUS 1

“Life Lessons & Lies”
Writers: Mark Waid & Todd Dezago and Andy Jozefowicz
Artist: John Cassaday

A teenage Ka-zar visits his friend Benaza chief of the Waidia. The friendly chief talks about how everyone in the tribe is self sufficient. He seems to hint that Ka-zar may be relying too much on the aid of another. Ka-zar interprets this to mean that he is too dependent on Zabu for help. He storms away in a huff and decides to prove Benaza wrong. He is attacked by a pack of wolves and insists on fighting them off himself. Zabu does help him at the end. He goes back to the village and finds out Benaza died. Now he knows that Benaza was talking about himself and Ka-zar learns a valuable lesson.

Meanwhile in New York Parnival Plunder is living with the butler Willis who was entrusted to watch over him. Wills complains that Parnival’s father is not paying them enough money to survive. He tries to convince Parnival that this father loves his younger brother more than he does him. Willis is secretly withholding most of the remittance that the father had arranged to be sent each month. Parnival finds this out and hires some thugs to help him steal the money and beat up Willis.

So during this time Marvel was running these flashback issues for their titles. It would explore the characters younger lives. Ka-zar got his issue and it is well done. The Ka-zar as a teen had a good story. The real gem is the backstory for Parnival. This is the first we get a glimpse of his early life. The butler Willis was a real tool and he probably did feel abandoned by his father. So we get an understanding of why he has such an animosity toward his brother. A timely story since we will be introduced to the adult Parnival as a major antagonist in the current issues of the series. Plus we get a nice little recap to the origin of Ka-zar and Stan the Man himself narrating the opening in a caveman outfit.

GRUMPY CAT GARFIELD #2

“Untitled”
Writer: Mark Evanier
Artist: Steve Uy

Grumpy Cat and Garfield are locked in a small cage and the close proximity gets on both their nerves. They trade insults which gets them nowhere. Finally Garfield comes up with a plan. He fakes an illness and when the guard enters Grumpy Cat jumps from the ceiling and onto his head. This distracts him for the two cats to run out and lock the guard in. Meanwhile Pokey meets up with Odie and the two join forces to track down their missing friends.

They get to the Pet Mogul building and just then Grumpy Cat and Garfield run out but are immediately recaptured and taken back in. There they are put into some goofy looking tubes and after twenty minutes of lights going on and off by some slightly mad-scientist the two cats now have the personalities of dogs. Odie manages to lead some policemen to the building. Pokey fakes the sound of a cat in distress which has the cops check out the building. Only they find two well behaved cats.

Well this is a perfect team up. Both cats have personalities that will obviously cause tension but must work together. Yes the escape was pretty cliched but so what. This is a children’s comic so its going to have an easy plot to follow. Odie and Pokey show initiative in finding their friends. Too bad they were too late. Interesting to see how his goofy experiment ends.

THE WARLORD #81

“Thief’s Magic”
Writer: Cary Burkett
Artist: Dan Jurgens

Jennifer and Faaldren have settled in for some sleep. Young Tinder sneaks into camp to steal some food. The camp isn’t unguarded as Jennifer’s magic alerts her to the intruder. She then finds out young Tinder’s story. He is an orphan who indentured himself to a caravan. This caravan was attacked by New Atlanteans and he was forced to flee after kicking the bull-headed beast-man leader. This beast-man and his New Atlanteans find the group and a well placed arrow in the shoulder disables Jennifer. Unable to concentrate she has Tinder think up a horror. Tinder remembers a story the man in the dungeon told him so he conjures up a train. A somewhat fanciful version but one Jennifer recognizes. What is the mystery of this mysterious youth.

“Other Survivors..”
Writer: Gary Cohn
Artist: Ron Randall

Jinal and company are riding with a horde of Harahashan as they make their way to their winter grounds. While riding along Jinal finds out that Barasha was a student of the ancients of D’roz. Meanwhile not too far away there are four Qlov who survived the battle. They have been patiently waiting for a response to their distress signal which has just been answered.

This issue takes a break from Morgan’s adventures in the future. Instead it focuses on his kids. Jennifer meets up with her half-brother while not knowing he is her brother. This was a great way to reintroduce Morgan’s lost son Joshua. Having him link up with Jennifer was a nifty way to get them both into the story line. Morgan’s only appearance is a dream sequence to fill in readers about Tinder’s story. A nice little break from the main story. Tantalizes of a future reunion between Tinder and his parents.

The Barren Earth was a short story but introduced some interesting facts. Barasha has some knowledge of the ancients and there is a noticeable winter on this future world. Oh and they have giant jackrabbits and spiders. Of course the big reveal is some Qlov survived and others are on the way.

MARVEL SUPER SPECIAL #15 STAR TREK THE MOTION PICTURE

“Star Trek The Motion Picture”
Writer: Marv Wolfman based on screenplay by Harold Livingston. Story by Alan Dean Foster & Gene Roddenberry.
Artists: Dave Cockrum & Klaus Janson

A mysterious alien craft appears in the Klingon sector and destroys three cruisers. It is headed toward Earth and Starfleet assigns the Enterprise to investigate. Admiral James T. Kirk manages to get command of the ship which causes some resentment from its current captain Decker who is reduced to executive officer. The ship meets up with the alien ship which is called V’ger. It is from an alien civilization of sentient machines. V’ger is going to Earth to meet up with its creator. It views carbon based life as some sort of infestation and plans to destroy it. Now Kirk and the crew must stop V’ger.

“Star Trek the Phenomenon”
By Tom Rogers

An article of the popularity of the series. An interesting fact is that the series was to be cancelled after the second but a massive write in campaign forced the network to renew for a third season to stop having to deal with all the mail. Of course the executives put it at a time that guaranteed its failure. Luckily syndication kept the series alive. Interesting to read this article since it was before all the spin-off series and movies.

“Touching Base with Reality An Interview with Jesco Von Puttkamer”

Puttkamer was the science adviser to the movie and a scientist from NASA. He talks about the future of NASA and its new shuttle program. Sad because of the tragic fate of two of the four shuttles. Also sad that America has no active space program these days.

“Star Trek The Motion Picture Glossary”
By Tom Rogers

A glossary of the people and terms from the new movie. A useful glossary.

So this adaptation was a good faithful adaptation to the movie. Now I haven’t seen this movie since it first came out 38 years ago. I remember I was impressed with the visuals but the story seemed lacking. It was basically recycling a mediocre episode from the old series. Of course its main appeal was the nostalgia for this series which I loved and still do. Reading this I have a new appreciation for the movie and will have to seek it out and watch again. After all while the movie itself was so-so it did set the stage for The Wrath of Khan which is probably one of the finest movies of all time. Not to mention all the spin-offs and other cool movies.