GROO PLAY OF THE GODS #1

“Play of the Gods Part I”
Writer: Mark Evanier
Artist: Sergio Aragones

Groo and Rufferto come to the kingdom of Isaisa. The kingdom is going through changes. People are flooding in that don’t believe in the one true god Diothos. The priests get permission from the queen to have an inquisition to torture and slay those who don’t accept Diothos message of love and compassion. They run into a problem with Groo coming and starting to attack their soldiers. A wise priest manages to put up signs showing the way to cheese dip and getting Groo to go around in circles.

Ahax meanwhile has come back from his explorations and reports a new land filled with gold. Naturally the queen wants this land and hires Taranto and his mercenaries to claim it. The priests are interested in converts. Taranto gets permission to recruit prisoners from the dungeon to fill in his mercenary troop. Thus Groo who wanders into the dungeon looking for cheese dip is recruited for the voyage to the new world. While all this is going on the gods are angry with Diothos who they blame for tacitly approving his followers inquisition.

A new Groo series and you can see where its going. Nice to see Taranto back who is scheming to get all that gold and poor ole Ahax who thought he was free of Groo. Should be an interesting reaction when they find out their favorite barbarian is along for the ride. And of course the gods are once again fighting and will probably draw Groo into the whole mess. The start of another great Groo mini-series.

GROO FRAY OF THE GODS #4

“Fray of the Gods part IV”
Writer: Mark Evanier
Artist: Sergio Aragones

The Sage and Minstrel are traveling and notice that there are a lot of people on the move. They find out about the Star God and decide to visit. So at Ombolo Groo is once again eating everyone out of their home. But King Cuffi has to keep feeding Groo otherwise he starts to slay his army. King Saffi decides to quit waiting around for Groo to bring back his treasury and marches the army on Ombolo to recover it himself. This allows his subjects to quit building his tomb. They decide to tear it down and go home to their families.

So Saffi’s army is attacked by Groo but Saffi manages to convince Groo to instead attack King Cuffi’s army. When Cuffi hears this he decides to mobilize more men so goes to the canyon so his amplified voice will carry to his subjects. The gods meanwhile are in an uproar. The Star God is becoming all powerful and the older gods are fading. It is hear that Groo comes to the valley to fight that echo that was mocking him. He gets into an argument with Cuffi who in an angry outburst calls Groo dumb just like his followers for believing in the made up Star God. His followers hear and in anger revolt and tear down the Star God temples. The Star God fades because nobody believes in him anymore and the other gods are back to normal. Cuffi and Saffi get into a fist fight as their armies decide to call it quits and go home. The Sage manages after only fifteen times to explain an echo to Groo and the world goes on as normal.

So Cuffi found out as many others have that you can’t use Groo without serious consequences. The old gods are now safe and everybody except the two brothers are going on with their lives. It this case Groo was responsible although he was also responsible for all the trouble so I guess it evens out. This was another enjoyable Groo series with plenty of humor and social commentary. I do love Groo and look forward to the next series.

GROO FRAY OF THE GODS #3

“Fray of the Gods Part III”
Writer: Mark Evanier”
Artist: Sergio Aragones

Tragedy has befallen the village of Ombolo. Groo is eating all the food and now the residents are starving. To make matters worse Groo is wrecking the construction of the temple with his offers to help. Cuffi the Star God is at the moment more worried about increasing his worshipers so he can have more slave labor and taxes. He gets an idea and summons Groo. He convinces Groo to go on a quest for him. Along with an entourage that he provides. The people are overjoyed that Groo is leaving and attribute it to the Star God.

So Groo and his entourage travels far and wide. His emissary who travels with Groo comes to a village and tells them they should go to Ombolo and seek the protection of the Star God because Groo has come to settle forever in their village. Naturally they panic and abandon the village for Ombolo. Now the Star God is becoming more and more powerful much to the fear of the other gods.

The third installment of this mini-series is pretty funny. The Star God seems well on the way toward becoming the only god thanks to Groo. Still this is Groo we are talking about and nobody has ever had much success in using him without it blowing up in their faces. I have no doubt that the final issue will be a fun an enjoyable ending to the rise of the Star God.

TARZAN ON THE PLANET OF THE APES #5

“Untitled”
Writers: David Walker and Tim Seeley
Artist: Fernando Dagnino

So we are back in the far future just before the Omega bomb went off. Caesar is working with his parents on how to save the world when General Ursus comes. He needs Zira to help interrogate another talking human. She finds out that its Tarzan. Tarzan attacks Ursus when he threatens Zira and Caesar also comes to the rescue. Dr. Milo meets his alternate self. He apparently has done this many times and all have ended the same. He decides to kill his alternate self and then kill Zira and Cornelius.

So Tarzan, Caesar, Zira and Cornelius flee into the forbidden zone. Coming on is Ursus and the gorilla army. Tarzan and Caesar attack and are joined by humans. Dr. Milo is dragged up after being captured in his failed assassination attempt and talks of how both humans and apes are beasts destined to destroy themselves. Tarzan and Caesar disagree and believe that because of their strong bond they can avert the destruction of Earth. They may be right for at the end the mutants in New York are viewing this and are moved enough not to launch the bomb.

So the final ending and the story comes full circle. They are back in the far future and this time manage to save the world. A very optimistic outcome to a Planet of the Apes story. They usually end in the opposite. So time has finally found a combination that averts the destruction of the planet. This was a very enjoyable story. I didn’t know what to expect from this wild combination of characters but it was handled well. It stayed true to both creations and came to a happy ending.

GROO FRAY OF THE GODS #2

“Fray of the Gods Part II”
Writer: Mark Evanier
Artist: Sergio Aragones

King Cuffi is shocked to find out that the screams of pain are not the peasants being put down by his army but his army being slaughtered by Groo. Indeed the rightful king Saffi is put back on the throne. He exiles his brother and gives Groo a feast for his help.

Well cleaver Cuffi manages to steal the treasury and buy the army off so he comes out not too bad. Meanwhile the people are celebrating that they will no longer have to slave over the temple. Groo makes a casual observation that the temple would make a great tomb for the current king Saffi. Saffi thinks that’s a great idea and re-enslaves the people to finish the temple which does not endear Groo to the people.

Cuffi finds another village and uses his wealth to buy the worship of its inhabitants. The Star God is back among the gods. Yet the gods can see that the belief in the Star God is fragile. Soon his people will see through the sham and abandon him. Whats worse is Groo has arrived sent by Saffi to get back the stolen treasury. Cuffi decides to use Groo to his own ends which bring endless mirth from the other gods for they know that using Groo will end in disaster.

Well it seems like no matter who is king the people get screwed. I guess some things never change. Anyway this is another wonderful entry in the Groo saga. The Star God Cuffi is heading for disaster. Even the gods can see that for one does say that “If not for Groo, mortals would have far less reason to pray to us.” In my experience even the gods can’t protect anyone from the disaster known as Groo.

TARZAN ON THE PLANET OF THE APES #4

“Untitled”
Writers: David Walker and Tim Seeley
Artist: Fernando Dagnino

Tarzan, Caesar, Innes, Milo and the other apes and cavemen have been waging a successful war against the Mahars. Now they have one last city with a portal to destroy. So they manage to fight their way to the portal at great cost. Most of the group including Innes doesn’t survive. Caesar is driven through the portal by the Mahars. When Tarzan and Milo arrive they manage to set off dynamite before they also escape through the last portal.

The portal leads to a far future that Caesar’s parents came from. Caesar meets his parents and finds out that Taylor has been dissected already. Tarzan comes out and fights the gorilla soldiers that are killing the humans. Milo comes out and wants to stop the bomb exploding. Finally Dr. Zaius has dreams of the event that destroys the world and goes to Taylor’s ship.

So they manage to destroy the Mahar’s plan to enslave the multi-dimensions. Now Tarzan, Caesar and Milo are back in the future that is ruled by apes. A minor difference is that Taylor is dead. Still it should be fascinating to see how they manage to alter this timeline. I wasn’t expecting such a vast journey from 1907 Earth to Pellucidar and finally the far future of the apes movies. This is a really excellent story going on.

GROO FRAY OF THE GODS #1

“Fray of the Gods”
Writer: Mark Evanier
Artist: Sergio Aragones

Groo and Rufferto are wandering as they always do when they come upon a village. This village has no men. They are fighting over the hill. So Groo jumps into that fray with wild abandon. One of the fighters asks which side is he on. For the two sides are fighting over their one true god. The fighting stops because monks have come to pray. Groo then chases them off so the fray can continue. Unfortunately the soldiers have also had enough of Groo and run away.

So Groo finds another village. This one the men are building a temple to their new god. The new king Cuffi has declared himself a god and forces his subjects to build the temple. When the men find out they have Groo they convince him to fight the king’s army which Groo is very enthusiastic about. So the mob marches on the king and Groo lays waste to the army. Meanwhile Cuffi who calls himself the Star God has come among the other gods in the clouds. He wants to be accepted but the other gods just laugh. They point out that nobody truly believes in him and anyway Groo is wiping out his army so he has no way to compel belief from his subjects.

The new Groo series takes on religion in a whimsical and funny way. All the gods exist because of belief in them by people so in some way they owe their existence to the common people. Anyway the gods are probably in for a surprise since I doubt that even they will come out unscathed by Groo.

TARZAN ON THE PLANET OF THE APES #3

“Untitled”
Writers: David Walker and Tim Seeley
Artist: Fernando Dagnino

The humans and apes are attacked by raptors and now both Caesar and Tarzan fight together. They defeat them but not without losses including Tarzan’s cousin William. They come back to the Mangani city and find it in ruins. Mahars have come and killed Zira. The apes abandon the city in search of their new enemy. They find a group of men at a campfire. It is David Innes and some cavemen from Pellucidar. Suddenly the group is attacked by Mahars and Tarzan and Caesar’s apes come to the rescue.

They are also joined by another ape in an astronaut suit. This is Milo only a Milo from an alternate reality. He tells how the trips through time have opened portals in Pellucidar to other dimensions. The Mahars are going to use these portals to kidnap others for hosts to their offspring. Thus he leads the group through a portal back to Pellucidar to stop the Mahars plans.

So the third issue really took a wild turn that was unexpected. Mahars from Pellucidar and David Innes are introduced. Zira is killed and both Tarzan and Caesar have reconciled. That the story goes to Pellucidar shows that the writers are really imaginative. All the alternate realities open whole new possibilities of story ideas. This is one cool concept and I am loving this series.

GROO FRIENDS AND FOES #12

“Kayli”
Writer: Mark Evanier
Artist: Sergio Aragones

Groo is dead. Kayli has finally found her father the Minstrel but he is scheduled to be executed by the King of Debar. Kayli finds the Sage and he recommends that Chakaal help her. Meanwhile the word spreads that Groo is dead. Everyone that he has met in this series converges on Debar. Pal ‘N’ Drumm take the dead body of Groo and charge for people to slap it. Grooella decides its time to conquer the kingdom. Taranto comes to loot it. Granny Groo and her gypsies are there to rescue the Minstrel. So there is a big free for all in the kingdom. The Sage decides to test if Groo is really dead by holding up a bowl of cheese dip in front of his face. This wakes Groo up who then joins the fray.

Well the dumb king is deposed and forced to listen to music in the dungeon. The Minstrel is reunited with his daughter. He was separated from his family when drafted. After the war he found his home in ruins because of the war. Now reunited with his daughter they both go off to search for his wife.

The final issue in this epic twelve issue series. A very satisfying ending. Kayli was reunited with her father. Groo is not dead to the joy of Rufferto but the disappointment to everyone else. It brings back everyone that was in the series and gives them the ending they deserve. If has been a few years since Groo was published and this story was an excellent way to reintroduce the characters that populate this universe. There are two more series in the works and one will be explored next week. Hopefully Groo is here to stay.

TARZAN ON THE PLANET OF THE APES #2

“Untitled”
Writers: David Walker and Tim Seeley
Artist: Fernando Dagnino

London 1907 and the bobbies are once again having to drag Tarzan from climbing the trees in the park. They take him to his cousin William Clayton. After some pleasantries with the ape servant he then has to talk to his angry cousin. Tarzan and William argue about taking apes as slaves. William is making a lot of money from this trade but also has trouble in fighting the apes. Milo who now calls himself Caesar is leading the fight against the humans in Africa. William wants Tarzan to go with him and negotiate some settlement.

So the two with an expedition head off to Africa. There they are ambushed and captured by Caesar and his Mangani. He gets into a fight with Tarzan about bring humans to his jungle. He is also still angry at his father being killed and takes it out on his foster brother. At the end both sides are attacked by a herd of raptors.

So it skips five years into the future. The writers did an excellent job of showing what happened in these years without all the exposition. Since last issue apes are now being used as slaves. At least in Britain. Milo has adopted the name Caesar just like in the movies. It ends with both humans and apes attacked by raptors so we are left with another cliffhanger mystery ending.