THE ROOK DESPERATE TIMES

“Desperate Times”

Writer: Steven Grant

Artist: Paul Gulacy

Restin Dane pursues Cat McCall who stole Adam’s time machine to 1967 San Fransisco. After a brief adventure with some hippies and a man who knows him from his future, he tracks down Cat. Before he can take her back to her time, two giant robots come and take her and the time machine. Restin follows in his castle to a station orbiting the Earth.

This station is in the far future of the 434th century. He finds that this station is refuge from an ice age and he is known to the inhabitants. A Marshal Skarkov has plans to resurrect Joseph Stalin because he was the only one in the past to destroy individuality. Restin rescues Cat and destroys this kooky plan.

Then Restin finds himself back in the age of the dinosaurs. He finds that an alien race has unleashed creatures to destroy all life so they can colonize the planet. With the help of Cat he stops them and Cat ends up in 1868 where she meets his great-great-great grandfather and becomes his great-great-great grandmother.

Finally, Restin comes to his base and meets his android servant Man-Rs. It is located in 2048 after terrorists detonate a nuke in Yellowstone. The subsequent supervolcano destroys most of the continent except the southwest where his base is located. He has to fight his crazy daughter from taking over the base. Restin goes back in time to learn how to build a time machine. He comes back and lures his daughter into a machine to strand her back in the past. He also stops Quarb from detonating the nuke and saves the country.

This was the last of the Rook Dark Horse issues. It was a graphic novel and looks like they tossed four issues into one big book. I loved this take on the Rook. It was very respectful of the original Warren stories but put a new spin on it. The writer used many of the characters from the old series. This was a wild ride with him going back and forth in time. I would love to see more of this character, but I have a feeling that isn’t in the cards for the foreseeable future.

THE ROOK #4

“Untitled”

Writer: Steven Grant

Artist: Paul Gulacy

Restin Dane is still in 1890 London when one night he is confronted by the Morlock that hitched a ride on his great-great-great grandfather’s time machine. He defeats the Morlock with the intervention of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and a Great Detective. The Great Detective puts the Morlock in his own private prison. Restin then continues on and runs into a woman fleeing some men. He saves her but she was hired by Quarb to steal the time machine key to Adam’s machine. After the girls steals his key, he finds out that the Great Detective has been kidnapped by Quarb. Taken on his dirigible, The Rook jumps on and climbs aboard. There he witnesses Quarb decapitate the Great Detective. Restin manages to blow up the dirigible and jump off. At the end the mysterious woman takes Adam’s time machine and Restin follows to catch her. Quarb survived and is revealed to be masquerading as both the Great Detective and the Alexander of Crime. He faked both deaths to continue on some other project. Which right now is examining the Morlock.

This was a very fast paced story. In some ways maybe a bit too fast. It was hard to keep up with everything but to the credit of the writer I was able to. Restin now has another goal in catching this woman thief. Quarb is still around and up to something. A good story that stays faithful to the original but yet updates it for more modern times.

THE ROOK #3

“Untitled”

Writer: Steven Grant

Artist: Paul Gulacy

Restin is imprisoned in the Morlock pit with a strange guy. This guy Quarb was apparently responsible for the Morlocks and Eloi. This was some sort of experiment in evolution for him. He also knows the older version of The Rook. He shows Restin a way to get out and they do. They find the time machine of Adam’s at the entrance to the cave and Ouarb tries to take it. Only it rejects him. Then they see some Morlocks taking Adam to a pit where they try to have him mate with some female Eloi. Quarb manages to distract the Morlocks for Restin to grab a pistol and free Adam. He then calls up his castle machine to jump start Adam’s. They both meet back in Victorian times where Adam is very disillusioned with time travel. At the end it is revealed that a Morlock managed to follow them back to the Victoria era.

This was another interesting story. Quarb was an enigmatic guy. Someone that had dealings with the Rook before. A guy not quite human and very long lived. I think from the old Warren series he was an immortal. Had an interesting explanation about the origin of the Morlocks and Eloi. A story that whets my appetite to find out more.

THE ROOK #2

“Untitled”

Writer: Steven Grant

Artist: Paul Gulacy

Adam Dane has built himself a time machine with the help of his mysterious apprentice. This apprentice is his great-great-great grandson Restin Dane. Adam is friends with H.G. Wells, and he discusses his apprehension about his new apprentice. One day he leaves and Restin follows in his own time castle. He tracks Adam to the far future and is attacked by the Eloi. Morlocks come and Adam takes his pistol and saves his grandson. He tells Restin that he taught the Eloi to fight, and they now are attacking the Morlocks. Only the Morlocks are smarter and getting the upper hand. They also are now farming the Eloi. Adam feels that he owns it to save the Eloi. The two are ambushed and Adam falls into a hole that opens up. Restin is captured by the Morlocks and thrown into a hole. He meets a mysterious man in a robe and hood that knows of Restin from his older self.

This was a very interesting story. Restin meets his great-great-great grandfather in the future of Wells. Only there was some stuff that Adam left out in the telling to Wells. Like the Eloi are little more than animals themselves and he fears they could become savage predators. He is also an Englishman with the civilizing mentality of the Victorian era and feels it is his duty to civilize the Eloi. Ends with this mysterious figure that was from Restin’s future. I am looking forward to seeing where this story goes.

THE ROOK #1

“No Future Part 1 of 4: Save Yourself”

Writer: Steven Grant

Artist: Paul Gulacy

1813 Northern Spain. A man in a British officer uniform is confronted by four weird looking characters. They are time travelers like the man and need the man’s time machine. The man is reluctant to kill them for some reason but gets to his machine and escapes to 2015. The characters follow. In 2015 Restin Dane is a grad student obsessed with building a time machine. He has a great-great-great grandfather who wrote a time travel story from the Victorian era so he must have built one. Dane’s girlfriend forces him to take time off and go to a Halloween costume party. He goes as an astronaut.

The man from the beginning arrives in 2015 and looks for Restin Dane. He finds him at the costume party but the four chasing him also arrive. A fight ensues with the man cutting off the hand of the geisha woman and killing the reptilian guy. He takes Dane from the party and flees to save the others at the party from harm. The two alive catch up and the little toad guy kills his companion. Then he rips out the throat of the man. The toad guy hopes to enter the castle machine with the man’s blood. Only the man states his blood is now poison to the toad guy. Restin backs away and the door to the castle opens for him. The computer Man-Rs greets him and teleports him away to the far post apocalypse future.

Later Dane arrives back and finds his girlfriend in a coma. She was traumatized when she found out the geisha was her. Everyone thinks the fight was a prank for no bodies exist. Dane then travels back to Victorian England to meet his relative.

This was an incredible story. Starts with some guy who obviously without stating it was the future version of Restin Dane. He has these weird guys after him. Now the younger version has the time machine. I loved this so far. It keeps the iconic castle yet updates the character to 2015. No more leisure suit. Sets up a very interesting story that you want to continue reading to find out the answers.

GROO MEETS TARZAN #4

“4 of 4”

Writers: Sergio Aragones and Mark Evanier

Artists: Sergio Aragones and Thomas Yeates

Groo has returned to the village of Ungara to get an army to help Tarzan. He gets distracted by some rancid stuff to eat and Rufferto has to round up the warriors. He also has to convince Groo not to slay them but lead them to the other world. The poor village warriors have no choice but to follow Groo or he will slay them all.

Tarzan meanwhile has knocked out the slaver leader and dressed as him. He leads the slavers away from the peaceful village and hopes that the strange creature he met doesn’t come with an army. Back in our world Sergio is about to get eaten by crocodiles. Luckily the croc is an actor hired to pretend to be a croc. Seems that Chula Vista animals die off and they must hire actors to play the animals. A friendly guy Joel Kirschbaum helps Sergio by giving him the other croc costume to keep warm as they wait for the tram to pick them up.

Groo has managed to lead his army to Pal-Ul-Don and shouts for Tarzan. This alerts the slavers that Tarzan is impersonating their leader. They are about to overwhelm him and kill him when Groo and his army arrive. A big fight ensues, and the slavers are defeated. Groo leads his army back with the promise to leave their village forever. The slavers escape and follow Groo but take the wrong path. They end up in a dinosaur valley and get eaten. Tarzan destroys the passage to Groo’s world.

At Comic-Con fans hear that Sergio is lost in Chula Vista and head out to rescue him. A guy cosplaying as Skeletor’s mother scares Sergio who thinks it is death. Fortunately, he is saved, and the publicity exposes the horrid conditions at the animal park to get it shut down.

The final issue of this crossover comes to a very satisfying conclusion. I love Groo and I love Tarzan. Combining them was a stroke of brilliance. Both characters were portrayed as they were meant to be. Plus we get a side story where Sergio and Mark poke fun at themselves. Is this the end of Groo? There are no future crossovers but a new mini-series Groo: Gods against Groo is to be the next one. A more traditional story set in Groo’s world with some familiar characters. I can’t wait.

GROO MEETS TARZAN #3

“3 of 4”

Writers: Sergio Aragones and Mark Evanier

Artists: Sergio Aragones and Thomas Yeates

Mark has to leave Comic-Con so he can rescue Sergio from Chula Vista. Sergio meanwhile is trapped in the snake house. To escape he jumps out the window and into a dumpster. He is forced to get out of his soiled clothes and wear an old racoon pelt. Back in Pal-Ul-Don, Tarzan and Groo face off with the slavers. The two enter a fray that easily defeats them. Tarzan tells Groo that they need an army and Groo goes off to get one. Tarzan thinks he decided to leave and takes his prisoners to the nearest village. There he warns the inhabitants to leave while he goes to the slavers camp. He captures the leader. Sergio has trouble getting anyone to stop when the park opens and help him. He does get his picture taken and posted on social media. This is how Mark knows what happened to Sergio. An activist looking to close down the park approaches Mark about using the plight of Sergio to accomplish this. Mark has to go back to Comic-Con to host more important panels. Groo and Rufferto make it back to the village of Ungara to recruit an army. The village is not happy about Groo returning.

“Rufferto”

Rufferto imitates a leopard to scare some monkeys. Only a real leopard is right behind him.

This issue has Tarzan and Groo meet. Both think the other is strange and Groo is mystified by the mysterious thundersticks of the slavers. Interesting that Tarzan knows Groo’s language. Anyway, a real fun issue with plenty of humor including at the expense of Sergio. Absolutely love this series.

GROO MEETS TARZAN #2

“2 of 4”

Writers: Sergio Aragones and Mark Evanier

Artists: Sergio Aragones and Thomas Yeates

Sergio is chased by a lion as Mark goes for help. The sole employee is leaving because it’s his time to quit. Mark can’t get the police because they are at Comic-Con dressed as zombies. Mark also has to get to Comic-Con because he is on many many panels. Fortunately for Sergio the lion chasing him is friendly. Sergio decides to emulate his hero Tarzan and sleep in the tree for the night. There he has dreams of Tarzan.

Tarzan has tracked the slavers to Pal-Ul-Don. They take a shot at him but miss and Tarzan escapes into the trees. He tracks them to their camp and manages to steal many of their rifles during the night. He wonder thought how he will stop the slavers without an army.

In Ungara, the people are trying to hide all their food including the rancid stuff. They are too late as Groo and Rufferto come and start to eat everything. The village gets their two greatest warriors to try and chase off Groo. Naturally Groo easily best them and this little fray gets him in the mood for more. He attacks all the warriors and decides to follow the World’s Greatest Cheese Dip sign into the mountains. The villagers are ecstatic since no one has ever returned from these mountains.

Groo follows the path to a cave that leads to a strange land. He manages to hunt a gazelle and eat it. The smell of the food brings Tarzan. Tarzan has never seen such a strange creature. The smell has also brought the slavers. While back in Chula Vista, Sergio loses his cell in the stomach of a hippopotamus. An unfriendly lion chases him into the reptile house. Only all the cages are broken and he is now trapped with snakes.

“Ruffferto”

A one-page strip that has Rufferto lost in tall grass. He sees a giraffe and climbs up its neck to find Groo.

The second issue is another brilliant one. Sergio is lost in Chula Vista and has his own goofy adventures. Mark decides that Comic-Con is more important than rescuing his friend. Tarzan finds the slavers and also finds Groo. Ends with a big fray between all three coming up. I love how Yeates and Sergio can combine their artwork so seamlessly. A real fun series that pays homage to both Tarzan and Groo.

GROO MEETS TARZAN #1

“1 of 4”

Writers: Sergio Aragones and Mark Evanier

Artists: Sergio Aragones and Thomas Yeates

Sergio and Mark are attending Comic-con. A panel for Groo actually gets some fans and they announce that the next Groo will crossover with Tarzan. Sergio also announces that he and Mark will go to Chula Vista Safari Park to research for it. Mark hears that the place is bankrupt and a condemned rathole. Later Sergio gets angry that everyone confuses him with the guy who wrote Spy vs. Spy for Mad. That is except the beautiful girl who he sketches a wall sized drawing for.

That night Sergio is reading his old Tarzan comics and dreams of Tarzan. Tarzan is summoned by the local constabulary to listen to a man’s story. He is a sponge diver and saw a slave ship. He recovered a bracelet they threw over to help Tarzan in his quest to find the slavers. At this time Groo and Rufferto have wandered into the village of Kaya. The tannery attracts Groo who starts to eat the skins in dung filled water. The elders of the village come up with a plan to get rid of Groo. They tell him that the best cheese dip in the world is located at Ungara. They then by drums warn Ungara and tell them to lead him away with promises of cheese dip somewhere else.

Tarzan continues his search for the slavers. He finds an old man that points the direction they went. It is to the land of Pal-Ul-Don. Groo comes to Ungara and they point him to another area. In our world Sergio and Mark go to Chula Vista with Sergio dressed as an explorer with a BB gun. They arrive at the safari park which does look run down. Mark hears the city plans to tear it down to build a slum in its place. After paying $60 bucks apiece they start the tour. Sergio has to get out to have his picture taken which is against the rules. A lion comes and chases after Sergio.

“Rufferto”

A short story on the back cover. Rufferto sees some birds flying away and comes on a nest of eggs. He has visions of birds to cook as they hatch. Only they are crocodile eggs and has to flee as the parents come back.

After the successful Conan crossover Sergio gets to do Tarzan. Yeates was an artist born to draw Tarzan and Sergio an artist born to draw Groo. Combining the two and you get a very beautiful issue. The Tarzan parts looks like a classic Tarzan story and the Groo parts are very much classic Groo. As a bonus Sergio and Mark insert themselves in the story. Fun humor with everyone thinking he did the Spy vs. Spy story. I actually thought that Sergio did do them. Learn something new every day. A fun and enjoyable story with plenty of humor that only Groo can deliver.

ARCHIE VS. PREDATOR #4

“Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner”
Writer: Alex de Campi
Artist: Fernando Ruiz

The Predator has mortally wounded Archie. Betty and Veronica are cowering in fear. Yet the Predator after tearing off the skin on his Dilton trophy just leaves the Jaguar blade and leaves them alone. Betty passes out and wakes in the bedroom of Veronica. Veronica has a nice dress on and gives one to Betty. She says “if I’m going to die, you can bet it’s going to be in couture.” She than has Betty help them bring Archie into the panic room. First she sets the self destruct. Than they put Archie in some medical healing machine. Only Veronica sets it to way too high and it alters Archie into a super steroid muscleman.

Veronica than arms herself with a Uzi and waits for the Predator. She doesn’t have long to wait. Veronica attacks but just makes the Predator mad. Betty trips and knocks her out of the way at the last minute. Than muscle Archie comes to the rescue. Only Archie is still no match and gets his head chopped off. Betty and Veronica attack the Predator with the Jaguar knife and a mace. Only now the house is about to explode so they drag themselves into the panic room. The wounded Predator drags himself along. Appears he was in love with the girls. At the end the girls are using the medical machine to turn the Predator into a version of Archie. After all he was devoted to them.

“Josie and the Pussycats meet Finder”
Writer: Alex de Campi
Artist: Carla Speed McNeil

The Pussycats are at a station out in the middle of a desert going to a festival. Some hunky guy directs them to some spa. A story that really made no sense to me.

So the end comes. This should have been called Betty & Veronica vs. Predator since they were the main characters. Archie just was a supporting character. This was fine since they were way more interesting than Archie. I mean the guy is so white bread he probably can’t hang around a supermarket for fear someone will mistake him for a loaf of Wonder Bread and buy him. Also this cover was my favorite. These two girls are so hot. Also inside with their dresses torn and them kicking ass which was a real turn on. I can’t understand what these two see in such a doofus as Archie. Anyway this was real a hot issue.

I enjoyed this series. It was just plain goofy which is what you would expect in such a series. The Predator was apparently in love with either Betty, Veronica or both. You almost feel sorry for him. He has such a sad look when the girls are trying to kill him. Plus the whole kooky ending with them turning him into the perfect Archie. That’s just nuts. They decided to do a sequel years later and we look at how that turned out.