THE WARLORD #9

“Then…Now…”
Writer and Artist: Mike Grell

Morgan and Shakira are hunting down the remnants of Kate Archer’s brigands. They track them into a swamp. There are six but two decide they are no match and run off. This leaves four which is very easy for Morgan to take them down. So they head back to Shamballah. There Ewan McBane has decided to do a documentary about Skartaris. He interviews Tinder, Jennifer and Tara. Tinder and Alysha find time to get together and Tinder tells of his childhood. At the end Kate Archer returns to Castle Deimos and helps out a revived Deimos for the clone machine.

So this was a laid back issue. Morgan and the others have time to relax. Ewan decides to do a video log about Morgan so we will get some more history. Which is a good idea I suppose for new readers. Some romances are developing between Ewan and Jennifer and Tinder and Alysha. Also gives us the foreboding of having Deimos return so we know that this is the calm before the storm. I really enjoy Grell doing the artwork on his title. He has a way with showing the story through images with a minimum of exposition or dialogue.

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THE WARLORD #8

“The Forgotten Conclusion”
Writer and Artist: Mike Grell

Morgan has to fight off some beastmen that are attacking him and the girl. While he fights we get a flashback to before Morgan lost his memory. Shakira went off to hunt as Morgan and his men waited for the brigands lead by Kate Archer. They explore the ruins and discuss what the statues of the gods were. The discussion turns philosophical about the meaning of life. Then the brigands attack them and Morgan is the only survivor.

Back to the present and Morgan has defeated the beastmen. The woman he was defending is covered in blood and laughing. She says that she picked Morgan to be her champion. That she was with him since he was born and we get a montage of Morgan’s past. Morgan remembers and the woman kisses him. Then Morgan is woke up by Shakira. She came back from hunting and found him. So the two ride off with the woman looking on.

Well this was a fascinating issue. It was sort of used to give the readers a refresher about Morgan. It was well done with the soldiers that were with Morgan being the boisterous and rowdy bunch of men you would expect of warriors. Yet they display a true insight into the nature of life. The woman while never named is obviously Death. Morgan has run into her before and her speech was identical to the one give before. She just had a change of color to her hair. This introspective story with beautiful artwork by Grell himself make this a winner.

THE WARLORD #7

“The Forgotten”
Writer and Artist: Mike Grell

Morgan is wounded after a battle where he is the sole survivor. Laughter rouses him from his injury and he finds some men chasing a beautiful white haired girl. Naturally Morgan intervenes and rescues her. The strain of the fight causes him to pass out. He comes to with the girl watching over him. Morgan has no memory of who he is but the girl does. She tells him that he is the Warlord and a great hero. Morgan has some glimpses of his past life but his memories still doesn’t reveal his identity. The girl leads him around the ruins and tells of their history. At the end a group of savages attack them.

So this issue was a treat. Finally get one written and drawn by Grell. Even the cover was done by him just like in the good old days. The story was simple but interesting. It was told with a minimum of dialogue and exposition. The drawing told most of it. And the art was beautiful with many two page spreads and panoramic views. Sometimes you just need to appreciate beautiful artwork.

THE WARLORD #6

“Saga Part 6 Death From Above”
Writer: Mike Grell
Artist: Chad Hardin

Hawkins has used the energy cannon on his dirigible to cause an avalanche and destroy Tara and the Shamballahian army. Fortunately Jennifer uses her sorcery to shield some of the army. Still most of the army is wiped out and it looks hopeless to stop Hawkins. Only Tinder has arrived with an army. Hundreds of peasants have come to fight for their freedom. So with the weapons that Morgan stole from the surface his peasant army attacks Hawkins.

Hawkins has decided to get rid of his girlfriend Kate by giving her as a slave to his commander. Just then a boulder comes crashing through from a catapult. Morgan and the army attacks. Mariah breaks free and joins up with her husband Machiste. McBane decides to slug Kate. Morgan manages to jump on the departing dirigible and fight Hawkins. The dirigible crashes and Hawkins manages to escape through the portal to the surface before the energy cannon on the dirigible goes off and destroys the portal. Morgan and his friends celebrate victory as Hawkins finds himself trapped in the cave that was destroyed last issue. An epilogue has Kate going to a temple and putting the Mask of Life on a skull.

Leave it to Grell to bring a storyline to an exciting conclusion in a quick and fast paced way. This story has everything I love about this series. Morgan is shamed by a former comrade from his early fight for freedom. That the cause of freedom is important and worth fighting for. A lot of character growth in this issue. McBane also grows and finds a cause worth fighting. Hawkins gets a fit ending for a power hungry megalomaniac. A happy ending but also leave it to Grell to set up the next battle. Looks like Deimos is once again being brought back to life.

THE WARLORD #5

“Saga Part 5 The Castle”
Writer: Mike Grell
Artist: Chad Hardin

The army of Shamballah has received the signal from Machiste and is marching on castle Deimos. Morgan and McBane have gone to Tibet. There Morgan sees the night sky for the first time in years. So the first order is to infiltrate the Chinese army base and steal guns and explosives. They do that and must then fight their way back to the cave with the Chinese army in pursuit. They make it to the portal and blow the cave entrance before going back to Skartaris. Ned Hawkins has finally had the scrolls of Deimos translated and the binary code entered by Kate. He manages to activate a huge flying ship. With it he shoots an energy beam that causes an avalanche on the approaching Shamballahian army.

So this issue we have Morgan going back to the surface. During this excursion we get some background on McBane. He was part of the fighting in Northern Ireland and lost a woman he loved to the violence. Also Hawkins now has a powerful Atlantean warship to help him conquer Skartaris. The story ends with Morgan thinking that Tara may have been killed in the avalanche. So a nice cliffhanger to end on. Makes you want to find out how it goes in the next issue which is always the sign of quality writing.

THE WARLORD #4

“Saga Part 4 The Castle’s Secret”
Writer: Mike Grell
Artists: Joe Prado & Chad Hardin

Tinder and Alysha try to incite the locals against the new golden god. They don’t succeed but Shakira finds them. She tells them that Morgan and Machiste are now prisoners and they decide to rescue them. Inside the dungeon McBane tells Morgan how the group arrived there. He also tells him it is 2009. Tinder and the two girls enter the castle through the sewers and into Deimo’s old laboratory. They meet up with McBane who has decided to join them. So they free Morgan and Machiste. While escaping they knock over a column and release a reptilian minotaur that they have to defeat. The group splits up with Machiste going to summon Tara and the Shamballahian army. Morgan and McBane are going to Tibet to retrieve modern weapons from the Chinese. Ned Hawkins has translated the spell book of Deimos and with a mysterious skull with runes now knows some powerful secret.

Well another incredible issue. Tinder is showing that he has the same leadership skills has his father. They manage to escape and get ready for a big fight. Morgan and McBane are headed to the surface to find weapons to defeat Hawkins. One thing I didn’t get was Morgan’s shock about it being 2009. Grell has already had Morgan to the surface so he is aware of the wonky time difference between Skartaris and the surface. Anyway another exciting entry in the new series.

THE WARLORD #3

“Saga Part 3 Shadowland”
Writer: Mike Grell
Artist: Chad Hardin

Morgan, Shakira and Machiste come on a man and his family fleeing the slavers. They find out from him that Tinder came by and warned them. Then he set the field on fire and held off the slavers so the family could get away. The last the fleeing family saw was Tinder hit by an arrow and falling into a river. Tinder didn’t die because he later saves Alysha Grant the beautiful blonde from the surface world from a dinosaur.

Morgan and friends come to the fortress of the new god that is terrorizing Skartaris. They ambush some men and enter disguised. They find that Mariah is captive of the leader who is one of the men from the surface. Ned Hawkins and Kate Archer are in charge and want Mariah to help decipher the secret of Atlantis. Morgan and friends attack but are captured although Shakira manages to turn into a cat and escape.

So a lot happens in this issue and all of its exciting. Tinder has the youthful enthusiasm of Morgan’s dream of freedom which puts shame to Morgan and his pessimism. We find out the members from the surface are responsible for the new god that is causing terror in Skartaris. Ends with the group captured. I really love how Grell keeps the story moving fast paced with interesting stories. Once again I am just excited to have him back writing this series.

THE WARLORD #2

“Untitled”
Writer: Mike Grell
Artist: Joe Prado

Morgan decides to scout out the growing threat from this new self proclaimed deity that is conquering the neighboring lands. He takes Shakira and later finds Tinder also deciding to tag along. Tinder gives a song about the origins of the Warlord. The group then come on slavers and find Machiste a captive. Morgan wants to free his friend but Tinder thinks they should warn the settlers of the approaching threat. They argue and Tinder rides off to warn the settlers. Morgan and Shakira then free Machiste and find out his kingdom Kiro has been conquered. Mariah is a captive and taken north. They decide to follow Tinder to help him.

So the second issue gives us the Morgan of old. The one who goes off adventuring with Shakira. Tinder provides a nice recap of the first issues and Morgan’s origin. Morgan still has some cynicism about his life and the death of his son still haunts him. Interesting he still hasn’t found out that Tinder is his long lost son. We get hints that Deimos may still be alive and a sense that this threat is growing. I can’t tell you how enjoyable it is to read Warlord with Grell back at the helm. His long absence has definitely recharged his creativity for the Warlord.

THE WARLORD #1

“Untitled”
Writer: Mike Grell
Artist: Joe Prado

A young couple in the mountains of Tibet find a dinosaur encased in ice. The woman Alysha Grant takes the head to a paleontologist who is naturally very excited at this discovery. So an expedition is mounded in secret to further explore the cave. A daredevil and some shady guy are recruited to sneak the group in. Once in Tibet they run into a Chinese army camp and flee from the soldiers. They find the cave and there is a triangular doorway to someplace. With the Chinese looking for them they decide to enter the gateway to another world.

Travis Morgan thinks about how his SR-71 spy plane was hit by Soviet missiles and he crashed in Skartaris. While talking to Shakira a giant bird attacks them. They manage to defeat it. The bird like many humans have been fleeing a new kingdom that was established in the Shadow Kingdom. That land where Skartaris meets the surface world. Morgan questions some refugees from Kiro and finds out this new invader uses a powerful weapon that can kill from great distances and puncture armor. It sounds like a bullet from a gun.

Well after the shitfest that was the Bruce Jones reboot, I can’t tell you how excited I was to get the real Warlord back. The Warlord created by Mike Grell who came back to write. He wasn’t drawing it but found an artist that did it justice. Right off the bat we are introduced to some new characters from the surface that have found their way into Skartaris. There was a brief recap to remind us of Morgan’s origin. Then another cryptic glimpse of a mysterious new enemy conquering Skartaris with what looks like firearms. This was just a beautiful piece of work and extremely happy to get the return of my buddy Morgan and company in all new exciting adventures.

THE WARLORD #10

“The Final Quest?”
Writer: Bruce Jones
Artist: Phil Winslade

The Warlord is taking a ride and exploring the unknown regions of Skartaris. One night he meets a fleeing couple from warriors on horseback. They kill the man but Morgan manages to save the girl and kill her pursuers. Only one warrior a woman survives and the young woman Fhalla is kind to minister to her wounds. Later Morgan gets the story behind the incident. She comes from a village called Hurstwood. A woman had a bastard child that grew up to be a demon. The demon was killed but the vengeful mother’s spirit took all the newborns from the village. She left a message that a virgin must be burned on the site each year or no child is safe.

So basically Fhalla was to be this years virgin sacrifice. Just then a horde of flying demons attack and Morgan manages to drive them off. They were from the Hurstwood witch. Fhalla suggests that Morgan take her virginity to save her. Naturally he agrees. After their night together he is wakened by the warrior woman who was injured. Morgan finds out that Fhalla is the witch and was looking for a mate to breed with. She gives birth to a new demon and other demons come. Fortunately the warrior woman cuts off the head of Fhalla and that kills all her offspring. At the end the warrior woman gets the hots for Morgan who has to be the luckiest guy on the planet.

So the final issue of the reboot was an untold story. The ongoing one was such a piece of shit the writer didn’t even bother to finish it. So for the end we get a standalone story set in the future. Now this was the most coherent story so far which isn’t too difficult since the bar was not set high. My main reaction is so what? This series was clearly ending and why bother with this? A big shrug of indifference to reading it. My only complement is this new artist was real good.

So basically this reboot was a heaping pile of shit. Now shit though does have its uses. It fertilizes the soil so strong and health plants can spring from it. This pile of shit fertilized the soil for the next series. This time it would bring back Mike Grell and the classic Warlord that I and many others had come to love. It showed that there was an interest in Warlord and we would finally get the return that we had been waiting for.