SAVAGE SWORD OF CONAN #188

“The Power of Honor”

Writer: Doug Murray

Artists: Tod Smith and Don Hudson

In the city of Khartoosh in Koth an evil cult has captured a wizard of Mitra and his young daughter. The daughter has power that this cult of Drakka wants. The father manages to sacrifice his life so his daughter can escape. Luckily, she runs into Conan who decides to take her into his protection. From a fellow thief he gets the story of young Najia’s life. He takes her to her mother and along the way has to battle some mercenaries. At the end he fights the cult’s dragon and young Najia discovers her powers and destroys the evil cult.

“The Endless River of Blood”

Writer: Sandy Plunkett

Artists: Sandy Plunkett and Dave Cockrum

In the borderlands of Aquilonia Conan gets a vision of a Mitrian angel. The image spooks his horse and it falls into a pit. Conan grabs the edge and sees a statue with gems in the eyes. A woman manages to save Conan. She is a captain and offers Conan a job which he accepts. Only he later deserts to go get the gems from the statue. He arrives there and finds the captain doing a ritual. She is secretly part of the cult of Yog. The woman manages to cause a cave in. Only the angel of Mitra saves Conan and gets him to be the champion for Mitra. He battles the woman on the supernatural plain and defeats her.

This was an interesting issue. Lots of cultists. The first story was fairly straightforward. Conan saves a young girl from a cult. Battles mercenaries and a dragon. There were some fun sly humors in the story. The young girl was jealous of Conan and cast a spell to make him impotent. He punishers her by spanking her. The second story was a bit out there with its supernatural elements. Yet I found it interesting. A decent issue with some interesting stories to kill time.


CONAN THE BARBARIAN #217

“Beneath the City of Shadows”

Writers: Charles Santino and Val Semeiks

Artist: Val Semeiks and Alfredo Alcala

Conan has come to the ruins of the City of Shadows looking for the Jewels of Abu Dhaak. He fights some giant birds before a giant robot type creature comes. This creature can shoot lasers from its eyes. Conan manages to damage it and the creature opens a hole in the ground. Conan falls into the subterranean part of the city and has to kill a giant spider. He continues on and gets attacked by a giant lizard. The robot comes and gets into a fight with the giant lizard. Conan uses the distraction to cause a cave in. He continues on and finds the jewels only they are the size of buildings. The robot comes and uses the jewels to recharge. It gets into a fight with the giant lizard again. Conan pushes the robot between the jewels, and it gets too much power and blows up. The big jewels shatter and the city slides into the Vilayet Sea. Conan finds himself trying to stay afloat.

OK another story that just takes Conan on one long and wild ride. He has come to this deserted city for some jewels and ends up fighting all sorts of creatures. The jewels turn out to be too huge to carry. Ends up destroying the city and floating around pissed and without any treasure. Another long action filled story that doesn’t give the reader any breaks to think. A fun story.

SAVAGE SWORD OF CONAN #187

“Blood Bond”

Writer: Larry Yakata

Artist: Ernie Chan

Conan is at a tavern in Turan when a man comes in. He gets in a fight with the locals and kills them all. The man introduces himself to Conan as Aniki. He claims to come from Cimmeria and offers Conan a job. He wants to rescue a colony of blind craftsmen who are being held by some evil merchants in Vendya. Conan agrees and they rescue the craftsmen from a fortress on a rock formation. Aniki is doing this because he fell in love with one of the women that form this group. They take the group to a magical spring that will heal their blindness. The merchants try to stop them with their men and trained apes. Both are killed by Conan and Aniki. Then at the springs a monster summoned by a wizard the merchants hired attacks. Both guys easily defeat it. They go back to the fortress and set up the craftsmen operations. Aniki goes to find some merchants to sell the crafts to. While gone the blindness comes back to the craftsmen. The evil merchants also try to get back the craftsmen, but Conan and Aniki make short work of them. Conan goes off with a bagful of gold.

“Red Sonja Quells the Song of the Siren”

Writer: Marie Javins

Artists: Steve Buccellato and Alfredo Alcala

Sonja is hired to take a princess to a monarch. He wants Sonja to make sure she arrives with her innocence intact. Sonja takes a ship and finds out this is harder than it looks. The princess is a flirt and constantly coming on to the sailors. During a storm they pass rocks with sirens. The siren’s song drives the men to jump overboard. Sonja persuades the princess to sing and get them back. She eventually does when Sonja appeals to her vanity. The sailors come back but the princess jumps overboard to be with the sirens. She always wanted to be one.

This was a good issue. The first story introduces this fascinating character. It is hinted that Aniki is a possible lost brother to Conan. This is still a mystery, but it is left open that this character will come back and maybe shed some light on this mystery. An enjoyable story with some beautiful Chan artwork. The backup Sonja feature is also an enjoyable story. Deals with this vain princess who decides to join the sirens. Sonja doesn’t get her money, but she seems find with it. A good enjoyable issue.

CONAN THE BARBARIAN #216

“The Blade of Zed”

Writers: Charles Santino and Val Semeiks

Artists: Val Semeiks and Alfredo Alcala

Conan arrives at a Turanian city and decides to steal from the Zeddite Cult. He finds their sacrificial blade and figures the gold is worth his time. The Zeddites sic their hound after Conan. What follows is a non-stop chase through the city. Conan kills many Zeddites and their hound. He arrives back at the temple and sets it on fire. He also kills the leader.

So, it seems the new writing team are big on non-stop action. I like the idea. Conan is just from beginning to end in a constant state of movement. He is fighting against impossible odds and winning. True there is little character development or a deep plot. Sometimes the non-stop action is enough. It’s a fun read and a welcome distraction after a hard day’s work.

SAVAGE SWORD OF CONAN #186

“Horror Out of Time”

Writer: Chuck Dixon

Artists: Steve Carr and Al Williamson

Ohris Dehjimal was an evil sorcerer that opposed Kull. Kull had the body torn apart and the head tossed into the sea. Now in the Hyborian age an Aquilonian noble that fancies himself an archeologist has discovered the skull in Ophir. The skull has him find the rest of his body so he can once again be whole. They manage to find the body except the hand. The hand was sold to a guy in Zamora. This guy is a king of thieves in a city and has Conan as one of his hired hands. Ohris comes with his army to take the hand and has to battle Conan. Naturally Conan wins.

“Ricardo Villagran Portfolio”

A collection of seven full page illustrations of Conan by the artist.

This was the final Dixon story for Savage Sword. He decided to go out with a very good one. This ties in from the Kull mythos that was established in back up stories. A fun story with this dead sorcerer coming back and going after his hand. Conan is of course caught up in the action and doesn’t fail to deliver. Thrown in is a nice portfolio of Conan drawings to look at.

CONAN THE BARBARIAN #215

“Death Pit”

Writers: Charles Santino and Val Semeiks

Artists: Val Semeiks and Alfredo Alcala

Conan arrives at the oasis of Aqaba and finds it is now under the control of Turan. The Turanian soldiers capture him to work on the big wheel underground that controls the flow of water. Naturally Conan refuses to be a slave and fights the soldiers tooth and nail. He eventually gets knocked in the water and they think him dead. He pops out and continues the fight. He gets the keys and frees the slaves. Eventually Conan climbs up and kills the captain of the oasis. The falling body gets caught in the gears and the whole big machine falls apart. The waters come gushing out and destroying the fortress the Turanians built. Conan grabs a horse and continues his travels.

This was just one big kick ass non-stop brawl. From beginning to end it was all action with no pause. Sometimes you just need a story like this. Conan was the defiant man who refuses to be a slave. This is the essence of the character, and he really shines in this issue. A really fun read and had some cool artwork with the massive machine the Turanians use.

SAVAGE SWORD OF CONAN #185

“The Masque of the Demon”

Writer: Don Kraar

Artists: Dale Eaglesham and Pat Redding

Conan is in the house of a Zingaran noble to rob it. The noble comes back early and finds a scroll. Inside is a ring which is the Ring of Molub. Anyone possessing it will be killed by the demon Molub. It can’t be given or thrown away. It can only be passed on unsuspecting to someone or stolen. Molub comes and tears the noble apart. Conan is caught and blamed for this. He is sentenced to die on the Wheel at the inquisition. Conan does escape and finds out that the inquisitor is behind Molub. Conan gets recaptured but a noble manages to rescue those sentenced to die. The inquisitor then sends the ring to a monk who is opposing him. Molub kills him. Then the ring gets to the noble. Conan steals the ring to save him. He disguises himself during a costume party and manages to slip the ring on the inquisitor. Molub comes and tears up the inquisitor.

“Acts of Bravery”

Writer: Renee Witterstaetter

Artist: Ernie Chan

Conan is hired by the king of a city-state to deliver his daughter for marriage with a neighbor. There are those who don’t want to see peace. Conan has the princess who is a spoiled brat. She gets attacked by bats, rats, snakes and a dinosaur. She constantly whines and when they get to the neighbor, she meets her future husband. He is a fop and she wants to leave with Conan. The fop though offers her riches, and she decides to stay.

This main story of Conan was a fun read. It had an Edgar Allen Poe type feel to it. The masque and the choices of Conan’s costume. The villain was a very Poe type villain. There were moments of humor like then Molub was wandering the streets and a drunken reveler thought he was in costume. He insisted that Molub take off the head and so he knocked off the drunken reveler’s head.

The backup story was also a fun read. There was this big two page spread of the dinosaur that was just beautiful it not properly placed in the story. Another story with musical chair writers and artists but a well-done issue.

CONAN THE BARBARIAN #214

“City of Light”

Writers: Charles Santino & Val Semeiks

Artists: Val Semeiks & Alfredo Alcala

Conan’s horse dies in the desert. He continues on foot and collapses from the heat and lack of water. Just then a beautiful blonde woman comes and gives him some water. Conan finds a city in the middle of the desert. He enters and finds it inhabited by a race of blonde people. They seem to only exist to party. The blonde woman finds him and tells Conan he is now going to be part of this city forever. Conan tries to leave and finds himself trapped in an endless corridor. It leads back to the main square. He gets angry and stone animals attack him. Conan smashes them and then has to fight a giant stone satyr. He defeats it by pushing it off a high tower. The satyr busts a hole through the wall which Conan uses to escape. The woman and the city disappear at night.

This was an offbeat issue. Like a Twilight Zone type of story. Conan is lost in the desert and gets rescued by a mysterious city. Only now the city wants to keep him in pleasure forever. Conan obviously needs more in life and fights these stone creatures. The city disappears at night like it never existed. Conan continues on to Turan. I liked the story. A new writer to basically write a script for the now de facto writer of Semeiks who also pencils the issues. He has an interesting style that is a nice change of pace from the previous writer.

SAVAGE SWORD OF CONAN #184

“Disciple”

Writer: Larry Yakata

Artists: Mike Docherty and Alfredo Alcala

Conan meets up with his old teacher Sennan the Master of the Broadsword. Sennan wants Conan to teach three young disciples. Conan takes the young men and gives them a serious workout. They eventually go after a warlord that kidnapped the local tavern keeper’s daughter. Finally, they graduate and now must fight Conan. Conan cripples them by cutting one’s eyes, the others leg off and the thirds arm.

This was an interesting story. Having Conan be a teacher. An interesting idea that Conan wasn’t that good of a teacher because his students couldn’t defeat him. Yet he crippled the three so that they could use those disabilities to overcome and grow into warriors. A very deep story for a Conan. One with a lot of eastern philosophical ideas.

CONAN THE BARBARIAN #213

“The Gate”

Writers: Val Semeiks and James Owsley

Artists: Val Semeiks and Alfredo Alcala

Conan is in the desert looking for water. He decides to raid a Ghamud oasis. He kills the guards and manages to make it inside the structure. Only the Ghamud then trap him in a garden. They claim Conan must kill their death god to escape. The god will be disguised as something he would be reluctant to kill. Conan first gets attacked in the garden by a tiger. Then he is attacked by a raptor. Finally, he comes on a baby boy. Could this be the death god? Conan refuses to kill the baby and instead climbs his way out of the garden. He finds no Ghamud around and escapes back to his horse with water. At the end the death god was revealed to be a small turtle.

This was an interesting story. Had some nice artwork with this epic looking structure of two giants sitting on a throne. The adventure in the exotic garden battling exotic creatures. Another slow single-issue adventure to let the readers have a leisurely return to Conan’s wandering.