PLANET OF THE APES #26

“Northlands!”
Writer: Doug Moench
Artists: Herb Trimpe & Virgil Redondo

Jason, Alexander and the others have just escaped from the Psychedrome. They find themselves in the snowy mountains. Fortunately there is warm clothing. A blizzard comes up and Lightsmith is captured by some mysterious figures. The group goes after them and runs into some Viking apes lead by Eriko. After a fight they find out the Viking apes didn’t kidnap Lightsmith but some others known as Snow-Shamblers did. These Snow-Shamblers are mutant human/ape hybrids and Eriko offers to help. First they go by Viking longboat to their village for a feast. Then they track down the Snow-Shamblers and kill the one who has looking after Lightsmith. This snaps Lightsmith out of his brainwashing. Seems the Snow-Shamblers were not evil and the whole group learns a valuable lesson. The Viking Apes give the group their longboat to get home but keep the alien keeper since he was foretold in a prophecy.

“Man and Ape: Reflections in an Imperfect Mirror”
By Lee Overstreet.

A flowery article about how the apes world reflects the world of man. I found it a bit pretentious.

“Assault on Paradise”
Writer: Doug Moench
Artist: Dino Castrillo

Aldo has seized power and locked up the humans. Caesar meanwhile is paralyzed by grief over the death of his son. He does snap out of it long enough to confront Aldo but by then the mutant army has arrived. Fierce fighting between the gorillas and mutants with the mutants victorious. Aldo flees and abandons his gorillas. Then the mutants turn their artillery on the city with plans to wipe it off the map.

So we get another Terror installment. I do enjoy these stories. So now its Viking apes. A sad story with the killing of a gently creature. Lightsmith is out of his brainwash stupor finally. So the group are now sailing on a Viking ship home where Brutus and his gorilla/mutant army are marching on.

The article was crap which I am afraid of as the well of ideas is pretty much exhausted by now.

Finally the Battle adaptation is coming to an exciting conclusion. I loved the battle scenes as they were so much more epic than what the movie actually had.

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CONAN THE BARBARIAN #35

“The Hell-Spawn of Kara-Shehr”
Writer: Roy Thomas adapted from story “The Fire of Asshurbanipal” by Robert E. Howard
Artist: John Buscema

Conan and Bourtai are traveling by camel through the desert to Aghraphur. They come on a man being attacked by four brigands. Conan drives off the brigands but soon more come and Conan takes the injured man and flees. Later the man is dying and tries to warn Conan about the dangers of the Eye of Azure in Kara-Shehr. A sand storm losses the water the two have but they find the lost city of Kara-Shehr. Exploring they find a throne room with a skeleton clutching the huge gem. Only the brigands come and capture Conan and Bourtai. The brigands are lead by Kai Shaan a man that Conan had a run in with some issues back. Kai wants to torture Conan but first takes the gem against the advice of his men. No sooner than than he claims the gem a sandstorm appears in the throne room and a winged demon comes. The demon kills Kai Shaan and Bourtai who also tries to take the gem. The demon leaves and Conan finds the skeleton clutching the gem with the skeletons of Kai Shaan and Bourtai next to it. Conan decides to leave while he is ahead.

Another adaptation of a non-Conan Howard story. This guy was a brilliant writer. I have to start looking for more of his work to read. This story fit nicely with the current storyline. I loved the big two page spread of the reveal of the city. It had brigands and monsters and lost cities. We also say good-bye to Bourtai or monkey-face as Conan liked to call him. Obviously Roy didn’t see much point of keeping him around as a companion. I think that was a wise idea. He would start to wear quickly.

PLANET OF THE APES #25

“A Taste of Mutant Hate”
Writer: Doug Moench
Artists: Sonny Trinidad, Yong Montano & Dino Castrillo

Caesar, MacDonald and Virgil are now trying to leave the underground bunker after finding the archive tapes of Caesar’s parents. Only they have to fight the various mutants. Caesar goes through a very hot radioactive room and manages to ambush the mutants. Then the three get out and head back home. At a council meeting Caesar tells of the mutant threat and that apes must form some sort of defense. Aldo and the gorillas are angry that humans are brought into the council and leaves. In the city Breck gets a report back from a scout of the location of the ape settlement and prepares to attack.

“A Catalogue of the Apes”
By Steve Clement

An article about the various merchandise available from the apes franchise. He goes to various stores and finds all sorts of stuff.

“The War Machine!”
Writer: Doug Moench
Artists: Sonny Trinidad & Virgil Redondo

Aldo is preaching to his gorilla followers that they must seize power from Caesar. Cornelius Caesar’s son overhears this while playing around in the trees. Aldo tries to catch him and cuts the branch he was on. It falls and seriously injures Cornelius. Breck leaves on an expedition to destroy Ape city. He leave Mendez behind with orders to use the bomb if he fails. Along the way a scout is attacked and three gorillas killed. Aldo uses this to seize power.

So in this issue because of some sort of screw-up we get two installments of the Battle adaptation. It is mostly like the movie. Some major differences are that Caesar gets a high dose of radiation and starts to lose his hair and get sick. The mutants are more dumb and crazy than in the movie. Otherwise it follows the script. As for the article it was OK. Kind of fascinating to see that apes merchandising was still going strong back in the seventies.

CONAN THE BARBARIAN #34

“The Temptress in the Tower of Flame!”
Writer: Roy Thomas based on novel “Flame Winds” by Norvell W. Page
Artist: John Buscema

Conan rips off the veil of the woman he has won and finds a skull. She claims to be Death and Conan knows that those who have the courage to grasp Death can have their questions answered. So he grabs her hand and asks how can one man rule in Wan Tengri. Conan starts to grow old but stubbornly holds on. So he wins and Death whispers the answer to him then disappears. Now the seven wizards that rule want the answer. They start fighting among themselves and Conan slips out. Monkey face finds him and they go to the flame tower. There Conan must defeat a giant lion with a human face. He frees the captive princess then destroys the machine that powers the flame tower. With the flames gone the people rise up and kill the wizards. Conan is offered the chance to rule as the princess’s consort but will not be second fiddle. For Death’s answer was the man must control the princess to rule and he feels this princess can be controlled by nobody. So a ship is loaded with gold and Conan and Monkey face sail off. Then the flame tower is reactivated for the princess will be a worse tyrant than the wizards. He also gets a surprise when his gold turns to rocks and the ship starts to sink.

The final entry in the adaptation of Page’s book was an enjoyable conclusion. We have Conan manage to defeat the wizards and seem to come out. But of course the princess cheats him which was a fun ending. So Conan must go back to being in the employ of Turan and now has a companion in Bourtai the little monkey faced guy. Norvell Page wrote a good story and I might have to check out his work sometime.

PLANET OF THE APES #24

“The Doomsday Spawn”
Writer: Doug Moench
Artist: Alfredo Alcala

Caesar, Virgil and MacDonald head out to the ruins of the city to find the tapes of Caesar’s parents. They find the horror of the city which is now a molten mass of steel and concrete. They enter the bunker and find that there are survivors. Governor Breck and his mutants are still active and gathering weapons. After viewing the tapes of the interview they try to find a way out and are walking into a mutant ambush.

“Man & Ape: Reflections in an Imperfect Mirror Part I”
By Samuel Maronie

An article on the five apes film and how they portray humans.

“The Shadows of the Haunted Cathedraulus”
Writer: Doug Moench
Artist: Tom Sutton

Alric, Greymalkyn, and Strakor from the Freedom Reaver are climbing on a city ship they find drifting. It has a huge cathedral on it. They group splits with the humans going one way and the ape another. They find a frightened member of their species and each tells a story about the New Order. That after the war their people were looking for food and came on the cathedral. Only the humans or apes that controlled it wouldn’t share. A brave member kills the leader and thus starts some strange religion that involves the ritual eating of human or ape.

The two groups meet up and decide to check out who is really behind this religion. At a ceremony some white robed figures are leading black robed ones to sacrifice. It is revealed that the sacrifices are crew members from the Freedom Reaver. The cultists are mutant apes and humans that want to spread their religion by purifying all the old unmutanted apes and humans. They free their fellow crew members but find out their ship has been sunk. That the cathedral is radioactive and soon they will turn into mutants.

So the Battle adaptation is mostly accurate from the movie. They used governor Breck which I believe was how it was originally written but the actor couldn’t do it so Kolp was replaced as the mutant leader. The mutants in this are truly deformed mutants which the movie didn’t manage to portray.

The article was a filler and OK but as most of them have now become not really needed.

Finally the next installment of the Future History Chronicles was excellent. A cool story that told the same story only from different points of view. At the end we find the crew now trapped on this radioactive Cathedral ship with no way of escape.

CONAN THE BARBARIAN #33

“Death and 7 Wizards!”
Writer: Roy Thomas adapted from novel “Flame Winds” by Norvell W. Page
Artists: John Buscema and Ernie Chua

Conan has crawled out of a pool after his fight with an octopus creature. A thief is looking to rob Conan but Conan is still not dead. The arrival of the city guard interrupts Conan giving the thief a thrashing. The thief named Bourtai or Monkey-Face as Conan calls him leads him to the underground hiding place for the guild of thieves. The thieves have come on hard times since the coming of the 7 wizards. While there he hears that the sheepherder that smuggled him into the city has been arrested. So Conan goes off to the Flame Tower to rescue him. Bourtai guides him but in the catacombs the two are separated and Conan finds himself in an arena. The sheepherder has been killed and now Conan must fight for his life.

First a tiger is let loose and his sword turns into a serpent. Conan throws the serpent at the tiger and finds his sword impaled in the tiger. Next he has to battle seven champions of the wizards. The tongueless men are defeated by Conan. He then goes to claim his prize a veiled woman. When he pulls the veil he is confronted by a skull face and the woman claims to be death.

Well this story is coming along nicely. Once again we have Conan at his barbaric finest. A man who risks his life for another. A man who shows no fear and plows into the action. Wang Tengri is a weird city with these mysterious wizards each dressed in bright colored costumes. Conan has plans of possibly overthrowing the wizards and becoming king himself. A good story.

PLANET OF THE APES #23

“Messiah of Monkey Demons”
Writer: Doug Moench
Artist: Tom Sutton

Brutus has the nuclear weapons and crates of laser rifles in the Psychedrome. He can’t wait to use them to destroy all humans. Just then Jason, Alex and Lightsmith come in the subway car they stole. Brutus gloats and is about to kill Jason when the monkey-demons attack. This allows Jason and his friends to escape. They eventually find themselves back in the Psychedrome and force the alien keeper to lead them out. He takes them to another subway car that leads to the outside.

Meanwhile Brutus is distracted by the arrival of Maguanus of the Asissimians. One of the mutant drones radios his masters and informs them of the situation. They order him to destroy the missiles which he does. Brutus is angry at losing his weapons and casually has Maguanus shot. Then goes off to find Jason. Jason and company find themselves on a snowy hill. Meanwhile in Ape city the Lawgiver lies at death’s door. A young orangutan decides to go to the Forbidden Zone to find the knowledge to save him.

“Ape Out-takes!”

A montage of pictures showing the actors in ape costumes doing various things.

“The Weapons Show of Paradise!”
Writer: Doug Moench
Artists: Vicente Alcazar & Sonny Trinidad

In 2670 A.D. North America an orangutan tells the early story of Caesar. The ape city is being build but there is clear tension. Aldo thinks he should be in charge. At school he gets angry because he isn’t very smart and the human teacher inadvertently uses the forbidden word no. This requires the intervention of Caesar to stop him from being killed. Later at dinner Caesar and MacDonald talk about the situation. MacDonald tells Caesar that the future is grim and offers proof in the testimony of Caesar’s parents. It is in the command post of the old city. So the two with an orangutan go to get weapons for the journey to the old city.

The Terror story is one weird story. Which isn’t a bad thing but I was glad to see it come to a conclusion. Time to move on to more interesting parts of the world. Malaguena and Jason’s relationship is heating up. I loved Lightsmith and his brainwashed babbling. So Brutus mad plans are stopped for now. Still plenty of future action between our main protagonists and antagonists.

The outtakes were a filler with some behind the scenes pictures. Was sort of amusing.

Finally the beginning of the Battle adaptation. So far an accurate adaptation. Interesting to see how this series was not very nice to the gorillas. They are the dumb brutes while the chimpanzees and orangutans are the smart ones. I remember they also just used the clothing the apes wore in the future which I found a cop out. They should have had some different clothes but I suppose it was easier to use the old clothes.

CONAN THE BARBARIAN #32

“Flame Winds of Lost Khitai!”
Writer: Roy Thomas adapted from novel “Flame Winds” by Norvell Page
Artists: John Buscema & Ernie Chua

Conan has been sent on a mission by the Turanians to scout the Khitain city of Wan Tengri. He is to see if its ripe for conquest. So he hires a sheepherder to smuggle him into the city in a wool cart. Then at night a curtain of flame covers the city. Conan steals from a merchant and immediately the flame winds yell at him to surrender. Conan manages to evade the guards and find a fence for the stolen loot. Only the gems disappear and in the pouch is a viper. Conan stole from one of the wizards that rule the city.

Not long later the city guard comes to arrest him. He manages to beat them and flee. He finds the seraglio of the fence and is lured by a beautiful blonde woman into a pool. He follows her down a tunnel hoping it leads to freedom. Only the woman turns into an octopus monster. He cuts the tentacles off but they immediately grow back. The woman/octopus also has hypnotic powers. So Conan closes his eyes and chops off the head. He manages to crawl out of the water and pass out. A mysterious hunchback figure climbs down from a building and approaches.

So Roy is adapting a non-Howard book for this storyline. I never heard of the author but I like the story. It fits well into Conan’s world. A mysterious city ruled by wizards. A supernatural monster and ends with a cliffhanger. A good start to an adventure in the mysterious east.

PLANET OF THE APES #22

“Quest for the Planet of the Apes Part I: Seeds of Future Deaths”
Writer: Doug Moench
Artist: Rico Rival

A story set between Conquest and Battle. It is two years after the nuclear war. Apes are using humans as slaves to build their new city. Aldo is particularly a brutal overseer. This causes Caesar to intervene. A fight for leadership of the apes ensues. Aldo challenges Caesar to a quest to the old city. The one who brings back the most valuable item is the leader. So the two head off. Caesar is shocked at the devastation and decides to bring back the knowledge of what happened. Aldo finds an armory with guns and brings those back. Meanwhile Governor Breck with his followers escape and manage to grab the guns.

“Thirteen Decades of the Ape”
By Jim Whitmore

An article of apes in fiction. Starting with the first stories from the ancient Romans to the early explorers. Goes on about King Kong and the various imitations until the current times and the Planet of the Apes.

“From Shakespeare to Simian”
by Robert Cleveland

An article on Maurice Evans who played Dr. Zaius in the first two films. He started out as a Shakespearean actor on Broadway.

“Quest for the Planet of the Apes Part II: The Keeper of Future Death!”
Writer: Doug Moench
Artist: Alfredo Alcala

Governor Breck and his followers take Lisa the wife of Caesar hostage. They manage to defeat the renegade humans with great casualties. Caesar chases Breck and his followers Mendez and Alma out of the city. Then he has to fight Aldo for leadership. He uses his brains and defeats the dumb witted Aldo. Caesar decides to free the humans and have them live in an integrated society. He charges the old orangutan Mandemus to watch over the guns in case they are needed in the future.

So we get a story to bridge the gap between the two films. It was an interesting story and shows the ability to create some unique ideas in this series. Moench has been basically the one man behind this entire series and has done an admirable job of it. He sets up the conflict with Aldo and the mutants that happened in the final movie.

The articles were just not that great. I think the well of ideas has run dry for interesting articles.

CONAN THE BARBARIAN #31

“The Shadow in the Tomb!”
Writer: Roy Thomas
Artist: John Buscema & Ernie Chua

Conan continues his service in the Turanian army. He is with a force that has gone to subdue rebellious hill-men. These hill-men are huge and savage brutes. They attack and drive the survivors into a cul-de-sac. The hill-man chief proposes that the best Turanian fights their champion. If they win then they can go free. The captain remarks that he would need a magic sword to defeat the giant. This brings back a memory that Conan had.

Back in the winter that he left his village to see the world. He was being pursued by Vanir. Along the way he is ambushed by a huge bear. In the fight they break through the ground into an underground cave. The bear is killed and Conan finds himself in some tomb. He needs a sword and takes the one sticking out of the tomb grasped by a skeleton hand. Then his shadow comes alive and he defeats it by throwing a curtain on the fire. After he leaves the cave he discards the sword.

So back in the present he knocks out the Turanian captain and takes his place. He manages to cause a rock slide and crush the giant. So the survivors go free. At the end we see that the crushed giant was wielding the sword that Conan found in the tomb.

This was an enjoyable story. It starts with Conan battling savage hill-men. Then a story from his early youth. His first encounter with the supernatural and how he manages to triumph. We get to see his distrust of the supernatural when he discards the sword. The story nicely ties his past adventure with the current one. A good stand alone story and next issue will go back to a multi-issue storyline.