KA-ZAR THE SAVAGE #15

“A Lovely Day For An Execution!”
Writer: Bruce Jones
Artists: Brent Anderson & Armando Gil

Ka-zar is accused of murdering Mele. His spear impaled into Mele’s chest when the two went over the cliff. The tribe is for executing Ka-zar. Ka-zar after a good fight is captured and taken back to the village. There Shanna as the widow is tasked with executing Ka-zar. She instead frees him and helps him escape.

“Blood Brothers”
Writer: Bruce Jones
Artist: Val Mayerick

Maa-Gor the leader of the Man-Apes is a manic depressive. Has a lot of mood swings. One time he catches his wife with his second in command. After bashing his head in he decides to execute all the top tier of his warriors. When a woman spurns his advances he not only kills her but wants to kill all the tribes women. Now this is too much for the tribe so they hide the women until Maa-Gor sleeps his mood off.

So when sabretooth tigers eat his meal its no surprise that he starts to go hunting the animals until they are nearly exterminated. We end with Zabu rescuing the young Ka-zar from Maa-Gor after he kills the boy’s father.

Well this is an interesting issue. Ka-zar seems to be getting back his spirit and attitude. Unfortunately he gets too cocky and gets captured. Apparently this tribe believes that a warrior imbues his spear with his power. So the owner is responsible for whatever happens with the spear. So even an accident he is still responsible for Mele’s death. Shanna still shows she loves him by rescuing him. It was sad that she had to leave her step-daughter Leila behind. She really had grown attached to her.

The back up story focused on Maa-Gor. The evil Man-Ape responsible for both Zabu’s and Ka-zar’s family being killed. This was a funny story. Maa-Gor is just a nut case but being the strongest man and chief he gets away with a lot of crazy stuff. So Ka-zar and Zabu are united for the first time. Will be interesting to see the adventures of these two when they first meet.

RED SONJA #5

“So We Meet Again”
Writer: Amy Chu
Artist: Carlos Gomez

Kulan Gath’s monster is destroying Manhattan. He is gleefully planing to rebuild the city as a monument to himself. Max and Sonja are floating in a bubble that Max’s magic created to help them escape the demon. They land in Brighton Beach. Their friends find them and they try to come up with a plan. While watching Max do his magic trick a plan is formed. They figure out that Max is magically transporting the coins back to Hrykania. So maybe if they spin something big enough they can send back Gath and his demon. The biggest thing they have is the Wonder Wheel at Coney Island. So they post a challenge to Gath on social media so he gets angry and comes to them. Our heroes are on the Wonder Wheel but Max can’t get up enough energy and the demon is fast approaching.

Now its getting exciting. Sonja and her friends now have a plan but will it work? Sonja seems to be getting used to New York. She is learning how to flip people off. Their post gets over 1.1k likes. This adventure in the modern world is turning out to be a fun ride.

THE WARLORD #58

“Royal Flush”
Writer: Mike Grell
Artist: Mark Texiera

The double of Morgan is starting to show his true self. He drinks and is sullen. In a bad mood he strikes Tara who draws her sword and almost kills him. Morgan’s double has driven Tara into the comforting companionship of her childhood love Graemore. We get a flashback to how these two met. Graemore’s parents were booty from a successful war. The father could sew and the mother was an accomplished blacksmith. The father was literate so with these skills would teach the young king’s daughter. Graemore meets a young Tara and as kids the two start a friendship. A friendship that grows as they mature. The king exiles the family to put a stop to this budding romance. Meanwhile Tinder is reluctantly forced to guard the dungeon. Darvin extorts more gold from Praedor for keeping Morgan in his dungeon. Darvin also remembers where he seen the armband Tinder wears. It was on the queen’s arm. So he realizes that he has the true heir to Shamballah.

“Darkworld”
Writer: Paul Kupperberg
Artist: Jan Duursema

Arion has awakened and is confronted by the powerful Balance. He is at a lose for what to do. Then from the image of the face of Cachulha comes power that floods him. His powers are restored. Then the mighty Cachulha his master appears. Arion’s loss of his powers were a test to teach the young mage humility. Cachulha casually sends the powerful balance away and tells Arion his origin. He was a child of the cosmos. Cachulha then sends Arion and his companions away.

Well this was an eventful issue. A lot of threads are starting to come together. Tara and Graemore start to rekindle their love. The conspiracy is about to end their charade now that they got what they wanted. Darvin realizes Tinder’s true heritage and Tinder is in a position to meet his real father. All this in an issue where the Warlord is absent in this own comic. Although the double plays a prominent role.

Arion is coming along. Not really sure what all is going on but it should get clearer with next issue.

SAVAGE TALES #4 CONAN THE BARBARIAN

“Night of the Dark God”
Writer: Roy Thomas adopted from “The Dark Man” by Robert E. Howard.
Artists: Gil Kane Neal Adams & Diverse Hands

Conan comes upon a fisherman in Vanaheim and takes his boat. He is on a mission to save the woman he loves. Mala is Conan’s first love from his home village in Cimmeria. One day while at a tavern he gets to thinking about her and decides to go to her in his native Cimmeria. When he arrives he finds that Vanir have raided his village and taken Mala. So it leads him to a tribe that lives on an island.

While going there he comes upon a boat with dead Vanir and some dark-skinned race. All that is left is a metal statue of a figure holding a sword. He finds it light as a feather and takes it with him. He then arrives on the island. Some Vanir find his boat and take the statue back to their chieftain. In the great hall the chief Thorfel is about to marry Mala. Mala decides to grab a knife and kill herself. This causes Conan to go berserk but he is overwhelmed by numbers. Just then hordes of the dark-skinned people pour into the hall. Conan manages to kill Thorfel. The dark-skinned men are Picts come to take the statue of Brule the Spear-Slayer. Conan takes his first love back to his village to be buried.

“Star-Crossed Swords”
By Roy Thomas
Art: Al Wiliamson

An editorial about the resurrection of Savage Tales. He goes on about the real reason and addresses the various rumors that are false.

“Jason and his Electric Argonauts”
By Erwin Stevenson

An article on the stop motion from the film Jason And The Argonauts. It tells how Ray Harryhausen had to match up his stop motion with real live action. An interesting article on one of my favorite Harryhausen films.

“The Crusader”
Writer: Stan Lee
Artist: Joe Maneely

The man known as El Alemain has found out his true heritage and decided to switch sides and join the crusade. He makes his way to the camp of Richard the Lionheart. There he battles Saladin and defeats him with his Saracen blade but lets him go because he was an honorable opponent.

“The Hour of the Gnome”
By Roy Thomas

An article on Gnome press that was the first to release Conan books in the early fifties. Started by Martin Greenberg who coming back from the war and started to release the classics from the pulp magazines of the thirties.

“The Dweller in the Dark”
Writer: Roy Thomas
Artist: Barry Smith

While traveling in Corinthia Conan runs afoul of the soldiers guarding an oasis. He refuses to pay a toll and instead kills the braggart of a captain. The captain was the lover of the queen and so he is captured and taken to her. The queen isn’t too upset and decides to promote Conan to the open position. Now this position basically is to service the queen and Conan starts to want his freedom. He goes to the bath chambers and finds the handmaiden Yaila. Just then the queen walks in and in her jealous rage has both of them tied up in the sewers. The Dweller in the Dark will take care of them.

Conan isn’t one to meekly sit back and with his strength breaks the chains. He finds a sword from a dead victim and fights the Dweller which is a giant octopus like creature. He and Yaila break free and climb up a ladder that leads to the throne room. Conan grabs the queen and pitches her to the Dweller. The people are grateful to be rid of her. They get to choose a new queen and Conan suggests Yaila.

So after another brief hiatus this series is back. I can see why it came back. The articles in this were better than average. The Crusader story was a bit corny but I liked the throw back to a time were there was honor.

The two Conan stories were excellent. The first is a non-Conan story that Roy adapted to Conan. I think I will have to start reading Howard again. He was such a brilliant writer and this story is just excellent. The second was by Roy and shows what a great writer he is. Conan is in his splendid sexist, savage badass barbarian that Howard envisioned him and I love it. A very enjoyable issue.

GROO FRIENDS AND FOES #9

“Pal ‘n’ Drumm”
Writer: Mark Evanier
Artist: Sergio Aragones

Pal is using Drumm in the arena to make some money when he hears about the little girl that Groo is helping. The little girl with a huge inheritance. So they go off in search of this girl. Meanwhile Groo comes along and enlists as a fighter in the arena. Unfortunately all the other fighters quit and take off. This angers the crowd who wanted a fight so they tear up the arena.

Kayli at this moment is kidnapped by an unscrupulous man who sells orphans to the orphanage. Later while bragging about it he mentions that the girl was saying that Groo was helping her find her father. Everyone else has read Weaver’s story and go off to the orphanage. Kayli convinces the other orphans to lie and admit that Groo has been helping them so they will get adopted. It works for everyone except one really bratty girl. Even a large inheritance can’t sway them into adopting her.

Pal and Drumm find out about the girl in the orphanage and Pal comes up with a plan. He dresses up Drumm as a woman and the two pose as a couple. They end up adopting the bratty girl and Pal at the end realizes he has done something more stupid than Groo. Kayli now free of the orphanage comes upon Groo and thanks him for his help but that she would rather find her father on her own.

Pal and Drumm is a play on the word palindrome. These two are a pair of con artists. Pal is the brains and Drumm the muscle. Drumm in fact may just be as dumb as Groo if that’s possible. They usually try to make friends with Groo to use him in one of their schemes and then try to kill him. Once again they screw up. Interesting that Groo once again doesn’t cause any destruction directly but his presence manages to cause it anyway.

Kayli is now becoming a big part of the stories. She is also showing herself to be very smart and resourceful. She has learned from the characters she has met throughout this adventure. Really am enjoying this series.

KA-ZAR THE SAVAGE #14

“Daliva Means Forever!”
Writer: Bruce Jones
Artist: Brent Anderson

Ka-zar has rescued Leila and Mele is overjoyed. He is invited to dinner and there learns that Shanna is married to Mele. Ka-zar is obviously depressed by this news but refuses to show it. Shanna herself is depressed that she is now in a loveless marriage but her pride refuses to admit that. Anyway the great hunt is on and Ka-zar is invited to participate. During this time Ka-zar and Mele begin to bond and Ka-zar starts to really like the humble Mele. The two go after a Styracosaurus and it goes over the cliff taking both of them with it. Ka-zar lands on a branch but Mele doesn’t fare so well. Ka-zar’s spear has impaled itself in Mele’s chest. Before he dies he gets Ka-zar to admit that he loves Shanna and will take care of her. Just then the other members of the tribe arrive and see Mele stabbed with Ka-zar’s spear. They think he did it and are about to kill him.

“In The Shadows of Man”
Writer: Bruce Jones
Artist: Gil Kane

Zabu has now grown into an adult sabretooth. While hunting he meets a female sabretooth. The two hit it off and soon kittens are expected. One day Zabu comes back and finds a blood trail. It leads to the man-ape’s camp and there is his mate impaled on a stake. Overcome with rage he goes after the man-apes and comes upon them as they are surrounding a young Kevin Plunder.

So Ka-zar finds Shanna but she is now married. Obviously both have deep feeling for one another but their pride keeps them apart. This is what I like about this series. The relationships are real and drive the story. How will these two will get together. It ends with a real dilemma for Ka-zar. The evidence does make it look like he killed a rival. Everyone can tell he has feeling for Shanna. Should be an interesting next issue.

The Tales of Zabu backup is also a strong addition. Now Zabu is grown up and once again he finds tragedy. You really feel for the poor fellow. So next issue he meets his brother Ka-zar.

RED SONJA #4

“So We Meet Again”
Writer: Amy Chu
Artist: Carlos Gomez

Sonja and Max confront Gath at the museum. Gath is revealed to have come to America back in 1893 and made a killing in the stock market. Subsequently assuming the identity of his son and grandson he continues to make money and buy up New York. Now he practically owns the city. He also has hundreds of fanatical followers. Max’s memory starts to come back. He was from Meru the city that Gath destroyed. He learned some magic and used it to transport him and Sonja into the future. Gath then summons the Demon Beast of Khauran which starts to destroy the museum. Max and Sonja hold it off so the innocent civilians can evacuate. It ends with the museum collapsing and Sonja and Max transported to safety using Max’s magical powers.

So now we get a lot of questions answered in this issue. Gath came a century ago and set himself up as a powerful businessman who owns most of the city. He has a bunch of kooky followers and plans to use the Demon to destroy New York and rebuild it as a monument to himself. Max is from Sonja’s time and the only survivor of the city of Meru that Sonja was trying to safe against Gath. So now that the sides are set up we can have a real battle.

THE WARLORD #57

“Double Entendre”
Writer: Mike Grell
Artist: Mike Texiera

Travis Morgan has been imprisoned in the dungeon of Darvin while his double has assumed his place. He contacts his main backer Praedor who heads the conspiracy. He’s to back their position now while Morgan is kept in the event they still need him for a hostage. Tara starts to reconnect with her old love Graemore. Tinder starts his career of cutpursing for Darvin.

“Death By Fire”
Writer: Paul Kupperberg
Artist: Jan Duursema

Lady Chian and Wyynde attack the sub-men to stop the sacrifice of Arion. Its a daunting task since their numbers are endless and could overwhelm the two brave fighters by sheer numbers. Meanwhile Arion in a coma is in battle with three beings on the metaphysical plane. They call themselves the Balance and consist of Chaon, Gemimn and Tynan. They goad him to use his powers which in the real world are unleashed breaking the ice prisons that the three were encased in. This was their plan to get Arion to release their physical forms.

So this is more of an exposition issue than anything. The main character is basically a prisoner in an iron mask. His double has managed to fool everyone including Tara. Darvin is involved with the conspirators as hired help. Tinder is stealing purses. On the whole not much is happening but sets up an interesting conflict for future issues.

Arion is also somewhat of a slow entry. The fight he was in ends with the Balance being freed so this also sets up an interesting conflict for future issues. So two slow stories but needed to further the plot.

SAVAGE TALES #3 CONAN THE BARBARIAN

“The Lurker From The Catacombs”
Writer: Roy Thomas based on “Red Nails” by Robert E. Howard
Artist: Barry Smith

Conan is looking for Valeria who wandered off in the city of Xuchotl. He finds her battling two fanatics from the opposing faction. He rescues her and with Techotl leads them to his people. They traverse the catacombs and are attacked by a creature that is used by the enemy. Conan wounds it with his sword. At the sanctuary of Techotl’s people they are greeted warmly by Prince Olmec and Princess Tascela. Now they can post five more red nails to a post for the enemy that was killed. They find out the history of this conflict. Fifty years ago a rebel faction was forced to flee Stygia. They made there way to the city and managed to capture it. Later two brothers got into an fight over a woman and now the two factions have been trying to kill each other off. Conan and Valeria are offered a job to fight for them in exchange for treasure. The two agree.

The enemy then attacks and a final battle ensues. The enemy is slaughtered. Olmec sends Conan to check out their stronghold with two of his warriors. They go there and find the dead creature that Conan wounded and the heads preserved in jars of those that were killed. The warriors accompanying Conan go insane and try to kill Conan. Meanwhile Olmec makes his move to capture Valeria but he is stopped by Tascela and her powers of hypnotism. Tascela needs Valeria to sacrifice so she can maintain her youth.

“An Age Undreamed Of”
By Roy Thomas

An editorial on Savage Tales. Seems this issue is once again being put on hold to see if its profitable. Thomas goes on to explain the format he envisions and hopes that the magazine will come back.

“Red Sonja She-Devil of the Turanian Steppes”
Writer: Roy Thomas
Artist: Esteban Maroto

A two page spread of Red Sonja with text on how Howard described her.

“The Crimson Bell”
Writer: Ray Capella
Artists: Al Wiliamson & Frank Brunner

A text story with illustration about Arquel of Argos. Arquel is after a mercenary army lead by two women who robbed his father’s castle. Set in the world of Conan.

“The Fury of the Femizons”
Writer: Stan Lee
Artist: John Romita

A reprint from Savage Tales #1.

“Red Nails in the Sunset”
By Roy Thomas

An article on the art for Red Nails from Weird Tales. It shows the drawing that have not appeared in over forty years since this story was first published.

“The Once and Future Talon”
Writer & Artist: Jim Steranko

An article about an upcoming sword and sorcery project by Steranko called Talon. Sounds like it had potential and will have to see if it was ever done.

“A Probable Outline of Roy Thomas Career”
Writer Unknown.

An article on Roy Thomas and his career from a English High School teacher to Executive Editor at Marvel.

“An Informal History of Barry the Barbarian”
Writer Unknown.

A brief biography on artist Barry Smith who draws for Conan.

“He Comes from the Dark”
Writer: Roy Thomas based on Red Nails by Robert E. Howard.
Artist: Barry Smith

Conan comes upon Techotl who was stabbed in the back by Olmec when he betrayed Valeria. He has crawled to warn Conan of his treachery. So he comes later upon Olmec strapped to a torture device. He frees him in exchange for leading him to Valeria. Olmec tries later to stab Conan in the back but doesn’t succeed. Conan comes on the throne room were Tescala is sacrificing Valeria. A steel trap in the floor catches Conan’s foot. Just then the old body of a lover of Tescala arrives with a wand that shoots a laser beam. He starts shooting down the survivors and Tescala frees Conan so he can kill the old man which Conan does. Then Tescala grabs the fallen wand but is stopped by Valeria who stabs her in the back. The two decide to leave this place and seek riches as pirates.

Well the only really thing of note about this issue was the adaptation of “Red Nails.” This was one of Howard’s best stories and was a true joy. It was to be spread out over another issue but the second cancellation had it included in this one. Of course this series still has life in it as we will see next week.

Otherwise not much of interest. The articles ranged from interesting to boring fillers. The Femizon story was a reprint from #1. I understand including it here since the first issue didn’t get much circulation but since I read it just recently not much new.

GROO FRIENDS AND FOES #8

“Weaver & Scribe”
Writer: Mark Evanier
Artist: Sergio Aragones

Weaver is getting chewed out by his publisher. His stories are boring. So the publisher suggests that he write about Groo. The public loves all that death and destruction. So with his faithful secretary Scribe they head out to find Groo. They come upon a mill being burned to the ground. Weaver decides to lie and make up a story that Groo started the fire. Workers overhearing him confirm that is what happened. So his lie is actually the truth.

Well he eventually meets up with Groo and accompanies him. Only instead of Groo destroying anything the people he comes upon decide to destroy their things themselves hoping Groo will go away and leave them alone. So one night Groo tells of the little boy he is helping to find his father. Weaver likes this and changes it to a little girl. Oh and the girl has a large inheritance who she wants to share with her father.

So it comes as a surprise when they meet up with Kayli. Groo of course got it wrong about the boy. So Weaver’s lie gets it right again. Except for the wealth inheritance. Hordes of men have descended on the publishing office claiming to by Kayli’s father. Kayli, Weaver and Scribe are forced to flee the village.

Weaver is a reporter who has no problem with making up sensational stories to further his career. Always travels with his secretary Scribe who writes his words down. They look suspiciously like real life writer Mark Evanier and letterer Stan Sakai. This is denied by Mark as just a coincidence. Anyway another meeting of the characters in the Groo universe. This time Groo is once again not responsible for the disaster at the end. This seems to be a pattern for this mini-series.