KULL THE CONQUEROR #5

“A Kingdom By the Sea!”
Writer: Gerry Conway
Artists: Marie and John Severin

A delegation of mysterious dark skinned men arrive at the court of Kull. They bring riches as a gift and have more to offer. They are from the island Demascar and at war with the neighboring island of Rikos. Demascar needs the aid of Kull and his Black Legion. Naturally everyone wants the riches and Kull is moved by their plight so agrees to help. So the next day Kull and his army set sail for Demascar.

When they arrive the island is attacked by flying dragons. This angers Kull for the Demascarians neglected to mention that Rikos was using dark sorcery. Still he agrees to continue on if only for revenge against the Rikovians. Brule meanwhile spys on the Demascarians and finds out their true plans but is discovered and captured. Later Kull is told that his friend was captured by Rikos and the army sets sail. Storm clouds form and an army of the dead sails toward them. They have been tricked because Demascar has called the army. They need sacrifices for their magic to work. Kull and his men are the sacrifices.

Brule manages to escape and throw the sorcerer in a flaming pit. This unleashes the demons on both islands. Kull and his army manage to sail away with loot and the rescued children of Demascar before both islands sink into the sea.

This was an interesting issue. Kull is persuaded to help some people that seem good. You get to see Kull’s disgust with the decadent Valusians he rules as they are eager to sacrifice others for the promised riches. Baron Kaanuub is still plotting against Kull and ends with an exciting battle. Good to see Kull leave Valusia now and then for adventures. Gerry Conway is showing he understands how to write Kull and of course the Severin’s art is excellent.

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KA-ZAR THE SAVAGE #30

“—Or For Worse!”
Writer: Mike Carlin
Artists: Mary Wilshire & Ricardo Villamonte

Ka-zar and Shanna are now officially married but have no time for a honeymoon. They are soon taken prisoner by the allied forces that attacked the Aerie. Ka-zar is fitted with a helmet that he can’t see or hear and given a sword. Then placed in an arena. Shanna is placed in the arena and two Tublanti guards are attempting to force her toward the blinded Ka-zar. Shanna is too smart and instead lures the dumb clods that the Tublanti are into Ka-zar and they are killed.

Then Dherk comes and frees Ka-zar. He is now finally free of Belasco’s control. They free Zabu and the Aerieans and the fighting starts anew. Just then the Botorese join the fight. They were brought by Leila only her people haven’t forgiven Ka-zar for the perceived death of Mele. So they start to question why they are in the fight. Ka-zar decides to threaten the unconscious body of Leanne to force the sides to stop fighting. It is agreed that the fighting will end but Ka-zar is banished from Pangea.

OK so this is one free for all issue. All these sides are fighting. Dherk is first against then with Ka-zar. I loved the way they tried to have Ka-zar kill his new wife Shanna. An interesting idea but still not good enough to do the job. A very fast paced issue with an ending that finds peace at the price of Ka-zar’s exile. Although the Pterons have not forgiven Ka-zar and still plan to exact revenge.

WONDER WOMAN ’77 MEETS THE BIONIC WOMAN #2

“Four Villains and a Funeral”
Writer: Andy Mangels
Artist: Judit Tondora

There is a funeral for I.A.D.C head Joe Atkinson who was killed when their HQ was attacked. It is here that Jaime confides that she knows Diana is Wonder Woman. Jaime agrees to cover for her and the two are forming a bond. Later Jaime is assigned to find Wonder Woman and the two head out in her invisible plane to search for atomic missiles believed to be aboard a ship.

Meanwhile we are introduced to CASTRA. Its main head is a cyborg woman named Dr. Cyborg. She is working with the creator of the Fembots. They stage a prison break for an ex-Nazi named Radl who was the leader of the assault on Paradise Island back in WWII. Jaime and Wonder Woman find the ship and jump down and kick some ass. Unfortunately they are too late to stop the launch of a nuclear cruise missile.

So this issue we get introduced to the main villains. Thankfully they included what episodes that these villains appeared in the letters page. Otherwise I might be a bit clueless. It has been a while since I watched these series. The director Atkinson only appeared in the first half of season two Wonder Woman and the writer cleverly writes a reason why he was no longer with the show. Another great issue filled with cybernetic villains, Fembots and invisible planes.

THE WARLORD #73

“Cry Plague”
Writers: Cary Burkett & Jennifer Reinhold
Artist: Dan Jurgens

Morgan is tied up in the vines of the dead man-eating plant as Scarhart comes to kill him. Before that happens he is attacked by flying bat creatures. Morgan manages to free himself and join the fight saving Scarhart from one of the creatures. This act seems to have make a friend of the silent warrior. So the two head off continuing to track the unicorn. They run into the Kaash’ban who agree to help by using their animals to search the land. They find that the unicorn has went into a bog. When they get there it is being pulled under. Morgan tries to save it but Scarhart killed it with an arrow. Now it seems that there will be no cure to save Morgan, Jennifer and Shakira from the plague. Then it dawns on Morgan that Scarhart seems to be immune. A member of the Kaash’ban can telepathically communicate with Scarhart and finds that it was a spring in his own world. So back to castle Deimos and Jennifer opens the mirror to Scarhart’s world. Morgan and Scarhart bring back the water and everyone is cured. Scarhart and Shakira decide to remain with the Kaash’ban so Morgan is on his own.

“Rescue!”
Writer: Gary Cohn
Artist: Ron Randall

Renna saves Skinner by shooting the high priest but now the group faces hundreds of pissed off Mulge. Good thing they have automatic weapons which are no match for the Mulge’s primitive ones. They are able to burn off the spoors from Skinner’s chest and bring him back to the main encampment were Skinner can get proper treatment.

The second non-Grell issue and we wrap up the unicorn saga. It was an entertaining story and good to see the new writer wasn’t going to drag it out. It also sets up Morgan to go off alone as Shakira decides to stay with the Kaash’ban. They also keep around Scarhart for future appearances. I was still a little apprehensive about this title’s future. A competent story but I still wasn’t getting what direction it was going. Fortunately the annual next week put all doubts to rest.

The Barren Earth came to a conclusion with the Mulge epic. A good solid ending. Skinner is saved and in great spirits since he believes that the two most beautiful warriors on the planet are in love with him. They deny it but he may have a point.

HOWARD THE DUCK #7

“Of Dice and Ducks!”
Writer: Bill Mantlo
Artist: Gene Colan

Howard and Bev find themselves back on Earth in the Florida swamps. It is here they run into the Man-Thing. The Man-Thing is drawn to the emotions of these two. Emotions that for Bev turn to fear and anything fears the Man-Thing burns. Luckily she faints and the fear goes away but the Man-Thing still picks up Bev and carries her away. Howard is knocked unconscious and later awakens in time to escape an alligator.

In searching for Bev he sees them go to a town that has been designed to look like the board game Monopoly. When Howard arrives at the toll kiosk he is given $200 and a little race car to use. Large dice roll a three and he breaks down at Baltic Avenue. The owner a blind blues critic sells the property for $100 and the race car. All the while the little men in suits appear and give him community chest or chance cards. One is to go to jail and he finds the chief architect for this town known as Swamp City. The man tells how the developer who became a gorilla named Kong Lomerate foreclosed all the property.

Howard stages a prison break and continues on to find Bev at a house. Man-Thing brought Bev to a young girl in a wheel chair who is the daughter of the architect. Man-Thing has developed a bond and helps them to reunite her with her father and find her mother. The trail leads to Boardwalk where Kong Lomerate has brainwashed the mother with all the consumer goods. A big battle ensues that sees Man-Thing defeat Kong and free the inhabitants of Swamp City. In gratitude they give Howard and Bev some money. But the money is phony play money so the Greyhound bus driver throws them off and they are forced to walk to Miami.

“Duck of Many Faces”
By Bill Mantlo

A portfolio of several artist that submitted drawing of Howard and Bev. Marie Severin did The Cheap Ducktective. A sort of Noir detective picture. John Byrne King Duk’s Tomb. An Egyptian mummy scene. Marshall Rogers Duckman a parody of Batman. Walt Simonson Snailian. A take on the Alien movie. Howie Chaykin Fred ‘N Ginger. A Fred Astair and Ginger Rogers look.

“Dynamite Baby!!”
Writer: Lynn Graeme
Artist: Ned Sonntag

Riff is still pretending amnesia so he can stay at the Street Peeple’s place because he has a crush on Cheyenne. Qwami gets involved in a plot to blow up the Bank of the United States.

Ok so Howard and Bev are back and find themselves in one weird place. I really liked this story with its use of a giant town based on Monopoly. Combined with the Man-Thing it was a very surreal issue but quite interesting. An enjoyable story for Howard’s adventures back on Earth and these are the stories that I enjoy. Looks like Bill Mantlo is getting the hang of writing for Howard.

The art portfolio was just some beautifully drawn renditions of Howard and Bev to the various cultural icons of the time.

Finally Street Peeple was just a stinking pile of crap. Characters you could care less about, incomprehensible plot and poor drawing. I suppose that was the sixties in a nutshell.

KULL THE CONQUEROR #4

“Night of the Red Slayers!”
Writers: Gerry Conway & John Jakes
Artists: Marie and John Severin

It is a hot summer in Valusia and the heat brings out tempers. Kull has to break up a fight by his Red Slayers that the minstrel Ridondo started. Ridondo is part of a four man conspiracy to depose Kull. The conspirators make a deal with the mysterious Melkori. The next day Melkori visits the court of Kull with his beautiful daughter. The daughter Jirane persuades Kull to take her on a cruise. So Kull leaves the city and goes off boating.

While away his Red Slayers start to murder innocent citizens and prominent opponents of Kull. The citizens start to openly rebel. Brule manages to inform Kull and he finds out that Jirane is actually an animated wax dummy. He goes to Valusia and rallies his real Red Slayers against the phony wax Red Slayers that Melkori had created. When he defeats them he throws Melkori to the Valusian mob to met out justice.

So Roy Thomas has left the writing to very capable hands. Gerry Conway using a plot by John Jakes tells an exciting story with an evil sorcerer. The conspiracy it shaping up to be a major opponent to Kull’s rule. Kull is shown that Alecto his commander of the Red Slayers and Brule the Spear-Slayer are reliable friends. The series is starting to shape up as a very viable ongoing series.

KA-ZAR THE SAVAGE #29

“A Match Made in Hell!”
Writer: Mike Carlin
Artists: Ron Frenz & Armando Gil

Its the big wedding day for Ka-zar and Shanna. All of the Aerie Shalan is gathered for the ceremony. Even Shanna’s step-daughter Leila manages to make it. The ceremony is interrupted when Leanne leads an army of her Lemurians, Pterons and an amphibious race known as the Tubanti. Dherk turns on them and the high priestess is reveled to be Belasco in disguise. Belasco transports Ka-zar, Shanna and Leila to his volcanic lair as his forces attack the Aereans.

So Belasco plans to turn Ka-zar and Shanna into demons so they can breed a new race of demons. He force feeds them a formula and they do turn demonic. Then Belasco takes Leila and transforms her soul into one of the bloodgems that he needs. Leanne decides that Belasco is evil and turns against him by freeing Ka-zar and Shanna. Ka-zar manages to take Belasco’s sword which is the only thing he fears. In his demonic state Ka-zar doesn’t hesitate to run Belasco through. With his death all his evil magics are reversed and Ka-zar and Shanna revert to their human selves. Leila also is restored. It ends in a simple ceremony that finally marries the two before they must face the hordes of Belasco’s army.

So the big event has arrived that every reader of this series was waiting for. That is the marriage of Ka-zar and Shanna. Naturally it deserved a double sized issue and plenty of action. The new writer Mike Carlin shows he can deliver with this exciting issue. Demonic Belasco is an excellent choice to be the wedding crasher. It looks real bad for the Aerie and our heroes. Leanne redeems herself by turning on her master. The final ceremony was simple and yet touching and was a fine way to end this issue. Now we must see how the newlyweds will deal with all the chaos that Belasco has started.

WONDER WOMAN ’77 MEETS THE BIONIC WOMAN #1

“When Diana Met Jaime!”
Writer: Andy Mangels
Artist: Judit Tondara

It is 1977 Washington D.C. A large explosion at the Cramer building attracts two superpowered heroines. Wonder Woman and Jaime Sommers work together to save people and put out the fire. They work well together but have an important meeting to attend. A big gathering of all the intelligence agencies is meeting at the I.A.D.C. An evil cabal known as CASTRA is planning something big. Jaime and Diana Prince are conveniently assigned together to check out some scientists.

So as the Bionic Woman and Wonder Woman the two manage to foil CASTRA agents from kidnapping the scientists. Then jumping on the invisible airplane the two save Steve Trevor and his team from an ambush. While they were gone CASTRA manages to infiltrate I.A.D.C headquarters, gas the occupants and steal vital information from the main computer I.R.A.C.

Now this is one cool idea for a series. Both Wonder Woman and Bionic Woman were shows I loved back when I was a kid. It actually makes sense to team these two characters up since they are from the same time. It stays true to the series with its evil cabals intent on dominating the world. Just a pure nostalgic trip back to 1977. We get bionic moves, invisible planes, golden lassos, and bell-bottom pants. Makes me want to check out the shows that I have on DVD.

THE WARLORD #72

“Curse of the Unicorn”
Writer: Cary Burkett
Artist: Dan Jurgens

Morgan and Shakira are back in Castle Deimos. They don’t have much time to celebrate because a black unicorn comes through the mirror. It manages to scratch Shakira with its horn and run off. Then a large dark skinned warrior comes through and gets into a fight with Morgan. Jennifer knocks him out with her magic then probes his mind to find out where he comes from.

Thus we find out the story of Wayhan Hunnuh. A mighty warrior who manages to capture the black unicorn. As a reward he gets the chief’s daughter as his bride. So he goes off to hunt another trophy for the event and comes back to find his entire tribe dead from a plague. The unicorn brought it so now he changes his name to Scarhart and vows to kill the unicorn. He chases it through a waterfall and ends up in our world.

Just then Shakira collapses and it looks like she has the same plague. So Morgan goes off to capture the unicorn. Scarhart knocks Jennifer out and goes after both Morgan and the unicorn. Morgan tracks it into the dark lands and finds it being attacked by a carnivorous plant. He saves it but the fight knocks him out. At the end Scarhart finds the prostrate Morgan.

“The Garden of the Mulge!”
Writer: Gary Cohen
Artist: Ron Randall

Renna mounds an expedition to save Skinner from the Mulge. Jinal insists on coming along in spite of Renna’s hostility toward her. So they follow the tunnel and come to a vast underground garden. The Garden of the Mulge. It is filled with deadly carnivorous plants and they fight their way through. They come on the Mulge just as a priest starts to pour its mushroom fungus on Skinner in one of their religious ceremonies. Renna shoots the priest and now the group faces the hostile Mulge.

So the big news for this issue is that Mike Grell is no longer with the series. So how did his replacement do. Ok I guess. The story was good and interesting but just seemed a little ho-hum. The Scarhart character looked a lot like Arak and he just didn’t really interest me. There was some funny moments with one of the castle guards who is always complaining how weird it is to work at this castle and maybe he should get a new job. I always wondered where Jennifer hired her staff. The castle is out in the middle of nowhere even for Skartaris. So I remember being a little apprehensive about the future for this title with what seems to be not the greatest start to the Grell-less future.

The Barren Earth continues on in its excellence. Renna finally brings it out in the open that she is jealous of Jinal over Skinner. It seems many others think Jinal is also in love with Skinner although she denies it. Still there is a clear love triangle forming. The Mulge garden was a cool idea. It seems this issue is heavy on carnivorous plants. This also ends in a cliffhanger that you can’t wait to find out its resolved next issue.

HOWARD THE DUCK #6

“Duckworld!”
Writer: Bill Mantlo
Artists: Michael Golden & Bob McLeod

Howard and Beverly are going back to Howard’s home world of Duckworld thanks to Winda Wister’s ability to shift the cosmic axis. So the pair find themselves in New Stork City which was Howard’s old home. Naturally a big hairless ape attracts a lot of attention. What they weren’t expecting was that the ducks mob the two tearing off their clothes as sacred objects. The two manage to run away and hide out in an alley. They then go to Howard’s parents home.

The home is now a sacred shrine and a large crowd is gathered to hear the Reverend Ganter who heads the Witness of the Ascension Cult or WACies. A few years ago Howard was at Quent State University when an anti-war protest was fired on by the national guard. President Duxon was there and Howard was yelling at him when the cosmic axis shifted and brought him to Earth. Now a cult has arisen around the event.

Howard is not happy with the Reverend and reveals himself. He tells the people to start thinking for themselves which they do. Howard and Bev get on the Tonight Show with Johnny Quackson to tell their story. But the reverent Ganter has a plan and uses a guest to turn on a vacuum cleaner and tear off Bev’s clothing. It reveals her as a truly non-duck being and turns the people against Howard for taking her as a lover.

So with the help of Truman Capoultry the two find Duktor Strange who just happens to be a drunk in the alley to transport them back to Earth. They escape in time before Gander and his boss Uncle Scrounge MacDrake get to them. At the end they find themselves in a swamp with the Man-Thing behind them.

“Street Peeple”
Writer: Lynn Graeme
Artist: Ned Sonntag

It is the sixties in San Francisco and three street jugglers are performing. Cheyanne, Qwami and Moonchild. A guy named Riff falls in love with Cheyanne and rescues her cat from a biker. He gets knocked on the head and the three take him back to their place.

So we get to see Howard’s world and it is one strange place. Back in the Playduck issue they had articles about the cult that arose from Howard’s disappearance so it was nice to see them incorporate that into this story. It would seem that a cult would arise from such an occurrence happening. This was an enjoyable story and loved seeing the world that is like ours except for intelligent ducks running it. Interesting that the big villain Uncle Scrounge MacDrake looks exactly like Scrooge McDuck. Now Disney was threatening to sue Marvel over Howard for looking like Donald Duck which is why the story with him getting pants was done. This was of course before the two entities merged so it seems a pretty risky move back then.

The Street Peeples backup is slated to be a regular feature for this series. Inspired by the sixties and real life people that the author knew. Frankly I found the whole story to be a load of shit. Just stupid beyond belief.