KA-ZAR THE SAVAGE #17

“Tag You’re It!”
Writer: Bruce Jones
Artist: Ron Frenz

Ka-zar and Shanna are back home in the Savage Land. The first thing they decide to do is catch up on reading the mail that is dropped to them once a month. Shanna reads the National Geographic and is captivated by the pictures of Africa. Ka-zar gets into his detective magazine and the story of Scott Brannigan and His Detective Dog Rex. They then have a dinner of rabbit stew and mushrooms. After the meal a plane crashes and the pilot is dead. Ka-zar finds a pistol on the pilot and decides to keep it.

So later both Ka-zar and Shanna start to hallucinate. Shanna thinks she is an antelope and Ka-zar is Steve Brannigan and Zabu is his dog Rex. Shanna as an antelope eats a root which counteracts the mushrooms they had in the stew. Now she has to avoid Ka-zar who thinks she is a femme fatale that he is after. Luckily when Shanna is cornered Zabu stops Ka-zar and Shanna is able to force the root into his mouth and bring him back to the real world.

“Of Kith and Kin”
Writer: Bruce Jones
Artist: Val Mayerik

Zabu is crossing the river and fights a crocodile that tries to make him a meal. He goes to the cave and finds that young Ka-zar has wandered off. He gets worried and searches for him. He finds him burying his father and saves him in the nick of time from a pterodactyl.

This is a real offbeat story. Ka-zar hallucinating that he is a noir detective. Thus he chases Shanna all over the place and tries to shoot her. Bruce Jones seems to be good at doing these offbeat stories. The last one was also pretty weird. A very creative story. Ka-zar and Shanna seem to be settling in and apparently they get monthly mail service in the Savage Land. I guess the post office will deliver anywhere.

The Tales of Zabu was another find story. It explores Zabu and his reasons for rescuing Ka-zar. He at one time debates the wisdom of saving the young lad since he is so similar to the hated Man-Apes. Luckily he sees that Ka-zar is different and so the beginning of a beautiful relationship is born.

KA-ZAR THE SAVAGE #16

“It Creeps!”
Writer: Bruce Jones
Artist: Ron Frenz

Ka-zar and Shanna decide to go back to the Savage Land. So after working their way through the thorn forest and climbing the cliff they are home. They see a meteor land and go in that direction. They come upon the Awawilius a race of pygmies about to sacrifice a lemur. Just then the branch Shanna is on breaks and she falls right next to the alter and gets her ass stuck in a bowl. Well Ka-zar after getting his laughter under control rescues her and they also rescue the lemur. They set the lemurs broken leg and have to continue fighting off the witch doctor who wants his sacrificial knife back.

The witch doctor dies in a noose trap and they think that’s the end of their troubles. But at night Zabu dies and Ka-zar almost gets killed by falling into a punji pit. Shanna is strangled by a tentacled blob who is all teeth and tentacles. Ka-zar goes insane with grief and kills the blob. It is found out that the lemur is an alien being who arrived to play a game. The game is one alien turns into a creature native to the planet and the other keeps their natural form and tries to kill the one that is masquerading. So now that the game is over the beings turn back time to before they arrived so that everyone is still alive. They grant Ka-zar his memories of what has happened. So he greets Shanna with a newfound happiness.

“Of Kith and Kin”
Writer: Bruce Jones
Artist: Val Mayerik

Zabu leaves young Ka-zar sleeping in a cave as he goes in search of Kulu berries. They have healing powers and heal Zabu in no time. Now he just has to fight the crocodile that attacked him.

So Ka-zar and company head back to the Savage Land. I have to say this was a really good story. I was wondering how they would handle the deaths of these beloved major characters. It was a surprise twist to have the lemur an alien and just playing a game. There was plenty of humor in this as well as drama. Ka-zar also realizes that he loves Shanna. Which is good since you wonder with their constant arguing if they will ever get together. It was a good idea to have them return home.

The Tales of Zabu was only three pages so there wasn’t much room to really develop any story. Just a cliffhanger ending with the crocodile dragging Zabu under. Of course we know he’ll win this fight.

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.

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.

KA-ZAR THE SAVAGE #13

“Till Death Do Us Part!”
Writer: Bruce Jones
Artist: Brent Anderson

After defeating Belasco Ka-zar and Shanna are having a fight. The fight upsets Shanna so much she isn’t paying attention and falls into the river. Ka-zar jumps in but hits his head and knocks him out. Shanna meanwhile is swept far down river. A python attacks her but luckily a man rescues her. He takes her back to his village and nurses her to health. The man is Mele and his daughter Leila are a peaceful race of people with tails. Shanna finds peace with these people. Then tragically Leila is carried away by a winged reptile. Mele is going to commit suicide since that is the way of his people when they lose all the people they love. Shanna is despondent and agrees to marry Mele. At the end Ka-zar comes with Leila who he rescued.

They decided to take a more leisurely approach with this issue. So we still have issues between Ka-zar and Shanna which inadvertently separate them. An interesting people that Shanna has found herself with. A very overly sensitive people who commit suicide when a loved one dies. Its understandable why Shanna would agree to marry Mele. Now she is committed and Ka-zar has found Mele’s daughter. So whats in store for their relationship? This is what has been driving this title and once again a big roadblock is thrown up. Makes for an interesting read.

KA-ZAR THE SAVAGE #12

“Belasco..!”
Writer: Bruce Jones
Artist: Brent Anderson

Balasco has Ka-zar’s friends under his control. He tells Ka-zar his story. That he made a pact with elder gods from another dimension. They gave him great powers and immortality. He in return was to use a pentagram locket to open the way for them to come to Earth. He was going to use Beatrice in the ceremony but Dante stopped him. Now he will take Shanna as his bride and complete the ceremony.

So he first has Buth dropped from the cross he was pinned to and used as target practice by his demons. Then he has Dherk literally tear himself up. Finally Ka-zar is thrown into a cryogenic chamber. Dherk even torn to pieces recovers and deprograms Belasco’s control. He wills his severed hand to free Ka-zar from the chamber. Meanwhile Zabu rescues an injured Buth. Ka-zar with help from the blind descendants of Dante’s crew manages to escape the demons and confront Belasco. Just as the sky is torn asunder and the elder gods are entering, Ka-zar manages to throw the locket into the volcano stopping the elder gods. Belasco bursts into flames and plunges into the volcano.

“Tales of Zabu!”
Writer: Bruce Jones
Artist: Gil Kane

Zabu is found by an old hyena who is scavenging for food. He takes Zabu back to his mate for food but his mate decides to adopt little Zabu. So Zabu grows up with his adopted family. The older hyena cub Jhet hates Zabu and the younger weak cub Fheta. One day on their first hunt Jhet kills little Fheta. Zabu fights him and ends up killing him. Now once again alone he wanders off.

So we come to the conclusion of the Inferno/Belasco story-line and it is a real shocker. Belasco looks just like Satan with horns and a tail. His hypnotic control of Ka-zar’s friends is quite sinister. Then he has Dherk tear himself apart and Buth killed. You wonder how Ka-zar will get out of this. Yet he does and we get a action packed conclusion. Loved the way Dante’s Inferno was used in this story. Buth at the end hints that since Belasco is immortal this may not be the last they hear of him.

The Tales of Zabu also comes along nicely. Zabu is adopted by hyenas and then loses his adopted family. A very sad life the little cub has and you really sympathize with Zabu. Two great stories with along of emotion.

KA-ZAR THE SAVAGE #11

“Children of the Damned”
Writer: Bruce Jones
Artists: Brent Anderson & Josef Rubinstein

Ka-zar and company are at the gates of Dis the City of the Damned. They are attacked by demons from the lake but manage to get through the gates into the protection of the city. Here they find some blind creatures living in pits that worship them. They also find a ships log written by Dante Alighieri. Dante left Florence in pursuit of Belasco an alchemist who kidnapped his love Beatrice. The chase brought them to Pangea and the Atlantean amusement park. Here he battled Belasco who was breeding demons with Beatrice. A sword fight ends when Belasco hits a pipe that unleashed freezing liquid that encases him in ice. Dante escapes this compound and makes it back to write about his experiences.

So the group continue on to rescue Dherk. They fight a minotaur and centaurs. Over a forest of talking trees harpies attack Buth who is carrying Shanna and Ka-zar. Ka-zar wakes up alone and continues on to the ninth level. There he finds Shanna dressed as a nun and under Belasco’s spell. He is then attacked by Dherk who is similarly under some spell. It ends with Ka-zar confronted by Belasco who looks just like Satan.

“Auspicious Beginnings”
Writer: Bruce Jones
Artist: Gil Kane

The first installment to the backup series Tales of Zabu. Zabu is a young cub just getting his first taste of the outside world. A butterfly piques his curiosity enough to go chasing after it. He then has encounters with a frog and the river and fishes. When he returns to home he sees the man-apes leaving. His mother and siblings have been murdered. He is chased away by the vultures who have come to feast on the dead.

Well this was a fun story with lots of stuff going on. They find out that Dante actually was there and based his poem on the Atlantean amusement park. They have plenty of adventures with their further descent into this complex. It ends with the revelation of Belasco still alive and breeding demons for world conquest. A villain who looks like Satan and already has control of Ka-zar’s friends. This series is really picking up steam.

The backup feature was also a great idea. Exploring Zabu’s life as a young cub has great potential. You already feel sad for him. He’s cute and already lost his family and now has to face a very inhospitable world. Of course we know he survives it but should be an interesting story.

KA-ZAR THE SAVAGE #10

“Abandon Hope All Ye Who Enter Here”
Writer: Bruce Jones
Artist: Brent Anderson

Ka-zar, Shanna, Buth and Dherk have uncovered an opening to what looks like Dante’s Inferno. They have actually found an old amusement park ride. It does have an eerie similarity to Dante’s Inferno. First they get a ride across the river Styx by the ferryman Charon. Its actually a robot and the boat is moved by a chain connected underwater. So the robot has to be destroyed after it tries to kill Ka-zar.

So they arrive in Limbo or the ticket line. First is the second level of carnal sinners. Its actually a wind tunnel and quite fun. Next is a fight with Cerberus the three-headed dog. Cerberus throws Dherk over the cliff but the other manage to kill it. They are surprised that it is actual flesh and blood. Some more adventures with phony boulders and real human bones. At the Lake of Stygia they get another ride with the ferryman Phlegyas. They fight off real monsters and are left at the gates of Dis the city of the damned.

This was a unique idea having a trip through Dante’s Inferno. A cool idea to have it as an old Atlantean amusement park. This was just a fun story that had an enjoyable quest to explore this cool place. There was mystery on what is behind this place and a little education on an old classic piece of literature. Devious to educate in a comic book.

KA-ZAR THE SAVAGE #9

“Toward Shadowed Places”
Writers: Bruce Jones & Brent Anderson
Artist: Brent Anderson

Dherk is fixing the equipment that keeps the antarctic weather from freezing Pangea. While exploring Shanna comes on a room that has what look like little miniature animals under little glass domes. The griffin a half-lion half-eagle fascinates Shanna. So much in fact that she decides to take it with her. This proves to be a big mistake as the animals are real and have been kept in a stasis for all these millennium. It now grows to a huge size and is very hungry. It leaves a trail of dead animals all the way to the Aerie Shalan. Ka-zar, Shanna and Dherk join Buth and the Aerieans in defeating the griffin. They drive it into a volcano. At the end they find a doorway at the base of the volcano. An inscription above the door says, “Abandon Hope All Ye Who Enter Here.”

Another enjoyable installment in the story of Pangea. There is still some tension between Shanna and Ka-zar but they seem to be getting over their issues. Shanna seems a bit off. She is acting like an airhead. There was also a strange look at one point that passed between her and Dherk. Something seems just not right. So we end with them standing at what looks like the gates of Hell. A great place to end the issue.

KA-ZAR THE SAVAGE #8

“In the Beginning”
Writer: Bruce Jones
Artists: Brent Anderson & Carlos Garion

Ka-zar and Shanna go back to the cryogenic chamber were Dherk died. Ka-zar wants to explore it better. When they get there Dherk’s body is gone. They track it to another room where it is hooked up to some wire. Just then a flying robot attacks. It drives them into a room that is a video library. Here they can see the history of Pangea and the Atlantean empire. A pipe breaks and floods the room almost drowning them.

Fortunately the water pressure bursts open the door and they are free. Once again they face the robot when Dherk comes to the rescue. He destroys the robot who he calls Mother. Mother was a caretaker for Pangea and was having a breakdown. Later its found out that Dherk is actually a robot that Mother build and transferred its consciousness into. Now Dherk has to fix the refractors to keep Pangea livable.

Now this is where the series is really picking up. They discover the origins of Pangea. It was an Atlantean Disneyland. The Savage Land was a natural phenomena which they used as a stock area and game refuge. The only thing I found a bit unbelievable was the Atlantean tapes having all the writing in English. You would think it be a completely different language. Now Pangea is in danger and we will get to see what new adventures this brings our savage companions.