KA-ZAR THE SAVAGE #34

“Savage in a Strange Land”
Writer: Mike Carlin
Artist: Paul Neary

Ka-zar and Zabu are transported by the bone. They find themselves in what looks like the Savage Land. They are attacked by a strange dragon. After cutting it in two it morphs into two dragons. As they run away they run into a wall that is painted as jungle. A door opens and aliens come through. They nerve pinch both Ka-zar and Zabu. Ka-zar wakes up in a cell with two other denizens from the Savage Land. A scream from Shanna propels Ka-zar to action. He busts out of his cell and finds Zabu. The two find Shanna strapped to a chair. The scream was phony and meant to lure him there all hopped up.

The aliens the Nuwali of Tomriv have been kidnapping people from the Savage Land and other worlds. They were the alien race that created the Savage Land for some other race as a zoo. They did this on many planets but the race that hired them stiffed them. So now they need the adrenalin from them. It is poison to the race they want to pay back. Ka-zar manages with Shanna and Zabu’s help to get free and free the other prisoners. They hijack other space ships and a big battle ensues. One of the prisoners figures out the alien tech and manages to transport all the prisoners back to their homes. Ka-zar finds out Shanna is pregnant and they go back to their treehouse.

An epilogue has Ka-zar being teleported to a strange land. He is assaulted by familiar shadows but makes it to the mansion. There is a welcome party for Ka-zar. He is in the land of cancelled heroes. He gives a rousing speech and vows to be back.

So the final issue of this Ka-zar incarnation comes to an end. A strange story but a fun one. It does leave us with a happy family who are excepting a child. The epilogue was fun and a joy to try and identify all the cancelled characters. This was my favorite Ka-zar series. It was the one that Ka-zar matured into an adult. The stories were intelligent and exciting and this was my first introduction to the character. As Ka-zar stated at the end he would be back. And ten years later he would keep that promise.

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KA-ZAR THE SAVAGE #33

“Brother Can You Spare A Mine?”
Writer: Mike Carlin
Artist: Paul Neary

Parnival is secretly mining anti-metal with the help of some of the local tribesmen. He has a raft full of the metal and is confronted by Ka-zar and Shanna. Parnival takes Shanna hostage and starts off toward the icebreaker waiting for him. Ka-zar catches up with him just outside the Savage Land and frees Shanna. Zabu also manages to find his way here. Now they fight the crew and Ka-zar is about the give his brother a major ass kicking. Parnival sees that one of the crew is going to shoot Shanna and actually knocks her out of the way. In the process he falls overboard and is frozen under the ice. The gang go back to the Savage Land to return the anti-metal. A strange bone that was unearthed causes Shanna to disappear. The tribal chief says it transported Shanna to Heaven so Ka-zar and Zabu follow.

Well this was an OK issue. A light plot but did end on a sad note. Parnival Plunder looks like he had it. Just a cowardly scheming guy who actually redeemed himself by saving Shanna. At the end the group is mysteriously transported by some glowing bone. It was announced this issue that the next one would be the last. So it looks like this story was a bit rushed to get it done. It did set up a good cliffhanger on how this series would end.

KA-ZAR THE SAVAGE #32

“He Ain’t Heavy…”
Writer: Mike Carlin
Artists: Paul Neary and Marie Severin

Ka-zar, Shanna and Zabu are heading back home to the Savage Land. While they are traveling both envision their futures in the form of old sitcoms. Ka-zar Knows Best, I Love Shanna, Leave It To Ka-zar and The Honeysavages. Meanwhile Parnival Plunder aka the Plunderer is back in the Savage Land to loot it of its anti-metal. He runs into a tribe and gets the young members hooked on a portable video game. He promises them new batteries if they can find the anti-metal.

Ka-zar and company come home to their treehouse and find Parnival has taken up residence. Ka-zar is not happy to see his brother but Shanna convinces him to let him stay. He is after all family. So Ka-zar agrees as long as he does all the work which Parnival is more than happy to do. He is in fact bidding his time until the natives can find the anti-metal which they do at the end.

So this was an offbeat issue. You have the dream sequences of them in the old classic sitcoms. Sort of an interesting idea. I am sort of neutral on this issue. Didn’t really like it or hate it. Ka-zar’s brother is back and up to no good. I don’t think you can have a Ka-zar series without his evil brother coming around to cause trouble. I love the old portable video games used to addict the tribesmen. Q-bert. This does date the issue but brings back a bit of nostalgia. Those games back then were addictive.

KA-ZAR THE SAVAGE #31

“But I Don’t Want To Go Back To The Savage Land!”
Writer: Mike Carlin
Artist: Paul Neary

Ka-zar is throwing a fit because he was banished from the Savage Land. He then notices that some pterons are burning effigies of him and Shanna. So he goes out the window and beats them up. In the struggle a burning torch ends up burning down the couples place. So the next morning he goes to the peace council and presents the beat up pterons. Then he throws another tantrum and stalks off in a huff.

It is now that Dherk reminds the others of the first Pangean War. Centuries ago the Atlanteans found an abandoned cavern full of advanced technology from an unknown race that was creating the Savage Land we know today. They also find specimens of animals preserved from past times. So the Atlanteans create an amusement park. They also do genetic experiments and create the animal men. These animal men are employed as workers in the amusement park.

Well the animal men are treated like slaves. A bird-man named Tilbrok dies while defending a young ape-girl that was being attacked. Later the animal-men are locked up as the Atlanteans plan to automate the park. During the night an image of Tilbrok visits and the animal-men revolt. They win their freedom and the Atlanteans terraform Pangea.

Peace is at hand for Pangea while Ka-zar, Shanna and Zabu head back to the Savage Land. They are ambushed by Phangor the leader of the pterons. Ka-zar gets one more ass kicking in before he leaves Pangea.

This was a fascinating issue with the history of Pangea. I liked the idea of slave labor at an amusement park rising up in revolt. This was a good idea in explaining the history of Pangea and how it came to be populated by such a diverse people. The only thing I didn’t care for was that Ka-zar was such a whinny baby. I have seen two year olds act with more maturity. This was not the personality of Ka-zar that has been established. Hopefully the new writer will move away from this.

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.

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.

KA-ZAR THE SAVAGE #28

“Trouble In Paradise!”
Writers: Michael Carlin & Bruce Jones
Artist: Armando Gil

So Ka-zar and Shanna are recuperating at the Aerie after their ordeal. Shanna is a bit moody. She is upset that she went to hell over Ka-zar’s death and feels very insecure. Not much time to sort her feelings out when Mt. Flavius starts to blow. To save the Aerie Ka-zar and Shanna must go into the mountain and plant explosives that will alter the flow of the lava. They have to fight some nasty giant apes and the impending eruption. Shanna accidentally finds the ring that Ka-zar got for her and she agrees to marry him just as the volcano erupts. They manage to get to safety to plan their future wedding.

It is revealed that Belasco is responsible for the volcano. He has resurrected Leanne from her coma. She has freed the trapped Pterons and with her kingdom are planning to march on the Aerie.

The big event for this issue is that Ka-zar and Shanna are finally getting married. This is the big payoff that readers have been waiting for since the first issue. The relationship between these two has been one big roller coaster ride of ups and downs. I think that the relationship portrayed between these two is one of the most realistic ever portrayed in comics. So the big wedding will be in next issue which is a special 48 pages long. Of course evil Belasco and Leanne are going to crash so it won’t be a boring event.

KA-ZAR THE SAVAGE #27

“Twisted Corridors”
Writer: Bruce Jones
Artist: Armando Gil

Buth finds Ka-zar unconscious and Shanna insane. So he ties up Shanna and has Zabu watch over her while he takes Ka-zar back to Aerie Shalan. There Derk uses Atlantean technology to heal Ka-zar. Shanna is a different matter altogether. She is going insane and only by traveling into her mind can she be saved. So Derk, Buth, Ka-zar and Zabu enter her mind’s consciousness through Atlantean science. Shanna’s mind is real to our travelers and they must fight off her inner demons. They include a demon Ramon Courtland and a dragon Leanne. Shanna has guilt that anybody she loves she had something to do with their deaths. Ka-zar gets trapped in flames by the dragon Leanne and Shanna comes out of her locked tower to rescue him thus healing her mind.

This was a fascinating story. Bruce Jones excels at such offbeat psychological stories. It is a surreal journey through Shanna’s mind and her life. We see all the tragedy that has befallen her before she met Ka-zar. An issue heavy with dialogue and exposition. Also many small panels to tell the story. This worked for the story being told. So now it looks like Ka-zar, Shanna and Zabu are safe and sound back home. A satisfying ending to all the wild hardships with the New York/Ramona/A.I.M story.

KA-ZAR THE SAVAGE #26

“Escape from New York!”
Writer: Bruce Jones
Artists: Ron Frenz & Armando Gil

Ka-zar is angry and dying as he fights Spider-man in the hospital. Spider-man is able to easily avoid the angry Ka-zar so he starts to have a more rational conversation. Spider-man eventually agrees to help Ka-zar see Shanna which is a good thing. Because at that moment the A.I.M. doctors are giving her electro-shock treatment. They want to make her psychosis permanent. Ka-zar and Spider-man make short work of the doctors and get Shanna to safety.

They part company after Ka-zar gets to his fisherman friend. The fisherman smuggles Ka-zar, Shanna and Zabu to the airport where Ka-zar hi-jacks a small Cessna. The plane was about to be sole flown by a young teenager who just got his license. So the gang flies all the way to the Savage Land and parachutes out. Ka-zar at the end collapses as if dead. Shanna is delusional. Zabu has brought Buth of the Aerie to help.

“The Final Blow”
Writer: Bruce Jones
Artist: Val Mayerik

Young Ka-zar is poised to spear his best friend Zabu who is trapped. He stabs and stabs the helpless sabretooth. Maa-gor is filled with pride that his new adopted son shows such brutality. But maybe a little too brutal. His constant stabbing might ruin the meat. So he goes there and discovers that instead of stabbing Zabu he was breaking the trap that held him. Ka-zar then stabs Maa-gor in the foot and the two run away. They find plants that heal the wounds and settle in to rest.

This was a fun and exciting issue. Ka-zar finally manages to rescue his beloved Shanna. We see that he has deep feelings for her. There is also a fair amount of comedy. The inhabitants of the psych ward were hilarious as was the fisherman that helped them. Then the young man and his sister that were kidnapped to fly them to the Savage Land. There was also moments of anger and friendship. They get back and we are left with another cliffhanger ending. This series has it all.

The Tales of Zabu was also enjoyable. Ka-zar comes out of his daze and rescues his buddy. It shows that Ka-zar has lost his innocence with the killing of another human and is coming into adulthood. This was a great idea for a backup story.

KA-ZAR THE SAVAGE #25

“The Dead Who Walk”
Writer: Bruce Jones
Artists: Ron Frenz & Armando Gil

Ka-zar has had enough of being a slave to Ramona Starr. Ramona is not happy and knocks him out with the chip implanted in his brain. So Ka-zar wakes up on a plane bound for New York. Its carrying the last sample of the explosive formula salvaged from Schreiber’s base. Ramona has decided to get rid of Ka-zar. So first she has a bound Zabu tossed out then Ka-zar. Ka-zar manages to grab hold of her foot as she tries to stamp his hand. This knocks her back into the explosive formula which blows up the plane.

So Ka-zar and Zabu survive their twenty thousand foot fall and have to fight off the sharks. Luckily a pair of good humor fishermen happen by to rescue them. So Ka-zar makes his way to Peter Parker’s apartment since he knows that Peter is Spider-man. He demands to see Shanna. Peter refuses to tell him since Shanna has been committed to a psych ward. Seems she is not handling Ka-zar’s death well and going crackers. When a nosy neighbor comes to complain Ka-zar finds a note that tells him where Shanna is. So he sneaks off to the hospital. When he gets there the room is empty and Spider-man is waiting. Spider-man insists that for Ka-zar to see Shanna could cause her to go completely bananas. Ka-zar doesn’t care and the story ends with the two set to have a major smackdown.

“My Brother’s Killer!”
Writer: Bruce Jones
Artist: Val Mayerik

Zabu is recovering from his wounds by feeding on the vultures that came to eat him. A man-ape from Maa-gor’s tribe sees him and goes back to tell Maa-gor. This does not make him happy and so with a dazed Ka-zar in tow goes to the spot where he left Zabu for dead. When they get there Maa-gor decides to let his adopted son Ka-zar kill Zabu. So a dazed Ka-zar charges with spear upraised.

Well this was a wild ride. Ka-zar and Zabu have to be some real bad-asses to survive being pushed out of a plane over the ocean. Then fighting off a swarm of sharks. Ramona Starr finally got her just deserts and serves her right for being so cocky. Poor Shanna is going bonkers and stuck in an A.I.M. run hospital. Ka-zar is back and getting ready to fight Spider-man. What a wild ride this issue was.

The Tales of Zabu back-up is continuing on. They are short but good. Ends with a cliffhanger. We obviously know how it turns out. I mean there are over seventy plus issue of an adult Ka-zar with Zabu. What we don’t know is why and that will have to wait for the next issue.