KA-ZAR THE SAVAGE #24

“On Death and Dying…!”
Writer: Bruce Jones
Artist: Bob Hall & Armando Gil

Ka-zar, Zabu and Ramona Starr are ambushed by Jeremy Schreiber and his men in the deserts of Morocco. After the camels are shot out from under them they take shelter in a cave. When Schreiber sends a tank to get them Ramona pulls out her C-37 anti-armament Luger and destroys it. The plan is that these three are to distract Schreiber while the main A.I.M. forces attacks. Ka-zar isn’t one to be cooped up so sneaks out and attacks the group watching over them. Ramona and Zabu make a break for it but are captured by Schreiber. He has Zabu shot and takes Ramona back to his base.

Ka-zar follows them back and is also captured while sneaking in. So Schreiber like any megalomaniacal would be world ruler explains his plan. He has managed to grow the plant that produces the powerful explosive. To prevent anyone else from gaining the plant he plans to launch a missile to destroy the Savage Land. This sets off Ka-zar and he attacks. This breaks the protective glass barrier and releases toxic fumes from the plants. As the men flee in panic they run into the A.I.M. forces that have arrived. Ka-zar knocks out Schreiber and carries him out. Zabu has also survived and rescues Ramona. The A.I.M think they have won but Ka-zar has set off the self-destruct and blown up the base denying it to A.I.M. Meanwhile back in New York Shanna is staying with Peter Parker and slowly going insane over the death of Ka-zar.

“A Savage is Born!”
Writer: Bruce Jones
Artist: Val Mayerik

Maa-gor is teaching his new adopted son Ka-zar how to hunt antelope. Ka-zar manages to bring one down to the delight of Maa-gor. Young Ka-zar is in shock from the past events and not really with it. When they return they find the tribe has captured someone from a rival tribe. Maa-gor has Ka-zar throw the spear into the captive which the dazed boy does. Zabu has survived and is recovering from his wounds as a pair of sinister eyes watch him.

This was a fun and action packed issue. Ka-zar is forced to help A.I.M. because they have the device implanted in his head and they threaten Shanna. In reality Shanna is back in New York and going bonkers. Its revealed that A.I.M. is responsible by shooting her with a chemical that’s slowly driving her insane. Ramona looks real hot in her spandex uniform with the big C-37 Luger that can take out a tank. Yet she still is a moonbat. Ka-zar gets the last laugh with destroying Schreiber’s base and stopping both him and A.I.M from getting the explosive. He walks away at the end finished with being Ramona’s lackey. You are left wondering how he will get out of this situation.

The Tales of Zabu back-up continues with its interesting story. Young Ka-zar is in a dazed way as he seems to go along with Maa-gor including killing a defenseless captive. Zabu is still alive so a big rematch is in the making between him and Maa-gor. A very excellent issue.

KA-ZAR THE SAVAGE #23

“Resurrection!”
Writer: Bruce Jones
Artists: Bob Hall & Armando Gil

Ka-zar and Zabu are in Casablanca and stalking a man with a bag. There is a voice in Ka-zar’s head telling him what to do. If he gets out of line an electric shock happens. The fugitive is intercepted by some thugs and Ka-zar has to rescue the man. The man is killed but the bag he was carrying is saved. So Ka-zar is ordered to Rick’s Bar to meet his contact. The man takes the bag which has a green gel that is highly explosive. It belongs to a man named Schreiber who got the gel from a plant in the Savage Land. He runs a criminal organization that has plans to overthrow the U.S. government.

Ka-zar then finds out who is in charge of this operation. A Colonel Starr who is Ramona Cortland. Ramona is an agent of A.I.M. She managed to save Ka-zar at a secret hospital and implant a device to control Ka-zar. She also managed to save Zabu. She threatens to hurt Shanna if Ka-zar doesn’t obey. They then go to the base of Schreiber in the desert and are attacked. Meanwhile we learn that Shanna was only grazed by the gunshot and was rescued by Spider-man.

“Good-Bye Forever”
Writer: Bruce Jones
Artist: Val Mayerik

Zabu is caught in the bear trap. Maa-Gor then stabs Zabu and leaves him for dead. He then decides to take the young Ka-zar back to his tribe to raise as his own son.

So Ka-zar, Zabu and Shanna are still alive. Not a real surprise but it was to see where Ka-zar ended up. The writers were obviously doing a tribute to the movie Casablanca. They might have overdone it a bit. There were French police which I am sure were no longer around in Morocco in the eighties. We finally find out who Ramona is and her being an A.I.M. agent makes sense. She is also a total moonbat. It is revealed that Ka-zar is dying so it sets up a lot of suspense in how Ka-zar will survive his condition and getting the control device from his brain.

The Tales of Zabu was once again short but effective. It ends a cliffhanger in leaving poor Zabu seemingly dead with a spear. Of course we know he survives but still a very effective ending to a very interesting story.

KA-ZAR THE SAVAGE #22

“Shanna the Savage!”
Writer: Bruce Jones
Artists: Fon Frenz & Mel Candido

Ka-zar is dead and Shanna is mourning. Peter Parker takes her back home to look after her. It is here that she receives the news that Zabu is dead. Shanna goes nuts and hijacks a taxi and drives to the zoo with the police in hot pursuit. At the zoo she learns that Ramona Cortland is responsible for killing Zabu and releases the animals in the cages. The police manage to subdue her and lock her up in a straight jacket at Bellvue.

Spider-man breaks her out and takes her back to Peter’s place. When he changes back to Peter he finds out that Shanna has taken off again. She goes to the apartment of the Cortlands so she can kill Ramona. She tries to kill Ramona but its an impostor in a wig. Dr. Cortland comes back and shoots Shanna. They leave the apartment with Shanna apparently shot dead.

“Freefall”
Writer: Bruce Jones
Artist: Val Mayerik

Zabu and Ka-zar are falling from the cliff of the pterandon. They go into the river and Zabu drags the unconscious Ka-zar out. Zabu steps into a trap that pins his paw to the ground. It was set by Maa-gor and he is there ready to spear the pinned Zabu.

So this issue is all about Shanna. She even gets the title changed to her name with the caption that Ka-zar is dead. We get to see a grieving Shanna and the emotions displayed from anger to sadness is quite realistic and genuine. Peter Parker/Spider-man does a good job of being a friend to Shanna in her time of need. Shanna’s anger is indeed savage as she takes her anger out on the city. Some humor as a frightened taxi cab driver tells the police when they arrive that it only takes one wheel to take a corner.

It ends with the attempted assassination of Ramona who is replaced by an impostor and Dr. Cortland shooting her dead. There is something definitely off about the Cortlands. So all the main characters Ka-zar, Shanna and Zabu are dead. There is a next issue but they won’t show the upcoming cover so it does leave one wondering what is next. I kind of doubt anyone is dead but this is an excellent way to continue the suspense.

The Tales of Zabu was another short installment but very effective. Another cliffhanger for our heroes to get out of. This has been a good little backup feature. Short and to the point with an ending that leaves the reader wanting more.

KA-ZAR THE SAVAGE #21

“It’s a Jungle Out There!”
Writer: Bruce Jones
Artist: Ron Frenz

Kraven is jumping on the roof where Ka-zar is when Ramona Cortland shoots out a chunk of the edge with her rifle. This forces Kraven to fall and Ka-zar being the hero jumps forward to grab him and stop him from falling. Only he is weak from his wound. Shanna has also arrived and grabs Ka-zar. Unfortunately neither of the two can pull up Kraven and the three go falling down. A sure death is adverted by the timely intervention of Spider-man. He spins a web to catch them.

Well Ka-zar is on the verge of dying and the two enemies put aside their differences to save Ka-zar in time for the ambulance. Kraven and Spider-man part ways with the vow to continue their fight some other time. At the hospital Shanna is joined by Peter Parker who is their for his friend Spider-man. The two go for a walk in Central Park and we get the story about how Ka-zar and Shanna met and fell in love. At the end the two come back to the hospital and find out that Ka-zar has just died.

“Obstacle Course”
Writer: Bruce Jones
Artist: Val Mayerik

Zabu has climbed the mountain just in time to rescue the young Ka-zar from getting fed to recently hatched pterandon chicks. He manages to not go over the edge but the pterandon knocks them both over and they start to fall.

Wow so this is a fun issue. We get a guest appearance by none other than Spider-man. Kraven shows he has a sense of honor by helping the man that saved his life. What follows later is a truly touching tale of how Ka-zar and Shanna first fell in love. Then it leaves us with the cliffhanger that Ka-zar is dead. A real surprise and hard to believe since what would happen to the title. Obviously he isn’t dead but it makes the reader curious to see how this is resolved.

The Tales of Zabu was short but effective. Zabu is shown to have great courage and determination in saving the young Ka-zar. This also ends with a cliffhanger that piques one’s curiosity on how our heroes are saved.

KA-ZAR THE SAVAGE #20

“New York, New York”
Writer: Bruce Jones
Writer: Ron Frenz

Ka-zar is still wandering New York and fighting off punk hoodlums. Ramona Cortland breaks out Kraven to track down Ka-zar but Kraven goes rogue and decides to kill not capture him. Ramona had the good sense to put a tracker on him so she follows him with a rifle. Shanna has no luck with the police and goes out to search herself. Zabu pretends that the drugs given him are working. Then he strikes and manages to lock his captors in the cage as he goes free to find Ka-zar. Kraven finds Ka-zar and chases him all over the place. Ka-zar is too weak and knows the bullet in his head could easily shift. The story ends with Kraven, Shanna, Zabu and Ramona all converging on the roof that Ka-zar is on.

This was a fun story. Ka-zar gets some of his memory back. Kraven is not a reliable team player. Zabu is one smart kitty who turns the tables on the dumb zoologist giving a tour to a group of reporters. There is a lot of humor in the issue. They crash into a comic book convention and we get a cameo of the writer and artist. Some other incidents are a 3-D movie screening that has Zabu jump out of the screen and the policeman who really wants a ham on rye. There is some truly touching moments as Shanna reflects on her relationship with Ka-zar. A great story with a cool cliffhanger ending.

KA-ZAR THE SAVAGE #19

“I’ll Take Manhattan”
Writer: Bruce Jones
Artists: Brent Anderson & Armando Gil

Ka-zar is being taken to New York after getting shot in the head. Miraculously he still tries to walk around but nobody is home upstairs. After the plane lands Ka-zar manages to get off and jump a train. It takes him into Manhattan where he rescues a couple from a gang that was mugging them. Then he saves a little girl from a fire. Meanwhile Shanna has trouble with the NYPD. They have taken Zabu the only one who can track Ka-zar and locked him up. Ramona Cortland the one who is responsible for shooting Ka-zar has plans of her own. She manages to break into prison and free Kraven the Hunter in helping her track down Ka-zar.

“Fly Now, Pay Later part II”
Writer: Bruce Jones
Artist: Val Mayerik

Zabu goes after the pterodactyl that carried off the young Ka-zar. He comes to a cliff and climbs the sheer side. Now he reaches the top and sees the pterodactyl about to feed Ka-zar to its young.

So the action moves to New York. This was a fun issue. Ka-zar is tough and even with a bullet in the head can still keep going. He manages to help people along the way. Shanna has to deal with the police bureaucracy and gets a tasteful dress. Ramona is a bit of a mystery. She has some very advanced skills in the way she manages to infiltrate the prison posing as a reporter. She uses some venom ring to knock out the warden and guards. There is more than meets the eye with her. So Kraven is back and we’ll get another confrontation with him.

The Tales of Zabu continues its story in an entertaining way. I love how Zabu’s thoughts are described. They are so funny and humanizing of the sabretooth. It’s a short story but packs a lot in. Really shows the determination and worry that Zabu is going through.

KA-ZAR THE SAVAGE #18

“A Stranger In Paradise”
Writer: Bruce Jones
Artists: Brent Anderson and Armando Gil

Ka-zar has a surprise for Shanna. A new treehouse with indoor plumbing. This happiness is interrupted by the arrival of an expedition. A Dr. Cortland has arrived on a botanical expedition to the Savage Land. His trophy wife Ramona Cortland is a real bitch. She flirts openly with Ka-zar and this makes Shanna insecure. Ka-zar seems to have little interest in Ramona but is fascinated by stories of New York. Just when the expedition is about to leave Ramona gets into a fight with Shanna. She tries to shoot Shanna with her pistol but a stray shot ends up right in Ka-zar’s forehead. Dr. Cortland states that a doctor in Manhattan is the only one who can save him.

“Fly Now…Pay Later”
Writer: Bruce Jones
Artist: Val Mayerik

Zabu is a bit annoyed with Ka-zar. The young boy wants to keep jumping in a pool of water. He constantly chats and splashed Zabu when all he wants to do is get some rest. Zabu’s anger turns to worry when the expected splash doesn’t occur. A pterodactyl has grabbed the young Ka-zar and is taking him away.

This was an interesting turn for the series. It seems both Ka-zar and Shanna have reconciled and are getting serious with their relationship. This is interrupted by the arrival of the Cortland expedition. Ramona is a very rude annoying woman. It makes Shanna feel insecure even though Ka-zar shows no interest in her. I do love the realistic portrayal of this relationship. So once again a roadblock is put up in this relationship which is a great way to ratchet up the sexual tension. Of course the cliffhanger ending with the gang going to New York will give this series a change of pace. Ka-zar always seems to divide his time between the Savage Land and New York and this series is no different.

The Tales of Zabu was also good. It did a real good job of showing Zabu as an annoyed sabretooth who wants to just lie in the shade an rest but has to put up with an energetic young boy. This also ended in a good cliffhanger. The backup is short but to the point and quite interesting.

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.