KA-ZAR #4

“The Concrete Jungle”
Writer: Mark Waid
Artist: Andy Kubert

Parnival Plunder thinks he is safe in his office surrounded by security personal. Ka-zar manages to evade all the security and come crashing through the window. He picks up Parnival and tosses him out. Parnival lands in a net that Ka-zar set and forces him to tell why he wants him dead. Now Parnival did not fall through the ice, that was some other flunky. He did get serious frostbite in trekking back to civilization hence the cybernetics. His motives are to be declared the sole inheritor of their fathers estate. The medallion that the two inherited leads to some invention that will make Parnival a god.

The security men arrive and chase Ka-zar from the building. The men are not too careful about who they hit so Ka-zar leads them to Central Park where he has room to maneuver. Shanna meets him at the park and they manage to defeat Parnival’s men. Parnival meanwhile is in communication with a mysterious figure that is trapped in another dimension.

This was a real excellent issue. First there was lots of action. Also we find out how Parnival survived the Antarctic. What his motives are is also revealed. Yet enough is held back to keep the reader curious. What is this super invention that their father created? Who is the mysterious being in the dimensional closet and what part does he play in Parnival’s scheme?

Parnival himself seems to be a germophobe. He was more upset about being outside with all the unsanitary germs then actually falling. He is becoming a real good villain for Ka-zar in this series. Also Ka-zar and Shanna are making the first steps to reconcile their relationship. This adventure in New York is turning quite interesting.

Advertisements

KA-ZAR MINUS 1

“Life Lessons & Lies”
Writers: Mark Waid & Todd Dezago and Andy Jozefowicz
Artist: John Cassaday

A teenage Ka-zar visits his friend Benaza chief of the Waidia. The friendly chief talks about how everyone in the tribe is self sufficient. He seems to hint that Ka-zar may be relying too much on the aid of another. Ka-zar interprets this to mean that he is too dependent on Zabu for help. He storms away in a huff and decides to prove Benaza wrong. He is attacked by a pack of wolves and insists on fighting them off himself. Zabu does help him at the end. He goes back to the village and finds out Benaza died. Now he knows that Benaza was talking about himself and Ka-zar learns a valuable lesson.

Meanwhile in New York Parnival Plunder is living with the butler Willis who was entrusted to watch over him. Wills complains that Parnival’s father is not paying them enough money to survive. He tries to convince Parnival that this father loves his younger brother more than he does him. Willis is secretly withholding most of the remittance that the father had arranged to be sent each month. Parnival finds this out and hires some thugs to help him steal the money and beat up Willis.

So during this time Marvel was running these flashback issues for their titles. It would explore the characters younger lives. Ka-zar got his issue and it is well done. The Ka-zar as a teen had a good story. The real gem is the backstory for Parnival. This is the first we get a glimpse of his early life. The butler Willis was a real tool and he probably did feel abandoned by his father. So we get an understanding of why he has such an animosity toward his brother. A timely story since we will be introduced to the adult Parnival as a major antagonist in the current issues of the series. Plus we get a nice little recap to the origin of Ka-zar and Stan the Man himself narrating the opening in a caveman outfit.

KA-ZAR #3

“Exposed”
Writer: Mark Waid
Artist: Andy Kubert

Ka-zar and Shanna have left the warmth of the Savage Land to trek out into the Antarctic wastes. They are tracking Gregor and their son Matthew. In addition to the cold they have to fight leopard seals. They find what looks like their son’s skeleton but it was a penguin’s wrapped in their son’s blanket. They finally find their son and Ka-zar fights Gregor. He manages to subdue him and drag him back home. There they find out from Gregory that Parnival Plunder is still alive and was the one who wants Ka-zar dead. Ka-zar and Shanna decide to go to New York to confront him.

So that cyborg guy is Ka-zar’s brother Parnival. Last time he showed up he was frozen into the Antarctic ice so I wonder how he got out and made all that money. There is also some tension between Ka-zar and Shanna. Shanna blames Ka-zar for Matthew getting kidnapped because he brought technology into the Savage Land that Gregor used. A bit unreasonable but Shanna is sure a Luddite in this series. Sets up the series for an adventure in New York.

KA-ZAR GUNS OF THE SAVAGE LAND

“Guns of the Savage Land”
Writers: Chuck Dixon and Timothy Truman
Artist: Gary Kwapisz

A nearly naked man is found wandering out of the Nevada desert. He speaks a language nobody recognizes and has serious radiation poisoning. Dr. Wyatt Wingfoot an anthropologist is called and finds out the man speaks an ancient Paiute language. He theorizes that he came from the world under the Earth that the Paiute legend says the tribe originated from.

So he goes to recruit Ka-zar and his wife Shanna. They are living in England because the Savage Land tribes united and rejected Ka-zar’s rule. Now Ka-zar is estranged from Shanna and slowly going insane from living in civilization. This trip piques his interest and with Shanna they head out to discover this new land. Borrowing the Fantasticar from the Fantastic Four they find a world under the surface filled with dinosaurs. They find the lost tribe but there has already been contact with civilization.

An oil company has set up a base to drill for oil. Lead by an ex-Legionnaire named Lestrade he runs a brutal operation. Some of the mercenaries attack the tribe and Ka-zar with his friends manage to defeat them. Ka-zar decides to arm and teach the tribe to use the guns. They attack the base and destroy it. Shanna leaves Ka-zar and Zabu because of Ka-zar’s erratic behavior.

The only graphic novel of Ka-zar ever done. It was between the third and fourth series. There were a number of differences with the characters that go against what was established in the various series. Shanna seems to want to live in civilization while Ka-zar has a real hatred for it. It seems to be the other way around in the series. Also they have their son named Kyle instead of Mathew. It was never really explains what this world under the Earth was. It seems like some sort of Pellucidar type world. Ka-zar also seems to be a bit unstable with a power mad desire to rule and bloodlust to kill the outsiders. I suppose it could be the effects of his insanity.

Still what is good is the overall story. Truman and Dixon are experts in writing good quality action stories. Kwapisz was some beautiful art. So we get an interesting adventure story. Lots of action and machine guns mounded on dinosaurs attacking the evil oil company. Not sure where this fits into the Ka-zar continuity or even if its supposed to. It seems like a sort of alternate world adventure. Definitely worth the look for the story and artwork.

KA-ZAR #2

“Law of the Jungle”
Writer: Mark Waid
Artist: Andy Kubert

Zabu is seriously wounded and under the care of Shanna. So Ka-zar goes off to hunt down the man responsible. He successfully tracks Gregor down and gets into a fight with him. Later Shanna and a recovered Zabu also arrive. Unfortunately Gregor’s tribal allies manage to kidnap their son Matthew from the nanny that was taking care of him. Gregor gets on his rocket sled and takes off with Matthew. Ka-zar manages to rip off an aileron and the sled goes crashing down in the Antarctic wastes.

Another exciting issue in the new series. Ka-zar shows that he should not be underestimated. It ends with a good cliffhanger. I love the art from Kubert. I notice that comics from the nineties were very minimal in dialogue and descriptive narrative. I think that this story is effective in how it shows the story visually.

KA-ZAR #1

“Ka-zar Lord of the Savage Land”
Writer: Mark Waid
Artist: Andy Kubert

A cyborg that owns a lot of real estate in New York hires Gregor for a job. Gregor trains Kraven so he is a formidable foe. The cyborg sends him to the Savage Land to kill Ka-zar. Meanwhile Ka-zar is living the life in the Savage Land. He saves a village from a T-Rex and teaches the inhabitants how to play baseball. He has a happy marriage to Shanna and has a young son Mathew. After celebrating their anniversary Ka-zar and Zabu are out hunting when they are attacked by a tribe armed with guns. Ka-zar manages to defeat them but Zabu lies mortally wounded.

“Born to be Wild?”
By Rob Piotrowski

An article on the new series. It goes on about the history and that Ka-zar will end up in New York.

A new Ka-zar series and it starts off with a bang. A mysterious cyborg in New York hires a deadly hitman. Gregor is a fascinating character. He uses a polaroid camera to take pictures of a primitive tribe and claim he has stolen their souls. So that is how he gets them to follow him. The series starts off with Ka-zar having a good happy life. He does seem to be missing civilization which is interesting in that was how the last series started. Shanna is totally opposed to civilization so the hinted move to New York is sure the cause some tension.

So this was a good set up to a new series. A formidable opponent and a new threat. Hints at many guest stars from the Marvel universe. And of course a good old fashioned cliffhanger.

KA-ZAR OF THE SAVAGE LAND

“Nature of the Beasts”
Writer: Chuck Dixon
Artist: Frank Teran

The Neo-men are attacking the mile long wall that Ka-zar had his allied tribes built to keep them out. Now it looks like the Neo-men are making a commitment to break through. Shanna is scouting in a small Cessna with a young stowaway named Kleeto. A large arrow hits the wing and Shanna is forced to go down. Ka-zar mounts a rescue and barely survives while the others in his party perish.

Ka-zar eventually finds a mysterious alien complex and fights a large creature. Shanna intervenes in the fight for the creature is young Kleeto. The complex is responsible for all the mutations happening in the Savage Land and it mutated Kleeto. Shanna figures out enough of the machinery to reverse the process and turn Kleeto back to human. Then they destroy the complex and battle Sauron who happens to come by.

So about ten years after his title was cancelled this one-shot special was released. An enjoyable story with hordes of neo-men battling to breach this great wall that was constructed. A lot has changed in the Savage Land. Apparently it was destroyed by Tyrannus years ago in some other Marvel title. So I don’t have the full story but this was the beginning of Ka-zar’s next series. It had a lot of potential. The only real complaint is the character of Sauron in the story. He did really nothing but show up at the end and get his butt kicked which was pointless. It did nothing to advance the story.

SAVAGE TALES ANNUAL #1 KA-ZAR

“A Day of Tigers!”
Writer: Roy Thomas
Artists: Gil Kane & Frank Giacola

Reprint from Astonishing Tales #11.

“Dragonseed”
Writer: Len Wein
Artist: Steve Gan

Reprint from Savage Tales #6.

“Back to the Savage Land”
Writer: Gerry Conway
Artists: Barry Smith & Sam Grainger

Reprint from Astonishing Tales #3.

“The Sun God!”
Writer: Gerry Conway
Artists: Barry Smith & Sam Grainger

Reprint from Astonishing Tales #4.

“Rampage!”
Writer: Gerry Conway
Artists: Barry Smith & Frank Giacoia

Reprint from Astonishing Tales #5.

“Dark Tomorrow”
Writer: Gerry Conway
Artist: Gray Morrow

Reprint from Savage Tales #2.

So here is the final Savage Tales and they made it an annual. They also didn’t bother writing anything new but printed reprints. Good stories and they look great in a larger black and white format but still reprints.

Not going out on a high note unfortunately but this was a series with great potential. The Ka-zar stories were more adult and darker than what was appearing in the color comics. It introduced such interesting characters as John Jake’s Brak the Barbarian and continued the Shanna saga. It also introduced the most popular character Conan the Barbarian into his wildly successful title. Plus there is just something cool about the title. The concept would get a makeover in the eighties but that will be for the future.

SAVAGE TALES #11 KA-ZAR

“Marauder in a Cage of Time”
Writer: Doug Moench
Artists: Steve Gan & Rico Rival

Ka-zar is capturing a unicorn that he needs to ride. First he has to take out a raptor that wants to eat the unicorn. After he and Zabu kill the raptor Tongah comes riding on a horse. He is searching for Ka-zar because outsiders have arrived in the Savage Land and are up to no good. They are suspected of kidnapping Tongah’s woman Sheesa. As they track the men Ka-zar comes on a dinosaur killed by the men. He then comes on a man tied to a tree with a giant bear about to eat him. After he saves the man and finds out he is a paleontologist named Bernard Kloss. Kloss wants to study the Savage land and hired a mercenary named Greig to lead him here.

Now Greig is not the expert guide he sold himself to be. He tied up Kloss when he threatened to stop his plan to come back and capture the dinosaurs to display in civilization. He has kidnapped Sheesa to guide him out of the Savage Land. Ka-zar manages to kill Greig, free Sheesa and at the end frees his captive unicorn.

“Intruder!”
Writer: Archie Goodwin
Artist: Russ Heath

A plane fleeing a failed revolution attempt in South America crashes in the Antarctic. A mercenary named Clete Brandon, an ex-Green Beret is the only survivor. He survived by ruthlessly killing the survivors so he could survive. Now he finds himself in the Savage Land and loves it. He is a man who doesn’t like rules and feels free in this new land. Well right off the bat he is attacked by cavemen. He manages to shoot them with his M-16. He then goes to their village and blows it up with explosives to neutralize a threat. There are still survivors of the tribe that continue to track him. He loses his modern weapons and clothes. Finally he comes on a group of baboons feasting on a recent kill. He kills the baboon leader and assumes the leadership role of the tribe. It ends with him feasting on the fresh kill with his new tribe.

This is the end of Savage Tales and it ends with two solid stories. The first was good but not great. Evil bad guy coming to the Savage Land and causing all sorts of trouble is not new and Greig is no unique character. The unicorn thing was also kind of pointless. Still the artwork was beautiful and the story was coherent and an enjoyable read.

The second story was a feature they were going to start called Tales of the Savage Land. Non Ka-zar stories that occur in the Savage Land. This one was excellent. Clete Brandon comes off as a stone cold killer. In flashbacks we see him shooting a game warden that tried to arrest him for pouching and killing a village of innocent Vietnamese in the war. He is a man who is a psychopath and hates the rules. The Savage Land is his perfect place and the ending were he reverts to a beast is fitting and powerful. He is a character that they should have had meet Ka-zar. If would have been interesting.

So this is the last issue except for an annual that we will see next week. The annual was just reprints so this is the final original stuff. Savage Tales with Ka-zar was an enjoyable series. I loved the adult stories and the various backup stories were equally excellent. Unfortunately Ka-zar never seems to connect with a broad audience and this ended as the other incarnations of Ka-zar.

SAVAGE TALES #10 KA-ZAR

“Requiem for a Haunted Man!”
Writer: Gerry Conway
Artists: Russ Heath & The Crusty Bunkers

Ka-zar and Zabu are surrounded by crocodiles. To make matters worse Ka-zar is wounded and one arm is in a sling. Things look grim when a mysterious stranger comes to their aid. He then leaves as quickly as he arrived. Later Ka-zar notices the men from villages marching off to what looks like war. They meet a group of horse mounted barbarians and are clearly outclassed but the barbarians have their women so they attack. Suddenly a horde of stampeding dinosaurs come and pound the barbarians into the ground. Ka-zar notices its the mysterious man who is responsible. When he tries to talk to him he finds that he is very adamant about his privacy.

Later at a dinner of the River-Forest people he finds out the man’s story. He is Edward Culhaney and was an IRA terrorist. He ran when this men were ambushed and on a ship going around South America jumps off to commit suicide. Instead he drifts into the Savage Land. Now he makes up for his past by helping people. Later that night the barbarians attack the village and Culhaney sacrifices his life to save Ka-zar.

The Running of Ladyhound”
By John Jakes
Illustrated by Mike Whelan and rick Bryant

Duncan is a traveling minstrel who seeks shelter in the castle of King Lor. Lor is at war with the neighboring king and is in a foul mood. He has a greyhound named Ladyhound that he takes sadistic pleasure in tormenting. His necromancer is a fat slug named Magid and has it in for Duncan as does the kings right-hand man Rol. The king does have a beautiful daughter Mylinda who he has a romance with. One night he has a dream that the king is eaten by a worm and shouts it out loud. Now the king is obsessed with Duncan explaining his dream. He later finds that Ladyhound is the kings wife who he had turned into a dog. It all ends with an assault by King Gonwyr and the death of practically everyone involved.

“Blood Purge!”
Writer: Carla Conway
Artists: Ross Andry and Vinnie Colleta

Shanna the She-Devil is pursuing Raga-Shah in the Himalayan mountains. She comes on a fight and saves Prince Tehmah. Tehmah was in the outside world studying. When he came back he found that his father died and his evil uncle now rules. What’s worse is he married his mother and practices blood sacrifices. When Shanna hears that Raga-Shah is his guest she agrees to help. While sneaking into the palace they are ambushed and caught. Shanna and Tehmah are condemned to die like in Poe’s The Pit and the Pendulum. Shanna is able to use the swinging pendulum to sever her bonds and start taking out the kings soldiers. She kills the king but not before he unleashed the lava from a volcano that destroys the city. She then leaves to continue her quest for vengeance leaving Tehmah to rebuild his kingdom.

The Ka-zar story was an excellent one. A mysterious man who turns out to be an IRA man now trying to redeem himself. Once again this format allows a more adult story for Ka-zar. Beautiful artwork and a sad ending make this a very good entry.

The John Jakes story is actually a prose story with illustrations. Jakes has a strong writing style and this story has a fascinating mystery and an enjoyable cast of characters. I would like to check out his S&S writing some time. I think I would enjoy them.

Finally the Shanna story was the best. I get to see her in her quest for Raga-Shan. I know how it ends but she is such a beautiful woman and one kickass chick. She practically takes on the entire army by herself and actually wins. I can see why Ka-zar fell for this girl.