KULL THE CONQUEROR #10

“While Valusia Sleeps”
Writer: Alan Zelenetz
Artist: John Buscema

Kull and Gonra are out hunting boar. They get some very aggressive boars and Gonra shows that he is indeed an equal to Kull. So after a feast two unsavory characters manage to convince drunk Gonra to pull out the sword that seals King Eallal room. They hope to get treasure. What they find is serpent-men and the evil spirit of Eallal. Gonra fights the serpent-men but the spirit goes to Kull’s room. It manages to take over the guards and have them kill each other. Kull knows the proper words to make sure Eallal is banished. He runs to the room and finds Gonra and the door open. As he goes in Gonra locks the door and he is confronted by serpent-men. Kull easily kills them then Gonra who was a serpent-man in disguise. Gonra comes to the rescue with the palace guard. Kull plans to cleanse the room with fire and seal it with bricks. Meanwhile Brule is captive of the evil shaman who has taken over his tribe. The fair Daphna is still in a love sick coma. A wizard manages to stabilize her but only the love of Kull will wake her.

So this is the final issue in the third and last run of Kull for Marvel. It ended on a fairly dull note. The story was mediocre. It also seems unfinished. What of the fair Daphne and her lovesick coma? What was the fate of Brule? Does he free his tribe from the evil shaman? Unanswered questions. Perhaps it was continued in the Savage Sword but I can’t remember. When we get to those issues maybe we will find out. For now it is over. This series started out so strong it is a shame to end on such a dull note. This would be the last that Kull ever got a series from Marvel. Although he did appear in the black and white Savage Sword of Conan. He also made an appearance in Dark Horse and just recently for IDW so Kull is not forgotten.

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KULL THE CONQUEROR #9

“The Sword of Gonra!”
Writer: Alen Zelenetz
Artist: John Buscema

Kull is bored with the loss of his friend Brule. Daphne though has a plan that she got from the old crone that lives in a cave. The crone tells her the location of the sword of Gonra. Gonra was an ancient king of Valusia. If Kull can retrieve the sword then it will waken Gonra from his long slumber and Kull will have a companion of strength. Kull jumps at the chance but to the disappointment of Daphne the king is still completely uninterested in her romantically. Kull takes Ridondo along and he does find the sword in the alter of the scorpion. This wakes up Gorna who is real pissed at being disturbed. The two battle with Kull eventually pinning Gonra. Gonra yields and Kull now has a worthy companion. Meanwhile Brule is heading home when he and his escort are ambushed by a giant snake. The snake is an illusion. Daphne is so brokenhearted that she falls into a coma. A coma that could lead to death unless her love for Kull is returned.

So this was a quirky issue. Several things are going on and it ends with several threads left hanging. Always a good sign to have the story leaving the reader wanting more. Daphne really has it for Kull and the gold she paid the crone isn’t delivering. It is interesting that Kull would embrace what is obviously something supernatural. He must be real bored to dabble in it. Nothing good can come of this. I have a feeling the old crone is working with or is Thulsa Doom. Brule is also heading toward a showdown with sorcery. A good set up to a big conclusion next issue.

KULL THE CONQUEROR #8

“Blade of Justice!”
Writer: Alan Zelenetz
Artist: Sal Buscema

A man is executed for murdering the temple virgins. Everyone is all pumped up about the justice being served except Kull. He feels only true justice is done when you catch the person in the act and kill him on the spot. Not imprison him and then chop his head off while he is all tied up. Apparently this man was not the killer for the murders of temple virgins continues. The mob demands justice and Kull pledges to personally track down the culprit. Going undercover he catches the killer in the act. One of his own Red Slayers who is angry at being rejected by the virgins. So Kull fights and wins. Later Baron Kaanuub is sentenced to death but Kull decides to commute the sentence. Instead Kaanuub is stripped of his citizenship and banished. Meanwhile Brule is heading back home and is confronted by a sea creature that warns him to turn back.

So this issue was good but not great one. We get some insight into Kull’s vision of justice. Naturally it consists of it being administered immediately without any of the civilized formalities. Interesting his mercy for Kaanuub might be more cruel than a quick death. Someone like the weak cowardly Kaanuub may not last too long on his own. The subplot with Brule is looking interesting. Sounds like a wizard is now the chief of his tribe and the monster he confronts is a sign that wizard feels threatened by the return of Brule. Oh and there is another subplot that involves Daphna the noble’s daughter he saved from the goblins. She has fallen in love with Kull and goes to seek a love potion from an old hag of a wizard.

KULL THE CONQUEROR #7

“Masquerade”
Writer: Alan Zelenetz
Artists: John Buscema and Marie Severin

The big masquerade is about the begin. Two conspirators are waiting for their contact who finally arrives. It is Redondo with the costumes the two are to wear. They are the kill Kull at the ball. As Ridondo leaves he is knocked out and his costume taken by a man who wants to kill Baron Kaanuub. Brule has decided to leave for his homeland. He feels he has grown soft in decadent Valusia. On the way out of the city he comes upon Ridondo who tells him of the plot. They manage to get to the ball in time to arrest Kaanuub and stop the assassins.

Well this was a so-so issue. Kaanuub is exposed for his plotting against Kull. Ridondo was a surprise. It starts out with him part of the conspiracy. Of course it was a ruse to expose the plot. It was a poor plot that was uncharacteristic of Kaanuub. He usually is careful to never be associated with any plot. So at the end Brule is still committed to leave for home and Kull now knows that not everything is as safe as he thought. An OK issue but nothing that stood out in what has been a very excellent run for this incarnation so far.

KULL THE CONQUEROR #6

“Goblin Moon”
Writer: Alan Zelenetz
Artist: John Buscema

It is the night of the Goblin moon in Valusia. Once a night goblins come down from the moon and try to tempt people with their heart’s desire. Once they succumb the goblins drag them back to their tower to torture for all eternity. Brule has been tasked with bringing back the daughter of a noble who has stayed out too late. As they go back to the City of Wonders night falls. The goblins come and tempt the two. The girl with flowers fragrance that will never age her. Brule with a golden spear to be a great warrior.

At the palace a masquerade ball is being organized by Baron Kaanuub for the upcoming wedding. When Brule doesn’t come back with the girl Kull goes out to find them. He finds them in the thrall of the goblins who then try to tempt Kull. They offer him great knowledge but he rejects their false offerings. So the goblins toss him into the waters of madness where he battles images of tigers. Kull escapes and ignores the false images they throw at him. Finally the sun comes up and the goblins flee back to their tower which disappears. Brule and the girl have no memory of the night as they head back home.

Well this was a weird story. I liked it. A new idea to have goblins come once a night to terrorize the people. Naturally Kull is immune to such temptations. What being a badass barbarian. It ends with the revelation that Baron Kaanuub plots to have Kull assassinated at the masquerade. Seems he is getting a bit buddy buddy with Ridondo too. They were after all co-conspirators in the last plot. Should be interesting to see how this develops.

KULL THE CONQUEROR #5

“A Vision of Lost Love”
Writer: Alan Zelenetz
Artist: John Buscema

The plague has subsided and Kull rides out into the country. At the small village of Durium the village is burying its dead in a mass grave. They are in an angry mood and take it out on Kull. One hothead who lost his wife tries to knife the king but is knocked down. Kull is magnanimous and spares his life. Baran Kaanuub gets the man into his scheme. He gives him a flute that will raise a demon to kill Kull.

Later at night Kull finds a beautiful woman waiting for him in his bed. The noble Lalandra planted her to distract Kull as he and two thugs come in and kill him. He was going to blame the girl for the murder and he in his zeal to avenge the king killed her. Only Kull is not taken unawares and makes short work of the fop and his two thugs. Then Kull and company hear the sounds of the evil flute. At the mass grave it raises a creature composed of hot ash. It kills the man who brought it to life and chases after Baron Kannuub. Kull comes to the rescue and lures it to the aqueduct and puts out the monster with water. The villagers praise Kull while Kaanuub worms his way out of the conspiracy.

So it looks like they dropped the extra long format and Baxter paper. The story is a good solid entry in the series. Zelenetz comes up with an enjoyable story involving Baron Kaanuub’s plot to assassinate Kull. Kull is his typical badass self as he cuts up the assassins with an ax and destroys a monster. The villagers are fickle cursing Kull in the morning and praising him in the afternoon. There have been such brilliant stories in this incarnation of the series that this one seems mediocre. Still it was enjoyable and this series shows no letup in the quality.

KULL THE CONQUEROR #4

“A Season of Black Death”
Writer: Alan Zelenetz

“Framework”
Artist: Charles Vess

The City of Wonders is suffering from plague. Hundreds are dying. It is so virulent that pigs who eat the infected clothing keel over and die. Kull and his friends are stuck in the palace. Brule starts to tell a story of his past and Kull wants to hear so the gang settle in to tell their stories.

“Brule’s Tale”
Artist: Ernie Chan

Before Brule came as an emissary for the Picts he was the chief of the Borni tribe. One night they welcomed four guests from the Sungara tribe. The guests prove dishonorable for they rape a woman. The husband is too cowardly to pursue for revenge so he is tied up with a hood and thrown into the river. Brule will have to avenge his tribe’s honor. So he tracks the Sungara and fights off a wolf. He gets to them and takes them out with ease and brings back the scalps. Only the woman who was raped has taken her life because she was shamed by her cowardly husband.

“Ridondo’s Tale”
Artist: John Bolton

In the city of Kamula three brothers have inherited the wealth from their rich merchant father. They have a sister who is having an affair with their servant and not interested in marrying a baron’s son. So they take the servant out and kill him and bury the body. Later the ghost comes to the sister and implores her to dig him up and rebury him in the garden so he can be next to her. She does this and a tree grows. The brothers decide to eat its fruit and find that is has hellworms in it which kills them. The sister later dies from grief.

“Tu’s Tale”
Artist: Butch Guice

Tu tells a story from the days of the tyrant king Borna. He took a fancy to a beautiful woman so he had her fiance killed and her taken for his harem. The woman proves uncooperative and scratches Borna’s face and breaks a vase over his head. So next morning he takes her to be married to her love. Her fiance is strung up and she is to be walled alive with him.

“Kutholo’s Tale”
Artist: Bill Siekiewicz

In Zalgara the sheep herders discover that some cultist of Yagotha is stealing their goats for dark rituals of magic. They kill this cultist but not before he curses the land. In summer it starts to snow and freezes the land. A champion comes and uses his shield to focus the sun and warm up the land.

So we get four different stories with a different artist for each. Zelenetz is showing that he was a perfect choice to write this series. He hasn’t had a dud yet. Although the last story in this issue was a bit weak. Still the first three were so good as to make up for it. They were dark in nature and just brilliant. The plague is going to continue to be a source of conflict as Kull has decided to go out and see how his people are doing. I can’t wait to see what this will lead to.

KULL THE CONQUEROR #3

“Dead Men of the Deep”
Writer: Alan Zelenetz
Artist: John Buscema

Roc the Lemurian pirate has kidnapped some Valusian senators who were on a fact finding mission. When Kull hears of this he decides to go after Roc himself. He has a score to settle with the pirate. Years ago he suffered as a galley slave on his ship. He managed to escape and vowed revenge. Kull finds out that his former friend is a slave on the ship that was carrying the senators. He frees him and finds out where Roc’s base is. Meanwhile a Count Dal Sendor is plotting with the priest of Anu to kill Kull through supernatural means. So he is attacked while enroute by a flying bull. The bull is no match for Kull who stabs it with his sword.

So he gets to the base and attacks. From prisoners he finds out that Roc is holed up with the hostages in a nearby ice cave. Kull and company go there and after a battle Kull buries his ax in Roc’s chest. So with the newly liberated senators they head home. Only the curse of the priest of Amu strikes again. This time a horde of sea-men come out and swarm over the ship. Luckily his councilor Tu was following on another ship and rescues the crew as they set fire to the ship taking out the sea-men. Count Sendor kills the priest of Anu to cover his tracks and plots anew while sucking up to Kull.

Another excellent issue. We get a glimpse into Kull’s past as a galley slave. He manages to rescue his friend and take out an old foe. The senators see the wisdom of his proposal for a strong navy. Although the senate unanimously votes down his proposal to eliminate galley slaves. Kull was a man way ahead of his time. Zelenetz has a real good feel for the character and I have consistently enjoyed his well plotted stories. Combined with Buscema who was a natural for Robert E. Howard stories and this new series shines. Helps also that it was published bi-monthly so there was more time to work on it.

KULL THE CONQUEROR #2

“The Amulet of Ka”
Writer: Alan Zelenetz
Artist: John Buscema

Tu the councilor to Kull was left behind on a state visit. Riding in the rain alone he falls off his horse and is seriously injured. Kull is angry with himself because he let his temper get the better of him and now his friend is dying. He hears of the Amulet of Ka located on a mountain in the unexplored lands to the south. So with Brule, Akeon and another the three set out on a quest. They have to battle blood sucking plants and rogue mammoths. They reach the mountain and find it inhabited by a race of bird-men. Ravian their king tells how long ago they waged war with men and lost. All their females and brood were killed and only a few males live on thanks to the amulet.

Ravian is open to giving Kull the amulet but his nephew Vultus objects. Ravian kill him with a sword. Later Akeon turns against Kull by stabbing Brule in the back while Kull is battling a giant bird. Kull later manages to slay Akeon and use the amulet to heal Brule. They make it back in time to save Tu.

“Reprise…”
Writer: Alan Zelenetz
Artist: John Buscema

Gallus and Talena are to be married. In the garden Gallus goes to pick a pomegranate for her but slips and hits his head on a stone bench. Talena goes to her father who is talking with Kull. They go to help and find Gallus dead. Talena begs for Kull to use the amulet to bring him back. Against his better judgement he agrees and brings him to life. Only the spirit of death inhabits the body and is pissed that Kull would dare try to cheat him. He sprouts tentacles and tries to kill Kull. Kull manages to bash his head in with the stone bench. He then takes the amulet and throws it into the sea.

Well this was another excellent issue. We get a fun quest into unknown lands and battle strange beasts and bird-men. He also has to battle the traitor Akeon who is trying to usurp the throne. Surprising Brule turned his back on him after he tried to push him off the mountain. And we get a small epilogue to show the dangers of such an amulet and the consequences of using it. Beautiful artwork and a fast paced story keep it interesting.

KULL THE CONQUEROR #1

“Eye of the Tigress”
Writers: Bruce Jones/April Campbell
Artist: John Buscema

Kull is invited to the wedding of the prince of Verulia with the princess of Thule. All the other heads of state on the Thurian continent are there. Including Ku-var the leader of Atlantis. Ku-var has conquered the island of Atlantis. He has a beautiful woman named Irainia with him. A woman who betrayed her Mountain-Sea tribe to him. At the wedding the various champions of the monarchs are competing in friendly duels. Kull chooses Brule while Ku-var chooses Iraina. Iraina wins and shames Brule.

Later an old friend from Kull’s Atlantis days the shaman Ram-Os comes to Kull. Seems that one day Ku-var got drunk and tried to rape Irainia. Instead she slew him then all his soldiers. She now controls Atlantis and has an army of women dressed in tiger skins. On a full moon night the army turns into tigers and has been conquering the countries on the Thurian continent. One day Irainia comes to Kull’s palace as a guest. At night Brule sees the shaman Ram-Os go sneak out and go to the army outside. He uses his magic to turn them into the tigers. As he sneaks back Brule ambushes him and gets the story.

Years ago Ram-Os made a prediction that a child born under a full moon would depose the chief and rule the Thurian continent. Twins were left out for the tigers as the chief was afraid to lose his position. Ram-Os saved the girl but the tigers got the boy. He raised the girl in secret and taught her dark magic. Iraina is Kull’s sister. So the tigers attack Valusia and Kull must fight his sister who turns into a huge tiger. Kull manages to break her neck with his bare hands. Iraina’s death turns all the women back to human and Kull’s throne is safe.

So after a year they started up the Kull series again. Wisely they continued the format of the trial run with no ads, extra length and excellent writers and artists. Another fine tale that has an fascinating story filled with wonderful characters, dark magic and intrigue. So Kull has a sister. Kull has to kill his sister. A wild and tragic outcome for Kull. This is the best Kull series that has ever been written.