SAVAGE SWORD OF CONAN #188

“The Power of Honor”

Writer: Doug Murray

Artists: Tod Smith and Don Hudson

In the city of Khartoosh in Koth an evil cult has captured a wizard of Mitra and his young daughter. The daughter has power that this cult of Drakka wants. The father manages to sacrifice his life so his daughter can escape. Luckily, she runs into Conan who decides to take her into his protection. From a fellow thief he gets the story of young Najia’s life. He takes her to her mother and along the way has to battle some mercenaries. At the end he fights the cult’s dragon and young Najia discovers her powers and destroys the evil cult.

“The Endless River of Blood”

Writer: Sandy Plunkett

Artists: Sandy Plunkett and Dave Cockrum

In the borderlands of Aquilonia Conan gets a vision of a Mitrian angel. The image spooks his horse and it falls into a pit. Conan grabs the edge and sees a statue with gems in the eyes. A woman manages to save Conan. She is a captain and offers Conan a job which he accepts. Only he later deserts to go get the gems from the statue. He arrives there and finds the captain doing a ritual. She is secretly part of the cult of Yog. The woman manages to cause a cave in. Only the angel of Mitra saves Conan and gets him to be the champion for Mitra. He battles the woman on the supernatural plain and defeats her.

This was an interesting issue. Lots of cultists. The first story was fairly straightforward. Conan saves a young girl from a cult. Battles mercenaries and a dragon. There were some fun sly humors in the story. The young girl was jealous of Conan and cast a spell to make him impotent. He punishers her by spanking her. The second story was a bit out there with its supernatural elements. Yet I found it interesting. A decent issue with some interesting stories to kill time.


SAVAGE SWORD OF CONAN #187

“Blood Bond”

Writer: Larry Yakata

Artist: Ernie Chan

Conan is at a tavern in Turan when a man comes in. He gets in a fight with the locals and kills them all. The man introduces himself to Conan as Aniki. He claims to come from Cimmeria and offers Conan a job. He wants to rescue a colony of blind craftsmen who are being held by some evil merchants in Vendya. Conan agrees and they rescue the craftsmen from a fortress on a rock formation. Aniki is doing this because he fell in love with one of the women that form this group. They take the group to a magical spring that will heal their blindness. The merchants try to stop them with their men and trained apes. Both are killed by Conan and Aniki. Then at the springs a monster summoned by a wizard the merchants hired attacks. Both guys easily defeat it. They go back to the fortress and set up the craftsmen operations. Aniki goes to find some merchants to sell the crafts to. While gone the blindness comes back to the craftsmen. The evil merchants also try to get back the craftsmen, but Conan and Aniki make short work of them. Conan goes off with a bagful of gold.

“Red Sonja Quells the Song of the Siren”

Writer: Marie Javins

Artists: Steve Buccellato and Alfredo Alcala

Sonja is hired to take a princess to a monarch. He wants Sonja to make sure she arrives with her innocence intact. Sonja takes a ship and finds out this is harder than it looks. The princess is a flirt and constantly coming on to the sailors. During a storm they pass rocks with sirens. The siren’s song drives the men to jump overboard. Sonja persuades the princess to sing and get them back. She eventually does when Sonja appeals to her vanity. The sailors come back but the princess jumps overboard to be with the sirens. She always wanted to be one.

This was a good issue. The first story introduces this fascinating character. It is hinted that Aniki is a possible lost brother to Conan. This is still a mystery, but it is left open that this character will come back and maybe shed some light on this mystery. An enjoyable story with some beautiful Chan artwork. The backup Sonja feature is also an enjoyable story. Deals with this vain princess who decides to join the sirens. Sonja doesn’t get her money, but she seems find with it. A good enjoyable issue.

SAVAGE SWORD OF CONAN #186

“Horror Out of Time”

Writer: Chuck Dixon

Artists: Steve Carr and Al Williamson

Ohris Dehjimal was an evil sorcerer that opposed Kull. Kull had the body torn apart and the head tossed into the sea. Now in the Hyborian age an Aquilonian noble that fancies himself an archeologist has discovered the skull in Ophir. The skull has him find the rest of his body so he can once again be whole. They manage to find the body except the hand. The hand was sold to a guy in Zamora. This guy is a king of thieves in a city and has Conan as one of his hired hands. Ohris comes with his army to take the hand and has to battle Conan. Naturally Conan wins.

“Ricardo Villagran Portfolio”

A collection of seven full page illustrations of Conan by the artist.

This was the final Dixon story for Savage Sword. He decided to go out with a very good one. This ties in from the Kull mythos that was established in back up stories. A fun story with this dead sorcerer coming back and going after his hand. Conan is of course caught up in the action and doesn’t fail to deliver. Thrown in is a nice portfolio of Conan drawings to look at.

SAVAGE SWORD OF CONAN #185

“The Masque of the Demon”

Writer: Don Kraar

Artists: Dale Eaglesham and Pat Redding

Conan is in the house of a Zingaran noble to rob it. The noble comes back early and finds a scroll. Inside is a ring which is the Ring of Molub. Anyone possessing it will be killed by the demon Molub. It can’t be given or thrown away. It can only be passed on unsuspecting to someone or stolen. Molub comes and tears the noble apart. Conan is caught and blamed for this. He is sentenced to die on the Wheel at the inquisition. Conan does escape and finds out that the inquisitor is behind Molub. Conan gets recaptured but a noble manages to rescue those sentenced to die. The inquisitor then sends the ring to a monk who is opposing him. Molub kills him. Then the ring gets to the noble. Conan steals the ring to save him. He disguises himself during a costume party and manages to slip the ring on the inquisitor. Molub comes and tears up the inquisitor.

“Acts of Bravery”

Writer: Renee Witterstaetter

Artist: Ernie Chan

Conan is hired by the king of a city-state to deliver his daughter for marriage with a neighbor. There are those who don’t want to see peace. Conan has the princess who is a spoiled brat. She gets attacked by bats, rats, snakes and a dinosaur. She constantly whines and when they get to the neighbor, she meets her future husband. He is a fop and she wants to leave with Conan. The fop though offers her riches, and she decides to stay.

This main story of Conan was a fun read. It had an Edgar Allen Poe type feel to it. The masque and the choices of Conan’s costume. The villain was a very Poe type villain. There were moments of humor like then Molub was wandering the streets and a drunken reveler thought he was in costume. He insisted that Molub take off the head and so he knocked off the drunken reveler’s head.

The backup story was also a fun read. There was this big two page spread of the dinosaur that was just beautiful it not properly placed in the story. Another story with musical chair writers and artists but a well-done issue.

SAVAGE SWORD OF CONAN #184

“Disciple”

Writer: Larry Yakata

Artists: Mike Docherty and Alfredo Alcala

Conan meets up with his old teacher Sennan the Master of the Broadsword. Sennan wants Conan to teach three young disciples. Conan takes the young men and gives them a serious workout. They eventually go after a warlord that kidnapped the local tavern keeper’s daughter. Finally, they graduate and now must fight Conan. Conan cripples them by cutting one’s eyes, the others leg off and the thirds arm.

This was an interesting story. Having Conan be a teacher. An interesting idea that Conan wasn’t that good of a teacher because his students couldn’t defeat him. Yet he crippled the three so that they could use those disabilities to overcome and grow into warriors. A very deep story for a Conan. One with a lot of eastern philosophical ideas.

SAVAGE SWORD OF CONAN #183

“The Decapitating God”

Writer: Charles Dixon

Artist: Ernie Chan

The Shemish city of Shusan gets reports of the return of the Decapitating God. The king decides to send his champion to kill it or appease it with a sacrifice. The sacrifice is his number one harem girl. Conan is leading the Zuagirs and gets reports of this caravan. He goes and follows it in hopes of it leading to treasure. They caravan goes to the mountain where the giant spider lives. Conan does find treasure but has to battle the giant spider that takes people’s heads so it can use them to lay eggs.

“Threnody”

Writer: John Arcudi

Artists: Armando Carillo and Gerry Talaoc

Thieves ambush a young man at night in the City of Wonders. The guard try to stop them, and they take the man captive. Once away they kill the man and then have to face the wrath of King Kull.

This was a fun issue. Another Dixon/Chan story for the main one. This involving a giant spider and the various intrigue of a caravan to stop it. The second was a solid Kull story. A fun and relaxing read on this Christmas morning.

SAVAGE SWORD OF CONAN #182

“The Devourers!”

Writer: Doug Murray

Artists: Rich Buckler and Romeo Tanghal

Conan and three other men are in the jungle looking for a lost city. This city was told to them by a caravan trader. They manage to find a city below a dam. It is deserted but they do find a woman tied up in a bed. She claims the Maribunta are coming. One of the men knows that the Maribunta are a horde of ants. The woman was with the caravan that told them of this city. Seems it would follow the Maribunta and loot the villages that the ant horde destroys. The woman warned her home village and the caravan leader punished her by tying her up to be eaten.

Conan has to come up with a plan to survive. He has them dig a trench and fill it with pitch. The fire slows them down, but they have to undermine the dam to flood the ants. Along the way Conan loses one to the ants and another attacks him because he believes it is the will of the gods. Eventually the ants enter the village and Conan sets the dam on fire and floods them with only him and the woman surviving. He then takes off to find the trader that directed them to this village.

“Matters of Life and Death”

Writer: Steve Proudfood

Artist: Armando Gil

A young Conan is with the Aesir and makes a friend in a loner Aesir. This Aesir will only carry a shield and it is revealed that he had to kill his abusive father who was beating his mother to death. He will never use a sword. The two are discovered by a raiding party of Vanir and manage to defeat them.

“The Man Who Would Be King”

Writer: John Arcudi

Artist: Fred Carrillo

An imposter is posing as King Kull in the borderlands to gain entrance to villages. Then his men slaughter the inhabitants. Brule is in the area and hears of this. He sets an ambush, and the cowardly imposter king flees. Only he gets captured by followers of Orhis Dehjmal and gets his head cut off because they think he is Kull.

This issue gives ups three solid stories. The main one about a horde of ants was original. It gave us some interesting characters and an exotic location to fight this exotic threat. The second gives us a young Conan and also has an interesting character in the young Aesir that only uses a shield. Yet he shows that a shield is all he needs. The final was King Kull story that didn’t really involve Kull at all. This was a nice mix of variety and an enjoyable issue.

SAVAGE SWORD OF CONAN #181

“The Face of God”

Writer: Paul Kupperberg

Artists: Mike Docerty and Ricardo Villagran

Conan joins a rebel army in Zamora that gets easily defeated. The general has Conan captured because he looks like a god that the people worship. With the king they decide to use Conan as the god Shan who has returned to lead the people on a war of conquest. Conan naturally agrees because it spares his life, and he gets tons of gold. Yet he does have a suspicion that they will make him a martyr when they are done using him. A newly recruited army marches on neighboring Brythunia with Conan leading. Only the real Shan materializes and destroys the corrupt king and general. He fights Conan who belittles Shan as a god who hasn’t cared for his people. This causes the people to doubt, and the god loses power. He is defeated by Conan who wants no more of this charade and leaves.

“The Rescue”

Writer: Dwight Jon Zimmerman

Artist: Tony Dezuniga

In Khoraja Conan has been hired by a princess to rescue her brother from a cult. Only the princess has ulterior motives. She sacrifices her brother to release a god that will possess Conan. Conan manages to pull the knife from the prince and use it on the spirit of the god. The god dies and takes the scheming princess with him.

An issue dedicated to Conan defeating gods. I suppose if anyone can do it, Conan could. Both stories are an interesting read. The first was a new team of writer and artists which is a nice change of pace. Had an unexpected ending with the real god showing up. Yet I loved the way Conan managed to defeat him. The second story was also a bit of a twist. Never saw the princess being the main villain and trying to have Conan possessed. Conan also easily defeats this attempt. A good solid read.

SAVAGE SWORD OF CONAN #180

“The Tomb of Lost Visions”

Writer: Doug Moench

Artists: Mike Docherty, Alcala & Co.

Conan has signed on as a garrison trooper in the Zamorian City of Ramaraj. The prefect is dealing with some shady cultists from Khauran. They have a casket of jewels they are using to get the prefect to mount a coup against the king. Conan has plans to steal this casket. He has to survive the punishments of his sadistic sergeant who caught him with one of the harem women. He finds an old thief and forms an alliance with him to learn the art of thievery. His plan is to get arrested and thrown into the dungeon. This works and he steals the gem casket. Only the demon cultists steal it back. Conan and his partner have to follow the prefect to a meeting where they summon a demon. Conan defeats the demon and gets his revenge on the sadistic sergeant. Only the casket turns out to be filled with eyes that can melt a person.

“Ernie Chan Portfolio”

A collection of full drawing of Conan battling various monsters.

They got a Moench story, and it was a nice change of pace. Portrays a young Conan who is just learning the art of being a thief. The story took some convoluted twists but was an interesting read. The art was a bit uneven. The stuff that Alcala did was beautiful but someone else did parts of the inking and it seemed cheap and rushed. Anyway, another fun story to read on a Sunday morning.

SAVAGE SWORD OF CONAN #179

“Fury of the Iron Damsels”

Writers: Chuck Dixon and Gary Kwapisz

Artist: Gary Kwapisz

Conan is with Red Sonja and Valeria in Nordheim. They are making their way south to more civilized lands when they link up with a tribe of Nain. The Nain give them food and escort them to a trading post. They also have a fertility statue made of solid gold. Valeria during the night manages to recruit a barge to steal it and take it south. Conan and Red Sonja go after her. Valeria manages to reach the next town and recruits the Iron Damsels who happen to be there. When they hear Conan is coming, they decide to get payback for some past transgressions.

The groups meet at the abandoned barge but have to join forces. A Vanir chieftain has come to steal the gold statue. A big fight ensues with the Vanir defeated and the statue going over a waterfall. Conan leaves and manages to recover the statue for himself.

“What Dwells Below”

Writer: Eric Fein

Artist: Ernie Chan

Conan is in a Khitain border village and gets in a fight with the local braggard. He wounds the guy, and this is a problem for the leader. The guy was supposed to rescue his daughter being held captive. For a sack of gold Conan agrees to take his place. Conan goes to the castle and attacks the evil Sarris. He has to also rescue the captive from a pit with a creature. Conan does this and gets his sack of gold.

This issue had the return of the Dixon/Kwapisz team. I feel they are the best since Thomas/Buscema from old. It also brings back the Iron Damsels. This all-female mercenary group. Plus, it threw in both Red Sonja and Valeria. So, you get a whole bunch of popular beautiful women in one story. It picks up from the last adventure of Conan with Sonja and Valeria. A fun story of greed and betrayal over a gold statue. Add in some beautiful artwork and you get a real gem.

The backup story was also an amusing Conan adventure. He has to fight an evil warlord and some nasty creature in a pit. This Fein fellow is new to me but show great promise in his writing. Add to it the beautiful art of Chan and you get another enjoyable story.