Skull and his friends have survived the pits and are now worshipped as gods by the Incans. They find out that Captain Cochran was a topographer for the Navy in 1945. He went out on a plane looking for the TBY Avenger squadron that disappeared and was sucked through the time warp to the past. He was considered a god because he came from the sky although half his face was scarred in the crash. While they are getting this story the high priest who tried to kill Cochran manages to break out of his cell with help from his followers. These followers mount an attack on the city mounted on pterodactyls. They wound Cochran and the priest using some magic of his own propels a vase into Skull’s head and knocks him unconscious. Ends with Skull knocked out and his friends being captured for future sacrifice.
So this is unfortunately the final issue of Skull. Poor sales gives us an abrupt end with a cliffhanger. Now two people have pointed out that Skull’s story gets some closure in Marvel Two-In-One. I have ordered them so next week we will get to see how Skull and company get out of their situation. I think this was a really cool and unique idea for a comic. Every issue so far was excellent and this series had some real potential. It had time travel in the Bermuda Triangle, dinosaurs, aliens, robots, lost Incans and a likable cast. Who knows why some good things never catch on.
Skull, Ann, Corey and Jeff are taken by the Incans to a city of gold. There they find out the king and high priest both speak English. They also are tossed into these pits. Ann, Jeff and Corey into a pit with pteranodons. Skull has to face a stegosaurus. Skull manages to get his alien belt working as the high priest turns on the king and pushes him into the pit with Skull. Skull drives the stegosaurus through the wall into the other pit where his friends are. Ann manages to find a grenade belt lying around and uses a grenade to destroy the pteranodons. It is revealed that the king is a U.S. Navy captain. While this is going on we find out Senator Turner has hired Lancer to mount an expedition to get his son. He has hired mercenaries and a group of fighter jets to accomplish this. His motives are he betrayed Skull while he was a P.O.W. and fears that if he doesn’t get Skull then Skull will get him.
Well another fun and exciting issue. Skull and the gang have an adventure in this Incan city and fight off dinosaurs as a test. They also run into someone from their own world. This Navy captain is an intriguing fellow. He has half his face all blue which sounds like an interesting story. We get some backstory for Lancer and why he is out to get Skull. This subplot has great potential to turn into a wild meeting. I am glad Mantlo brought back Skull’s companions. They add to the story and don’t make Skull this loner which has been done before. It gives him some more depth to his character.
Skull with Jeff, Ann and Corey have come on a swamp. They build a raft as Skull also uses his military first aid training to patch up Dr. Corey’s shoulder. Skull has a flashback when he was dropped in the Everglades for survival training. His partner a Corporal Lancer tried to hamstring him but gets attacked by a copperhead. Skull took him back for treatment. We jump to the Time Tower where the Black Knight confronts Slitherogue and impales him on his sword. Slitherogue manages to pull a switch before he dies and the Time Tower blows up.
As Skull and his group go down the river in a raft the story again jumps to another scene. This one a Coast Guard cutter rescues a survivor from the plane. The cutter has Jeff’s senator father who is looking for his son’s plane. The survivor Corporal Lancer tells the story and ends with him wanting to get payback against Skull. Back in the past Skull and company come on the rear part of the plane. They finds a first aid kit, a knife and a pistol. They patch up Corey but are attacked by a canoe full of Incans. During the fight they are attacked by an Icthyosaur. Skull thanks to the alien belt manages to stab it in the head and his belt causes it to explode. The Incans then worship Skull as a god and point to a golden pyramid in the distance.
“Remember Those Old Funny Animals…?”
By Bill Mantlo
An article by Mantlo on his plans for the series when he took over. He wanted to return to Wolfman’s vison of dinosaurs and the Bermuda Triangle. So Slitherogue, The Black Knight and the Time Tower had to go.
This article explains why Slitherogue and the Time Tower were so unceremoniously dumped. It also explains why Jeff, Ann and Corey were brought back. I agree with Mantlo that this is what the series should be and am enjoying it. We get back to dinosaurs and lost civilizations in this prehistoric past. Skull is finally starting to bond with the others. Even Corey is starting to lighten up a bit. We also get a glimpse into a new opponent in Corporal Lancer. He was briefly introduced in the first issue as a guy with a grudge against Skull. Nice to see this brought back. Also nice to see that the modern world hasn’t forgot about them. I really like the direction Mantlo is going with this series.
Demons come through a portal that just opened up. They attack Skull, the Black Knight and Merlin. Skull and the knight manage to hold them off until Merlin can use his magic to close the portal. Only this drained Merlin who is revealed to be a robot. Yet Skull doesn’t have much options and continues his alliance with the Black Knight. The knight reactivates King Arthur and this robot army of knights. Meanwhile Slitherogue resurrects the three companions of Skull that were thought killed. Seems that their essence was saved by alien technology and they could be restored. They also are very angry at Skull for abandoning them. So they join the demon army of Morgan Le Fay.
The battle is joining and during the fight Dr. Corey is hit in the shoulder with an arrow. This causes Skull and his former companions to drop out of the fight. The Black Knight manages to destroy Morgan Le Fay and the battle ends with the robots going to get repaired to fight all over again. Skull picks up the wounded Corey and heads for the door.
Another fun and wild adventure. So his three companions are not killed which I had a feeling was the case. They were brought back in your typical comic book gobbledeegook. Naturally they were angry at the callous way Skull abandoned them. This is definitely not your typical comic hero. Skull can be a bit of a jerk which makes him seem real. As I also suspected; Merlin, The Black Knight, Morgan Le Fay and all of Camelot were robots that are part of this kooky Tower of Time. We still don’t have an idea of why this place exists but that is what I like about this series. Stuff gets revealed over time in a fun and interesting way. A new writer but once again they get an excellent one in Mantlo. They really had great writers back in those days.
Skull and his group have arrived in the ancient Egypt part of the time tower. They battle robotic Egyptian soldiers and are taken prisoner. They find out that an alien named Slitherogue is the pharaoh of this place. Slitherogue tells the group about the origins of this place. His alien race from the planet Scorpius had perfected robots. Only these robots constantly needed to be occupied or they would deteriorate. So they brought them to Earth in our prehistory. They set up a vortex in the Bermuda Triangle to pull back people so they would know about Earth’s development. The big plan is to build enough robots to take over all of time. To demonstrate his power, Slitherogue shoots a ray from his eyes and disintegrates poor old Jeff.
The surviving three are put to work building a pyramid. Skull notices that the robots don’t move well in sand and makes a break for it with Ann and Corey. Only Ann breaks her leg and Skull leaves her behind. The robot guards kill both Ann and Corey. Skull makes it to a door and gets pulled through. He finds himself prisoner to Merlin and his Black Knight. Skull manages to defeat the Black Knight and makes an alliance with Merlin to defeat Slitherogue. Meanwhile Morgan Le Fay has contacted Slitherogue to enter into an alliance to destroy King Arthur and Merlin.
Wow did a lot happen in this issue. First we find out the origins of this land and the alien race that created it. Then all three of Skull’s companions get killed. That was a bold move. Skull is shown as a very cynical and pragmatic guy because of his life experiences. He meets up with what seems to be Merlin and an alliance is formed.
Now I don’t know if this is really Merlin and Morgan Le Fey or some facsimile. Nor do I know if his companions are really dead. That is what I love about this series. I have no idea where it’s going. It just keeps getting better and better. Steve Englehart would just write this one because of his other duties. I don’t know who the new writer will be but Marv is the editor of the series and probably already has a plot in mind. So I feel that the future of Skull is in good hands whoever is chosen as writer.
Skull is trying to break a dinosaur that he can ride around. He has no luck and decides to abandon the endeavor. Soon after a dinosaur stampede nearly crushes the group. Skull decides to check out what caused the stampede and the group finds something strange. Skeletons have been staked out on an open plain. They have clothing from various time periods and it is speculated they are those that disappeared in the Bermuda Triangle. Ann helps herself to a sexy new dress. The group then find a strange silver tower. A ramp leads up to the top. At the top they find a door which leads inside. There they find that the tower has many levels around an open center. Each level is a different time period with the top as prehistoric. A T-Rex attacks and Skull manages to tear it apart. It was a robot and a scream from Corey brings the group to another door. This one leads to ancient Egypt.
This is the final issue with Wolfman and Gan. Wolfman got promoted to editor so a new team will take over. I have to say that this series just keeps getting better and better. Each one reveals some new and mysterious element. Also the characters develop with their own unique personalities. There is real conflict among them especially Corey and Skull. Corey is always bitching and getting on Skull’s nerves. Really good stuff. So I think Wolfman continues to edit this and hopefully the replacement team will keep up the excellent level of quality established.
“Gods and Super-Gods”
Writer: Marv Wolfman
Artist: Steve Gan
Skull has been captured by some cavemen. They take him back and he finds himself prisoner with the other three survivors of the plane crash. We get a brief introduction to the three. There is Dr. Corey the angry black man who hates Skull. There is Ann Farrow who has some anger issues because of sexism denying her a job. Then there is Jeff a young teen who was trying to escape his domineering senator father. Skull starts a fight with the caveman but before anything can come of it, a stampede of Styracosaurus comes through. Skull has to jump on the leader to steer him away from crushing Ann. This impresses the cavemen and they lead the group to a cave. In it is a skeleton of an alien surrounded by a force field. Skull wants the alien’s belt and manages to get it. This causes the skeleton to crumble to dust. It also pisses off the cavemen who now lost their god. The group manages to escape to a river. Only a Brontosaurus attacks. Skull kills it with his bare hands. The alien belt has given Skull super-strength.
Well the cover promised cavemen, dinosaurs, lost lands, aliens and action! It delivers and more. So the group we have is a contentious one. Corey and Skull hate each other while Jeff seems to be the diplomat of the group. Wolfman was ahead of his time with his little woke sexist speech. Writers nowadays could learn a lot in that you need a good story between these type of speeches. Skull is someone who is portrayed not that bright and has a lot of anger issues. Yet he is definitely a fighter and someone the survivors need. I love this series and look forward to more.
“The Coming of Skull the Slayer!”
Writer: Marv Wolfman
Artist: Steve Gan
Jim Scully is a pilot who is shot down in Vietnam. He spends five years being tortured as a P.O.W. Once free he returns home to find his wife divorced him and is now with another man. His parents are dead and his brother is a junkie. The brother blames Scully for their deaths and in his drugged state tries to knife him. Only he accidentally gets stabbed and Scully goes on the run. They finally catch him in Bermuda and put him on an government transport back to Miami.
This is the Bermuda Triangle though and the plane goes through some sort of time warp. It ends up in a land filled with dinosaurs. The plane breaks in two and the front end with Scully crashes with him the only survivor. In the rear end three survive, a black physicist, a young guy and some hot blonde chick. Scully seems to adapt well to the environment and makes himself a spear and hunts game. Only while doing this he is attacked by a T-Rex. Scully manages to lure it over a cliff where it falls to it’s death. Scully thinks he is safe but is knocked out by a thrown rock. Some primitive cavemen take him back to their camp for dinner.
“Old Funny Animals”
By Marv Wolfman
An article on how this series came about. Marv had the idea four years ago at while working at another company. It involved a whole office building getting transported back in time. Years later he mentioned the idea to Roy Thomas who loved it and cutting it down to four manageable characters and a cool name it makes it’s debut.
I finally got around to reading this. I thought a cool story of some characters being trapped in a weird island in the Bermuda Triangle filled with dinosaurs and aliens sounded real cool. I was right and I loved this first issue. It reminds me of the TV series Fantastic Journey which came out a little later. This is very seventies type story since all the crypto-science type stuff like time warps in the Bermuda Triangle was very popular. What surprised me was the adult nature of the story. A guy who was a P.O.W. of the Vietnamese and was tortured returns home. His wife left him and his parents dead. Not to mention his brother is a junkie and gets accidentally killed by him. A very dark subject matter for a kids comic series of the seventies. Marv Wolfman is one of the old time great writers. He really delivers a powerful story. They sadly don’t make writers like this anymore. I am looking forward to reading this series.