THE WARLORD #3

“Beasts Against Blades!”
Writer: Bruce Jones
Artist: Bart Sears

So Travis is now considered the god Crassus. Regine plays up the god belief and Brovis is taken to the dungeon. Travis then starts to enjoy the perks of godhood. On the surface in Antartica his fiance and friend have landed their helicopter. They find a cypress tree growing in the snow. They also find a T-Rex which smashes up their helicopter. Then it chases them over a ledge. They land in a body of water in a tropical environment. Back in Shamballah Travis is summoned to open the door that the god Crassus left. Surprisingly he uses the medallion he has around his neck and the door opens. Inside is a rocket.

So the story so far continues to have merit. Travis is now considered a god and his new girlfriend Regine is helping him along with the act. His friends on the surface have found a way into Skartaris. We get some more background on the legend of Crassus. And it ends with the reveal of the mysterious rocket. It has kept my interest in finding out what happens next.

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THE WARLORD #2

“Brutality in a Barbarian Land!”
Writer: Bruce Jones
Artist: Bart Sears

Brovis the brutal prince from Kolosis picks a sword fight with the stranger. He almost kills him when Regine the woman that rescued him intervenes. She convinces Brovis to fight the stranger in the arena in front of the people which he accepts. So Travis learns some sword fighting techniques from Regine. He has no memory of where he comes from or even his name. He does have a cockiness to him. While this goes on we learn of the Shamballah legend of Cassus the Warlord who will come at Shamballah’s time of need. On the surface Travis fiancee Alexa convinces her friend Terry to take a helicopter and continue the search for Morgan. The chopper has to make an emergency landing to refuel as a storm approaches.

So the big day comes. A fight to the death with the hand of the princess Tara as a reward. Travis also gets Brovis to agree to give up his kingdom if he wins. So they fight and Travis doesn’t even use his sword. But he moves so quick that he beats up Brovis. The crowd think he is a wizard and demand his death which the weak king will oblige. Only as Travis waits for the guards he takes off his shirt. The people are stunned and bow down to him. For Travis wears a necklace around his neck with the symbol of Cassus.

So the second issue continues to be interesting. Travis is shown as someone with some very good skills. There is a love interest growing between him and Regine while his other love on the surface that he doesn’t remember is still searching for him. Some stuff I don’t get is how he can understand Skartarian or why the Skartarians speak English. It does set up a mystery that makes the reader want to find out more in the next issue.

THE WARLORD #1

“Untitled”
Writer: Bruce Jones
Artist: Bart Sears

Travis Morgan is leaving his fiancee to test an experimental fighter. In Shamballah a similar scene is acting out only it is Jhan saying goodbye to the princess Tara. Both women will lose their men. Alexa as Travis Morgan’s plane goes down over the arctic. Jhan loses his life to Prince Brovis of Kolosis in the gladiator ring. We find out that Shamballah is not in a very good position. Kolosis is a strong city state that plans to take over the weaker Shamballah. Later on a group of women fishing pull out Travis Morgan from the water. Their boat is attacked by sea creatures and Morgan manages to defeat them. Princess Tara watched this from shore and tries to arrest Morgan since all strangers are first held as prisoners until deemed not a threat. The girl he saves speaks on his behalf. Brovis has also watched and wants to kill Morgan.

So back in 2006 DC decided to revive the Warlord. Only this would be a reboot with a whole new start. I was excited to hear about this and had an open mind about this new re-imaged Warlord. So far the first issue set up an interesting world. Travis Morgan was a test pilot that crashed in Skartaris. Otherwise there was this whole new set up with Shamballah being threatened by Kolosis. The leader a prince Brovis was introduced as a despicable scumbag. Interesting that the artist decided to color all the surface world scenes in black and white. Didn’t really get that. Still this series started out on a solid footing. Unfortunately it didn’t live up to its potential as we will see in future issues.

THE WARLORD #6

“Ballad Part VI”
Writer: Mike Grell
Artists: Dameon Willich and Tim Burgard

Morgan and his army arrive at Thera. There they fight the undead army of Deimos. Unfortunately fighting the undead has its drawbacks. For every one the undead kill then it rises and joins the undead. So Morgan’s army is decimated. After Petrius dies charging Deimos, Morgan calls a retreat. As they recuperate more troops join lead by Machiste, Mariah and Ashir. As Morgan goes to contemplate what to do his daughter Jennifer approaches him. She says he must sacrifice himself to defeat Deimos. So later Morgan offers to surrender himself to Deimos. At the surrender site Morgan jumps into the lake. He comes out with the Hellfire sword. The sword is the only thing that kills Deimos. With him dead the sun returns and his undead army disintegrates. The epilogue has Tinder talking with Tara about the bright future when he finds out his hero has once again left. In disgust he breaks his lute.

The final entry to the mini-series. It brought all the characters together. It had Morgan once again defeat Deimos and save the world. It also had him once again run away from his responsibility. This was an enjoyable series. It was a leisurely stroll down memory lane for this wonderful character. I remember enjoying having the Warlord back. One thing I was upset about was Grell didn’t take this opportunity to reunite Morgan and Tara with their son. I thought this was a great opportunity missed. Still lucky for us the saga of the Warlord was not over.

THE WARLORD #5

“Ballad Part V”
Writer: Mike Grell
Artists: Dameon Willich & Tim Burgard

The sun of Skartaris is a dark red. The image of Deimos appears and demands Travis Morgan. As it would happen Morgan is in Shamballah at the Golden Acorn. So Tinder goes off to find him. He meets Shakira who introduces him to Morgan. He is hungover and in bed. He also is not real excited about meeting another fan. Nor does he seem too interested in joining the army about to march on Thera. Still Morgan does get dressed and goes to the palace where Tara slugs him in the face. After the greeting he gives the soldiers a somewhat uninspiring speech and everyone is off to Thera.

So we finally get introduced to Morgan at the end of this series. He is definitely someone who has become very bitter and disappointed in life. Tinder is clearly disappointed in what his hero has become. Still Morgan continues on. Now its more from boredom than excitement for him. Grell has done a good job of portraying Morgan in his later life. You get a feel of a real person that has grown old and disillusioned with life. Should be interesting to see the big final.

THE WARLORD #4

“Ballad part IV”
Writer: Mike Grell
Artists: Dameon Willich & Tim Burgard

Deimos has been resurrected inside a stone statue. His followers are ecstatic but soon find out Deimos is not grateful. He immediately kills all his followers. Back in Kiro Tinder is despondent that his hero is not all he thought him to be. Mariah tells him of her experiences with Morgan. How she was caught up in the excitement and adventure of this new world. So the final stop is Shamballah. Morgan is not there but Tara greets them. She tells that Morgan is off with his mistress danger. That he deludes himself that he can leave without any repercussions because he couldn’t stand the boredom of court live. Just then an earthquake hits and the sun starts to go dark. Deimos has cast a spell and resurrected his killed subjects.

So the dipshits that worship Deimos got what they deserved. Unfortunately he is now alive and going to cause all sorts of trouble. Tinder is starting to see that the idealized version of Morgan does not live up to the reality. I suppose all legends have their real life flaws. I am finding this a very good look at Morgan and his complex character. That was what made this series so good was that Morgan had a real personality with all its flaws. A great ride down memory lane.

THE WARLORD #3

“Ballad Part III”
Writer: Mike Grell
Artists: Dameon Willich & Rich Hoberg

The bard and old man reach a small way station for caravans. Here they rescue a woman being attacked. The woman is headed to Thera. The bard makes an offer to accompany her to the Theran border since its on the way. They introduce themselves the old veteran is Petrus and the bard is Tinder. So they have an uneventful ride and drop the girl off at the Theran border. Then they go to Kiro. Here Petrus introduces Tinder to it’s king Machiste and Mariah. Machiste tells of his time when he first met Morgan. Their time in the gladiator school and the rebellion. He tells that Morgan seemed to loose interest in others plight. They he knew he couldn’t live up to the legend although he tried. At the end the girl they rescued makes it to a temple. There she is willingly sacrificed on an alter and Deimos is reborn in a stone statue.

So some big revelations with this issue. The first is the names of our two main characters. Surprise that one is Tinder the lost son of the Warlord. Now grown up and traveling as a bard. Seems he is just like his father in rescuing damsels that don’t deserve it. Morgan rescued the witch Ayesha who later resurrected Deimos. Now the son also rescues the woman that resurrects Deimos. Grell decided to bring back the old arch enemy after swearing that Deimos was never coming back from the dead. I didn’t mind since this series needed an old enemy and Deimos is the best. Also was excited that he was finally bringing back Morgan’s son. Interesting that Grell ignored the story that Fleisher did and had Mariah still with Machiste. That was something that was better left forgotten.

So now we have Tinder back and the one who was responsible for his separation from his parents.This was shaping up to be an excellent series with the tying up of old threads that were never resolved in the old series.

THE WARLORD #2

“Ballad Part II”
Writer: Mike Grell
Artists: Dameon Willich and Rick Hobers

A man is coming from the arctic wastes carrying something wrapped in cloth. He comes to the outpost of Hazrak and fights off some robbers. He comes to a temple and enters placing the bundle on the alter. The priestess rewards him by cutting his throat. The first to die for the glory of their master. Meanwhile the young bard issues a challenge to the veteran. That he should accompany him on the quest to find the truth about Morgan. He wants to prove the old veteran wrong. The old man agrees and the first stop is Castle Deimos. Here after overcoming the fear spell they meet Jennifer Morgan the Warlord’s daughter. She tells about her upbringing. How her father was always traveling and after her mother died he went off to war. That her father never meant to become a leader and legend. That he just wanted to explore the fantastic world of Skartaris. That the Warlord had become too much a legend to ever be the father that she needs.

The second issue was an interesting one. It spotlights Jennifer Morgan’s sorceress daughter. She seems to be a lonely and tragic figure spending her time all alone in a gloomy castle. She obviously has daddy issues and I think this was portrayed realistically. She comes off as a real person. Plus we get a subplot with a sinister cult that practices human sacrifice. I like the idea of the two men. One a young idealist and the other an old disillusioned man. They balance out the quest to find the real Travis Morgan.

THE WARLORD #1

“The Ballad part I Kilt Him a B’ar”
Writer: Mike Grell
Artists: Dameon Willich and rick Hoberg

The outpost of Hazrak is a small place located on the edge of the Terminator. That place where the surface world meets Skartaris. In a bar a young minstrel sings a song of the glories of the Warlord. This is greeted with derision by a grizzled old man. The man with a missing eye and leg once served under the Warlord. He is bitter that Morgan lead him and others with promises of freedom but never delivered. He goes on to tell the origins of the Warlord. How he lead a gladiator uprising. The man was a scholar and Morgan took an interest in the man’s questions. He showed him the SR-71 crash site. Then leads him to the ruins and shows him the computers that tell the story of Atlantis. At the end the old man challenges the minstrel to seek out those who knew the Warlord and get the real story.

So great joy that Grell came back and did this mini-series. I loved seeing the world of Skartaris again. So the first issue is mostly the retelling of the origin. Not a bad idea since this series had been gone for several years. Nice touch to have the old veteran be the one to tell it to the idealistic young minstrel. We get to explore those that followed the Warlord and his dream of freedom for all. What happened to those unknown followers that were part of the movement. Grell didn’t draw the series which was a little disappointment but the artists chosen were more than capable of capturing his style. Definitely looked forward to finding out what happened to Morgan and his friends.

THE WARLORD #133

“The Death-Knell of the Universe!”
Writers: Michael Fleisher & Jan Duursema
Artist: Jan Duursema

Morgan, Aoife and Ishum manage to rescue a human fleeing from a demon. The man Gueron Darkmoon is a thief and will come in handy in stealing the golden horn. Time is getting short as the worm Anu is starting to destroy the universe. Jennifer and friends back in Skartaris are battling it with no luck. Morgan and friends manage to reach the god Yk’kphat’s place and steal the horn. They also bust out Tara and the greatest warriors in the universe from his pearl necklace. Aoife covers their escape.

They reach Skartaris and battle Anu with their new found warrior friends but it is hopeless. The horn they took has been snatched back by Yk’kphat. Fortunately Aoife comes back with it after making a deal. Ishum starts to use it but is turned to stone. So Morgan manages to blow the horn correctly and send Anu back. Aoife must go back to Yk’kphat and take the escaped warriors as payment. So at the end Tara is put back in her body and they have a happy reunion.

So the final issue. Apparently things were moving fast on cancellation since they kept on as if the series was going to continue until the end. The letters page two issue ago even mentioned that issue 134 was already written. Whatever the direction this series would take is lost to history. Sadly this was a horrible way to end the series. A very convoluted story that had not a shred of what made this series so great. In some ways I wasn’t upset when the series was cancelled. Sort of like a good friend on life support that finally gets the plug pulled and mercifully put out of its misery. Warlord is the only series started in the seventies that was still being published in 1988. That says a lot about what Mike Grell created. The only thing they got right with this was reuniting Tara with Morgan.

So a sad moment in Warlord history. Fortunately Morgan and friend’s story was not over as we shall see in future reviews.