THE WARLORD #132

“The Worm of Heaven & Hell!”
Writers: Michael Fleisher & Jan Duursema
Artist: Jan Duursema

Khnathaiti has summoned a giant worm. This worm over a mile wide is passing through Skartaris right in front of Morgan and Aoife. The worm leaves and some being on a winged serpent manages to close the tears in the universe. Ishum was a servant to the the god Ea. Ea had Ishum call forth the worm to create the universe. But a rival god Tiamat who was chaos killed Ea and banished Ishum to be with the worm. Supposedly a million billion years later the worm would be summoned forth to destroy the universe. Only Khnathaiti has imitated the horn and it has come early. So now the three must recover the real horn to save the universe. The spirit of Tara has been sold to a interdimensional slaver and sold to the god Yk’kphat. A god that also has the horn.

So we are heading into the end. The beginning of the end. This story was just weird and not something that interests me. Sadly Warlord no longer feels like Warlord. I didn’t like the art and the direction this series was taking. So it was no surprise that it was cancelled next issue.

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THE WARLORD #131

“Vengeful Legacies”
Writers: Michael Fleisher & Jan Duursema
Artist: Jan Duursema

So Morgan and Maddox are having a drink and talking about old times. Morgan is curious as to how Maddox ended up in a Soviet gulag. So Maddox tells him and Morgan passes out from the drugged drink. He wakes up chained with Maddox bragging about all the torture he will inflict. He later has Morgan buried up to his head but still can’t get Morgan to beg. Aoife has washed up on shore and is taken to Maddox. He notices her headband matches a symbol in his ship and takes it. Then has Aoife join Morgan in the dungeon.

Mariah is wondering what happened to Morgan and finds him in the dungeon. Maddox has him suspended over a boiling pot of oil with a candle burning through the rope. She tries to save him but Maddox discovers her and knocks her out. So at the alien ship he tries the new headband but instead awakens Garn Daanuth the evil sorcerer from the old Arion title. He is pissed that Maddox and not his true descendant is using the ship. So he calls up an earthquake and tidal wave to destroy the island. Aoife also hears what is going on and calls out for Garn to give her the power which he does. He loathes that his descendant uses the power for good but accepts it. So Morgan and Aoife leave the island and Mariah decides to stay with Maddox.

“Growing Pains”
Writer: Steve Wilson
Artists: Rob Liefield & Jeff Albrecht”

Jennifer finds an orphaned boy named Valdesar and takes him in. Masaq and her servant warn against this. Thus we get a flashback to when Jennifer was a child and took in a stray kitten against her mother’s wishes. Well the two stories parallel each other. Valdesar steals a knife and kills a fat, old merchant. The kitten kills a bird. Both run into the street to be run over by a truck and wagon. Jennifer is left feeling alone.

So Maddox’s Revenge ends. It was an interesting story. Some cool twists in bringing Garn back from Arion. Maddox was a total nut who had a mad derangement for torturing Morgan. He also smacked around Mariah at bit but that was OK. For she knew that he loved her. This was sad to see her character become so pathetic. Also Morgan was once again a spectator more than the main focus of the story. Stuff like this was dooming the series and this trilogy started the nails in the coffin.

We also got a 16 page bonus story. Apparently during this time DC was running this gimmick in their titles. This month Warlord spotlighted Jennifer with new up and coming artists and writer. This was a very good story. It gave some insight into Jennifer with the effective parallel story about her childhood and current events. She seems to be a lonely woman that you feel genuine sympathy for. This was the real highlight of this issue.

THE WARLORD #130

“Past Lives”
Writer: Michael Fleisher
Artist: Jan Duursema

Morgan has hallucinations that he sees Tara. Aoife comforts him and that seems to calm him down. So they continue on their quest for Xur-Chemosh island. Danny Maddox is on the island and has figured out the alien ship. It can build a city instantly and plant crops. This earns him the adoration of the people but not the priests who resent the lose of their power. Maddox has dreams of establishing himself as god in all of Skartaris. He manages to kill the priests when they try to assassinate him. Morgan and Aoife reach the ocean and Aoife produces a magic carpet to take them to the island. They fly in a thunderstorm which crashes the carpet and Morgan loses Aoife. He goes to the city and meets up with Mariah who is happy to see him. He also meets Maddox who is also happy to see him but for different reasons.

So the second in Maddox’s Revenge was for the most part one big dull entry. Morgan is for the most part somewhat pathetic and does very little in the story. Most of the plot revolved around Maddox and his megalomania that is developing. Mariah is falling in love with Maddox and rationalizes his growing nutty behavior. Plus some small subplots with Khnathiaiti has retrieved the amulet that Jennifer gave Tara to protect her. This now give a direct link to Jennifer that can be used. Shakira is back and finding work at a tavern keeping the mice in check. I must say that I have never seen Shakira drawn so ugly. I like Duursema’s work but she is not the right choice for Warlord.

So combine all this and you can just smell the stench of failure for this series.

THE WARLORD #129

“The Vision Quest”
Writer: Michael Fleisher
Artist: Jan Duursema

Morgan runs into a warrior woman being chased by beast-men. He helps her against them. The woman is Aoife, Battle Maiden of the Cuchulainn Clan. She is on quest for the Isle of Xurchemosh in the Tourmaline Sea. She has psychic visions which later help save people in a village from an earthquake. Danny Maddox and Mariah are on the island in question. After Danny save Mariah from a flying serpent the two are greeted by the inhabitants. Because of the rifle they have the inhabitants think Maddox is a wizard. So at the village they find them worshiping a spaceship. Maddox investigates and puts on the helmet of the dead pilot. This allows him to activate the ship’s lasers and beat back an attack of the flying serpents. The people then declare Maddox their savior. Jennifer continues to try and find out what Khnathaiti is up to.

Well so it begins. The first of a three parter called Maddox’s Revenge. Of course the real beginning is the end of Warlord. Already it is announced the title is moving to bi-monthly because of poor sales. Honestly I am not surprised. I mean this issue has Mariah starting to fall in love with Maddox. Now Maddox is a tool and very obviously one. They really ruined the character of Mariah for this title. Otherwise the story was OK but just didn’t have the feel of what Warlord used to be.

THE WARLORD #128

“The Brood”
Writer: Michael Fleisher
Artists: Jan Duursema & Tom Mandrake

The dragon has ambushed Morgan and Dreadnar. Just as it looks like the dragon will kill Dreadnar it gives up and goes away. It needs Dreadnar and his blood to fertilize her eggs. So we get the dragon’s story of how she feels the victim to the cruel genocidal Dreadnar. That the sacrifices they received were used to fertilize their eggs for only the special blood of Dreadnar’s people can do this. Eventually Morgan and Dreadnar catch up to the dragon and after an epic fight both Dreadnar and the dragon are killed. Only the dragon wins for the blood of Dreadnar seeps into the nest and gives birth to the eggs. Meanwhile in Siberia Mariah is rescued by Danny Maddox. The two make it to the cave and into Skartaris.

The conclusion to the dragon two part story. This time we get the dragon’s viewpoint. Naturally she feels to be in the right and Dreadnar is the cruel genocidal maniac. I suppose its a matter of perspective. I will say the dragons are somewhat dumb. I mean you need these people’s blood for your race to survive but kill them all off. Not a real smart thing. A very Ho-Hum story. We also set up Mariah and Danny Maddox getting back to Skartaris for a three part story. The decline of this series continues.

THE WARLORD #127

“The Last Dragon”
Writer: Michael Fleisher
Artists: Jan Duursema and Tom Mandrake

Morgan is wandering alone after losing Tara. He is attacked by a sabertooth tiger and manages to kill it with a knife but his horse doesn’t survive. Then a pack of raptors come and it looks grim for Morgan. Luckily a big guy in a mask shoots some of the raptors with a bow and arrow and throws a rope down from a hill so Morgan can climb to safety. The man is Dreadnar and is the last of his people. Seems his tribe lived in a valley with dragons. They worshiped the dragons and gave young maidens as sacrifice. One year a famine convinced the tribe to withhold the sacrifices and the dragons whipped out the tribe. Only Dreadnar and his son survived and went on a revenge hunt. They managed to hunt all the dragons except one. A female with eggs that killed his son and scarred his face.

Morgan decides to tag along and the two find another horse for Morgan. They come to Dreadnar’s old village and beat up on some looters. The looters are later attacked by the dragon and Morgan and Dreadnar are forced to flee and jump in a lake. The dragon is waiting for them in the lake. Meanwhile Mariah is in gulag Menchkovsky and she gets thrown in the cooler as punishment for spiting on a guard. Luckily Danny Maddox gives her a dead rat to survive. Khnathaiti is hiding away in a cave and forced to drain the lifeforce of rats to keep going.

So Morgan is wandering and this is his character when stuff bad happens to him. So it is logical to have him go traipsing off into the wilds. The story was good. It had Morgan being a badass and killing sabertooth and raptors with his knife. Dreadnar was a Ahab type character out to get a dragon. Not necessarily original but done well. Ends with a cliffhanger. Mariah’s story is what was interesting me. Her time in the gulag and Danny Maddox had some interesting potential. The weird woman wizard with the hard name is also plotting revenge but she never really interested me much. Somehow this series just has the feel of failure. Which was sad because this was my favorite title.

THE WARLORD #126

“The Queen is Dead!…Long Live the Queen!”
Writer: Michael Fleisher
Artists: Jan Duursema & Tom Mandrake

Tara is dead and Morgan is a wreck. She gets encased in a glass coffin and put in a pyramid. Only Tara is not dead but soulless. The Scavenger comes and claims the body which now is enslaved to him. They go to Kiro and Tara steals the souls of the palace guard. She tries to steal the soul of Machiste but he is too strong and actually fights off the Scavenger. Machiste goes to Morgan and tells him of how Tara is being used. So the two with Jennifer go to the volcano to confront Khnathaiti. They come on her marrying the Scavenger and Tara. A fight ensues with Tara fighting off the power that is enslaving her and coming to help Morgan. The Scavenger seems to kill her and Morgan kills the Scavenger. His death weakens Khnathaiti and she is forced to flee. Later we learn that Tara is actually in a soulless state and Jennifer decides to keep Morgan in the dark. Better he thinks she is dead as Jennifer will continue to search for a cure.

This issue just didn’t really excite me. In fact I hated the idea of killing off Tara. Yes her death freed Morgan to go on adventures but it just didn’t seem right. They at least had the foresight to leave open her return. Of course the series is fast approaching cancellation and the way the stories are going it is not a surprise. Oh and Mariah is now a prisoner of the KGB and being interrogated.

THE WARLORD #125

“Queen’s Requiem”
Writer: Michael Fleisher
Artists: Jan Duursema and Tom Mandrake

Shamballah is still in chaos due to the evil eclipse. Morgan is riding through the city and finds a strange figure standing over a fallen body. He finds out it is the Scavenger now transformed. The Scavenger has been stealing souls and almost gets Morgan’s. He flees and Morgan goes back to the palace to recover from his encounter. Meanwhile Jennifer tells Tara that the evil is located in the volcano and Tara decides to confront it. She gets some amulet and ring of truth to help her. So she goes to the volcano and confronts the Scavenger who overpowers her. Later Morgan is awakened by a cloaked figure that attacks him. He manages to throw the figure out the window and finds out that it was Tara. He cradles her in his arms saying “I killed her.”

In a subplot Mariah has traveled out of the eclipse and finds a cave. Going in she finds out that it leads to Siberia. A pteranodon has followed and attacks a group of soldiers. Mariah goes and saves them by killing the pteranodon. Now the Soviet soldiers show their gratitude by arresting her and taking her to the KGB.

Well some interesting things happened in this issue. Khnathaiti needs souls to grow strong so the Scavenger is gathering them. The Scavenger also has an infatuation with Tara and has been promised her body. He seems to have taken her soul and Morgan has accidentally killed her in a fight. A good cliffhanger to end the story. Also Mariah is back in the Soviet Union which was an intriguing idea. One thing I didn’t like is them getting rid of the large two page splash title picture that has always been a part of Warlord. But this series was coming to a close so its quality will soon be plummeting.

THE WARLORD #124

“Scavenger of Souls”
Writer: Michael Fleisher
Artists: Jan Duursema & Tom Mandrake

Shamballah is in shambles. The volcano is spewing lava and poisonous gas. Dinosaurs are stampeding through the city. Luckily Power Girl is still around to use her powers. Jennifer is also using sorcery and communing with good spirits. She finds out that a great evil is responsible for this mess. Meanwhile the Scavenger has decided to take advantage of the chaos and bust into the Shamballah treasury with his scorpion ship. Tara and Morgan defeat him and he is later transported to the evil that is causing all the chaos. Khnathati the Empress of Infernal Darkness is awakened and the evil demons that started this sacrifice their life essence to make her young. She has used her magic to transform the Scavenger into The Scavenger of Souls.

So in this issue we are finally saying good-bye to the superheroes. Power Girl is told by Jennifer that she is needed on the surface. The Scavenger is transformed into a new evil being. As Morgan said, “Skartaris doen’t need superheroes” and I agree. We are also tightening up the story and no longer have all the various subplots which I think is a positive development. This new evil empress has some potential and the apocalyptic chaos adds an urgency to the story. A good start to a new direction.

THE WARLORD #123

“Incantation to Eternal Night”
Writer: Michael Fleisher
Artists: Jan Duursema & Tom Mandrake

Deep inside a volcano three creatures who used to be human are casting a spell. The spell will doom Skartaris. The moon eclipses the sun. This causes panic among the population. Redmond has made it to Shamballah but his beast-man condition is getting worse. He remembers dragging an animal into the sewers and eating it. He finds out the animal was a human and goes mad. Busting into the streets he further causes panic among the population. Morgan while out keeping order from the mob is attacked by Redmond. Redmond is completely insane and tries to kill Morgan. The volcano erupts and Morgan is forced to put a bullet into Redmond who falls into the lava flow.

So the Redmond story comes to an end and with it all the various subplots. This subplot seemed the most pointless. Morgan gets the surprise of Redmond finding him in Skartaris. Then the surprise of Redmond turning into a beast-man. He doesn’t have time to figure it out with the volcano blowing so is forces to cap Redmond in the head. A simple but very anti-climactic resolution. I really think the writer just lost interest in Redmond and decided to finish him off. A very pointless subplot. So now there is a new and sinister threat that Morgan must confront.