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.

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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.

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.

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.