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Tuesday, 22 August 2017

Warlord 90 - getting some gold

Burkett and Buckler have Travis Morgan revisit a pyramid full of gold in Warlord 90 (Feb 85).

Morgan isn't the only one to find a pile of gold. Jennifer Morgan and Aram Al Ashir finally find Joshua Morgan, under the spell of one of the Evil One's gems. Jennifer breaks Joshua free of it. Ashir starts to load up on the gold in the room, but Jennifer convinces him that it is most likely cursed, and he leaves it alone.

Travis Morgan and Tara set up a permanent camp for the Shamballahan refugees. Scarheart and Krystovar help build it, but Shakira just stays in cat form. Tara questions Morgan about the gold he will need to pay Captain Hawk, and he winds up bringing her along as he heads to the pyramid filled with gold, constructed back in the Wizard World time when they were fighting the Evil One. The Monitor and Harbinger get a shadowy cameo in this story, watching the couple. The Monitor decides to review his files on Morgan, which will take place in the following issue. This comes after the Monitor's appearance in a Haunted Tank story in G.I. Combat the same month.

The pyramid turns out to be protected by a flaming spirit. To avoid getting killed by it, Morgan and Tara wind up falling into the chamber deep inside.

There, Tara finds a marked bottle, the one the"genie" came from. Morgan is able to seal the creature back up inside it.

Honestly, one of Burkett's better outings.

Warlord 89 - letting the boy down

Rich Buckler handles the art and cover for the Cary Burkett story in Warlord 89 (Jan 85).

Travis Morgan does some snooping and learns that Patch's son has been taken to the palace. She blames Morgan for her son's capture, as the troops are all looking for him.

We also get another brief scene with Joshua Morgan. Buckler's art makes it clear that the chamber he has found has paintings of the Evil One. I didn't realize that in the previous issue. Joshua thinks that he should tell Jennifer Morgan about the room.

Buckler also does a much better job rendering Lord Sabre-Tooth, who comes to the palace. He is upset with the governor of the city because of all the black market stuff going on.

The boy is brought before Lord Sabre-Tooth, and tells the beast man that the Warlord will defeat him. Enraged, Sabre-Tooth has the boy publicly flogged on a pedestal in the centre square. It's a terrible and intense scene. Patch almost loses it completely, watching her son refuse to give up on the Warlord.

Travis Morgan swims around and gets onto the platform from behind, challenging and defeating Lord Sabre-Tooth. He makes the beast man humiliate himself in front of the crowd, and then takes off with the boy.

But there is no happy ending to the tale. The kid, Patch, and all the people of the town are now expecting Morgan to lead them in a revolt. He tries to explain that he needs to free Shamballah first, but none of them are happy to hear this, and he does not sail out as a hero.

Warlord 88 - getting supplies, and The Barren Earth ends

Burkett, Jurgens and Buckler send Travis Morgan shopping in Warlord 88 (Dec 84).

Morgan and Sacrheart go ashore in the town of Bakwele to pick up supplies in this story. The town has been seen before, but in this tale the streets are sparsely populated, and the town is completely under the control of the New Atlanteans. They have to fight to stay alive, and buying things openly is not possible. Captain Hawk had mentioned Patch, who sells on the black market, and then men seek her out.

As that is going on, Joshua Morgan and his pet monkey Chakka find the underground home of what seems to be a demon. Joshua is too young to be scared, and more entranced with the gold he finds.

Patch also turns out to have a young son. While Patch has become very bitter and cynical since the death of her husband, and loss of an eye, at the hands of the New Atlanteans, her son believes in the legend of the Warlord, having heard Aton talk of him when he passed through the town some time earlier. Morgan does not reveal his identity, but is shocked, and somewhat chastened, by the boy's faith in him. As the story ends, Morgan and Patch avoid being captured by New Atlanteans, but the boy gets taken.

Cohn and Randall bring the Barren Earth back-up series to an end in this issue. 

Jinal and the Qlov are each examined by the rulers of D'Roz, and each is rejected. At least, it seems the Qlov is rejected. He flies away fast enough afterwards.

Jinal is furious, convinced that she and the other humans have the rights to Earth. She decides she will not stop fighting, and will even take down the D'Roz as part of her mission.

Jinal's story continues two months down the road in the Conqueror of the Barren Earth miniseries.

Warlord 87 - Captain Hawk, and reaching D'Roz

Rich Buckler joins Burkett and Jurgens for the lead story in Warlord 87 (Nov 84).

The sea battle that Travis Morgan, Tara, Shakira and Krystovar sailed into after leaving the Atlantean caves is between the forces of New Atlantis and some pirates, lead by Captain Hawk. Despite his name, Captain Hawk looks like a normal human, as seen on the cover. Morgan and his men defeat the New Atlanteans, and then are threatened by the pirates. Morgan has no need for the booty, and views the pirates as potential mercenaries to recruit.

So he heads over to the pirate ship. He has to duel with Hawk to prove his mettle, and then strikes a bargain to pay Hawk for any New Atlanteans he captures. While the negotiations are going on, Hawk sends his men to kidnap Tara.

Joshua Morgan gets a brief scene, in which he discovers that his monkey friend can talk, and is named Chakka.

Morgan returns to his ship to discover Tara has been taken. Hawk intends to keep her until his next meeting with Morgan, to ensure he keeps his word. Morgan will have none of that, and has himself catapulted to the main mast of Hawk's ship. This distracts the pirate captain, and Tara is able to free herself. But the deal still holds, and Captain Hawk intends to fight for Morgan, as long as he gets paid. His character returns the following year.

The Barren Earth approaches the end of its run, as Cohn and Randall have Jinal and her people hold the Qlov warrior captive.

A Qlov ship comes after them, and avoiding it, and fighting it, comprise most of the chapter.

The Qlov ship winds up caught by a tractor beam, which emerges from the flying city of D'Roz. The last page also contains an announcement about the upcoming Barren Earth miniseries.

Warlord 86 - the Forever Man, and defeating a Qlov

The Burkett, Jurgens and DeCarlo story from Warlord 86 (Oct 84) serves as an epilogue to the time travel saga just completed in Annual 3.

Morgan, Shakira and Krysotvar are reunited with Tara and Scarheart in the Atlantean lab. Morgan finds a secret room in the lab, and is attacked by the same hooded man who had come to Tara's aid a few issues back.

This turns out to be the scientist guy, Reno. He explains that, in the intervening centuries since they left him in Atlantis, he lived with them, but found he had gained both immortality, and an ability to travel through time. One might expect him to go on to become one of the supporting cast, but this is his last story. As well, the time ships are now all so overloaded with chronal energy they are no longer safe to use, so really the entire trip to the ruins has been a waste of time.

Oh, and we briefly touch in on Jennifer Morgan and Aram Al Ashir hunting for Joshua Morgan. They kill the giant spider, and almost find the boy, but the monkey thinks he is doing good by saving and hiding him. The monkey also looks much more normal in this story, not being golden anymore.

Morgan and crew sail out of the caves, and right into the middle of a sea battle.

The Qlov are front and centre in the Cohn and Randall Barren Earth story in this chapter, as Jinal fights to defeat, but not kill, one of them.

Most of the chapter is devoted to the fight, in which she is aided by Barasha at first.

But it's the shaman who proves to be the most useful. The potion he uses is only supposed to work on humans, though, so they wonder why it worked on a Qlov.

Warlord Annual 3 - Lord Daimon

Burkett, Jurgens and DeCarlo conclude the time travel saga in Warlord Annual 3.

Travis Morgan, Shakira, Krystovar, and Reno (the scientist guy) go through a time warp and wind up back in ancient Atlantis. They are brought to a city that appears to be ruled by Deimos, but in fact this is his ancestor, Lord Daimon. Before Morgan figures that out, he attacks Daimon. Although this gets brushed off, Daimon wonders where these people came from, and why Morgan thought he knew him.

Consulting some magic spirits, Daimon learns that Morgan and his companions are from the far future, and that Morgan will one day kill his descendant and end his line.

Daimon pretends to play the charming host, taking his guests out for a hunt, though he tries to have Morgan killed during it. Failing that, and being spied on by Shakira, he captures the cat-woman. Daimon is in an alliance with the aliens who live inside a red moon, who are the forerunners of the moon men that Morgan fought a few years back, the end of their race.

In that story they were working on interbreeding with animals, and in this story, trying to get Shakira back from them, Morgan and Krystovar encounter the aliens at their peak. They want Shakira because of her ability to change form. Morgan and Krystovar discover vast chambers of experiments that the aliens feel are failures, and release them. These proto-breast men turn on the aliens and destroy their base, which begins the decline of the aliens to the state they were seen earlier in the book. As well, this is the origin of the tech the New Atlanteans use to create their beast men. Man, lots of little tie-ups in this story!

Daimon gets killed by "chronal backlash" from one of the spaceships, in one of the weaker moments from the story. Far better is the scene in which Morgan has the opportunity to kill Daimon's child, ending his line and preventing Deimos from ever coming to be. But the child and his mother are innocent, and Morgan lets them live.

Then we reach the point where the heroes encounter themselves, showing the interaction that began the whole time travel saga, and neatly allowing the reader to know we have reached the end.

Sure enough, Morgan, Krystovar and Shakira then get time warped back to their own era, and re-united with Tara.  One heck of a major digression. At least the plot of the New Atlanteans taking over Shamballah can finally get moving again.

Warlord 85 - Travis Morgan stops a war, and Jinal faces a Qlov

Steve Mitchell joins Burkett and Jurgens on the lead story from Warlord 85 (Sept 84).

Jennifer Morgan and Amar Al Ashir get a cameo right at the top of the story, as they hunt for Joshua Morgan, who has gone missing in a cave they all were hiding in. While in the previous issue it appeared that something nasty had took the boy, here we see that he followed some golden creature that piqued his interest, of his own accord.

In the future, Travis Morgan and his scientist buddy test drive one of the spaceships. Because the craft operate by disrupting the flow of time, they are able to maneuver in all sorts of ways that defy physics. While Shakira and Krystovar do appear in this story, they have very minor roles. Burkett is not as good as Grell at finding things for his cast to do.

The most interesting part of the story is the subplot with Joshua. He rescues a golden monkey type thing from a giant spiderweb, but then gets attacked by the giant spider who made it.

Morgan and the scientist lead a group of flyers back in time to the outbreak of the nuclear war. The craft's time displacement stuff is able to age all the nukes that were fired, rendering them harmless. He averts the war, and in fact brings Russia and the US together to fight the apparent alien invasion.

Morgan figures this is a good thing, and has the whole group of craft make one big fly by to scare the world into peace and harmony. But the time warps that the craft all use interact and cause all the ships to be thrust into a negative time zone.

This story continues in Warlord Annual 3.

Cohn and Randall bring the humans and the Qlov into conflict in this chapter of the Barren Earth. Ordered by the people of D'Roz to capture a Qlov, Jinal has little choice but to involve her whole group in the battle.

It is not a smooth operation, made bloodier by the involvement of the slavers, which both sides are keen to kill. The chapter ends with Jinal facing off one on one against a Qlov.