Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Warlord Wednesday: Tinderbox

Let's re-enter the lost world with another installment of my issue by issue examination of DC Comic's Warlord, the earlier installments of which can be found here...

Warlord (vol. 1) #59 (July 1982)

Written by Mike Grell (Sharon Grell); Penciled by Mike Grell; Inked by Mike DeCarlo

Synopsis: Despite his reservations, a couple of Darvin’s other urchins convince Tinder to sneak inside the mysterious cell. When they see a strange, angular shadow on the wall they run away, leaving Tinder alone with whatever cast the shadow. Tinder’s made of more adventurous stuff than the others, and dagger drawn, he creeps toward the shadow’s source.

What he finds is a man chained and imprisoned in an iron mask. That man is the Warlord--and Tinder’s real father.

Morgan hears someone around and starved for human contact, he begs him to stay. He promises not to hurt him, and asks his name. Tinder warily tells him. Morgan asks the boy if he likes stories. Tinder says he does--sometimes. Morgan assures him he’ll like this one, then regales him with his tale of the outer Earth--a world of flying ships, chariots without horses, and a sun that moves throughout the sky, and falls leaving the land in darkness. Tinder marvels at this story--never guessing the armlet he wears (Morgan’s wristwatch) comes from that very world.

Meanwhile Praedor is meeting in a secluded part of the palace garden with the Morgan impersonator. Praedor complains about Darvin’s greediness and the impersonator’s poor work--primarily due to his drunkenness. The fact that Tara is seeking solace with Graemore means the impersonator has lost influence over her. Either he cleans up his act, or Praedor’s going to abandon the whole scheme, have Morgan “disappear,” and turn the whole thing into a ransom plot. The impersonator promises to do better.

Praedor then meets with two grinning assassins. The real Warlord is now more of a liability than insurance--as is his greedy, too clever keeper. They’re to find Darvin at the Blue Goose tavern, but he must lead them to the prisoner before they kill him.

Meanwhile, Griff (shirking his duties, gaming with friends) sees Darvin walking toward the hideout. Griff takes off running to make it back to his post before he can be caught away. He makes it back and finds the door open, but doesn’t see Tinder. Quickly, he shuts the door--and just in time. Darvin tells him to come to his office.

Darvin tells Griff that they have more royalty under their roof than in the palace. Griff doesn’t know what he means. Darvin asks if Tinder’s still around. Girff says he is. Darvin tells him to keep a close eye on him--he’s a very important boy. Girff asks who’s going to watch the prisoner in the dungeon. Darvin replies that may not be an issue soon: he’ll likely be disposed of.

This doesn’t sit well with Tinder who's listening outside the door. For some reason, he feels moved to act to save the prisoner. When Darvin comes out on his way to the Blue Goose, Tinder bumps into him by “accident”--and picks his pocket for the keys without Darvin noticing. Almost as soon as Darvin’s gone, Griff (paragon of work ethic) leaves as well, leaving Tinder to guard the door.

In the tavern, the two assassin’s approach Darvin to get the “package.” Darvin intends to give them the keys, but finds them missing from his pocket. The assassin’s aren't bothered. At the point of a dagger, they suggest to Darvin they all go back together.

Meanwhile, Tinder has opened the door and uses the keys to begin unchaining Morgan. He plans to leave with him--he doesn’t know why Darvin has suddenly taken an interest in him and he doesn’t like it. As Tinder moves to open the mask, Morgan grasps the wristwatch around the boy’s arm. He seems to recognize it--but at that moment Tinder hears heavy footsteps on the dungeon stairs! 

Things to Notice:
  • Grell is back on pencils!
  • Morgan and Joshua are (unknowingly) reunited for the first time.
Where It Comes From:
The two assassins hired by Praedor look familiar.  Overall, the two of them evoke Fafhrd and Gray Mouser.  The shorter one is dressed and armed similarly to DC's rendition of the Mouser (drawn in Wonder Woman #201-202 by Dick Giordano and by Howard Chaykin in Sword of Sorcery #1-5).  The taller, musclebound one with the squarecut black mane isn't Fafhrd but rather resembles Conan.  The gap between his front teeth resembles the movie version in Conan the Barbarian this same year.


The Angry Lurker said...

Nice work again.

Meowlissa said...

woohoo brilliant as always :)