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 #89 (January 1985)
Written by Cary Burkett; Art by Rich Buckler.
Synopsis: Thanks to Scarhart’s tracking ability, our heroes are able to track the captain of the guards who captured Patch’s son through the streets of Bakwele. Morgan surprises the guard in the walled garden where the man’s visiting his favorite courtesan. He disarms the guard with his superior skill, and forces him to reveal where the boy has been taken: the Palace. Pursued by the house’s guards Morgan manages to escape by pretending to be one of the patrons.
Patch is none too happy. First she threatens to tear down the palace, then blames Morgan for her son’s capture and slugs him. Before she can stab him, he convinces her he understand what she's feeling and gets her to calm down. He understands all too well.
Far away beneath Fire Mountain, the son Morgan thinks is dead is with his new pal Chaka in a treasure room of the Evil One. They find a jewel-boxed with a glowing gem inside. As Tinder marvels at it, the eyes of the Evil One glow in a nearby portrait...
Back in Bakwele, Lord Sabertooth has arrived. He asks to see the prisoner and is annoyed to find it’s a little boy. When the boy starts talking about the Warlord coming to defeat the Atlanteans, Sabertooth flies into a rage. He’s angry the governor has allowed the such a rumor to spread in the city and give their enemies hope. Such hope must be squelched:
Morgan and friends are planning a way to free Avenel, when they get word that the Atlanteans are building a platform in the square to publically flog the boy. Sabertooth has set a trap: There are plenty of soldiers, crossbowman on the roof, and even an energy cannon.
Sabertooth is out to quell this Warlord business. He says the tales are false: The Warlord was a coward and a traitor--and he claims to have already killed him. He plans to whip the boy until he admits his stories were untrue and denounces the Warlord.
Patch flies into a rage and would likely make a suicidal attack, except Morgan coldcocks her. Instead of a frontal assault, he and Scarhart are going to swim through a river entrance into the pipes from the royal bath. It’s a daring race against time as Sabertooth continues to torture the boy.
When Morgan bursts onto the platform, no one is more surprised than Sabertooth. He slips and calls him “the Warlord,” giving lie to his previous words and exciting the crowd. They fight:
Allowing himself to get injured to gain advantageous position, Morgan disarms Sabertooth. It’s the boy’s freedom—or the Atlantean beastman’s life! Sabertooth gives in and even tells the crowd he’s a “cowardly worm” when Morgan makes him. Scarhart shoots an arrow with a rope attached, allowing Morgan and Avenel to swing to safety. They all escape into the confused crowd.
Later, Avenel is excited to meet his hero and asks Morgan when he will free Bakwele. Morgan disappoints the boy when he says he has to go—he has his own city to save. Patch accuses Morgan of giving the people hope then not taking responsibility—which unbeknownst to her, has be a common theme of Morgan’s time in Skartaris.
When Morgan and friends sail away on the Wind Shadow, they leave a disillusioned boy shedding tears behind.
Things to Notice:
This marks the return of Lord Sabertooth to the saga. He looks quite a bit different in Buckler's design than he did in Jurgens's.
This issue is arguably the first time Morgan steps out a bit on Tara by kissing a girl when he wasn't in some sort of altered mental state at the time.
Where It Comes From:
This issue continues with the recurrent Warlord theme of Travis Morgan having a noble goal, but failing to follow through.
Lord Sabertooth is back again after his last appearance in issue #76.