Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Warlord Wednesday: Skartaris Unchained (part 2)

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...

"Skartaris Unchained"
Warlord #100 (December 1985)
Written by Michael Fleisher; Art by Adam Kubert.

Synopsis: Despite Morgan’s sudden appearance in his sanctum, Cykroth isn’t surprised for long.  He unleashes a succession of mystic blasts that send Morgan to the ground. They would have been deadly, if Jennifer wasn’t using her powers to shield her father. Cykroth figures this out and summons a giant snake to constrict Morgan and see just how powerful Jennifer is.

Meanwhile, Krystovar still holds the doorway, but he’s wound and tiring. He notices the lower legs of the centaur statues are cracked. He takes a metallic rope from the drapery and lassoes one of the statue’s legs.  As a mass of soldier’s rush at him, he pulls with all his might:

The passage is blocked but at the cost of Krystovar’s life.

Morgan’s still battling the serpent. His bullets and blade can’t harm it.  Morgan realizes it’s an illusion—the primal fear of serpents conjured from his mind.  He wills it out of existence and fires on his real enemy.  Cykroth laughs, seemingly impervious to the Warlord’s weapons.  Inwardly, he worries his energies may soon be depleted under the fierce warrior’s onslaught.

In Shamballah, Mariah raises the signal banner above the city, while Machiste and Shakira open the gates. Tara leads her army in, Braveheart-style: “For Shamballah! For Freedom!”

Lord Sabertooh orders the energy cannons to open fire, only to find they’ve all been sabotaged, courtesy of our heroes.

His shields weakening against Morgan’s attack, Cykroth begins to draw life-energy from his minions to save himself. In Shamballah, New Atlantean troops begin to visibly age and weaken before their foes.

If triumph seems close in Shamballah, Morgan has been put on the defensive in New Atlantis. The reinvigorated Cykroth manages to wound both Morgan and Jennifer with his blasts.  Morgan dodges blast after blast, but finally:

And Jennifer’s landing is hard:

Morgan has lost his magical protection! Still, he’s notices that Cykroth’s own protective aura drops briefly following every blast. If he can strike at the precise instant…Only now he manages to let Cykroth trap him in a corner of the room.  The next blast will kill him.

When, a wounded Graemore staggers into the room.  He calls out the cyclops—with predictably tragic results:

But he gives Morgan the opening he needs. Cykroth spins back toward his foe to get a blade in his only eye. The Wizard-King of New Atlantis dies.

In Shamballah, Lord Sabertooth sees his army falter as his best troops wither before his eyes. Perhaps only the beast-man transformation saved him that fate. Sabertooth doesn’t have much time to consider it, as Machiste drops from above.  The two do battle.

Shamballah has been retaken.  Tara surveys the battlefield. The Atlantean troops are decaying away, and Sabertooth:

A celebration is in preparation. They only wait for Morgan to return.  His battle won, he rides to check on his daughter.  He’s startled by what he finds:

Things to Notice:   
  • After the passing of Scarhart and the death of Krystovar this issue, the cast is down to only Grell created characters.  It's almost as if things were being "reset" in some way.  Hmmmm...
  • Of course, Graemore (a Grell era character) also dies this issue, ending forever the hinted but never quite materialized love triangle.
The portrayal of Graemore in this issue (and indeed in the Burkett run that proceeded it) makes him a sensitive minstrel type.  In his early appearances, he was more of a man of action.

Burkett seems to have been setting up a confrontation between Krystovar and his beast-men converted brother.  The only likely suspect for his brother was Lord Saber-Tooth.  Unfortunately, Fleisher dispenses with that subplot and so we never find out.

1 comment:

The Angry Lurker said...

You know I only realised it's Wednesday, good as always Trey.