Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Warlord Wednesday: The Cold Night of the Undead

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...

"The Cold Night of the Undead"
Warlord #108 (August 1986)
Written by Michael Fleisher; Art by Ron Randall

Synopsis: Morgan, Shakira, and Damon ride through the snowy wastes in a valley sheltered from the Skartarian sun (like the one in issue #9). Suddenly, out of the blowing snows, charges a group of warriors mounted on mammoths!

The battle is joined. Morgan tells Damon to protect Shakira as she’s without a weapon and “helpless.” Shakira takes out several of the attackers and saves Damon’s life. “Helpless,” eh?

Meanwhile, Mariah and Machiste are in the stolen Ummschal bone barge with a kidnapped wizard--and facing down a water elemental. All seems lost, but Mariah keeps her wits about her and forces the wizard to use his magic do something on threat of his life. Ultimately, the wizard relents and makes the elemental boil away. Our heroes only have a moment of relief, because then their boat and its skeletal crew begins to fall apart.

In the frozen valley, Morgan and the others make camp. Damon rides back to a copse of trees to get more firewood. When he arrives, he hears a voice begging for help. He follows it over a snow drift and finds a tomb. Slipping inside in cat form, he finds:

Amazingly, she seems to be alive. This is where Damn’s Hammer Horror-less lifetime hurts him: he pulls the stake from her chest. She rises and embraces him to thank her hero.

Morgan and Shakira start wondering what became of Damon. Telling Shakira to stay put, Morgan goes looking for him and finds him amid the trees. Damon attacks,demonstrating superhuman strength. Before Damon can choke him to death, Morgan gets his sword free and runs his assailant through.

Mammoth riders arrive and tell Morgan that Damon must have violated the tomb of a lamia. As if to prove their point, Damon gets up and runs away. The riders attacked before because Morgan and crew had unknowingly crossed the warning boundary. The leader of the riders tells Morgan the story of the lamia:

Eventually, the lamia Mortalla was brought down. Thought she was immortal, they were able to imprison her in the tomb. Her amulet was hidden by a shaman beneath a great tree.

No sooner is the mammoth rider’s tale done than the lamia and her forces (a group of fisherman she enthralled) attack. She Shakira is surrounded, and Damon is reading to throw Morgan off a cliff!

Things to Notice:
  • There are 3 variants of this issues cover: newstand cover as above, a direct sale cover that is liek the cover above both without the UPC, and a newstand version with cover text.
  • The scene on the cover doesn't take place in the story.
Where it Comes From:
The title of this issue is a play on Night of the Living Dead, the seminal 1968 zombie film by George Romero.

The lamia Mortalla may have been inspired by Clark Ashton Smith story "Morthylla" (we've seen Fleisher inspired by CAS before), but her costume is classic comic book vampiress, recalling Lilith, Dracula's Daughter, and especially Vampirella.


The Angry Lurker said...

Good undead Wednesday!

garrisonjames said...

Vampirella vs the Warlord. Why not?

Interesting possible connection to CAS there. There just are not enough good Clark Ashton Smith comics-adaptations out there.