Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Warlord Wednesday: The Worm of Heaven and Hell

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 Worm of Heaven and Hell"
Warlord #132 (November 1988)
Written by Michael Fleisher; Art by Jan Duursema

Synopsis: Khnathaiti rides a tentacle worm creature, Sesanaga the Lava-Serpent, and bids it to sing out so that its weirdling song can be magnified by the mystic “doom-crystal” and rouse Anu from the God-Plane to ravage the multiverse.

Another, even more huge tentacle worm-thing erupts through the ground in Skartaris near Morgan and Aoife. It writhes and reaches toward the sky and where it pierces it, alien beings and fragments of their worlds fall through. One of them is crying out in pain, part of his body fused into a piece of rock. Morgan reluctant thinks of drawing his pistol and putting the alien out of his misery. He’s beaten to it:


Aoife is futilely striking at the worm with her sword. She gets a vision of a future where everything was turned to stone. The vision worries the starfish-headed alien who flies up and uses his power to close the riff in the sky left by the worm's passing. He fears it will do little good if the cosmos ends.

Meanwhile, Jennifer has magically summoned Shakira to Shamballah. She hopes to enlist her aid in finding Morgan. She’s overheard some of the spells Khnathaiti was casting:


A serpent-haired Khnathaiti head emerges from the pages of the book to attack. Jennifer beats it back with her magic, but unfortunately destroys the book that might have helped in the process.

Elsewhere, Morgan sleep,s and the spirit of Tara tries to make contact with him, to warn him of Khnathaiti’s plan. Before she can, the sorceress shows up and banishes her. Morgan wakes up with a start to find himself alone.

In her lair, Khnathaiti barters Tara’s troublesome soul to extra-dimensional merchant. She’s led off in a coffle:


Starfish fills Aoife and Morgan in on a lot of cosmology. His name is Ishum, and before the advent of the cosmos, the great god Ea bade him sound his horn and summon the great worm Anu from the void. Anu’s writhing and undulations created the world. Tiamat, She-Dragon of Chaos, was upset about this state of affairs and killed Ea in his sleep. Then (since she couldn’t undo the cosmos) she decreed that the horn would be sounded again at so future point to call forth Anu to end it. Because he had failed to warn Ea, Ishum was confined to “a darksome realm” where only Anu dwelled. It was his job to make sure Anu stayed satisfied with an occasional tasty planetoid.

His life went on in that way until Khnathaiti found a way to fake the horn’s sounding and summon Anu. Now:


Meanwhile, somewhere amid the nine worlds, the caravan with Tara in it reaches its destination:


Things to Notice:
  • This is the penultimate issue of Warlord.
  • Jan Duursema is listed as "co-plotter."
Where It Comes From:
The cosmic deities in this issue have names borrowed from Mesopotamian mythologies. Ishum is the name of a minor Akkadian god, related to the sun but also a herald of war. Ea is a Akkadian and Babylonian deity who is god of creation and seawater. Tiamat (perhaps more famous from her Dungeon & Dragons namesake) is indeed a chaos dragon, and primordial goddess of the ocean.

There are several references to there being nine worlds or realms in this story. This is a new edition to the Warlord cosmology. It was probably an idea borrowed from Norse mythology.

4 comments:

JimShelley said...

I really dig these Warlord write ups but forget to check the blog on Wednesday's sometimes. It would be cool if you collected them in a book format or something.

Francis Lee said...

That's one big eared Buddha and Wednesday is complete!

Timothy Brannan said...

Was looking forward to this post.

Trey said...

@Jim - That's a good thought.

@Fran - Well, if I had known that was all it took... :)

@Tim - It's been a long time coming.