Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Warlord Wednesday: The Final Issue

My issue by issue examination of DC Comics' Warlord continuesThe earlier installments can be found here...

"Storm Over Skartaris!"
Warlord (vol. 4) #16 (September 2010) Story & Art by Mike Grell.

Synopsis: Joshua and Alysha meet with Machiste to ask his help against the alien threat to all Skartaris. They must have convinced him, because we next see him helping McBane find Morgan's crashed SR-71. McBane finds something he thinks he can use.

In the Age of Wizard Kings, Mongo is teasing a shrunken Deimos by letting him jump at his magic mirror. He can't get through because the other side is broken. But in Shamballah, little Morgana is re-assembling Jennifer's broken  mirror...

Alysha's and Joshua's next stop is a tavern where they find the crew of the airship they took down last issue. They need the airship crew's help, but Captain Bloodhawke wants to fight Joshua to first blood for crashing her ship. He accommodates her:


McBane takes the radio from the plane wreckage. He plans to get it working so they maybe they can get a signal out and warn the surface world about what's coming. Tara oversees the removal of some the defensive guns from Shamballah. They plan to mount them on the airship. McBane asks how they plan to power them. Shakira replies they're going to use magic, just like Deimos.

Mariah and Machiste arrive to take over the defense of Shamballah. Mariah notes that even the Therans have joined them this time. Joshua and Alysha are astride the hippogriff and everyone else boards the airship.

On the surface world General Ketchum is pretty surprised to get a message coming in on a polar comsat from the SR-71 of Travis Morgan. McBane tells them about the coming alien invasion. His warning is soon confirmed by the "bogies" breaking through the missile defense. McBane tells the General to have his fighters hold outside the arctic circle. The ship of "the united people of Skartaris" will take care of things from there. The general demands to know what's going on; McBane promises to transmit a digital file that will explain.

Most of the airship crew gets off at the polar opening. Only Joshua and Shakira go on from there. The alien ships are heading toward Skartaris through the passage. When the airship is in position, Shakira places the last piece of glass in Jennifer's mirror. The conduit to Wizard World is re-opened!

Morgana and Jennifer channel the magical power to begin collapsing the passage. Joshua blasts the incoming aliens with the airship's weapons. Deimos, raging against the seed of Morgan, tries to get through the mirror, but Shakira keeps holding him back.

As the tunnel collapses, Joshua and Shakira escape the now-trapped airship leaving Deimos behind.


They ride away on the hippogriff. The polar opening to the outer world is seal and the aliens and Deimos are crushed in its collapse.


On the surface, the general and his staff begin watching the file they downloaded. Ewan McBane is reporting from Skartaris:


Things to Notice:
  • This issue lampshades (finally) Morgan's ability to carry around enough ammo for his pistol despite never having any place to carry it.
  • Joshua accomplishes what his father never did: uniting all the people of Skartaris (at least briefly).
  • This issue is the very anti-thesis of decompression; There's enough incidents here for 6 issues, easy.
Commentary: 
Grell gives his series a decisive ending: closing off the polar opening that was Travis Morgan's entrance to Skartaris to begin with. Most of the Grell-era supporting cast winds up with at least a cameo in the final issue, too, though Ashir and Faaldren are absent, as they have been from this whole run.

Still, Grell leaves open the possibility of further adventures of the new Warlord. The story teases the possibility of a new setup for fantasy adventuring: a world where characters are actually trying to build a better society instead of just talking about it. 

7 comments:

Timothy Brannan said...

Wow. What a fantastic run. Both the comic and your blog posts on it.

What's next? I am hitting my last White Dwarf Wednesday next week and I have no idea what to do after that!

Charles Akins said...

I'm really sad to see this series end, they've been really fun to read.

What are you going to do now?

Trey said...

Thanks, Tim. I think I may do a last wrap-up post, so we may finish the same week. I don't know what I'll do next. A couple of people have made various suggestions, but I haven't made a decision yet.

Timothy Brannan said...

Well I enjoyed the hell out of it myself.

I know you talked a little bit about it in the past, but you could do a review of the Justice League Unlimited episode.

jdh417 said...

Epic posting, sir. A magnificent run. True dedication.

Trey said...

Thanks!

Kaiju said...

An impressive run of posts. Thanks for this great look back at the series.