Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Warlord Wednesday: War

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 (vol. 1) #42 (February 1981)

Writing and art by Mike Grell

Synopsis: Morgan and Shakira ride through the Forest of Ebondar, nearing the city of Shamballah. Everywhere, they find the signs of war; the countryside is battle-scarred and depopulated. A distant growl makes Morgan decide to climb a tree for a better vantage point. He sees a grim Theran army on the march, pulling a giant battering ram.

“The hounds of war are loosed upon the land.” And Morgan admits. he’s longed for it.

Shakira asks why men make war upon each other. Morgan replies that the Therans make war to subjugate those they deem inferior, and the Shamballans make war to resist the chains of tyranny. And Morgan? He once had a dream that all Skatarians could be free and equal. Maybe that dream still burns within him, somewhere, he tells her. Or maybe he just loves it when “the scent of blood and the sound of battle are in the air and a stout blade” is n his hand.

Morgan means to enter Shamballah and join his mate, Tara, in battle. Shakira points out that the city is besieged; there’s no way in--it’s a hopeless gesture. Morgan replies:

This is how Grell describes Morgan’s entrance to the city:

“Straight into the face of death plunges the man called the Warlord, his mighty blade clutched in a powerful hand that swings death in a glittering arc of destruction! No ordinary man this, but the mightiest warrior ever to stride the savage world of Skartaris!”
Amazingly, Morgan’s ferocity and speed almost win the day. He’s nearly cut through the Theran lines when his steed trips, and he’s thrown to the ground. Unhorsed and badly outnunmbered, one might think he’s done, but Grell tells us:

“In the aftermath of the battle, those fortunate enough to be nearby and still survive would report the strange warrior smiled savagely in the face of death and clutched a blade that pulsed and throbbed with inhuman power! And then...All hell broke loose!”
Shouting the name “Tara,” Morgan cuts a swath through the soldiers and back to his horse. He retreats back into the forest, but not before an arrow goes through his left shoulder.

Safe in the jungle, Morgan stops so his horse can drink in a pool. Through the haze of pain, he hears a murmuring--and realizes it comes from the hellfire sword. “What does it take to quench your unholy thirst?” Morgan asks of it. For a moment, it seems to squirm in his grasp, and the grim light of its jewel seems to burn within his soul, as well--but only for a moment. Morgan shakes it off and sheathes the blade.

Knowing what must be done, Morgan grabs the shaft of the arrow protruding from his shoulder and pulls it the rest of the way through. He passes out from the pain.

Miles away, Morgan’s daughter, Jennifer, also lies unconscious in a life raft washed up on shore. She had been the only survivor of the wreck of the Lady J. She’s found by the mysterious man who talks to the wooden box he carries on his shoulder.

Meanwhile, Morgan too is discovered--by Shakira. She carries something wrapped in a skin. Morgan asks how long he was out, and if the city still stands. Shakira replies that it hasn’t fallen--yet. Morgan asks why she came back. Shakira hands him the item in the skin, saying, “I thought you could use this.”

Morgan discovers its a laser rifle from the Atlantean armory they discovered. Shakira had gone back for it. And then:

Morgan asks if this is goodbye. Shakira says that if she knows him, they’ll probably meet again sooner than he thinks. She transforms into a cat an scampers off. Morgan mounts up.

Ever one for the direct approach, Morgan charges in again, just like the first time. With the laser in one hand and the hellfire sword in the other, he fights his way to Shamballah’s gates. He calls to soldiers on a parapet, and soon the gates open to admit him--their salvation, the Warlord.

Morgan is greeted by the Council of Elders, but he’s only interested in one thing: where’s Tara? The Elders say she hasn’t returned from Kaambuka. Morgan, horrified, realizes what that means--his mate is the captive of the Therans!

Things to Notice:
  • Shakira and Morgan share a kiss for the first time.
  • Jennifer Morgan resurfaces for the first time since issue #38.
  • Remember the Therans were marching to war? We last saw them attack Shamballah in issue #30.
Where It Comes From:
Largely this issue signals the culmination of a lot of plot-threads that have been dangling for the about a year of publication time.


netherwerks said...

Hellfire sword in one hand and an Atlantean laser rifle in the other. That's some serious whoopass that Morgan brings to the fight.

Trey said...

He's the best at what he does. ;)

netherwerks said...

You bet he is. There really ought to be a Warlord RPG, one of these days...