Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Warlord Wednesday: Nightmare in Vista-Vision

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...

"Nightmare in Vista-Vision"
Warlord (vol. 1) #45 (May 1981)

Writing and art by Mike Grell; inks by Vince Colletta

Synopsis: On a remote Skartarian beach, Jennifer Morgan tries to communicate with the brutish, hooded man who found her, but finding the language barrier difficult. Jennifer mentions the name of her father, “Travis Morgan,” the eyes of the man harden. Suddenly, he lashes out with his sword...

...and slashes a sabretooth tiger as it pounces. Jennifer feels she misjudged the man--he just saved her life, after all. The man’s attention is now focused on his bronze-bound, wooden box which has been overturned. He rushes to it swiftly and closes it. Calling it “master” he whispers to it that he’s certain the girl did not see. And yes, he heard her say the name of his master’s mortal enemy--Travis Morgan.

Meanwhile, Morgan, Aton, and Shakira ride into the tree village of the dwarfs. Morgan asks if they’ve happened to find his old sword he left on his last visit. The mayor of the dwarfs leads him to it. Morgan just taken it in hand, when they hear a scream from outside. Running toward it, they find:

The fight doesn’t favor our heroes.  Morgan and Aton wound out sprawled out, while the cyclops lumbers away with the sack full of dwarfish maidens. Morgan’s got a question for the mayor:

But there is something Morgan can do. He and his companion race after the cyclops. They soon come to a fallen tree bridging a ravine. They stop a moment to strategize.  When the plan is made, Aton stays behind while Shakira and Morgan cross the bridge.

They come open a cobbled together skeleton strapped to a cross. Morgan thinks its some sort of warning; it means they’re on the right track. He’s proved right as they come around a rock outcropping and find a cave with three cyclopes tending a fire--and a cook pot. The dwarf women watched worriedly from a nearby hanging cage.

Shakira’s also worried, but Morgan reminds her he has a plan. Soon, Shakira (in cat form) is creeping across the branch toward the dwarf ladies. When she’s close enough, she jumps to the cage and changes to human form so she can set them free.

As they’re making there escape, the cyclopes notice and give chase. That’s when Morgan comes swinging in on a vine and slams into them. Despite their size, the giants are staggered. Morgan drops to the ground and pulls his sword.

He deals the closest a deadly blow, then runs for the tree bridge. The other two cyclopes give chase. Morgan is half-way across the tree, with the cyclopes behind when he shouts “cut it!” to Aton. Aton chops through a large root that seems to be holding the tree in place.

As the tree falls into the ravine, Morgan jumps to safety. The cyclopes aren’t so lucky. One falls to his death, though the other manages to grab hold to the cliffside.

Before he can climb out, our heroes push a boulder off the cliff onto him. Morgan’s plan worked! Still, Aton’s got a good question:

Things to Notice:
  • The dwarf men (last seen in issue #33) look like munchkins from The Wizard of Oz, but the ladies are decidedly cuter and more curvaceous--like Elinore from Bakshi's Wizards.
  • This issue features filmic transition captions.
Where It Comes From:
The title of this issue references vistavision, a widescreen film format developed by Paramount as a competitor for CinemaScope.  This fits in with a number of film references in the issue.  Captions between scene changes in the issue are all film transition terms. 

Also, there are a couple of set-peices seem homages to specific sequences in film.  The tree bridge greatly resembles the who from the original King Kong (1933).   The bone scarecrow on a cross resembles who the Talyor (Charlton Heston) and his fellows come across in Planet of the Apes (1968).


Logan said...

Thank you for your Warlord Wednesday! My german b/w-hardcover version of issue 1 to 10 arrived yesterday.
Now I can follow your series even better.

Trey said...

You're welcome, and thank you for the comment. Hardcover? I'm jealous--we only have Warlord in softcover in English.

Logan said...

Thank you!

This is the new german edition:


Chris Creel said...

Yeah, thanks Trey. Back when you were writing about issue #40 I wanted to comment that I was pretty sure that I owned that issue and I do. I fact, that's where my Warlord collection begins. I should get the mrs. to give me some of the earlier issues for the next gift giving holiday.

Trey said...

@Logan - thanks for the link. Those look great!

@Chris - Definitely. :) Thanks for stopping by.

Chris Creel said...

Well, I was off by ten issue on my comment. My collection of Warlock comics starts with no. 30 and that is the review I had noticed and thought that the issue looked familure.