Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Warlord Wednesday: Conspiracy

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) #56 (April 1982)

Written by Mike Grell (Sharon Grell); Penciled by Mark Texiera; Inked by Pablo Marcos

Synopsis: In the back alleys of Shamballah, a group of street urchins gang up on another young boy--a boy they know as “Tinder,” but we know as Joshua, the lost son of the Warlord. The urchins want Tinder’s armlet (really a wristwatch given to him as a baby by his father), but he refuses and holds his own against them. He’s been toughened up by life on the streets since his adopted parents were killed by the Therans.

The urchins are finally dispersed by their Fagin, a mustachioed man named Darvin. He offers Tinder a place to stay and a place in his gang, but when he gets too close to the armlet himself, Tinder warns him off with a knife. Darvin considers killing the boy and taking it, but then he intuits in some vague way that its worth more with the boy than without. Instead, he reiterates his invitation, and Tinder joins him.

Meanwhile, in the palace, Morgan is in his fancy duds (last seen in Kaambuka) and is putting his adventuring accoutrements away in a chest. Shutting that chest is a momentous thing for Morgan, but when he discovers Tara watching him he takes her up in his arms and leaves it behind.

Elsewhere, a conspiracy is set in motion by Morgan’s return. Praydor, one of the treasonous plotters, makes his way from the palace to rooms in a bad part of town. There he meets a man whose features are in shadow, but we’re told he’s an impersonator of some sort. He’s tired of waiting and he’s eager for his costume to arrive. Praydor assures him it will be there soon. He also asks what they’ll do with the “package” once they’ve gotten it. Praydor tells him they’ll turn it over to Darvin, who’s possessed of a deep dungeon. Praydor takes his leave with one last instruction to the other man: “Make your move soon.”

Back in the palace, Morgan and Tara discuss politics. Morgan’s planned reforms for Shamballah don’t sit well with some people in power. Tara’s even heard rumors of an overthrow plot, but hasn’t been able to confirm them. A council meeting soon follows, and Morgan is at odds with some on the council and ends up storming out in anger.

Tara finds him in a garden hitting rocks with a stick. She assures him they’ll implement his ideas eventually; they’ll just have to get around the council. Their conversation is interrupted by a servant, Remald, who brings Tara a message that there's a man seeking an audience with her. He told Remald to recite a for Tara the poem “One Dark Rose,” and Tara smiles as she realizes who the visitor is. She leaves Morgan in the garden. Morgan soon gets irritated--and curious. He goes looking for Tara and finds:

Tara introduces her old friend Graemore, and introduces Morgan to him as her “royal consort.”

Morgan quickly excuses himself and goes to his chambers. He looks at himself critically in the mirror. He flexes his biceps. “Face it Morgan,” he tells himself, “You’re old, and that guy isn’t.” He turns from the mirror--but glimpses that his image doesn’t turn with him. Perplexed, he swings around to look at it. It smiles at him, gloatingly.

And then he’s knocked out by Praydor’s blow to the back of his head.
Things to Notice:
  • This is the first appearance of Graemore--who looks like cross between a seventies rocker and Robin Hood in this issue.
  • We're never told what exactly Morgan's "radical" plans for Shamballah are.
  • Morgan's vanity comes to the fore when he's out of his element.
Where It Comes From:
Political intrigues with duplicates are a staple of adventure fiction.  The grandfather of this trope may well be L'homme au masque de fer (The Man in the Iron Mask), the final section of Alexandre Dumas' The Vicomte of Bragelonne: Ten Years Later--the last novel in the D'Artagnan series.  We'll see more of this next issue.


The Angry Lurker said...

Good as usual my friend, didn't know that bit about the D'Artagnan series novel.

Trey said...

Thanks Angry Lurker. Oh, and your samurai wargaming pics today are awesome, but for some reason I don't seem to be able to leave comments on blogs this AM (other than my own).

Needles said...

Graemore was a jerk! Personally I loathed the dude. Excellent overview as usual Trey!