Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Warlord Wednesday: The Sorceress' Apprentice

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 Sorceress' Apprentice"
Warlord (vol. 1) #53 (January 1982)

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

Synopsis: Immediately following the events of last issue, Soviet soldiers rush out of the helicopter toward the wreckage of the MiG--and straight into the swinging blade of the Warlord. Despite their guns, they don’t stand a chance.

As Morgan pulls his sword from the last one, he sees the ‘copter taking off. He runs for the vehicle, and leaps toward it as it climbs. He manages to pull himself in the open side door. The pilot is shocked to see a guy with a sword coming toward him--and probably even more surprised when he’s tossed out of the aircraft.

Morgan takes the controls. He heads in the direction of the Terminator and the inner world of Skartaris, flying low to the ground to avoid radar.

Meanwhile, back in the former Castle Deimos, Jennifer Morgan still stares blankly and doesn’t respond to Faaldren’s attempts to communicate. She has began to wander around on her own, and often goes to the room full of Atlantean technology. It’s there that a visitor to the castle appears--Ashiya, the witch.

Faaldren tries to keep her away from Jennifer, but she just blasts him aside. She tells him she doesn’t plan to hurt Jennifer, but to help her--and then Jennifer can return the favor. Ashiya knows that Jennifer comes from a world of machines, and she wishes Jennifer to teach her the use of Deimos’ Atlantean machines. In return she’ll teach her magic.

But first, she must release Jennifer from her current state. Ashiya enters her mind and sees the moment Deimos used his power to numb her mind. She removes that moment from Jennifer’s memory--but that leaves her frightened and childlike. To calm her, Ashiya uses her magic to take the form of someone Jennifer will feel safe with--her mother.

Jennifer’s trust thus gained, Ashiya begins to teach her magic. In a montage, we see the two women exchange information about their two worlds--while Faaldren looks on at times with worry.

Meanwhile, Morgan thinks he’s flown far enough to be out of radar range. He gets a little altitude to find out how far he is from the Terminator. He catches sight of the glow of Skartaris’ sun! Before he can celebrate he sees he’s dangerously low on fuel. He tries to set down, but it's too late. He crashes.

Morgan’s again on foot. He hears hoof beats behind him and twirls around, anticipating danger...

It’s Tara and Shakira! Morgan tells his wife that Deimos is dead--once and for all. The three turn and head home.

Things to Notice:
  • This is the first issue not drawn by Mike Grell.
  • Though she isn't credited, it has since been revealed that issues #53 through 71 were written either whole or in part by Sharon Grell, Mike's then-wife. 
  • Ashiya makes an awful big assumption that just being from America circa 1980 would give Jennifer any expertise with ancient Atlantean technology.
  • Jennifer is "in costume" on the cover, but never appears that wya in the issue.
Where It Comes From:
The title of this issue is utlimately a modification of the English title of a poem by Goethe, Der Zaubererlehrling--The Sorcerer's Apprentice.  In 1897, Paul Dukas wrote a symphonic poem based on it, which in turn provided the music for a sequence of the same name in Disney's Fantasia (1940).


Dave Felton said...

I was disappointed when Grell gave up the art chores to the book, but kept buying it even though the story took turns I wasn't crazy about. Years later, I'm not surprised to learn that Grell wasn't even writing the book anymore! Guess he was already working on Starslayer for Pacific Comics?

Trey said...

Yeah, that was one of the irons he had in the fire. I think he was followed by some decent artists (though this early Texiera work is certainly not as accomplished as what he would give us later). The writing thing is difficult to judge--a quote I've seen from Grell seems to indicate that he plotted at least and Sharon wrote the scripts, or sometimes he dictated and she transcribed. Other people give her more credit. It's unclear, and probably varied over the next twenty issues or so.

The Angry Lurker said...

It's a bit far fetched alright.

Moobeat said...

thanks for the post

Trey said...

@Angry Lurker - It is a Hollow Earth where time doesn't work right and magic is I guess they figure once you'ce accepted that everything else oughta be easy. ;)

@Moobeast - You're welcome. Glad you liked it.

netherwerks said...

All settings have assumptions. This one just made some really, really, really broad-stroke choices in how to approach things like Atlantean isn't that far removed from having Victorian scholars reverse-engineer Martian wra machines...