Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Warlord Wednesday: Cry Wolf

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...

"Cry Wolf"
Warlord (vol. 1) #62 (October 1982)

Written by Mike Grell (Sharon Grell); Penciled by Jan Duursema; Inked by Tom Mandrake

Synopsis:  In the vicinity of Shamballah, a young cowherd goes looking for a few stragglers of his flock and finds a pack of wolves devouring them. Surprisingly, they’re accompanied by a shirt-less man wearing jodhpurs and a fencing sword! It’s a man we know: Rostov.

Meanwhile, in the Shamballan palace, Morgan breaks up a fight between three soldiers. They claim the fight started over a gambling debt unpaid. Morgan tells the alleged loser to pay up and lets them go. Broody Graemore, watching from atop the palace walls, seems troubled by this exchange.

Back in his quarters, Morgan enlists Tara’s aide to help him get undress before he falls into a bath. Tara tells him he should be recuperating from his confinement rather than drilling with the troops--but he’s not called “the Warlord” for nothing. Tara leaves him to his bath wondering when his wanderlust will strike and he’ll leave her again.

Tara heads out into the garden and has barely had time to smell a flower when Graemore (still on the palace walls) shows up.  Tara and Graemore engage in some small talk and longing glances, before Graemore asks if she’s told Moran what happened between them.

No. She wouldn’t burden him with knowledge of something that only occurred in very unusual circumstances. Graemore tells her about the two soldiers quarrelling today--and he knows what it was really about.  One soldier made a comment about her and Graemore and the other soldier was defending her honor. The palace is full gossip.

Tara is confident Morgan is unaware--but he has been restless of late. He wants action. Graemore knows just the thing. He’s heard about a wolfpack terrorizing outlying farms...

And so, a royal hunt is organized. Asking around at farmhouses, Morgan finds what he thinks may be the site of the latest attack. They do pick up the wolves trail. The pack has split and they find human tracks with the smaller group. Morgan thinks he’s running with them.

Tara doesn’t understand. Morgan says its just a hunch, but he’ll follow the smaller group and Tara can lead the soldiers after the larger pack. Morgan plans to take “the entertainer” Graemore with him.

Morgan and Graemore track them, but find themselves in an ambush. While the wolves trouble Graemore, Rostov the werewolf knocks Morgan from his horse.

The crazed Russian gets the better of Morgan. Fighting for his life, Morgan yells the name of the woman Rostov followed to Skartaris: “Mariah!”

Morgan never gets to find out if that works, because Graemore knocks Rostov out with the butt of his spear. Morgan asks him why he did that? It was his opportunity to get rid of his rival for Tara! Graemore doesn’t reply.

Later, Morgan and an apparently recovered Rostov sit in the palace. Rostov says its gotten harder and harder for him to free his mind from the influence of the beast after each change to wolf form. Morgan suggests that his daughter has become quite a “magicker”--maybe she can remove the curse? Rostov has gone to magicians before with no success, but he’s willing to give anything a try. Morgan says they’ll leave immediately.

Tara follows him, and asks if he’s leaving. Morgan explains the plan. Tara wonders why he doesn’t consult magicians in Shamballah first, but Morgan thinks its better to get out of the city so as not to create a werewolf panic. He asks Tara if she wants to come along. Tara asks him who he thinks he’s fooling.

Tara says she didn’t want to be a queen, but she is one. She has responsibilities. She tells him to go and almost says “don’t come back,” but Morgan preempts her with an embrace. Morgan leaves, promising to be back.

Things to Notice:
  • Rostov's jodhpurs remain mysteriously undamaged despite the time he's spent running with the pack through the Skartarian jungle.
  • Graemore's pretty handy with a spear for a minstrel.
Where It Comes From:
The title of this issue, of course, references the expression meaning "to raise a false alarm," derived from the fable "The Boy Who Cried Wolf."  In this case, though, the wolf is real. 

Rostov was last seen in issue #47.


The Angry Lurker said...

I like these Wednesday posts, well done unlike Sleestak Sunday on other blogs.

Gothridge Manor said...

Hey now Lurker. Just cause you a scared doesn't mean you have to hate all over the sleestak.

Trey> Now it's Wendesday!

Word Verfication: try me

Trey said...

@Angry Lurker - Look at it this way: Tim keeps us informed on where the sleestaks are.

I oughta comission a piece of Warlord/sleestak art...

@Tim Short - Indeed it is. :)

La Belle Esplanade said...

As distasteful as a howling wolf looks on a black tee shirt in Walmart, this cover is pretty good. I didn't read this when it was published, but if I saw it then or now, I'd give it a try.


Trey said...

October 1982. Howling wolves were the height of fashion then. ;)