Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Warlord Wednesday: The Kaash'Ban

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 Kaash'Ban"
Warlord (vol. 1) #63 (November 1982)
Written by Mike Grell (Sharon Grell); Penciled by Dan Jurgens; Inked by Mike DeCarlo

Synopsis: Morgan and Rostov ride to Castle Deimos to see if Jennifer’s sorcerous abilities are capable of freeing Rostov from the curse of lycanthropy. Rostov also suggests that she might be able to send him back to the Age of Wizard Kings so that he can be reunited with Mariah. Morgan is noncommittal on that point--he doesn’t want to let Rostov know just yet that Mariah is with Machiste now.

A little distance up trail, Morgan climbs a tree to get his bearings. He can see the spires of Kaambuka where they can sleep in beds, relying on the hospitality of Morgan’s old friend, thief turned king, Ashir. It’s also where he left Shakira.

Just within the palace gates of Kaambuka, people in tents with a veritable menagerie of animals catch Morgan’s eye. And here they find Ashir--drinking.

After Morgan fills Ashir in on their mission, he asks about the people camped out in his courtyard. Ashir tells him they are the Kaash’Ban:

Periodically, they go on a search for youngsters who share the same gift at animal communication. It’s considered a great honor to a parent for the Kaash’Ban to request their child be allowed to join them. They’re going to be demonstrating their abilities soon. Morgan and Rostov are curious.

Morgan asks Ashir how he and Shakira have been getting along. Ashir says she left shortly after Morgan did--he doesn’t realize the black cat in his lap is Shakira. She scratches Morgan but he still doesn’t reveal her.

Later, in the quarters Rostov and Morgan share, Shakira sits in their window in cat form. Morgan tells her to explain herself. Shakira turns into her human form--to Rostov’s surprise. Shakira explains herself by saying she got tired of Ashir’s constant advances--but she stayed...

Morgan introduces Rostov and explains his changeling like herself. Then, I know on the door tells them the Kaash’Ban are about to begin.

A large crowd is gathered, and they’ve brought their various animals. The Kaash’Ban act as translators between the two. Then, they demonstrate their rapport with their own animals.

While all this is going on, they take a special, surreptitious interest in Rostov. After the show, three of the Kaash’Ban converse, wondering if Rostov’s “the one.” They send young Calef to sneak into the palace while most are asleep and investigate. The boy chants softly, waking Rostov alone by talking to the beast within the man. They share what seems to be telepathic communication.

The Kaash’Ban are convinced he is the one they seek. They must go to a place nearby.

Shakira awakens Morgan. She tells him the Kaash’Ban took Rostov—or actually, he seemed to go willing. She saw them moving through the woods outside the city. The two mount up and give chase.

In the forest, Shakira’s cat senses detect the Kaash’Ban before they can see them. They climb into a tree to take a look. They see Rostov standing amidst a ruin; four Kaash’Ban form a circle around him with their hands linked. He’s surrounded by a strange energy.

Suddenly, Rostov is gone, and a strange vista of mountains and monuments can be glimpsed through the simmering portal.

Things to Notice:
  • This is Dan Jurgens debut as Warlord's penciller.
  • Given that Ashir's a pretty egalitarian king: he hosts the Kaash'Ban in his palace walls, and allows the commoners to come see them there.
Where It Comes From:
The title of this issue (and the name of the people to which it refers) may come from the name of a geographic feature in Saudi Arabia, Jabal Kashbān (jabal means "hill" or "mountain").  Some of the Kaash'Ban seem to have Arabic inspired names.

Besides their Doctor Doolittle-ish ability to talk with animals.  The Kaash'Ban seemed to be sort of a loose, fantasy Romani or similar group of nomadic people.  Rostov explicitly draws this comparison in the story.


The Angry Lurker said...

Another good Warlord wednesday.

Needles said...

Solid entry on Warlord here man. Very nice stuff & good catch on the geographic angle.