Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Warlord Wednesday: Wizardwar

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) #66 (February 1983)
Written by Mike Grell (Sharon Grell); Penciled by Dan Jurgens; Inked by Mike deCarlo

Synopsis: Having stepped through the magic mirror, Morgan and Jennifer arrive just in time for Jennifer to stay Machiste’s hand and keep him from braining Rostov. She holds the combatants long enough for everyone to calm down so that introductions can be made. Mungo Ironhand is (unsurprisingly) particularly taken with Shakira.

Rostov and Mariah go off to have a private talk. Jennifer tells the others that they must prepare to fight the Evil One for the sake of the future. Mungo carries the Hellfire sword, but its gem is missing, so it’s without its anti-magic power. They’ll have to find some other way.

Meanwhile, Rostov tells Mariah how he came to the inner world to find her and hopefully to find a cure to his lycanthropy. So far, he has been unsuccessful in the second goal; Jennifer Morgan is his last hope. Mariah dashes his hopes of reconciling with her, as well. She’s in love with Machiste now.

When the two rejoin the group, Jennifer tells everyone that they must form an alliance with all the wizards of Wizard World. She has a plan to draw the Evil One from his lair so they can destroy his source of power—the Necronomicon. They plan to take all the remaining gold he so covets and place it beyond his reach, protected by a potent spell. Then he’ll have to come to them.

Sitting in his lair amid large (though not Uncle Scroogian) piles of gold and gloating to himself, the Evil One decides to scry what the other wizards are up to. He sees them hiding all their treasure in a step pyramid. He swoops in to steal it now that it’s in one place. He howls with rage when he finds he can't penetrate the pyramid and vows revenge.

Meanwhile, our heroes teleport into his liar. Jennifer uses magic to locate the Necronomicon, but the Evil One appears before they can grab it. Morgan’s response:

The Evil One isn’t even fazed. He entraps our heroes in bubbles of mystical energy. He demands they tell him how to open the pyramid--before he kills them. Mariah, begging for her life, agrees to tell him. The secret (she says) is hidden in the pommel of her sword:

Unfortunately, that trick doesn’t stop him either. He puts an unnecessarily convoluted spell on our heroes so that their brains will convince their bodies they’re dead, and thereby kill them.

As luck would have it, the Skartarian moon chooses that moment to rise over an opening in the top of the cave. Rostov turns werewolf and attacks. As a “mindless beast” he’s free from the Evil One’s spell. The Evil One blasts him, returning him to human form. The Evil One’s distraction, however, weakened his spell, allowing Jennifer to break them free.

It’s a battle of sorcery! Jennifer and the Evil One seem at a stalemate. Thinking fast, Morgan knocks over the podium holding the Necronomicon and yells to Mungo. Mungo uses his magic to guide the book into a pit of fire.

The book destroyed, the Evil One reverts to Craetur and lopes off. Before they can possibly give chase, the cave ceiling begins to collapse, suggesting the volcano is about to erupt.

As our heroes watch from a safe distance, Morgan asks why Jennifer didn’t destroy Craetur. Jennifer replies that the thing embodies evil, so it can never truly be destroyed.

Things to Notice:
  • Mungo again shows he has some source of knowledge on modern earth for his "humorous" references.
  • The Evil One isn't just a would-be conqueror, he's a greedy would-be conqueror.
  • At first Jennifer seems not to be a match for the Evil One, then later she is.  Perhaps he just got the drop on her the first time?
Where It Comes From:
This issue largely ties up a number of loose ends from previous Warlord stories.  Morgan encountered the unopened black pyramid in the modern era in issue #31.  Mariah, Machiste, and Mungo first encountered Craetur before he became the Evil One in his volcano lair in "Book of the Dead," a back-up story in issues #41-42.

The Evil One's visual appearance is that of a devil or perhaps the Devil.  His lair also fits the common conception of Hell.  And then there's his name!  Given that Wizard World is inhabited by centaurs, dwarves, and other creatures of mythology and folklore it's a bit surprising a link was never explicitly drawn between the Evil One and at least the popular conception of Satan.


The Angry Lurker said...

Now that's a tale and as you said a greedy git.

Anonymous said...

lol awesome synopsis man keep it up!

Trey said...

@Angry Lurker - Yeah, this issue was longer than the last few, so more happened. No back-up story.

@Adam - Thanks!

Needles said...

Very cool trey this was one of my early Warlord titles that I owned. Keep up the fantastic work