Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Warlord Wednesday: The Journey Back

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 Journey Back"
Warlord (vol. 1) #71 (July 1983)
Written by Mike Grell (Sharon Grell); Penciled by Dan Jurgens; Inked by Bob Smith

Synopsis:  In Castle Deimos in the Skartaris we know, Jennifer Morgan keeps a vigil at her magic mirror, holding open the portal in the hopes that her father and Shakira will make it home. We see a crystal ball among decorations in her sorcerous laboratory (which may be important later).

In future Australia, Morgan and Shakira make their way on horseback across the Outback to the southern coast. Morgan figures the best way back to their time is in the inner earth, even though the colonized and heavily populated Skartaris of this age isn’t the one they know. He thinks they’ll need a boat to Antarctica, but when they get there they find a connecting bridge has been built, leading right to the inner earth. They head down to a trading post to book passage.

When Morgan pays in gold coins, the clerk gets suspicious he might be a “mutie” and calls the law. Morgan shoplifts a few things off the shelves and takes off before the cops arrive. On horseback, our heroes race through the town and onto the bridge. Morgan knows the authorities will just be waiting on the other side. He formulates a plan…

On the distal end of the causeway, two border guards in a flier have already been alerted to our heroes’ presence. They swoop in to arrest them. With a little transformation trick, Shakira and Morgan get the drop on them:

They commandeer the flier:

Morgan flies okay, but they hadn’t counted on defenses. Other fliers come after them and they’re shot down. They try to make a run for it, but the guards shoot Morgan, knocking him unconscious.

He awakens, still groggy, to find himself with Shakira behind a dumpster near a house. The guards are still out looking for them. Shakira climbs through an open window and—finding the owner inside—threatens him with Morgan’s pistol.

Luckily, the guy speaks Skartarian, and even more luckily, he’s a medic. He’s able to bandage Morgan’s wound and give him a transfusion. He tells them his name is Gyre, and mistakes them for members of some militant Skartarian faction.

They tell Gyre they need to get to Castle Deimos to meet someone and (surprisingly) he knows the place! But is Morgan well enough for travel?

They hail a flying taxi and take it through the streets of an utterly transformed Skartaris to Castle Deimos…

The old castle has been turned into a troop outpost and all the equipment inside removed. Feeling defeated, Morgan thinks they might as well go in and have a drink. About “4 Bourbons later” Shakira notices something—a crystal ball just like the one in Jennifer’s sanctum. Gyre tells them it’s from the actually Castle Deimos, like of the decorations.

At that moment, the television news report declares Morgan a mutant fugitive. The bar crowd starts to get ugly. Then, Shakira notices something else:

The mirror over the bar is Jennifer’s magic mirror! Our heroes leap through and arrive back in their own time.

Things to Notice:
  • This is the first issue with a cover by someone other than Grell.
  • The letter column of this issue features a letter by a Matt Brandal who says he's a Dungeon Master in "Dungeons and Dragons" and he's used Morgan's adventures as adventures in his game, because his player's don't read Warlord.
  • Amazingly the magic mirror portal stayed open over centuries.  They just don't build them like that anymore.
This is the last Grell penned issue of Warlord of this volume.  It would be nearly a decade before he writes the character again.


The Angry Lurker said...

Good instalment, last minute escape.

Sub Radar (Mike) said...

Would love to have the hard copy of that.

Trey said...

@Angry Lurker - Yeah, a little rushed actually. I suspect they didn't know quite how to end this one.

@Mike - I bet you could get a copy pretty cheap at a comics shop.