Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Warlord Wednesday: The Outback

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 Outback"
Warlord (vol. 1) #70 (June 1983)
Written by Mike Grell (Sharon Grell); Penciled by Dan Jurgens; Inked by Bob Smith

Synopsis: Outside a compound in the Australian Outback in a post-apocalyptic future, a woman with a rifle has the drop on Shakira and Morgan, who she thinks are “muties.” She hasn’t anticipated Shakira’s shape-changing abilities, however, and our heroes quickly get the drop on her.

Morgan proves their good intentions by returning her rifle to her. Still wary but willing to take a chance, the woman invites them back to the compound. There, they meet her male companion Dan and find out her name is Lisa.

Morgan and Shakira introduce themselves. Dan asks if Morgan is “named after the famous one.” Morgan doesn’t know how to respond to that.

Sitting in the couple’s retro-futuristic living room, Morgan asks them to catch him up on the major events since the Vietnam War. Lisa thinks he’s playing a game with them and leaves Dan to tell them while she feeds the livestock. Dan begins by explaining it wasn’t war (as Morgan had supposed) that caused the devastation, but instead toxic waste! The manufacture of the nuclear arsenals of the major powers that made war unthinkable slowly poisoned the earth. By 2089, the earth was nearing the end of human habitability.

The U.S. government had forseen this outcome for decades, and as far back as the sixties, had began planning for escape to another planet. In 1972, another option presented itself: a U.S. Navy expedition found the North Polar opening to Skartaris. In 2089, after the polar ice caps receded and the environment was in an advanced state of deterioration, the U.S. announced its 1972 discovery to the UN.

A committee was established to determine quotas for each nation. Within a year, the greatest migration in human history began. Those outside the quotas were left to live in a nightmarish world. The descendants of those who survived are mutated and primitive.

Meanwhile, in the inner earth, the native Skartarians were absorbed into the outer world population. An interesting element of Skartarian culture:

Dan and Lisa were born in Skartaris. Now, the population in Skartaris has grown too large, and the government has began offering special benefits to couples willing to become outer world pioneers.

Morgan contemplates telling Dan his story, but decides against it. He trades his gun and ammo for a saddle horse and he and Shakira set out again for the coast.
Things to Notice:
  • "Mutie" is always a good slur for mutants in any work of fiction.
  • Ironically, when faced with extinction, modern civilization those the same escape to Skartaris as ancient Atlantis.
  • The next issue blurb actually gives the title of the previous issue.
Where It Comes From:
Escape from the earth as the solution to environmental devastation was probably inspired by the 1977 UK television program Alternative 3, or the 1978 novelization. The secret space program to leave the earth beginning in the 1960s seems directly borrowed from there.


The Angry Lurker said...

"Mutie" a common word in 2000AD's Judge Dredd and Shakira's ability reminds me of the TV series "Manimal" but I digress, good work as usual.

Sub Radar (Mike) said...

I'll probably end up calling at least 5 people "mutie" by the end of the day.

Trey said...

@Angry Lurker - Mutie also gets thrown around a lot in the X-Men, too. I haven't thought about Manimal in a long time. That was some good stuff--well, I mean it wasn't, but it was something. ;)

@Mike - So a usual day, huh? ;)