Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Warlord Wednesday: Paradox

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 #79 (March 1984)
Written by Cary Burkett; Penciled by Pat Broderick; Inked by Rick Maygar.

Synopsis: Morgan, Krystovar, and Shakira find themselves travelling through some strange space in the Atlantean saucer. A beam of energy seems to grab them and pull them back into the earthly realm, where they find the beam emanating from an array operated by two men.

The saucer comes in for a landing. The three are surprised that men seem to know them, but seem confused as to how they wound up in the craft. One of the men, Reno, even seems aware of Shakira’s shape-changing ability. Before Morgan can ask many questions, our heroes get an even bigger surprise:

Other-Morgan makes some cryptic comments about everything "starting to make sense." Reno doubles over in some sort of spasm he blames on “chronal radiation.” A weird blue cloud begins to grow out from around him. It blots out the world and our protagonists find themselves falling through a churning formlessness.

When the three find themselves again on solid ground, they’re on board a ship: the U.S.S. Eldridge! Morgan’s heard of it, and relates the legend/conspiracy theory about its involvement in secret invisibility experiments during World War II. But as the story goes, something went wrong. As if to reinforce this point a crazed crewman runs by them and phases right through a gun turret.

They see another group of crewmen trying to keep a man they recognize as Reno from floating off into the void. Morgan confronts him, but Reno doesn’t know him. The other crew think Morgan and his friends are aliens, but they’re distracted when the strange fog begins to recede. The experiment is coming to an end.

Unfortunately for our heroes, they fall out of time again and into the void.

When they’re again able to stand, they again see Reno. This time he knows them as the “beings” he encountered on the Eldridge in 1943. He gives them chronal-dampener belts to keep them from getting pulled into the timestream again. The weird fog evaporates and they find themselves in a laboratory populated by busy technicians.

Dr. Reno Franklin tells our heroes that their doing experiments similar to the one on the Eldridge. The current year (as near as he can determine) is 2068!
Reno was the only one of the Eldridge’s crew, exposed to chronal radiation, that didn’t go insane (or at least that’s his story). Somehow, the Eldridge teleported from Philadelphia to Virginia and back. The government wanted to build craft (saucer-like, naturally) that could replicate that. They sent Reno and others to a secret base in the Rockies to work on it.

The chronal radiation made time begin to run differently on the inside of the base than on the outside. Only a few years passed for the researchers, but over a century on the outside. Despite that, they kept working, and now they’re almost done with the craft.

In the “present” of Skartaris, Tara has found the right cartridge to open one of those saucers in the cave. She plans to go after Morgan. Those plans are interrupted by the arrival of a group of New Atlantean soldiers lead by a wolf-headed beastman—who plans to seize the weapons cache himself!

Things to Notice:
  • Future-Shakira is wearing a dress!  And it's pink!
  • Chronal-Dampner?  Presumably they mean "damper" or "dampener."
  • Reno Franklin has the same haircut and fashion from 1943 to 2068.
Where It Comes From:
This issue uses as its basis the conspiracy theory/hoax known as the "Philadelphia Experiment."  The Eldridge was a real U.S. Navy destroyer, but the facts of its service don't match the story.  A couple of proportedly true accounts of the Philadelphia Experiment were published in the late seventies, so one of these may be where Burkett encountered it.

This storyline in Warlord appears to have done it's own inspiring. The Asylum direct to video science fiction film 100 Million BC has a scientist who once worked on the Philadelphia Experiment named Frank Reno.


The Angry Lurker said...

It was different from others but still good....

Trey said...

Yeah, it's certainly more of a move into science fiction territory.