Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Warlord Wednesday: Demons of Days Past

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...

"Demons of Days Past"
Warlord #90 (February 1985)
Written by Cary Burkett; Art by Rich Buckler.

Synopsis: While Tara supervises the unloading of supplies and the building of shelters for the ex-slaves they’re expecting Captain Hawk to be bringing them, Morgan is off staring at the primitive beauty of Skartaris, his thoughts in turmoil. He knows he has responsibilities but he yearns to run off and have adventures, leaving them behind.

Suddenly, he finds he’s no longer alone. An old man with a staff is behind him. Somehow, the old man seems to know the conflict in Morgan’s heart. The old man tells him that once in a while, a man comes along who can do great things. The choices men like this make effect the lives of others. He gives the examples of King Arthur and Lancelot—both great men who chose different paths. Morgan asks the old man to speak more plainly, but when he turns, the old man is gone.

Meanwhile, Jennifer has used her magic to locate Tinder. She recognizes the chamber he’s in, because she had been there in the distant past, when she and her friends confronted the Evil One. Tinder and Chaka mesmerized by the gem they found last issue. Jennifer is able to counteract the spell and free them. Jennifer confiscates the gem, as she realizes it contains a portion of the Evil One’s power. Ashir, ever the thief, is busy gathering gold pieces, until Jennifer warns him of the deadly curse on them.

Back at the mouth of the Ramphos River, Tara reminds Morgan that he needs gold to pay off Hawk. Morgan knows just the place to get it—the pyramid of Shaban D’Aba where the mages of the Age of Wizard-Kings hid their treasure.

They have to do some climbing to get there—and Morgan has to grapple an orange dimetrodon:

Eventually, they make it to Shaban D'Aba. They’re greeted by a group of villagers bringing a sacrifice to appease a demon. They barely have time to ask “What demon?” before a multi-legged creature with a lion’s head and a body of flame attacks.

Their swords have no effect. Their only chance is to escape into the inside of the pyramid. Unfortunately, the demon merely turns to smoke and streams inside behind them. Morgan prepares to make their last stand, but Tara notices an open bottle with emblazoned with the same symbol that the demon wears. On a hunch, Morgan points the bottle at the demon and the creature is sucked inside. Tara quickly stoppers it. Danger averted, Morgan and Tara kiss.

Things to Notice:
  • This issue places Warlord firmly in the DC Universe for the first time by having a cameo by the Monitor. This was done in most DC Comics as a lead up to Crisis on Infinite Earths.
  • Again we see an example of the wide variety of orange prehistoric reptiles in Skartaris.
Where It Comes From:
Morgan first discovered the treasure-filled step pyramid in the ruins of Shaban D'Aba back in issue #31.  We later discovered (in issue #66) that Jennifer Morgan was instrumental in developing the plan to hide the gold of the wizards there--which is also the issue where she visited the Evil One's lair as she mentions here.

The demon in this issue was clearly inspired by Buer, a "Great President of Hell," who appears in the 16th century grimoire Pseudomonarchia Daemonum.


The Angry Lurker said...

Another great read and explanation especially "Buer".

Timothy S. Brannan said...

I always enjoyed it when comics would use the non-human looking demons from the old demonolgies.