Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Warlord Wednesday: Dragon Doom

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...

"Dragon Doom"
Warlord #95 (July 1985)
Written by Cary Burkett; Art by Adam Kubert.

Synopsis: At the end of last issue, Morgan and Shakira were caught between a cliff overlooking a waterfall and a band of Vashek assassins! An assassin jumps from above and accidentally knocks them all over the edge.  They plunge into the deep water below.  Only Morgan and Shakira come up.

As soon as they’re back on dry land, Morgan is off after Hawk.  The pirate drugged them and took off with the Princess Hooranami and her slave—and also stole Morgan’s helmet.  The two come across a dead tyrannosaur, which puzzles Morgan because he wonders what could have killed it.  There are cloven-hoofed tracks around it of unknown origin.  They don’t have too long to consider this mystery as a hungry pack of hyenadons show up, making a hasty exit wise.

Far away in the Shamballan camp, Ashir is looking for Tinder, whom he suspects of stealing his lockpick. When Jennifer tells him that the Evil One’s gem has been stolen from the locked chest, they’re both certain that Tinder is possessed by that ancient evil.

Back on the island, Hawk is walking along, bantering with the haughty princess, when Morgan’s helmet is lifted off his head. He looks up to find Morgan pointing a sword right at his eye. Morgan figures it’s high time the two had that duel to see who’s the better swordsman, but…

The odds aren’t in our heroes’ favor, though. The Vasheks are too numerous. Unfortunately, the princess and her old slave are too slow and would get caught if they tried to run for it.  There are no good options.

A horn sounds. The cavalry arrives—literally.

The Vasheks are tough, but in the end they’re outmatched. As soon as the battles over, the princess tells the knights that Morgan and crew kidnapped her from the palace. Luckily, Odanak backs up the true story. Khord, leader of the knights, decides to take them all to Lord Kaldustan, Hooranami’s father.

Kaldustan knows his daughter well.  He proclaims Morgan and the others honored guests and offers them great rewards. He offers Hawk and Morgan both a pair of tricorns. When Hawk refuses (he wants money), he gives both pairs to Morgan, and lets Hawk take some diamonds from the treasure room.

Morgan tells Kaldustan of the war he’s fighting. The island lord is willing to help, but the sea monster traps them on the island. Morgan offers to kill it in exchange for the help of Kaldustan and his knights.

But how to kill it? It has scales too tough for any blade. Morgan’s got a plan.  He builds a giant crossbow that can be mounted on a ship and constructs a giant bolt with a diamond point to shoot from it.

The promise of more riches gets him Hawks help, and the two sail out to slay the monster. All doesn’t go as planned when it comes up behind them and smashes the crossbow with its tail.

Morgan will have to improvise. He snatches up the diamond-headed spear…

Kaldustan gives them more diamonds in gratitude and pledges his support of Morgan’s cause.

Morgan makes the exchange with Hawk for the former slaves.  As the pirate captain sails away, Shakira notices he’s stolen of the chest of diamonds Kaldustan gave Morgan.

Things to Notice:
  • Everyone one but Hooronami and Odanak seem stereotypic comic book golden-skinned Asians. Why are those two different?
  • The island is pretty large to be unknown to mainland Skartarians.  It certainly has quite a bit of megafauna on it.
Where It Comes From:
The tricorns have goat-like cloven hooves and goatees like the classical image of the unicorn.

The cultural of the island is clearly intended to reflect cultures of East Asia. It's the first time we've seen this in the Warlord saga. The names (with a few exceptions) don't tend to go along with the Chinese/Japanese mashup of the material culture.


The Angry Lurker said...

My dose of Wednesday goodness, nice one Trey!

garrisonjames said...

Diamond-headed spears. Now that's a high-end weapon if I ever heard of one. The sea monster looks cool. Never read this issue, but now I sort of which I had...