Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Warlord Wednesday: From the Ashes

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...

"From the Ashes"
Warlord #98 (October 1985)
Written by Cary Burkett; Art by Andy Kubert; Inks by Pablo Marcos.

Synopsis: Winged reptile scavengers feed on the fallen from last issue's battle. Morgan rides out and scatters them with his sword and pistol. A dangerous thing to do, but Morgan feels the men deserve better than having their bones picked clean. Later, after Morgan’s had men gather the bodies, the survivors stand around a great funeral pyre.

Morgan goes to check on Graemore and finds Tara with him. “I couldn’t take losing you,” she tells her unconscious childhood friend. Morgan knows that if Graemore dies, he’ll be blamed. He finds Krystovar in the infirmary tent and tells him he’s got to save Graemore.

In frustration and guilt Morgan rides off on his own, but not before rebuffing Mariah who comes to urge him to provide leadership to the demoralized Shamballans. Morgan believes he can hear the personification of Death whisper to him that he will sacrifice everything he holds dear.

He hasn’t ridden far before another tremor occurs and unhorses him.

Briefly we turn to the Age of the Wizard-Kings where Mungo is trying to return Tinder to Skartaris. The spell doesn’t go as planned:

Mungo manages to restore the boy’s human form, but he still can’t send him back to home.

Morgan awakens in a cave with the mysterious old hermit he met in issue #90. The old man tells him the earthquakes here are a reflection of a crisis affecting all the planes of existence. There are men whose choices will be pivotal in these events—and Morgan is one of them.

Morgan denies the man’s words. He walks away--only to find the hermit again standing in his path. Next to the man is the glowing portal Morgan knows as the Eye of Truth (from issue #26). The old man tells him that that the demoralization he’s feeling seems to be due to dark sorcery. Only going into the eye will tell them for certain.

Morgan steps through. He sees a twisting path where death awaits him on the other end. The shades of his fallen friends appear, blaming him for their death. Before he can give in to despair, a voice tells Morgan to look deeper, and suddenly he sees the ghosts for what they really are:

He knows now he’s been duped. He cuts his way through the demons to the doorway at the end of the path. “Whoever you are,” he snarls, “I’m coming for you!”

He stands before death and sees her true face—a sight no other man has ever seen and lived. Then she’s gone, and Morgan faces a doorway to an abyss. He steps through and enters a throne room where we see the legs and feet of the Wizard-King of New Atlantis we’ve seen before. Then, Morgan sees his face:

Morgan attacks. Cykroth’s guards delay him long enough for the Wizard-King himself to fire off a blast, knocking Morgan back through the portal. The light around Morgan (the light of the eye of truth?) has weakened the sorcerous Cyclops and he calls for a Shamballan captive to be brought to him. He extends a clawed hand and drains the life force from the woman, leaving her a husk.

Morgan wakes up back where he fell after the tremor with Mariah fussing over him. Morgan gets to his feet. He has work to do. His sense of purpose has returned.

Back at camp Krystovar comes up excitedly and tells him it looks like Graemore is on the mend. Strange thing, though: at one point he thought he saw an old man standing over the minstrel, but when he looked again, there was no one there.

Things to Notice:   
  • At least one tricorn rider survived from last issue.
  • The Wizard-King of New Atlantis makes his first full apearance.
Where It Comes From:
Again, the mysterious earthquake in this issue is a reference to the greater upheaval going on in Crisis on Infinite Earths at the time of this issues publication.  The old hermit alludes to this fairly directly--and a editors note urges you to check out the "maxi-series."

Morgan encountered cyclopes back in issue #45, but Cykroth doesn't seem to be of the same ilk.


Sylvaeon said...

WOW! That is a complex plot. I wish I was still into comics and graphic novels like I was aeons ago. You make it seem so fun!

I like the "My God, Demons!" cell... I think i would be saying the exact same thing

The Angry Lurker said...

...and Wednesday is complete, a lot more to the story with this instalment!

Trey said...

Of course, it's probably nothing compared to modern superhero comics, but yeah, the serial nature of Warlord made it pretty complicated for its era.

I'm glad you're enjoying it.

Alex Osias said...

Did he actually get involved with the Crisis?

And Andy Kubert art! Soooo cool!