Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Warlord Wednesday: Stalkers of Shinnar

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...

"Stalkers of Shinnar"
Warlord #105 (May 1986)
Written by Michael Fleisher; Art by Ron Randall

Synopsis: Morgan’s quest to find the sorcery that can save Jennifer continues. He’s also still pondering the possible link between the alchemist he encountered with a penchant for changing women into were-cats and Shakira. (He’s not going to keep pondering this forever, trust me.) He snaps out of contemplation when Shakira returns and tells him there’s a warrior nearby being pursued by burly lizard men on weird mounts.

Morgan and Shakira charge in on the side of the human. His name is J’Huranda, and he’s not too shabby warrior in his own right. He saves Shakira when one of the lizards has a lasso around her neck. 

Soon, only two lizards are left and they're running away. J’Huranda is insistent they go after them and finish them off. The three give chase.  

Along the way, J’Huranda doesn't waste the opportunity to flirt with Shakira.  Morgan tries to keep the two focused on the task at hand.

At a fork in the road, they find a guy who was almost run down by the lizards.  He points out the way they went. After the three ride off, he heads down to a nearby stream where he happens to find a wounded man that is a double for J’Huranada.  Before dying, the warrior says: “He turned on me…took my—my…”

Meanwhile, a disguised Machiste and Mariah are at sea, still trying to get back to Kiro. In a heavy wind, the ship runs into some rocks and sinks. Our heroes have to climb aboard a piece of wreakage Titanic-style.

Then, when it seems things can’t get worse:

In Kiro, the usurper N’Dosma, believing Machiste dead, has assumed the throne.  He has a fake decree from Machiste blessing the whole thing. The people of Kiro aren’t all buying it, though.  N’Dosma’s go a bad reputation.

Back on the trail of the lizards, J’Huranda and Shakira are getting friendlier. Morgan is worried they don’t know much about this guy; Shakira accuses him of being jealous.

Coming into a canyon, the tracks suggest to Morgan the lizards have probably set up an ambush. The three decide to do a little ambushing of their own. They come up from behind where the lizards lie in wait.
J’Huranda swiftly kills one, but the other surrenders and tries to get Morgan to listen to him.  He keeps calling him “earthman.” Before he can tell Morgan more, J’Huranda throws a dagger in his back.

Morgan begins to confront the warrior, but J’Huranda doubles over with the pain he’s intermittently been having and goes to find Shakira to get some of those herbs she has.  Morgan is distracted by a weak cry from the dying lizard.

Shakira runs to the side of the staggering J’Huranda—who suddenly turns her!

The lizard is dead. Shakira comes up behind Morgan and says that it’s for the best. She says J’Huranda rode off now that the threat was done. Morgan isn’t fooled he puts his blade to her throat:

The creature attacks Morgan and starts to take his form. The two struggle, but Morgan puts two bullets in him. The thing starts to turn into a formless dough.  Shakira runs up and Morgan fills her in on what happened. The melichor was an alien creature that feed off the life energy of other creatures to length it’s life. The lizards were Stalkers from Shinnar—a task force sent to stop it.
The two ride away, glad the ordeal is over.  As they go, the a portion of the dough takes the form of a nearby caterpillar and kills the original…

Things to Notice:
  • We get a couple of Skartarian names infested with that bane of fantasy nomeclature: the apostrophe.
  • Shakira continues to wear a loincloth (like she did last issue) instead of her traditional fur bikini. Her sword seems to mysteriously appear and disappear.
Where it Comes From:
Good guy being less attractive than the bad guy is an old trope in science fiction--as is the shapechanging alien, of course.  Melichor and Shinnar are both surnames.

N'Dosma, the usurper in Kiro, may owe his name to "Sodosma" from the Clark Ashton Smith story "Empire of the Necromancers."


The Angry Lurker said...

....and Wednesday is complete Trey!

garrisonjames said...

Lizards with lariats? Sorry I missed this one when it came out. Have they collected all of these stories into compilations?

Trey said...

Thanks, Lurker.

@garrisonjames - No, nothing but the first 30 Grell issues has been collected.