Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Warlord Wednesday: Citadel of Fear

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...

"Citadel of Fear"
Warlord #115 (March 1987)
Written by Michael Fleisher; Art by Ron Randall

Synopsis: Crossing the desert on the way to Kaambuka, a merchant caravan is attacked by “the Warlord and his blood-mad horde.” The survivors of the caravan are taken off to the Citadel of Fear. The Citadel’s master is Desaad, chief torturer of Darkseid, who’s indulging his sadism at the expense of the captives. When the technological illusion drops away, the Warlord is revealed to actually be Y’smalla, the former Vashek assassin. She allied herself with Desaad in her quest for vengeance.

Meanwhile, the real Morgan and his companions are returning from the castle of V’Zarr Hagar-Zinn--still without a means to save Jennifer. He’s also not looking forward to facing his wife Tara and telling her he’s now in love with Mariah! Shakira is disgusted with him and rides off on her own.

Mariah and Morgan ride into a town where Morgan is immediately attacked. The two are taken captive and the townsfolk plan to burn Morgan alive! A bystander rushes to a horse to ride to Shamballah and tell Queen Tara.

He arrives just in time to see a person with the appearance of Morgan shift into the form of Desaad and kidnap the Queen. The man doesn’t want to tangle with a sorcerer, but he rides back to the town, arriving in time to save Morgan and Mariah from being burned at the stake. (It’s a good thing Shamballah and this town are so close.)

This helpful fellow leads Morgan and Mariah to the Citadel of Fear where Desaad is already subjecting Tara to his tortures. Morgan may be in love with Mariah (thanks to a magic charm Mariah bought) but he feels honor bound to save Tara. Mariah, for her part, is starting to feel guilty about manipulating him.

Y’smalla warns Desaad that Morgan is coming. The Apokolipsian villain plans a reception for the Warlord. When Morgan arrives, he sees Tara reclining in sybaritic indulgence with wine and two guys. It’s all an illusion courtesy of Darkseid. Morgan wavers for a moment, but then V’Zarr Hagar-Zinn’s magic ring kicks in:

Desaad knows the jig is up. He tries to blast Morgan but hits Mariah instead. Morgan returns fire with his pistol, destroying some of Desaad’s machinery. The torturer decides his work here is done and makes his escape. Desaad’s device is falling apart--and both Tara and Mariah are in harm’s way! Who will Morgan choose?

Morgan runs for Mariah, who suddenly has an attack of conscience. She throws the love charm in a nearby fire. She tells Morgan to save Tara. With the charm destroyed, Morgan makes an about face and runs to save his wife. A certain black cat bounds in and transforms into Shakira. She helps Mariah get to safety.

Our heroes are all safe, and Morgan and Tara are reunited. And Mariah:

Desaad leaves Skartaris, his mission to destroy the legend of the Warlord far from a complete success but not a total failure, either. He’s also left Y’smalla behind with tools to cause chaos as a parting shot.

Things to Notice:
  • This issue is a Legends crossover.
  • Morgan calls his beloved Mariah "youngster," too. That's even more odd than him calling Shakira that.
  • It's strange that the loyal Shamballan so pivotal to this story goes unnamed.
Where it Comes From:
The title of this issue is the same as a 1918 lost world novel by Francis Stevens (Gertrude Barrows Bennett),  but there is no clear link between the two. 

1 comment:

The Angry Lurker said...

Good Wednesday shenanigans Trey!