Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Warlord Wednesday: The Castle's Secret

Here's another installment of my examination of  the adventures DC Comics' Travis Morgan--The Warlord.  The earlier installments can be found here...

"Saga Part 4: The Castle's Secret"
Warlord (vol. 4) #4 (September 2009) Written by Mike Grell; Penciled by Joe Prado & Chad Hardin; Inked by Wayne Faucher, Dan Green & Walden Wong

Synopsis: Tinder and Alysha try to convince villagers near the Golden God's citadel to stand and fight, but they're having none of it. Tinder decides he and Alysha have to sneak back into the citadel to get more information that might help Tara and the Shamballan army (who are on the way).

Alysha will need to be dressed less "Earth style" to be inconspicuous. She refuses the standard Skartarian look:

Shakira, of course, takes issue with this opinion. She also tells the two that Morgan, Machiste, and Mariah are captives.

In the citadel, reporter Ewan McBane tells Morgan and Machiste about how he and his group got to this point. Ned Hawkins apparently found something--a gem maybe. Somehow, it led him to the citadel and gave him powers. Kate Archer became his concubine. Alysha ran off and (Ewan believes) probably got killed.

Meanwhile, Alysha is very much alive and now in Skartarian duds. Shakira shows Tinder and Alysha a back entrance to the castle: what appears to be a sewer opening in a cliffside. After a bit of a climb, they find it actually leads into Deimos's old laboratory.

Ned Hawkins, the Golden God, is having a little trouble with his Theran allies. He motivates them by shooting their leader, then promising them Morgan's head on a standard to carry into battle. Mariah reminds him he promised to spare her friends if she translated for him. He suggests she gets translating.

It turns out Deimos wrote his spells in blood in an Atlantean technical manual. Kate realizes that the technical manual has code in binary. They don't need Mariah to translate that part, just Kate's laptop, apparently.

Tinder and crew run into Ewan who has had a change of heart and is heading back with keys to free Morgan and Machiste. The group does so, but quickly meet resistance from Hawkin's guards. They fight to the laboratory, where Morgan tells the rest to run ahead while he holds the goons off. Machiste and Shakira ignore him and stay behind.

Morgan and friends push a large crystal container over to block the doorway. Unfortunately, it breaks open and frees this guy:

After a bit of a fight, Shakira kills it with a spear. They join the others in the river, and manage to drop a portcullis to keep their pursuers out.

They've got to stop Hawkins before he gathers his forces. Morgan gives Machiste the crystal Jennifer gave him to and sends his friend to the nearest sunlit peak to make contact. Shakira is going back into the citadel in cat form to spy. Morgan and Ewan ride back to the portal to the Himalayas. Morgan plans to go through and get weapons to combat Hawkins's Atlantean tech.

They're going to need them, as Hawkins has finally unlocked the secrets of Deimos's book.

Things to Notice:
  • Ewan McBane says its been "almost 40 years" since Morgan got to Skartaris. Given that this issue takes place in 2009 and Morgan arrived in 1969, there's nothing almost about it.
  • Morgan is shocked to learn he would be 82 years old in the surface world.
  • Morgan opines: "When I die, I want it to come as a complete surprise." Foreshadowing?
  • Tinder's hair is colored purple all this issue.
Where it comes from: 
The slowness of time in Skartaris compared to Earth is touched on in this issue. This was something frequently brought up in Grell's run but abandoned by later writers. Strangely, Morgan can't believe it's 2009 as that would make him 82. Morgan had been to the surface world several times over the years, so it seems odd that "2009" is a particularly surprising year.


The Angry Lurker said...

Thanks Trey for the Wednesday goodness!

Dariel said...

these are the Warlord issues i never saw. thanks for posting about them!

garrisonjames said...

Leave it to Grell & company to re-invent the Minotaur as a really badass critter. Sorry I missed these issues. That's a great cover, very reminiscent of the early series, quite nicely done. thanks for showing us where things got cool again for Warlord!

Trey said...

Thanks for the comments guys. Yeah, I think this Grell run went little noticed at the time, but it pays off nicely, brining an end of sorts to the saga.

Jeffrywith1e said...

I liked this run. And it didn't go too long.

Trey said...

No, it was fairly short.

Timothy S. Brannan said...

Yeah I never knew about these either.