Monday, April 13, 2009

Subjectively, Warlord #10 can't be the worst comic book ever, but try telling yourself that when you read it...

Well, this is another one of those things I threatened promised to do quite a while ago, when I made fun of it for the Sixty-Second Recap Contest at the Invincible Super-Blog, but today we're finally hitting Warlord #10, written by Bruce Jones, art by Phil Winslade. But first, a few words about the Warlord relaunch. This time, it was a complete reboot, but still started with USAF pilot Travis Morgan flying into a strange opening in the Arctic and ending up in the mysterious lost world at the center of the earth, Skartaris. In this new version, Morgan's fiance and his best friend (who not-so-secretly lusted after the fiance) came after him.

And, that's about the last good idea they had for this. Bart Sears went with a different, sketchier art style that never worked for me, and that was before the weirdness with Morgan getting a flying chariot and god-powers (!) that kept going on and off as the equipment on his plane went off and on. Well, the good news is, even if you cared where the first nine issues were going, the last issue tells a stand-alone story, set "in later years."


Travis is off on one of his wandering sojourns (and the narration is from "the Chronicles of Shamballah," but still uses the word 'adieu') when he's awakened by mounted soldiers riding down an unarmed couple. The man is killed, and the young woman, crying her innocence, is likewise about to be killed when Travis charges in, dismounting one of the riders. He tells them to "Give quarter or die!" and that he'll know the girl's crime before she's killed. Yeah, there's no way that'll work: even if the riders said the girl stole a king's ransom, murdered their prince, or raped a goat; Travis still probably wouldn't let them kill her. And the riders don't take kindly to being told what to do by an outlander, so of course they attack. Travis kills all but one, a woman, who is badly injured.

The pursued girl introduces herself as Fhalla, and gathers roots and herbs to help the injured rider. Fhalla then confesses to her crime: she's a virgin. Not so much a crime, then, but she was due to be sacrificed, burned at the stake to appease...the Hurstwood Witch. There's about three solid pages of explanation about the Witch, and her curse, and stealing babies and blah, blah, blah. Travis says he'll "deal with any demons that might come calling," so of course:

The reboot version of the Warlord didn't have the traditional .44 automag, so Travis has to hack-and-slash his way through the winged monsters, stopping them from carrying off either of the women. When the remainder flee, the injured woman tries to tell Travis something, but passes out as Fhalla tends to her. Fhalla then suggests to Travis that she's only in danger, as long as she's a virgin...boom chicka-wow-wow...

Yeah, I'm not going to scan Travis' O-face. We have standards around here! You'll have to find a copy yourself, and I think I actually own a substantial amount of this issue's print run.

Post-rumpus, Travis wakes up, to the other woman: the rider, who says that Fhalla has disappeared, and that Fhalla had not only been drugging her to keep her quiet, Fhalla is really the Horstwood Witch!

Ah, the miracle of child-birth...the flutter-flap of their little wings...and before you know it, they're fully grown and trying to kill you...


The Witch lures in mates to produce more winged monsters, and is about ready to pop out a new batch. Travis stops the warrior from killing Fhalla, then can't bring himself to kill her either. Swamped by demons, the warrior woman manages to decapitate the Witch, ending her curse forever, and setting up like the cheesiest last page of a series ever:

The worst thing about this? If this had been, say, a Conan story, well, it still would've been cliched as hell and full of too much exposition, and Conan probably would've had enough sense to kill the witch before she hatched out any more monsters. But the Warlord was a twenty-first century man, and not only should've known better; he didn't accomplish a damn thing all issue except killing four innocent men. Way to go out on a win, Travis. (In the old series, even though he constantly travelled with at least one scantily-clad babe, there wasn't a ton of sex in Warlord. At least not on panel, anyway.)

Sight unseen, I can tell you right now Mike Grell's new Warlord #1 is better than this.

6 comments:

Nick and Justin said...

Wow, that warrior lady's outfit might just be the skimpiest costume I've ever seen in a mainstream comic.

Also, It'd be hilarious if after that last panel he yelled "So you also be a witch?! BAH!" and swiped her head off.

Sky_of_Blue said...

Yeah, this comic is definitely PROOF that if DC REALLY wanted to revamp Warlord back then, they should have brought Mike Grell back onto the title a LOT sooner. :-\

Anonymous said...

LMAO! I've been burned on every other comic released by the big 2 and am just getting into the Warlord series. Got some back issues from the 70's series, a couple of weekends ago as a start. There are no TPBs yet. Series 1 6 months from now and its in black and white.

If anything I've heard the second series released several years ago by Bart Sears was pretty bad. I'll take my comic as I get them, but there are plenty of current Marvel series that are far worse than Warlord.

googum said...

If you can find it, Anonymous, dig up (deep breath) DC Special Blue Ribbon Digest #10, the Warlord! 100 pages, per the cover blurb, "The Complete Deimos Saga, 'Swords against the Demon Priest!'" More like abridged, but it's still a great collection of I-don't-know how many issues, and Grell's art looks tight scaled down to digest size. eBay it if you can!

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