Friday, May 27, 2011

Oh, no, after 2000 years, I'm sure they're still fine...


This was a hole in my collection that I finally picked up, at the Spokane Comicon: Warlord #63. The main story doesn't move the plotline much, and a Masters of the Universe insert in the middle doesn't help. But, this issue features the first installment of The Barren Earth backup, "Stranded!" Written and co-created by Gary Cohn, art and co-created by Ron Randall.

Several thousand years in the future, earth's sun has become a red giant, which I'm pretty sure would just destroy earth outright...anyway, humanity has long colonized other worlds, but is currently at war with the insectoid Qlov. An expedition ship is sent to the outpost on Earth, which young crewman Jinal lampshades points out hasn't been visited in two millenia. "We can assume that they've gotten a bit rusty," the nameless captain admits.

Nameless? Yeah, he won't last out the installment. A Qlov battle-globe attacks, overpowering then boarding the ship. The humans fight valiantly, but are outnumbered and outgunned. The captain announces self-destruct, and manages to take out the Qlov ship; but out of a crew of 360, only six escape. (That we see; there could easily be a Lost-style whole other batch of crewmen escaping just off-panel. I don't think there is, but even so.) And one dies when the shuttle crash-lands, when Jinal gets her first glimpse of the desert of the Barren Earth...

...and she hasn't even hit bottom yet. Although Jinal mentions "being from a frontier world," as justification for her sidearms and the fighting skill she would display later, here Jinal seems like a redshirt ensign after the rest of the bridge crew, away team, everyone else is killed. Of course, she does have a lightsaber-y thing...

I still wish the Barren Earth would be collected--I've mentioned it before, but while it's a solid-if-standard adventure serial in the pages of Warlord, the follow-up limited series Conqueror of the Barren Earth takes a bit of a weird turn: how far is Jinal willing to go, to unite the Barren Earth and fight the Qlov? Pretty damn far, as it turns out...

2 comments:

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Shlomo Ben Hungstien said...

i remember this back story in a bunch of Warlord issues i had back in the late 80s. thanks for the memories.