Friday, August 29, 2014

That seems like unfortunate ad placement there...


Civics lesson vs. Gladiator lesson, from 1976's Warlord #2, "Arena of Death" Written and illustrated by Mike Grell.

The old public service "Justice for all includes children" page features Neal Adams art, and I can't remember the last time I saw a public service spot in a comic. Man, maybe DC should bring those back. Batman says, "Try not to be a dick!"

Meanwhile, I blog an issue or two of Warlord a year, so I could be done by 2089 at this rate. This issue reads like a a bit of a throwback, since so much happens in 18 pages; but I'm not sure if Grell (or DC) realized the book was going to be a hit, so he may have just been trying to get in what he could. Left tied up to a tree in the previous issue, crucified and left for dead, Travis Morgan manages to avoid getting eaten by saber-tooth tigers, only to be captured by slave traders and sold as a galley slave! There, Morgan meets Machiste, who doesn't believe any of his nonsense stories about a "surface world," that doesn't have eternal sunlight. Causing trouble for their captors, they nearly face being hung when pirates attack! Although Morgan and Machiste put up a good fight and the pirates are defeated, they're still prisoners, but now face being sold as gladiators! They take to their training, but then have to face each other for the pleasure of a wastrel prince. (And I used 'face' entirely too much in that recap, but it's late and I'm tired.)

Machiste advises Morgan to kill him, "or I will surely kill you!" Morgan does manage to get the upper hand, but when the prince gives Machiste the thumb's down, he sees the prince is wearing his watch! Enraged, Morgan goes berserker, tearing into the guards and freeing the gladiators. He had given the watch to Tara, and the prince says he sold her...to Deimos! Thinking quickly, Morgan rallies the gladiators into his army to attack Deimos, with the promise of freedom!...and crossbows, siege towers, catapults, and other "modern" weapons of war. Really, he seems like he's about to teach them to chant "USA! USA! USA!"

Gladiator school is a quick way for Grell to level Morgan up in terms of sword-fighting, but has that ever ended well in fiction? "Let's train these guys into unstoppable killers and make 'em fight! No way that can go south on us!"

1 comment:

Dale Bagwell said...

Right?
What a typically corny ad for the times. Too bad Batman wasn't a dick yet, or that "Don't be a dick" ad would so fit.

Other than that one issue of Green Arrow by chuck Dixon, I can't believe no one else riffed or made fun of Warlord for looking so much like Oliver queen back then. It's so obvious the physical similarities, minus the white hair and pencent for wearing jungle underwear and a feathered helmet.