Monday, February 01, 2010

OK, this Warlord #10 still isn't the best comic ever, but it's a damn sight better than the last one.

I still get a few hits looking for Warlord #10, the last issue of the Bruce Jones-written relaunch, and a terrible, terrible comic. But to complicate matters, Mike Grell has since returned to Warlord, so recently we got another Warlord #10, his third. How does this one stack up in comparison? Better, but it would kind of have to be.
For not being there long, Kate's gotten a quick grip on the dress code in Skartaris.
From "Next..." Written (and art on pages 8 and 9) by Mike Grell, art by Chad Hardin. DC (and Marvel) have recently been called on unannounced creative team changes, since this issue was solicited with Grell art.

"Next..." and the previous issue "Then...Now..." have been set-ups for an upcoming arc featuring the return of Warlord's biggest villain, Deimos. This issue could use footnotes, since Deimos is brought back by the Mask of Life, which I believe was last seen way back in Grell's last Warlord #10, the original series, back in 1976 or so. Kate Archer, recent immigrant to Skartaris, and psycho-bitch, has been doing her homework and reveals the Mask to be not magic but Atlantean technology; and brings back Deimos to use him against Morgan and his forces. Deimos, however, comes back without his memories, and isn't convinced he wants to become an evil bastard again.
I've never known what Mariah's eye makeup is for.
Meanwhile, Archer's fellow visitor from the outside world, Ewan McBane, is using up probably the last of his camera's batteries for a message to anyone else who ends up in Skartaris. In doing so, Ewan's been exploring the story of Travis Morgan, the first person to come from the outside world to Skartaris; but Travis proves to be a complicated subject. His friends don't seem to know him very well, either: Mariah, Machiste, Tinder (Morgan's son, although no one knows that), and even his wife Tara end their interviews about Travis the same way: you'll have to ask him.

Meanwhile, Tinder has been trying to organize the various tribes and kingdoms of Skartaris into a unified force. Although in his earliest appearances Morgan spoke of rights, and liberty, and freedom for all; now he seems bitter and disparaging.
Gee, career in politics, or wander the jungle with girls in fur bikinis?  Ooh, tough choice.
And I just realized it's not really fair for Morgan to reference Jefferson, since Tinder will have no idea who that is, unless his girlfriend from the surface mentions him. I didn't guess where this was going, until I saw the April DC solicits...but I couldn't say if Morgan was bitter over having to take responsibility for Skartaris on a fairly regular basis, or over the loss of his son.

Meanwhile (and I just noticed I used 'meanwhile' too damn many times this post) Kate is at a loss at how to get Deimos to grow a pair, until she sees the ornately carved original skull of Deimos, which had a deep slash across the face courtesy of Morgan. To refresh his memory, Kate slashes him again, and Deimos responds with a mystic blast in defense. Kate is thrilled to see he's making progress...

For a book that seems like it's going to be a hack-and-slash sword-and-sorcery potboiler, recent issues have been predominantly more about relationships than battles. Still, I enjoy the book, and I think it's still the only DC book on my pull list right now. (Although, I am considering adding Doom Patrol.) But Warlord is currently written for fans, who remember (at least vaguely) the old series. Hopefully, sales will let it keep going long enough to try and get some new readers.


Sea-of-Green said...

I was excited about the new Warlord series when it first came out, but now I find myself just waiting for the trade collections. Part of it is, there really isn't much action in them, at least not yet. Another part is, I really wish Grell was illustrating in addition to writing.

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