Thursday, April 26, 2018

Honestly, the Eye of Truth sounds like the least fun treasure ever.

There's an old Evan Dorkin Milk & Cheese strip where he turns the phrase, "The truth hurts--especially on the business end of a two-by-four!" Travis Morgan would doubtless agree, after today's book: from 1979, Warlord #26, "The Challenge" Written and penciled by Mike Grell, inks by Vince Colletta.

Deimos--on maybe his second return here--is taking in new henchman Chakal, by tearing his wounded arm off! Meanwhile, Travis is on a little quest with the roguish Ashir, currently the "second-greatest thief in all of Skartaris!" Ashir's figuring this next job will put him over the top, hitting a temple for the Eye of Truth. He already has a medallion that's supposed to contain the secret of the temple, and while he doesn't know what that is yet, eh, he'll figure it out.

Ashir is a bit too brash, strolling into harm's way against a dragon guard, but Travis saves him. Inside the temple, at first the jewel appears to have been stolen, but a chatty parrot seems to give them a hint: the medallion seems to be designed to break into pieces, that fit in key-like slots. Travis puts the first one in place, and an apparition of his wife Tara materializes to accuse him of having blood on his hands! Shaken, Travis lets Ashir take the next one, and a brutal vision appears: Ashir had been a prince, but had refused to accept the crown. Next, Travis has to relive the death of his son Joshua (really just a clone, created by Deimos) and then Ashir gets another stark accusation of shirking his responsibilities. (Both Travis and Ashir can see the other's apparitions, and while I don't think they had known each other long, it has to be uncomfortable to watch your new friend just get torn up.)

There's a final piece, and Travis isn't looking forward to it, but does it anyway: this time, his friends Mariah and Machiste join Tara in shoveling on the guilt. Afterwards, having completed the trials, a sphere of light appears: the Eye of Truth may be a metaphorical treasure rather than a literal one, and I for one would be pissed as hell by this point. Ashir accepts that he may have to settle for being the second-best thief, but maybe a first-rate prince; while Travis wishes he could start all over at the beginning...and the parrot offers it to him! His heart's desire, in the Eye of Truth! Morgan enters it, and disappears, just as Chakal shows up for him--with a new cyborg arm from his boss!

Meanwhile, Travis Morgan appears to have been turned into a prehistoric caveman...if I recall correctly, he would relive some of his past lives the next issue, including at least a couple of familiar historical names. I have the Showcase reprint of it, but don't have a copy to blog. Maybe someday--actually, definitely someday! Keeping with blogging an issue or two of Warlord a year, I'm scheduling this for eight months from when I'm writing this, which seems optimistic as hell right now. (I didn't watch it, but the Mayweather/McGregor fight was tonight, if anyone remembers that.) Currently, we've got Warlord posts scheduled to 2024, hope to see you then!

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