Too Many Long Boxes!
   
   

End of Summer
 

The Warlord Reading Guide

This guide is a combination of three things: a publishing timeline of the Warlord series, a list of post-series appearances of Travis Morgan and his supporting cast, and a reference source for those readers who have never read an issue of the Warlord. I've divided the 140 issue series (133 regular issues, 6 annuals, and First Issue Special #8) into nine sections. In some cases the sections are based on story lines, and in other cases they are based on changes to the creative team behind the series. The timeline notes events such as a given character's first appearance, death, and other interesting things. I don't comment much on every issue, however (I would never have finished if I did!). For further detail about a particular character, check out the accompanying article featuring character profiles.

Each section contains a "recommended reading list" containing at least one issue (in many cases more than one) that I believe captures the flavor/nature of the series. My recommendations are, obviously, biased by my own opinions. However, if you want to try out an issue to see how you like Warlord, why not start with one of the recommendations? Over the course of any lengthy series such as this, quality of individual issues vary widely, and I hope to steer unfamiliar readers towards the most enjoyable issues.

With that, here we go!


 

1) The Beginning: First Issue Special #8, Warlord #1 - 12

First Issue Special #8 (November, 1975) - First Issue Special was a try out series much like Showcase was in the 1960's. It was much less successful though, and The Warlord was the only feature debuting in it that was popular enough to get its own series. Travis Morgan, Tara, and the villainous Deimos make their first appearances in this issue. The creative team consists of Mike Grell (writer, illustrator, & creator) and Joe Orlando (editor)

Warlord #1 - Four months later (February 1976), the on-going series begins. It is published bi-monthly.

Warlord #2 - Machiste's first appearance. Morgan uses his alias "Morgan the Raider" for the first time.

Warlord # 3 - Morgan finds his downed plane. His gun - a .44 magnum - was in the plane's survival kit along with a bunch of extra ammunition.

Warlord #4 - Morgan, Machiste & their army rescue Tara from Deimos. Deimos is killed for the first time. This is also the first appearance of Morgan's trademark eagle helmet. Where he gets it from is never explained.

Deimos

Warlord #5 - A brief origin and history of Skartaris is given for the first time.

Warlord # 6 - Mariah's first appearance. Morgan returns to the surface and finds that 8 years have passed since his plane was shot down. He entered Skartaris in June of 1969, and the year is now 1977. Morgan says he doesn't feel 51 years old, and from this we can assume three things: Time doesn't work in Skartaris like it does on Earth, Morgan was 43 years old when he was shot down, and Morgan was born in 1926. From this issue we also learn that Morgan is believed by the USA government to have defected to the USSR. Stryker, one of three CIA agents who try to capture Morgan over the years, makes his first appearance in this issue as well.

Warlord # 7 - Morgan returns to Skartaris with Mariah. In Kiro, they have Del Bak Shan, Skartaris' master swordmaker, make them weapons - a broadsword for Morgan and a sabre (complete with a hidden stiletto in the hilt) for Mariah. Mariah reveals she was the Russian National Sabre Champion for six consecutive years. We learn that Machiste is really the King of Kiro. Possessed by a demonic mystical axe that he can't seem to let go of, Machiste attacks Morgan. To free his friend, Morgan chops off Machiste's right hand.

Warlord # 8 - To replace his hand, Machiste is fitted with a spiked mace. He, Mariah, and Morgan have an adventure on Skyra, a floating ancient Atlantean city that also serves as a defense satellite.

Warlord #9 - Morgan's original purple costume is shredded in a fight. He replaces it with the ruby encrusted chain-animal skin loincloth-sabretooth tiger skull shoulder piece costume that most people think of when they picture the Warlord. Interestingly, Morgan finds all that stuff lying in a cave inhabited by a snow beast!

Warlord #10 - First appearance of the evil witch Ashiya. Also in this issue, Machiste loses a bet with Mariah and as a result, must shave his head. After figuring out how to stop his three pronged crown from "slipping down around his ears," Machiste comes to like being bald. Also in this issue, Deimos returns from the dead.

Warlord #11 - This reprints First Issue Special #8

Warlord #12 - In a flashback, Aton makes his first appearance. Aton was Morgan's herald during the war against Thera in Warlord #4. This issue features some great characterization and insight into Morgan's character.

Recommended reading: All the issues, except #11, are reprinted in a trade paperback titled "Warlord: The Savage Empire." Published in 1991, the TPB is $20 and a cheap way to read some very enjoyable issues. If you just want individual issues, I'd recommend #2, #4, #6, and #10. Issue #1 is reprinted in issue #51, and it's a lot cheaper to buy the reprint.


2) Reuniting with Tara & the Second Deimos Saga: Warlord #13 - 21

Warlord #13 - CIA Agent Stryker enters Skartaris and tries to kill Morgan. He fails.

Warlord#14 - First appearance of Death (the Grell Version anyway). Death makes three appearances in the series. She also appears in #46, #96, and #98.

Warlord #15 - First appearance of Joshua Morgan. Re-united with Tara for the first time since issue #6, Morgan learns he has a son. This issue marks the beginning of Deimos' plot for revenge. Teaming with Ashiya, he kidnaps Joshua, and Tara and Morgan immediately begin their quest to find their son.

The series begins monthly publication with #15, and Mike Grell stops inking the series. He's still pencilling and writing it though. Vince Colleta joins the creative team as the new inker, and he stays aboard (with a few gaps) until issue #49.

Warlord #16 - First appearance of the evil Saaba the Witch. Seemingly a one-shot character, she'd play a major role in the Skartaris-New Atlantis war a few years down the road.

Warlord #17 - Morgan finds the Hellfire gem, which protects its owner from any form of magic. The gem is part of the Hellfire sword, which Morgan finds in issue #34.

Warlord #18 - The Blood Moon aliens make their first appearance. They would later return in Warlord Annual #3, but their "beast changer" technology, which turns men into half animal hybrids, would play a major role in the Skartaris-New Atlantean war.

Warlord #19 - 21 - This is a three partner that concludes of the second Deimos saga. Morgan, Tara, Mariah, and Machiste find Deimos, who has headquartered himself in a castle in the twilight land called the Terminator. Deimos' second death and the death of Shadow, Tara's dog, occurs in issue #21. Also in #21, Morgan is forced to kill a clone of his son that Deimos had aged to manhood. Still, a brokenhearted Morgan believes he killed Joshua. (See the profile of Joshua Morgan for more info).

 

Recommended reading: #14 is contains some great artwork (but not much of a story). #17 is a cool example of parallel storytelling, with one story unfolding on the left side of the page while another is being told on the right side. The second Deimos story (#19-21) is a powerful read, especially issue #21.


3) Wanderings, Wizard World, and Supporting Cast Growth: Warlord #22 - 39

With the exception of #25 - #27, which is a three parter, every story in this part of the series is a self contained, one issue deal. You can read them out of order, and it doesn't really matter. Morgan's just wandering around Skartaris, running into all sorts of interesting people, enemies, and places.

Warlord #22 -Morgan gets into a bar room brawl, meets a girl who transforms into a werewolf, and survives a trip into a haunted tower.

Warlord #23 - Morgan encounters the pacifistic (and cannibalistic) Children of Ba'al. After helping them in a fight against the green skinned Orms, the Children of Ba'al show their gratitude by putting Morgan in a cooking pot. Luckily for Morgan, the Orms don't hold a grudge and help him escape.

Warlord #24 - While hitching a ride aboard a Kiroan merchant ship, Morgan helps the ship's crew fight some pirates. When an arrow pierces his left shoulder during the battle, Morgan falls overboard. Left for dead, Morgan is rescued by a green skinned, female changeling named Ligia. (She's can change into dolphin). The two have a brief affair before Morgan returns to the surface. .

Warlord #25 - Ashir's first appearance. Morgan joins a band of mercenaries led by a bad guy named Chakal. The two men clash after fighting a snow monster, and Chakal is presumed dead.

Warlord #26 - Deimos appears, saves Chakal's life, and replaces his fellow villain's mangled arm with an Atlantean cannon-weapon. Meanwhile, Morgan and Ashir seek out the Eye of Truth.

Warlord #27 - The Eye of Truth reveals that, in his past lives, Morgan was a Roman gladiator, Sir Lancelot, and Daniel Boone, among others! While all this is revealed to Morgan, Ashir is fighting Chakal. Morgan "snaps out" of the vision just in time to help Ashir defeat Chakal.

Mongo

Warlord #28 - A strange meteor crashes into Skartaris from the outer world. Morgan escapes from the followers of the Cobra Queen, a woman who was merged with a snake by the meteor's passing. Elsewhere, the meteor transports Mariah and Machiste back in time to Wizard World. Ashir next appears in issue #40.

Warlord #29 - The demon axe from issue #7 makes its return. Captain Ghedron, the man charged with destroying the axe, wound up possessed by it instead. Both Ghedron and the demon axe are destroyed when they fall into a lava pit. This issue also contains a "Wizard World" backup feature.

Warlord #30 - Morgan and Dagin the farmer hold off the Theran army long enough to prevent a surprise attack on Shamballah. Morgan doesn't realize that Dagin's adopted son is really Joshua (Morgan's son).

Warlord #31 - At the ruins of the Shaban D'aba temple, Morgan fends off a pack of bloodthirsty wolves. Stumbling upon a hidden entrance to the temple's interior, Morgan finds it full of gold. An enchanted raven, one of the temple's guardians, grabs Morgan and drops him into a far away sea.

Warlord #32 - Morgan washes up on the Isle of the Titans. Shakira's first appearance. We learn that Morgan's Air Force serial number is "FR 16966107".

Warlord #33 - Morgan and Shakira help the tree dwelling dwarves, who are the descendants of Mongo Ironhand's people, defeat evil hawkmen who prey on the dwarves.

Morgan and Shakira

Warlord #34 - In gratitude, the tree dwarves give Morgan the Hellfire sword. Upon touching it, Morgan is transported back in time to Wizard World. He meets up with Mariah, Machiste, and Mongo, and the four are able to defeat the evil sorcerer Wralf the Wretched.

Warlord #35 - Lost in space-time, Morgan battles a crazed house. Mike Grell, Jack C. Harris, and Joe Orlando all appear in the story as gods playing dice games with Morgan's fate. This is the goofiest issue in the series.

Warlord #36 - Deimos' third death. This one's pretty gruesome as in a fit of rage, Morgan hacks him to pieces.

Warlord #37 - Morgan captures a winged horse named Firewing, and travels to Grimfang, the mountain top home of an evil sorceress who turns men to stone for fun. With the help of Shakira and a centaur named Arvak Thunderhoof, Morgan manages to escape

Warlord #38 - Jennifer Morgan's first appearance. She sails into Skartaris on a boat named the "Lady J" with a man named Pat Chambers. Chambers turns out to be a Secret Service agent who wants Morgan dead, but he decides not to kill Morgan. Turns out he's fallen in love with Jennifer. The two set sail back to Earth. This issue also marks Aton's second appearance; he's a young man in his twenties by now.

Warlord #39 - Morgan gives Aton his blessing to continue his role as leader of Morgan's former army of gladiators. On the way back to Shamballah, Morgan and Shakira find an Atlantean armory. A robot in the armory goes berserk and tries to feed our heroes to a monster, but they escape. Shakira frees Firewing (the winged horse), much to Morgan's dismay.

 

Recommended reading: #25-27, 30, 32, 34 and 38.


4) Shamballah - Theran War & the Search for Jennifer: Warlord #40 - 51

Warlord #40-41 - In Kaambuka, Morgan helps Ashir, who has taken his rightful place as king, stop an assassination and coup attempt. Tara returns for the first time since her brief appearances in issues #22 and #30. Both issues contain Wizard World backups.

Warlord #42 - The Therans attack Shamballah (remember them from issue #30?) and capture Tara. Morgan charges through the Theran lines and single handedly manages to get inside the Shamballan gates. Page 12 contains the only Morgan - Shakira kiss.

Warlord #43 - Morgan leads the Shamballan army to victory and saves Tara. After the battle, he rids himself of the blood thirsty Hellfire sword. He tosses it into a lake, and a female hand materializes from within the lake to catch it.

Warlord #44 - Aton appears for the first time since #38. He tells Morgan that Jennifer's ship crashed before it returned to Earth's surface. Jennifer is found by Faaldren, Deimos' reluctant slave. Deimos, who is by now just a dismembered head in a box (really!), has Faaldren invite Jennifer with them. He plans to use her against her father.

Warlord #45 - Morgan retrieves his old sword from the tree dwelling dwarves. He, Aton, and Shakira stop a group of Cyclopes that have been eating the female dwarves.

Warlord #46 -When Shakira is nearly killed, Morgan challenges Death in order to bring her back. Death allows Morgan to do so, but she takes ten years of his life in exchange.

Warlord #47 - Mikola Rostov's first appearance. First mention of Skartaris' wandering moon.

Warlord #48 - As Morgan and Shakira search for Jennifer, they encounter a group of people who worship an ancient, frozen Viking ship. The savages believe the ship is an "Ice Dragon." Claw the Unconquered has a backup feature in this issue as well as #49. Additionally, a special insert contains the first appearance of Arak, Son of Thunder.

Warlord #49 - Morgan and Shakira are almost to Castle Deimos when they take a detour to investigate the tomb of Sargon Fire-Eye, an ancient Wizard. We also learn the origin of the Evil One, an major villain later on in the series.

Warlord #50 - The final battle with Deimos! Just about all the supporting cast, except Joshua and Ashir, play a role in the story. Fourth death of Deimos. Death of Aton.

Warlord #51 - Reprints Warlord #1 in its entirety. Note that the "Savage Empire" trade paper back does not reprint the first three pages. The un-reprinted pages served as a recap of First Issue Special #8 to aid the transition to an on-going series. The "Dragonsword" backup feature begins in this issue and lasts until #54.

Recommended reading: This set of issues, and the next set, are arguably the high point of the series. #40 & 41 are fun, with lots of action. It's probably the best Ashir story. #42 & #43 both contain action, great art, and great characterization. What more could you want? #46 offers great insight into the thoughts, feelings, and character of Travis Morgan. #47 is a fun romp, and the Skartaran moon concept is really cool. #50 is a great read as well - the conflict and hatred Morgan and Deimos feel for each other is portrayed excellently.


5) Russia, Palace Intrigue, and more Wizard World: Warlord #52 - 71, Annual #1

Warlord #52 - After defeating Deimos in the furthest reaches of the Terminator, Morgan heads back towards Skartaris but makes a wrong turn. Finding himself on the Earth's surface, things go from bad to worse when he realizes that he's in the USSR! This is the last issue of Mike Grell as the series penciller. Mark Texiera takes over. Additionally, all scripts credited to Grell from now on were either co-written or totally ghost written by Sharon Wright, Grell's wife at the time (they have since divorced).

Warlord #53 - Morgan manages to defeat a squad of Soviet soldiers sent to capture him. Stealing their helicopter, Morgan returns to Skartaris. Meanwhile, the witch Ashiya begins teaching Jennifer Morgan all about sorcery.

Warlord #54 - After teaching Jennifer everything she knows about the mystic arts, Ashiya's plans to destroy Morgan are uncovered. The two women fight, and the student (Jennifer) destroys the master (Ashiya). Morgan, Tara, and Shakira head back to Shamballah, but Jenny remains in Castle Deimos with Faaldren to explore her new talents/powers.

Warlord #55 - Morgan helps Ashir defeat the remnants of an army holed up an impenetrable fortress with a "reverse" Trojan horse maneuver. Morgan's plan involves a giant smiley face coin, and must be seen to be believed. Shakira decides to stay in Kaambuka with Ashir. Joshua appears for the first time since issue #30. The "Arion" backup features begin.

Warlord #56-60 - This story arc, titled "Conspiracy," has Morgan replaced with an evil double. It seems that certain factions of the Shamballan royal council are jealous of the influence Morgan has with Queen Tara. Joshua Morgan plays a prominent role in this arc.

Warlord #61 - In an epilogue to "Conspiracy," Morgan receives a blackmail note from a thief named Darvin who has uncovered the connection between Morgan and Joshua. A disbelieving Morgan goes along with the scam, but only manages to recover Joshua's wristwatch. Joshua leaves Shamballah, not to return until issue #81.

Warlord #62 - Rostov's second appearance. Morgan tells Rostov that Jennifer may be able to cure his lycanthropy. They begin travelling to Jennifer's castle (the inappropriately named Castle Deimos).

Warlord #63 - Morgan and Rostov arrive in Kaambuka and rest before continuing. There we catch up with Ashir and Shakira. The mysterious Kaash'ban transport Rostov & Shakira to the Age of the Wizard Kings. With #63, Dan Jurgens begins pencilling the series (it's his first professional assignment). He continues on the series until #91, only missing #79, 89, and 90. The Barren Earth back-up series by Gary Cohn and Ron Randall also begins in this issue.

Warlord #64 - a Rostov/Shakira team up in Wizard World.

The Evil One

Warlord #65-66 - The whole supporting cast gathers in the past to stop the sorcerer known as the Evil One.

Warlord #67 - Rostov's origin is given in depth.

Warlord #68 - Jennifer is somewhat able to cure Rostov. Rostov challenges Machiste to fight for Mariah's hand, but Mariah chooses to duel Rostov herself. Mariah wins by drawing first blood and stays with Machiste. Rostov goes off to wander Wizard World.

Warlord #69 -71 - A three part story arc. After a time travel trip gone wrong, Shakira and Morgan find themselves in Australia, in a future timeline where Earth has become uninhabitable. Earthers have colonized Skartaris in this future, and Shakira and Morgan must find a way back to their own time. This arc shows how easily the series can slip into science fiction stories.

Annual #1 - In a story that's part action, part light hearted fun/humor, Morgan and Shakira help a snobbish princess named Alisandre to safely travel to the home of the king she is betrothed to. It's a shame that neither Alisandre nor her doting minstrel Tristan never appeared outside this story.

Recommended reading: Issue #55 is about as silly as the series gets. For such a cliched concept, the "Conspiracy" story line is surprisingly engrossing. Ditto for the Shakira/Rostov team-up. The three part #69-71 is also a very involving read. You begin to wonder if Morgan and Shakira will ever find a way back, and when they do come up with a long shot plan, if it'll ever work.

 


6) Time Travel Saga & the Beginnings of the Skartaris - New Atlantis War:

Warlord #72 - 86, Annual#2 & #3

Warlord #72 - Cary Burkett becomes the series' new writer. A deadly, other-dimensional unicorn enters Skartaris through one of Jennifer Morgan's magic mirrors. So does Scarhart, Morgan's Native American ally (it's his first appearance). When the unicorn, carrier of a deadly germ borne plague, infects Shakira, Morgan and Scarhart chase it into the dark lands of the Terminator.

Scarhart

Warlord #73 - After being attacked by man eating plants and dragon-bird monsters, Morgan and Scarhart put aside their differences in order to concentrate on capturing the unicorn. With the help of the animal loving Kaash'ban people, they find it. But when Scarhart kills the unicorn, destroying all chances of creating a vaccine, how will they save Shakira?

Annual #2 - First appearance of Krystovar, a healer who becomes Morgan's ally. First appearance of New Atlantis. We also learn the origin of Morgan's sea-eagle helmet (sheesh!). Read this between issue #73 and #74.

Warlord #74 - Morgan and Krystovar return to Shamballah from New Atlantis. Along the way they are attacked by Saaba the Witch, but escape. In Shamballah, Morgan has an uneasy reunion with Tara, who is full of righteous anger at always being left behind by Morgan. Their dialogue in this argument is some of the best written by Burkett. This issue also contains the first appearance of Captain Trogero, leader of the Shamballan royal guard.

Warlord #75 - The New Atlantean army sails into Skartaris, and Saaba allies herself with them in order to get revenge on Morgan. The Atlanteans attack Shamballah, and their advanced weaponry allows them to easily capture the city! First appearance of Lord Sabre-Tooth, the vile Atlantean commander. Also, Graemore appears for the first time since the "Conspiracy" plot line.

Warlord #76 - Having escaped with a sizeable portion of the Shamballan army, Morgan and Tara begin their quest to retake the city. After a brief skirmish with the Atlanteans, they establish a refugee camp in the Valley of the Lion, near the Forest Ebondar. Meanwhile, Scarhart and Shakira learn that Kaambuka has also fallen and Ashir is being held as a prisoner of war.

Warlord #77 - Morgan and his army free Ashir and the captured citizens of Kaambuka. They also capture an Atlantean sailing ship, and renaming it the Wind Shadow, set sail for the weapons cavern Morgan found in Annual #2.

Warlord #78 - After a naval battle with an Atlantean ship, Morgan and his crew reach the weapons cavern. While investigating and figuring out how to use the weapons, Morgan, Shakira, and Krystovar vanish into thin air!

Warlord #79 - Plunged into the time stream, Morgan, Krys, and Shakira temporarily find themselves on the USS Eldridge (a WW II battleship) and then in the far future. There they meet Dr. Reno Franklin, who tells them a tale of flying saucers, chronal radiation, and time travel research funded by the government. This issue marks the beginning of the sci-fi "Time Paradox" saga.

Warlord #80 - Back in Skartaris, Tara and her troops defend the weapons cavern from the Atlanteans with the help of the mysterious Forever Man. In the future, Shakira and Morgan leave the mountainous military base they've been in and venture into the outside world. They discover that they're in the year 2303 and that nuclear war has devastated much of the USA!

Warlord #81 - Tinder is rescued from a mob of beast-men by Jenny Morgan and Faaldren. This marks the first time brother and sister meet, although they aren't aware of their connection. Joshua's "origin" story is recapped.

Warlord #82 - Captured by what's left of the US Air Force, Morgan and company are taken to Washington D.C., which has survived the holocaust by being protected in a green force bubble. After being beaten by the vile Secretary Dubrow and his goons, our heroes are thrown into a slave pit type jail. There Morgan meets a new ally in Duncan, and they launch a rebellion.

Warlord #83 - Morgan and crew, running rampant through a secret government complex, manage to make it to the Oval Office! They meet the pathetic lackey who passes for the President in 2303, but learn that Dubrow is the real power behind the government. After Dubrow is defeated and the President commits suicide, Morgan is appointed President by Congress!

President Morgan!

Warlord #84 - More on the Morgan as President situation. The very patriotic cover shows Morgan in front of a large American flag, and a large blurb reads "Hail to the Chief!" With Reno's help, Morgan decides to try to change the past so that the apocalyptic future never existed. In doing so, he'll also wipe out the time he spent as President.

Warlord #85 - Morgan, Reno, and a whole bunch of US Air Force pilots battle to prevent the nuclear bombs that created the apocalypse from ever hitting their targets. Dogfights in flying saucers!?! What more could you want? For the first time in a while, we're reminded that Morgan was a darn good pilot before coming to Skartaris. Back in Skartaris, Tinder and his fuzzy friend Chaaka get into mischief near the Evil One's burial place in the Fire Mountain.

Annual #3 - This marks the conclusion of the "Time Paradox" arc that had Morgan, Shakira, and Krystovar running around in the future. Morgan and his time travelling pals wind up in the ancient past, in Atlantis! After an adventure involving the Blood Moon aliens (see issue #18) and an ancestor of Deimos, Morgan and crew return to their proper place in Skartaris. Read this between issue #85 and #86.

Warlord #86 - In an epilogue to "Time Paradox," Morgan is reunited with Tara, and they learn that the mysterious Forever Man from issue #80 is really Dr. Reno Franklin. Because of all the chronal radiation he absorbed, Reno became immortal. He tells Morgan all that has transpired in the ensuing centuries, tying up a bunch of dangling plot threads in the process.

Recommended reading: #83-85 are the best issues of "Time Paradox." #79 is also cool in a part X-Files, part Roy Thomas-esque retcon type way. Honestly though, reading just one or two issues of the year long saga might leave you confused.


7) The Atlantis - Skartaris War's Climax & Conclusion: Warlord #87 - 100

Warlord #87 - Coming to the aid of a pirate ship battling an Atlantean ship, Morgan meets Captain Hawk, the scourge of the Skartaran seas! Whose side is Hawk on? His own! (Or whoever gives him the most booty!) Morgan and Hawk strike a tenuous agreement, becoming allies against the Atlanteans.

Warlord #88 - In the port city of Bakwele, Morgan and Scarhart run afoul of a high ranking Atlantean official. Morgan strikes a deal with the head of the Bakwelen black market, a woman named Patch, to provide supplies for his troops. But things go horrible wrong when the Atlanteans find out and kidnap Patch's son. Aton appears in a flashback. This issue also marks last Barren Earth backup feature, but the strip is continued in its own miniseries.

Warlord #89 - In order to crush the spirit of the growing resistance movement, Lord Sabre-Tooth orders that Patch's son be publicly executed! His crimes? Spreading hope that the legendary Warlord will save all of Skartaris from the Atlanteans' reign of terror. In a great tale about what it means to be a legend, Morgan comes to the boy's rescue in most dramatic fashion.

Warlord #90 - After meeting a mysterious old hermit who tells Morgan of his destiny, Morgan and Tara go off adventuring to the temple of Shaban D'aba (see issue #31). Morgan hopes to use the stash of hidden gold he found there to pay his allies, such as Captain Hawk, for their help. This issue features the first appearance of a mainstream DCU character (the Monitor) in the Warlord series.

Additionally, This is the last issue pencilled by Dan Jurgens. The series doesn't get a regular penciller until issue #104, when Ron Randall starts. Pencil artists from now till then include: Rich Buckler, Alan Kupperburg, Mike Chen, Adam Kubert, Andy Kubert, Rick Stasi, Paris Cullins, and Jerry Bingham.

Warlord #91 - This issue retells Morgan's origin. First appearance of Danny Maddox. First appearance of the Vashek assassins.

Warlord #92 - Dressed as an Atlantean guard, Morgan infiltrates Shamballah in order to spy on the enemy. He also gets into a fight with an Earth elemental/monster created by Saaba. Meanwhile, the subplot regarding Tinder's apparent possession by the Evil One continues.

Warlord #93 -Led by Lord Sabre-Tooth, an Atlantean battalion readies to attack Morgan's base camp. Warned of the attack by one of the Husklar Mountain Men, Morgan prepares a trap and routs his enemy!

Lord Sabretooth vs. Morgan

Warlord #94 - Attacked by Vashek assassins while on the way to meet Captain Hawk, Morgan and Shakira barely manage to escape with their lives. It's a scene to be seen as a crazed Morgan fights like a berserker to save the life of his friend. Commandeering the vessel of one Princess Hooranami, Morgan, Shakira, and Hawk sail to an island, but are followed by the Vasheks!

Warlord #95 - Double crossed by Hawk, things look grim. Luckily a new ally, in the form of Lord Kaldustan of the Tri-Corn Kingdom, saves Morgan and Shakira.

Annual #4 - Read between #95 and #96. This finally brings an end to the Evil One subplot that's been going on for the past twelve issues or so. Morgan reacquires the Hellfire sword from the Lady of the Lake, but he loses it again. The first ever map of Skartaris appears in this issue. .

Warlord #96 - Mariah and Machiste return to the present time (their first appearance since issue #50). Tinder journeys back in time to the Age of the Wizard Kings. An eavesdropping incident leads Morgan to believe that Graemore is a traitor. Morgan is haunted by a dream that he's leading his troops to their deaths, and it's a dream that partially comes true. Mounting a secret attack through the tunnels beneath Shamballah, their plans are already known by the Atlanteans! Death of Trogero.

Warlord #97 - Morgan's sneak attack is routed, resulting in the death of Scarhart. Machiste leads the rest of their army in a direct attack on the city's gates, but they too are repulsed. Returning to camp, Morgan nearly kills Graemore because he believes Graemore betrayed their plans to the enemy. Shakira kills Saaba the Witch.

Warlord #98 - Devastated by the defeat, Morgan rides off by his lonesome, unsure of what to do. He meets the mysterious old man again (see issue #90), and the man sends Morgan on another journey through the Eye of Truth (see issue #26). Morgan confronts his inner demons and learns of the real power behind the Atlanteans! First appearance of Cykroth the Unholy, Wizard-King of New Atlantis. Death also appears. Last time Tinder appears until the Warlord miniseries.

Warlord #99 - Preparing for the final, all out assault to regain Shamballah and stop Cykroth (the wizard-king leader of Atlantis), Morgan puts an end to the Vashek assassin threat. In a daring duel with the Vasheks' mystically enhanced leader, Morgan comes out victorious. Jennifer Morgan, meanwhile, has mystically probed Cykroth's defenses and found a weak spot.

Warlord #100 - Michael Fleisher takes over the writing chores. The double sized conclusion to the Skartaris - New Atlantis War! All the subplots from the past two years are resolved, and casualties abound (Deaths of Graemore, Krystovar, Lord Sabre-Tooth, and Cykroth). In a moment of glorious triumph, Shamballah's rightful rulers are restored to power, and peace reigns in Skartaris!

Recommended reading: #88, 89, 93, 96, 97, and 100


8) Morgan's Quest: Warlord #101 - 116, Annual #5

Warlord #101 - "Morgan's Quest" begins, and these next few issues are mostly a bunch of one shots. The title begins to suffer from a lack of direction, due to a change in writers and numerous changes in editors. The overriding theme of these issues is that Morgan must search for a cure to a disease that has caused Jennifer to age rapidly. Morgan gets sidetracked and has a bunch of adventures. Morgan and Shakira are the only main characters in most issues, but Mariah and Machiste have a subplot that's spread out over the next year's worth of issues.

Warlord #102 - Morgan heads off to the wreckage of his airplane (see issue #3) to restock his supply of ammunition. Along the way, he rescues an Amazon queen and helps her regain her throne from an imposter. I can't stand this issue. It does have a nice cover, though.

Warlord #103 - The appearance of the Skartaran moon brings about the rampage of a "moon beast," a type of werewolf. No, it's not Rostov, but rather, a girl who is transformed into a vicious were-tiger. Seems that some scientist has been experimenting on women, turning them into cat changelings. This is the first of the three possible origins for Shakira presented during the Quest.

Warlord #104 - Morgan and Shakira versus dinosaur poachers? Who would've thought! And it makes a decent story, too. The twist ending is pretty cool (i.e. when the poacher's good luck charm turns out to be anything but). Ron Randall starts as the series' penciller. His last issue is #119.

Warlord #105 - Shakira and Morgan get involved in a misunderstanding regarding the apprehension of an energy sucking, life force draining parasite. Totally weird, with lots of twists and turns, but parts of it feel forced.

Warlord #106 - First appearance of Daimon, the cat-man who has the same powers as Shakira. While investigating a robbery from a royal treasure room, Morgan uncovers another part of Shakira's mysterious origins. And this one purposefully contradicts what he learned in issue #103! Hats off to writer Michael Fleisher for never giving Shakira a "true" origin, but rather a bunch of possible ones.

Warlord #107 - Crossing a desert leads to a battle with a sand squid and the discovery of a city in the middle of nowhere. The residents are so excited to see Shakira ("It's been so long since a woman passed this way") that they drug Morgan and Daimon and then try to sacrifice Shakira to a beast named Yaug. Morgan accidentally sets the whole city on fire while rescuing her. Whoops!

Warlord #108 & 109 - This two part tale takes place in a snowy valley where clouds blot out the eternal Skartaran sun. After Daimon accidentally releases an imprisoned female vampire named Mortalla, Morgan and friends must recapture her.

Warlord #110 - Vampires, Yaugs, moon beasts, what's next? How about crocodile men, a giant praying mantis, and a trip back to one of the floating "Skyra" cities that hover above Skartaris! Morgan visited a different Skyra in issue #8, but the one in this issue is Skyra III. After the residents of the city refuse to let Morgan and Shakira leave for fear they'll divulge the city's existence, Morgan forcibly escapes. Just like before, he sends this Skyra crashing to the ground.

Warlord #111 - When their flight belts conk out midway across an ocean, Morgan and Shakira almost drown before being rescued by a race of mermen. The mermen force Morgan to fight a sea creature in an underwater gladiator arena. Shakira's decision to save Morgan by reverting into her cat form while still submerged (even though it meant almost certain death) is truly heroic.

Warlord #112 - The Mariah and Machiste subplot that began in issue #101 comes to a conclusion with Machiste overthrowing the tyrant N'Dosma. Mariah then enlists the help of a sorcerer so she can be transported to Morgan's side. Meanwhile, Morgan and Shakira are involved in a case of mistaken identity. A group of palace guards from a far off city believe Shakira to be their long lost princess.

Warlord #113 - After battling a race of cyclopses, Morgan and crew reach the edges of the Greenfire Sea. They hope the famed wizard V'zarr Hagar-Zinn can help them find a cure for Jennifer's illness, but when they arrive they find him dead! Zinn's death foreshadows the coming of Khnathaiti and her plans to destroy the "nine planes of existence."

Warlord #114 - 115 - A two part Legends crossover. DeSaad, one of Darksied's minions, attempts to destroy Morgan's reputation by creating an evil doppelganger of him. This doppelganger is not the same one that appeared in the "Conspiracy" plot line in issues #56-60.

Warlord #116 - Power Girl enters Skartaris seeking information about her newly discovered Atlantean heritage. Morgan finally finds a cure for Jennifer's illness. Redmond, the CIA agent, enters Skartaris through a passageway on Dinosaur Island.

Annual #5 - This can be read anywhere, not necessarily in any order. Morgan returns to the surface after he finds a portal connecting Skartaris and the Yucatan Peninsula. Hi-jinks ensue when an American tourist stumbles into Skartaris and finds himself a prisoner of ancient Mayan priests. First appearance of Redmond, the third CIA agent who wants to kill Morgan.

Recommended reading: #104, 106, 107, 111, Annual #5,

 


9) Limping Along to the End: Warlord #117 - 133, Annual #6

Warlord #117 - Mariah and Machiste have a lover's quarrel that leads to her temporary return to the surface world. Haunted by dreams implanted in her psyche by DeSaad, Tara travels to DeSaad's old headquarters. She uses the technology inside to fend off some thugs who are after her, but then is captured by the villainess Y'Smalla.

Warlord #118 - Scavenger, a lame-o Aquaman villain, enters Skartaris.

Warlord #119 - A villain group named the Kraken Pentacle debuts. Power Girl and Jennifer fight a demon. Morgan escapes from the Krakens and continues his search for Tara. Redmond is turned into a monster by a group of abominable snowmen type people. To get back at Morgan for his affair with Mariah, Machiste has an affair with a woman he believes to be Tara.

Warlord #120 - Y'smalla's plot to destroy the Shamballan-Kiro political alliance is revealed. Art Thibert pencils this issue and the following two. Jan Duursema then becomes the series' artist and remains until the series' end.

Warlord #121 - Morgan discovers that DeSaad and Darkseid's minions are still in Skartaris. Arion appears in a flashback.

Annual #6 - read after #121 and before #122. The New Gods appear. Tara escapes from Y'smalla's imprisonment. Captain Masaq, who replaces Trogero as leader of the Shamballan Royal Guard, makes his first appearance. This issue is a prime example why having mainstream DCU characters in Skartaris is such a bad idea. Namely, it destroys all the unique aspects of the series. This issue is flat out terrible.

Warlord #122 - The Jennifer-Power Girl story concludes as the two heroines stop the demon they accidentally released while uncovering Power Girls' Atlantean heritage. All sorts of natural disasters plague Skartaris.

Warlord #123 - Death of Redmond.

Warlord #124 - First appearance of Khnathaiti, evil sorceress.

Warlord #125 - Tara's soul is snatched by Scavenger. On the surface, Mariah is captured by Russian soldiers who believe she's a traitor. Not knowing of her time in Skartaris, they think she defected to the USA with Morgan.

Warlord #126 - Morgan kills Scavenger.

Warlord #127-128 - Two part "Dragon Hunter" story. Depressed by Tara's apparent death, Morgan finds comfort in helping a masked man in his quest to find the dragon that killed his entire village. With the help of Danny Maddox, Mariah escapes from a Russian gulag and returns to Skartaris.

Warlord #129 - 131 - Three part story arc called "Maddox's Revenge." First appearance of Danny Maddox since Secret Origins #16. Aoife first appears in #129. With issue #130, the title begins bi-monthly publication.

Warlord #132 - Khnathaiti casts a spell that unleashes Una, the "Worm of Heaven & Hell." Aoife and Morgan are almost killed by it as it emerges from out of the earth. The Worm undulates between the Nine Planes, wrecking havoc wherever it goes. The pair encounter Ishum, herald to Ea - God of all that is or will be. He/it explains that Una is responsible for weaving the universe but that Tiamat, She-Dragon of Chaos, has decreed that Una will come forth one day to undone its work.

Tiamat captures the Horn of Being and Unbeing needed to summon Una and hides it. Apparently, Khnathaiti has counterfeited the horn's unique sound and summoned Una early. Meanwhile, Jennifer tries to find a counterspell but Khnathaiti destroys the one grimoire that could defeat her.

Also, Tara's soul, currently owned by Khnathaiti, visits Morgan to warn him of Khnathaiti's plan. But the evil witch casts Tara away and sells the soul to an extra-dimensional tradesman. The trader sells Tara to the godling Yk'kphat, who strings Tara up within his necklace of pearls. The issue ends with Morgan, Ishum and Aoife flying after Una. They encounter Ningal the All-seeing whose seeds will bring new evil into the world. Morgan distracts the creature while Ishum casts a spell that puts it to sleep. And that's it. They fly off into the next (last) issue.

Warlord #133 - Final issue. Death of Khnathaiti. Tara is returned to normal.

Recommended reading: If somebody forces you to read any of the issues in this section, try #127 & 128. It's a decent story that returns Morgan to his "wandering about Skartaris aimlessly" ways, but not nearly as good as any of the Grell issues. "Maddox's Revenge" is also readable, but avoid everything else.


10) Other Appearances:

Crisis on Infinite Earths - In issue #5, Morgan appears in the group scene with all the heroes gathered to stop the Anti-Monitor. He's on page 10, the bottom left panel. In issue #12, page 21, Morgan is seen fighting shadow demons.

Secret Origins #16 - Morgan's is retold, with some new information about his childhood added.

Warlord Miniseries #1 - 6 - In a story that's partly a tribute to fans of the old series, Mike Grell returns to script Travis Morgan's final confrontation against Deimos. This tale takes place in Skartaris' near future, probably a few years after the old series ended. For example, Joshua is a grown man, Mariah and Machiste are married, Morgan's old and tired of being a legend, etc. The miniseries has great characterization, with all the major supporting characters explaining their take on Travis Morgan, the man, and Travis Morgan the legend. Any fan of the old series should really enjoy this. (I've read my copy so many times that it's become dog-eared.)

Green Arrow 27

Green Arrow #27 - 28 - This is the first story is which Green Arrow's almost twin-like resemblance to Morgan is explored. Written by Mike Grell, this is a cool concept (which has been done to death, though, by other writers in subsequent Warlord appearances). After helping Ollie and Black Canary defeat a group of gangsters, Morgan heads back to Skartaris, content that his real home is there. Morgan uses his alias "Morgan the Raider" for the first time in ages.

Green Arrow #117 - 119- This is a "bait and switch" story written by Chuck Dixon that exploits Ollie and Morgan's resemblance. Connor Hawke heads to the Far East after hearing a report that a man who looks like Ollie is being held captive. Is Ollie really alive? Well, not really. Connor's disappointed when he finds Morgan instead.

Justice League Task Force #34 - 36- The Task Force (Martian Manhunter, Gypsy, Ray, Triumph, etc.) somehow crash land their spaceship in Skartaris. This is a corny, somewhat humorous romp as writer Christopher Priest bases his story on the fact that Skartaran magic is sometimes just technology from the surface. Shakira and Morgan both appear.

Teen Titans #9 - 11- Dan Jurgens keeps the legend of the Warlord alive! Prysm disappears and the other Titans (Atom, Joto, Argent, etc) travel to Skartaris to find her. Dinosaurs, an evil sorceress, and Titans running around in Skartaran fashions all add to the fun. Morgan, Tara, Tinder, Jennifer, and Shakira all appear.

Conjurors # 1-3 - A cool Elseworlds tale by Chuck Dixon, Conjurors features a bunch of the DCU's magicians. The effects of widespread reliance on magic to science and society as a whole is explored. Jennifer Morgan is the only member of the Warlord cast to appear. Fans of Ted Kord and the Challengers of the Unknown will also enjoy this.

Aquaman # 71 - 73 - Mongo Ironhand summons Aquaman and Mera to Skartaris to help Morgan defeat a sorcerer named Valgos. The first two issues are really good, but the climactic issue is a bit of a let down for fans wanting to see Morgan cut loose. Machiste and Mariah also appear.

Recommended reading: All six issues of the miniseries, Green Arrow #27-28, and Conjurors. Read Crisis too, but not for the Warlord references.

David R. Black is Fanzing.com's magazine editor and chief archivist. A big fan of "The Warlord," he has a cat named Shakira and is looking for a girlfriend named Tara....

 
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