FOR PART ONE OF BALLADEER’S BLOG’S EXAMINATION OF THIS OLD, OLD MARVEL STORYLINE CLICK HERE The revisions I would make are scattered throughout the synopsis below.
AMAZING ADVENTURES Vol 2 #20 (September 1973)
Title: THE WARLORD STRIKES
Synopsis: We pick up an unspecified number of days after the end of the previous story. We also have yet ANOTHER change in creative team. This issue we have Marv Wolfman writing and Herb Trimpe doing the artwork.
Even more of the sophisticated promise of the first two installments is stripped away as Wolfman & Trimpe serve up a story so bland it would fit right into any given issue of DC Comics’ Kamandi, The Last Boy on Earth. The only positive development is that it is at last established that Killraven and M’Shulla, the black member of the rebel band, are the closest of friends.
Killraven and M’Shulla are being pursued by several human quislings who are trying to bring in K.R. alive for their Martian masters. They fail to say why, but we readers can guess that it’s because the Martians want to know how much Killraven was told by the dying Keeper Whitman back in part one. Or because they want to study K.R. in order to understand the mysterious “Power” that grants him certain abilities.
Of course, since this issue doesn’t mention EITHER Keeper Whitman OR “The Power” (a pre-Star Wars variation of The Force) it’s also possible Marv Wolfman was planning to write out those aspects. The way this issue is written it COULD be that the quislings have orders to take Killraven alive just so he can be taken before the Warlord, whom we learn has a vendetta against our main character.
REVISION: To maintain continuity I would have made it so that it was definitively stated that K.R. was wanted alive precisely to be studied because of his paranormal powers and to learn how much the late Keeper Whitman told him about the true nature of Earth’s conquerors: namely that they are aliens and not the demons that conquered, superstitious humanity considers them to be.
And, as always, I’d have eliminated the tenuous War of the Worlds connection and made Earth’s conquerors regular aliens and not ridiculous “Martians.”
As the running fight goes on and on, no mention is made of the forced abandonment of the Freemens’ previous hideout on Staten Island, now known to the Martians.
REVISION: I’d have made it clear that in the days since the fall of the Staten Island rebel colony our heroes have been on the run day in and day out as the aliens desperately want Killraven brought in. ALL of the Freemen, not just Killraven and M’Shulla, would be taking part in this opening running battle.
Eventually K.R. and M’Shulla would get separated from the other fleeing Freemen (Hawk, Old Skull, Dagger and Arrow, the last two made female by me.) Banter between Killraven and M’Shulla would make it clear that the other Freemen are getting very impatient for K.R. to simply lead them far away from the post-apocalyptic New York/ New Jersey area.
M’Shulla would further clarify for Killraven that the others are growing skeptical of their leader’s statements that his “Power” is telling him there is a major alien weapons and technical center concealed somewhere in the ruins. The other Freemen feel Killraven’s obsession with uncovering that hidden base is endangering ALL of their lives.
While fleeing their pursuers, Killraven dons a new costume – the one he would wear the rest of the series – while M’Shulla stumbles upon a crossbow, which will become his signature weapon the rest of the series.
REVISION: This better costume should have been Killraven’s outfit all along, instead of the silly “college wrestler wearing thigh-high boots” costume he started out wearing. And the crossbow SHOULD have been M’Shulla’s signature weapon going back to his and K.R.’s days as gladiators in the Martians’ gladiatorial circuit.
We can assume the aliens made the crossbows and the crossbow bolts which they fired out of extra-strong materials, making the bolts capable of puncturing most metal armor, etc.
Anyway, with Killraven and M’Shulla established now as the Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid of the few remaining Freemen of the Staten Island settlement, they come across a truck … which STARTS despite having been apparently unused for the 17 or 18 years that the Martians have ruled the Earth.
REVISION: Obviously I’d eliminate the entire truck bit. I WOULD retain the part where Killraven tries to force one of the defeated quislings to tell him where the Martians keep their weapons supply in the area, only to have the man’s mind fry out due to hypnotic commands implanted by the aliens. Instead of the truck I’d have K.R. and M’Shulla rejoin the other Freemen.
While driving the truck across a bridge, Killraven and M’Shulla get attacked by a Martian Tripod that rises from the river. They manage to topple and destroy it.
REVISION: I’d have made it be a team effort by all the Freemen that destroys the alien craft, which would be a Triphibian Craft instead of a Tripod. The close proximity to the dead alien(s) in the defeated craft would let Killraven (unknowingly in these early stories) tap into their minds so that he now KNOWS where the hidden base is located. He tells his Freemen they can now plan their attack.
Cut to: The Warlord, a cyborg who promises his Martian masters that he is luring Killraven into a trap by planting false clues that make KR think there is a major Martian weapons cache to be raided in the area.
The Warlord requests that when the Martians kill the other Freemen that HE be permitted to kill the rebel leader. We are told that KR nearly killed the Warlord when making his escape from the gladiatorial cages years ago, causing the loss of the limb and eyes which have been replaced with cybernetic parts.
REVISION: I’d make the Warlord be apologizing to his alien overlords for his quisling army’s most recent failure to capture Killraven. He would promise to succeed the next time and THEN would request to be the one who gets to kill KR.
The following night Killraven and the Freemen raid the ruins of LaGuardia Airport, beneath which lies the secret base of the Warlord and where KR believes he and his men can make a huge haul of weapons.
Shortly after they start their raid they are taken by surprise by the Warlord and his quisling soldiers. Killraven falls in battle to the Warlord, while his Freemen all wind up captured by the soldiers. No need for a revision there, since that is the cliffhanger ending for this issue.
FOR PART FOUR CLICK HERE
I’LL EXAMINE THE NEXT ISSUE SOON. KEEP CHECKING BACK FOR UPDATES.
FOR MY EXAMINATION OF THE 7-PART ADAM WARLOCK STORY WHERE HE FACES THE MAGUS, THANOS AND OTHERS. * FIRST APPEARANCE OF GAMORA, TOO* CLICK HERE
FOR MY EXAMINATION OF THE CELESTIAL MADONNA SAGA STARRING MANTIS AND THE AVENGERS (THE TEAM SHE FIRST BELONGED TO IN THE 1970s) – FEATURES THE FIRST THANOS WAR PLUS THE AVENGERS-DEFENDERS WAR – CLICK HERE
FOR MY EXAMINATION OF THE 13-PART BLACK PANTHER STORY TITLED PANTHER’S RAGE CLICK HERE
FOR MY EXAMINATION OF THE ORIGINAL 9-PART KREE-SKRULL WAR CLICK HERE
FOR THE AUSTRALIAN SUPERHERO PANTHEON CLICK HERE
FOR MORE SUPERHEROES CLICK HERE: Superheroes
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