Warlord in Crisis
In 1985, DC Comics began the Crisis on Infinite Earths 12-issue series. Its goal was to streamline the intricate DC continuity that had grown since the dawn of the Silver Age, and the multiple Earths that populated it.
For Warlord, this meant bringing Skartaris into the DC universe, something Mike Grell had always been strongly opposed to. Before we examine the outcome, we’ll take a look at the Warlord’s inconsequential involvement in Crisis.
I am indebted to the ICG/Eclipse Official Crisis on Infinite Earths Indexes by Lou Mougin and Mark Waid for their exhaustive notes on the series. Quite frankly, I would have missed the Warlord’s appearances without them.
For a year prior to Crisis, the Monitor observed the DC universe (appearing in virtually every title), preparing for battle with the Anti-Monitor. He assessed the heroes and villains from all the Earths, knowing that they would be the army he needed to defeat his evil counterpart.
In Warlord #91 (above), the Monitor and his assistant Lyla review how Morgan came to Skartaris.
Morgan’s next crisis involvement comes once the series is underway. The Index notes that all his crisis activity takes place between Warlord #s 99 and 100, though no mention of the crisis occurs in Warlord itself, unlike many DC books which used Crisis as an important part of that year’s continuity.
Crisis #5 has him virtually hidden on the cover behind Martian Manhunter, Batman, Dr. Light and Kamandi.
Inside, he delivers one line on page 10, panel 11, only to be chastised by the Phantom Stranger for saying it.
Crisis #7 has him on the cover again. He’s one of the tiny background figures who witnesses Superman’s grief over the death of Supergirl. You’ll find him to the right of the price box.
In Crisis #10, his daughter Jennifer makes a quick appearance on page 25, panel 7. She is one of the mystical beings who gives the Spectre strength as he arm wrestles the Anti-Monitor at the dawn of time.
Morgan’s final Crisis appearance is in #12. When the Anti-Monitor releases his shadow demons across the DC universe, the Warlord is seen on page 22/23, panel 15 battling the dark invaders in Skartaris.
Published concurrently with Crisis was Who’s Who in the DC Universe, an encyclopædia of the revised DC characters in post-Crisis continuity. It is interesting to note that the changes to Warlord’s continuity happened while Who’s Who was in production. Evidence of this is found in the entries for Warlord’s cast, and you can read the entire entries in the Who’s Who section of this site.
The first entries – Atlantis, Deimos, and Jennifer Morgan – referred to Skartaris as being within the hollow Earth.
Machiste and Mariah’s call Skartaris a mysterious realm, not an underground world.
From Rostov on, Skartaris is referred to as an other-dimensional realm, indicating DC’s placement of it adjacent to the unified DC universe. Skartaris is now entered by a dimensional nexus, and this tells us that the DC Earth is not hollow.
Many fans hated the changes brought on by Crisis on Infinite Earths, preferring Warlord to be in its original world.
There was little change in Warlord itself. The only times the DC universe spilled over into Skartaris were during the Legends crossover series. The first was DeSaad, from Jack Kirby’s Fourth World pantheon of characters, coming to Skartaris to stir up trouble in #s 114 and 115, and Annual #6.
The other appearance was by Kara, formerly Earth-2’s Power Girl. In the new continuity she was a descendant of Arion, Lord of Atlantis. Now that Warlord’s Atlantis was integrated with DC’s Atlantis, a subplot had her come to Skartaris searching for answers about her heritage in #116 and departing in #124.
Warlord was cancelled a few issues later with #133, after being reduced to bi-monthly status. Perhaps other DC universe storylines would have been explored, but there seemed to be little rationale to adding other mythologies to the already coherent fantasy world of Skartaris.
Warlord appears to have been a casualty of the market becoming increasingly focussed solely on super heroes. Sword and sorcery was likely not selling, hence the reduction to bi-monthly status as a last effort to save the book.
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