Warlord v1 #13

Jun/Jul 78

The Hunter
17 pages

Writer/Artist: Mike Grell
Letterer: Ben Oda
Colourist: Adrienne Roy
Editor: Larry Hama
Cover: Mike Grell

Travis Morgan, Machiste, Mariah, Stryker

Morgan drives his friends Machiste and Mariah through a fetid swamp to reach Fire Mountain, and beyond it Shamballah and his beloved Tara. Suddenly, a large saurian rises out of the water and tries to make a meal of the three. It is quickly dispatched by a well-placed sword through the head by Morgan who rides it like a bucking bronc. Morgan though, found its defeat too easy. Less than a kilometre away they find out why the beast did not trouble them longer. Morgan picks up an empty .375 Holland & Holland Magnum rifle shell. Another person from the outer Earth has found their way into Skartaris.

In a tree above them, the owner of the rifle tries to pick them off. Quickly, the trio flee, but right into a trap. Morgan's leg trips a wire and a heavy log swing knocks the friends unconscious.

When Morgan awakens, he's greeted by Stryker, the CIA agent who tried to bring Morgan back to the 'company' when Morgan travelled to Peru. Stryker lost an eye and his job when he failed. Twisted by his rage and a need for revenge, he tortured Professor Lakely to get the secret of where Morgan had gone and then doggedly pursued his quarry until now, the day he gets payback. Stryker intends to hunt Morgan down like an animal, and to ensure Morgan's cooperation, he has Machiste and Mariah tied to the bole of a tree wired with enough C-4 explosive to obliterate them.

The task is simple. Morgan must travel a mile upriver to find the detonator for the C-4 atop a termite mound. Morgan has his sword and dagger and will find his gun somewhere along the way. He will get a five minute headstart, and the explosives will go off in one hour. Having no choice, Morgan runs off and is almost immediately snared around the ankle and hoisted high into the air. He cuts himself down quickly, now realising that Stryker has stacked the deck in his own favour.

Stryker, who appears to have been a veteran of the ground war in Asia, has set up a variety of traps based on trip wires and sharpened stake devices meant to squish or impale a man. Morgan avoids a large one, only to be caught unaware by a smaller one right after it that pierces his thigh. Thankfully, it's only a flesh wound though a deep one and he continues on, only to find that a large snake would like to eat him. Morgan wastes no time in cleaving its skull in two.

Finally, he reaches his gun. It sits on a rock in a clearing. Morgan knows it's a trap, but he must save his friends. Dashing across the clearing the air is filled with wooden crossbolts, many piercing his flesh. We see his hand almost touch the gun which is booby-trapped with explosives, and then Stryker sees the flash of the explosion and smiles triumphantly. Stryker heads out to reclaim the detonator himself, only to find a grim-faced, bleeding Morgan holding it in his hand. Stryker begins to raise his rifle to shoot Morgan, but Morgan is quicker on the draw and shoots him through his eyepatch.

Stryker last appeared in Warlord v1 #6. eom

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