Warlord v4 #1

Jun 09

Saga, Part One
22 pages

Writer: Mike Grell
Penciller: Joe Prado
Inker: Walden Wong
Letterer: Rob Leigh
Colourist: David Curiel
Editor: Joey Cavalieri
Cover: Mike Grell

Dr. Katherine Archer, Alysha Grant, Ned Hawkins, Ewan McBane, Rhampa, Travis Morgan, Shakira, Tara, Tinder

In Tibet, Alysha Grant and her guide Rhampa are climbing in the Himalayas. They enter a cave and find a frozen dinosaur.

Some time later, Grant approaches Dr. Kate Archer working on dinosaur skeletons in a North American museum. Archer has heard about the young lady with the big discovery and is quite skeptical until Alysha opens up her shipping case, revealing a fully-fleshed dinosaur head. That’s all Archer needs to see to mount an expedition.

They turn to Ned Hawkins: young, rich, adventurous. He’s unconvinced until Alysha talks about the land of Agharta that is said to be under the Himalayas from a story told by Tibetan monks. It is a land of warmth and sunshine ruled by Chambala, the city of gold. Hawkins likes the idea of gold.

Hawkins recruits Ned McBane, a rough’n’tough photojournalist. McBane brings up that the Chinese won’t like them being in Tibet, but Hawkins says he’ll take care of that, and McBane will be well compensated for his time.

Rhampa and the four westerners are in the Himalayas, only to discover a newly-set-up Chinese military outpost. The party is quickly discovered and Rhampa is shot and killed as they escape. The remaining four scramble up the mountainside to the cave. Hawkins cuts off the Chinese army’s pursuit by causing an avalanche with his rifle.

Further inside the cave, they discover a triangular portal filled with golden energy. The kind of people they are, they step through.

Flashback to 1969 and Travis Morgan is shot down in his SR-71 Blackhawk by Russian missiles. He ejects and lands in Skartaris.

He awakens. It is present day, and Shakira the cat sits upon his belly. They rise and Morgan steps out onto the balcony of their quarters. Suddenly, a giant bird tries to kill Morgan and both he and Shakira use their considerable skills to kill it quickly. It seems odd to the both of them to be attacked by a northern creature here in the palace of Shamballah.

Tara comes at the run with some of her palace guard, but there is no more threat. They see refugees below pouring non-stop into the city. They seek relief from conflict. They seek the Warlord’s protection.

Morgan, Tara and Shakira descend to the streets and are joined by Tinder. A Kiroan man tells them of a new god and his queen that have seized control of the shadow kingdom – the terminator. It has destabilised the entire frontier that borders on Shamballah, and the common folk are fleeing en masse. Machiste is the leader of Kiro, and the man fears for his monarch’s life.

He talks of a new weapon that kills from more than a dozen spear casts away and leaves no sign of an arrow or spear. The man’s son, though alive, is badly wounded with a hole in his chest. The young man’s mother hold’s up her son’s metal breastplate, and Morgan’s eyes go wide as he recognises the tell-tale mark of a bullet hole.

The established continuity of Warlord returns after a 17-year absence, once again with Mike Grell at the helm writing, and sometimes drawing, one of his signature characters. eom

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