Ka-Zar the Savage #18-21
Issue(s): Ka-Zar the Savage #18, Ka-Zar the Savage #19, Ka-Zar the Savage #20, Ka-Zar the Savage #21
He comes close to raising the topic of children when they hear a plane.
Investigating, they find an old scientist and his young hot young wife, Ramona.
They're on a botanical mission. Between her looks and her big city sophistication, she does a good job of driving a wedge between Ka-Zar and Shanna.
A bit too good a job for my tastes...
...i suppose the pacing of the storyline didn't allow for much subtlety. It's still generally well written.
Anyway, everything comes to a head when Shanna and Ramona get into scuffle over Ramona's hand gun...
...and Ka-Zar gets shot in the head.
They take him to New York, but before they can get him to a surgeon, Ka-Zar semi-consciously wakes up and breaks away...
...wandering around the city fighting thugs and scaring people. Ramona recruits Kraven the Hunter to track Ka-Zar down.
Ramona is shown to be very capable in executing his prison break...
...that's not bad writing - it's actually setting up the fact that she and her "husband" are actually members of AIM, but we won't find that out until later.
Zabu could also track down Ka-Zar, but he's been quarantined...
...and Shanna is unable to get him released. Zabu eventually escapes on his own.
During his fight with Kraven...
...Ka-Zar begins to regain consciousness, but he's unable to articulate more than grunts. The fight culminates with Kraven, Ka-Zar, Shanna, and Zabu battling on a rooftop...
...while Ramona snipes with a rifle from afar.
In the scuffle, Kraven, Ka-Zar, and Shanna fall off the roof, but they are rescued by Spider-Man.
When Shanna reveals that Ka-Zar is wounded, Kraven declines to battle him further. Shanna leaves to get an ambulance, leaving Spider-Man and Kraven to uncomfortably watch over Ka-Zar together. Kraven even uses a jungle herb to preserve Ka-Zar's life.
Later, as Peter Parker, Spidey shows up at the hospital while Shanna is waiting for Ka-Zar to come out of surgery.
Shanna tells Peter about how they first met, and fills in some gaps as to how Ka-Zar and Shanna became a couple and how Ka-Zar stopped talking like a Tarzan ripoff.
But after a while of reminiscing, Shanna is informed that Ka-Zar didn't survive the surgery.
Brent Anderson is on the first two issues for layouts only. The wide shots look really nice - the big spread introducing Ka-Zar & Shanna's new house is very impressive, for example - but some of the close-ups aren't so great, especially the faces. Ron Frenz takes over for the last two issues, which is especially interesting because of Spider-Man's guest appearances, since Frenz will later have a well regarding run on Amazing Spider-Man.
The art here looks a lot like his ASM run (maybe a little less polished). It's good. Better in issue #20 with Armando Gil's inks than in #21 with Mel Candido's.
Despite a few rough spots with Ramona, the writing on this series is still excellent.
I should also mention that because this is a higher priced Direct Market format, there are no ads and a few extra features. The inside cover has goofy black & white pictorial comics featuring the editorial and creative staff...
...and there are Tales of Zabu stories drawn by Val Mayerik in the back showing events soon after Zabu and Ka-Zar first met. The narration is from Zabu's perspective and it's a lot of fun.
There's sometimes also an extra pin-up page, and the letter columns are 2 pages. Some nice perks for an extra 15 cents.
Quality Rating: B+
Chronological Placement Considerations: This has to take place after Contest of Champions, because this begins an arc that results in a lack of status quo for Ka-Zar and Shanna for some time. Spider-Man's appearance here is context free and can take place in any gap in his stories.
Continuity Implant? N
Reprinted In: N/A
So there's another scene of a superhero hitting his girlfriend- Reed slapped Sue in FF 222, Flash hit Sha Shan in Amazing 275, Peter hit MJ during the Clone Saga and now Ka-Zar. So why does Hank get singled out?
Michael, do you mean FF #281 (which, however ill advised a scene, wasn't actually depicting Reed as a wife beater), or is there really another scene in FF #222?
My opinion: the Pym incident, while introduced in a very clunky issue, is built on years of subtext regarding Hank and Janet's Lockhorns-style relationship and Pym's mental problems, so it has rung true with a lot of fans and later writers and therefore "stuck". I know other people don't like it and give the earlier stories a pass as being a product of the time they were written in, but i think there's more in Pym's backstory to support a pattern of abuse (mostly mental abuse that culminated in that one hit) than the other characters.
Bringing it back to this issue, what i like about this is that Shanna didn't play a victim; she hit Ka-zar right back.
Yes, he did slap her in FF 222. Franklin was under magical control, Sue was panicking and Reed slapped her. To be fair, that's more of a "slap the hysterical girl" scene and not a "wife beating" scene. Plus, Reed was worried about Franklin.
Brent Anderson(and Bill Sienkiewicz on Moon Knight) reportedly left because of constant deadline trouble.
The photo-funnies were popular enough to get their own spinoff called The Marvel Fumetti Book.
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