Issue(s): Ka-Zar #1, Ka-Zar #2
Issue #1 opens with Ka-Zar and Zabu parachuting out of a SHIELD plane into the Savage Land. A small map of the Savage Land is provided. Further establishing that this series will be a pure jungle adventure book as opposed to Ka-Zar's city adventures at the end of his Astonishing Tales run, Ka-zar fights a giant snake and a shark before the plot even starts.
The goal seems to be to capitalize on the success of Marvel's Conan adaption by having Ka-Zar the Barbarian fight wizards and monsters in a jungle setting.
The wizard in this case is Malgato ("Those who speak spanish can dig, this cat is evil! Verdad? - Miguel"), and he's got a Man-Ape villain that Ka-Zar has previously fought named Maa-gor as his henchmen.
Malgato tells an origin of the Savage Land, tying it in to the Cataclysm that sunk Atlantis - something that also comes from the Ron E. Howard universe. Much later, in Ka-Zar's 1980s series, the Savage Land will be tied even more closely to Atlantis, with a portion of the Savage Land called Pangea actually serving as an ancient resort area for Atlantis. There's no hint of that here. This origin is just saying that the Savage Land is preserved by a ring of volcanoes that arose when Atlantis sunk.
The origin then turns into a recap of the Astonishing Tales series, including appearances by Garokk and Zaladane.
Malgato then sends pterodactyls after Ka-Zar and Zabu.
They bring him back to Malgato's castle, where the wizard lays out a phony story about the need for a male and female hero to have to sacrifice themselves to appease the Garokk the Sun God. Not buying the myth, Ka-Zar resists, but a powered-up Maa-Gor defeats him. Ka-Zar wakes up to find himself tied up next to Shanna the She-Devil.
Zabu helps Ka-Zar and Shanna escape. They regroup at the village of the Fall People, but Maa-Gor sends dinosaurs after them. This convinces the Fall People that Malgato's prophesy was true and they turn on Ka-Zar and Shanna, but things get suspicious when one triceratops eats a horse.
Based on Shanna's suspicions, Ka-Zar and Shanna raid Maa-Gor's castle again and find that the dinosaurs and pterodactyls were actually robots. Malgato escapes, leaving behind a mask.
Shanna needs to return home to try and find her father, but she tells Ka-Zar that he's her type.
The fact that the wizard wasn't really a wizard and the dinosaurs weren't really dinosaurs is an odd twist in a land that definitely has real wizards and dinosaurs. It seems to fit better with Shanna's point of view than Ka-Zar's. Also, this story is chock full of references to the events in Astonishing Tales and it was tedious when i hadn't read those issues and just seems like a waste of space now that i have. Freidrich's scripting is what you'd expect. The art isn't top notch either.
Quality Rating: D+
Chronological Placement Considerations: Takes place before Shanna's appearance in Daredevil #109.
Continuity Insert? N
My Reprint: N/A
Just being pernickety, but I think you mean Robert E Howard.
Posted by: JSfan | August 17, 2014 7:40 AM
Not the first time i've done that. Still holding out for Ron Howard to direct a Conan movie, i guess. Thanks.
Posted by: fnord12 | August 17, 2014 8:59 AM
Perhaps it's just me being silly, but the words "Triceratops eats horse" sounds like a great cover story for the Weekly World News!:-)
Posted by: Brian Coffey | February 9, 2018 3:11 AM
Gotta admit the opening splash of #1, featuring Ka-Zar and Zabu jumping from the plane with both wearing parachutes, always puts a smile on my face. Wish there was a scan of it here, but oh well, beggars can't be choosers, eh?
Posted by: Brian Coffey | May 30, 2018 11:49 PM
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