Published by DC Comics in 1979.
Story Written & Penciled by Mike Grell
Inked by Vince Colletta
The Story :
"Song of Ligia"
Travis Morgan aka The Warlord is sailing on a lone cargo ship along the shores of the lands of Skartaris. He spots the sailes of another ships and points it out to the ship's master, but these are not friends. The pirates attack and are met with a crew led by Travis Morgan. Our heor quickly makes a boarding action onto the pirate's ship, but he's struck by an arrow to his shoulder and knocked into the sea. There his mind swirls with memories as he clutches to a piece of one of the ships as a makeshift life raft. Then finally, in delusion he releases his grip and sinks deeply below the waters. Eventually Travis awakens to find himself in an idyllic setting under the sea with a green skinned woman whom calls herself Ligia. She tells him that she formed this place from his dreams and asks if he remembers his past, he answers that he doesn't. He quickly take to her and she reciprocates his affections. As time passes, she leaves and enter the sea to bring back foods for them both, then one day she returns, being attacked by monstrous mermen. Travis takes to the sea and fights her attackers, but one throws a harpoon meant for Ligia, but Travis takes the point
of it to save her. He begins to die, but she crys for him, she wants him to live and so she does the only thing she can do, use the last of her magic to save and return him to the surface world. Travis Morgan finds himself on a beach, Ligia is no where to be seen.
The Review :
This was the first issue of The Warlord that I bought. Prior I had seen it and been interested due to Mike Grell being the artist, but I wasn't a sword and sorcery fan just yet and the series was a hard one to get a hold of until this time. I was hooked. While it may not be the most original story or series for that matter, it was a fun ride at that time for me and helped get me into the genre.
The story is nothing new or original for the truth of it, but still rather fun to read again after all these years. Elements of a Star Trek episode with a touch of classic mermaid stories worked nicely. The pacing was good and the dailog plus naration not bad at all either. A simple story to buffer the next story arc in the series, obvious given some of the scenes and dialog within. It's a pity it was such a simple one off story, I liked Ligia, despite being a very flat character, I suppose it was the way she was drawn and her dialog reminding me of the Star Trek analogy of her, or I should say that she is of.
The art was really nice, despite Vinc Colletta being there on the inks, but I think it was only a backgrounds job for him as Mike Grell's style si barely diminished. I could guess that there was a word in Vince's ear, who knows? IF you've seen Mike Grell's Legion of Super-Heroes work or his Green Lantern, this will famaliar to you and something to enjoy. It was his typical clean lined work with some pages being lovely for posters. Some artists can pull that off and I think he shows he can here, years prior to Jim Lee being about. Ligia looks like a bikini gal straight out of a Star Trek meets John Carter of Mars show.
This was the start of a long collecting run for me until a year or more after Mike left the art chores behind. I've never regretted it, despite his... errrrr... "adapting" stories and characters for the series. The Warlord was one of those titles I looked forward to each month, an escape from the super-hero worlds and not as gritty as Marvel's Conan and company titles. This was a polished to a shine sword and sorcery series that helped me get into the genre. I suggest that you get the series, and this issue, from the start and read it in groups, I think it works best that way. Otherwise, get it just for the Mike Grell artwork and the gals he draws so nice.
For more info on The Warlord - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Warlord_(comics)