Savage Enterprises Publishing
Mike Aragona - Freelance Writer / Editor

Off The Rack


One Man's Views: Ka-Zar The Savage Notes #3 of 3 — If you've read the other 2 summaries, you already know that way back in the late 1990's, I was asked to review/ summarize Ka-Zar's previous appearances for an article in the Spanish translated re-launch of the series by Mark Waid. Realizing I never published those notes anywhere I wanted to make them available. Once again, here they are, very brief, very rough, but always fun. These summaries are for the The Savage series - my favorite of the whole lot! Hope you enjoy them!

Again, pre-warning. These aren't real reviews, and, considering they're over 30 years old now, I won't worry about spoilers. Let it be known, I'll be spilling the beans on all the storylines!! :)


Ka-Zar The Savage

#1 - Apr 81. W-Bruce Jones A-Brent Anderson (Ka-Zar, Shanna, and Zabu on cover)

Aptly titled "A New Dawn... A New World" this is the re-introduction of Ka-Zar to readers after the absence of his own title for the last 5 years. This Ka-Zar is somewhat of a thinker, or at least, a reflector. We see this is a new man from the opening pages as he watches a pack of wolves attack a rhino and he simply contemplates life in the Savage Jungle. He hears sounds of struggle and rushes off to investigate. There, he (surprisingly) finds Shanna trying to free a small dinosaur from a river. She notices him and asks for help. He shrugs and asks why he should bother since it'll only end up being a meal for another animal. A quick recap of who Shanna is and how she got to The Savage Land and Ka-Zar says:

"What have WE accomplished here hauling lizards out of the mud? I think we're both cowards! We've been rationalizing the fact that neither of us has the guts to face the challenge of a real job in an environment with real values."

Shanna throws a handful of dino-poop at Ka-Zar's face and a short struggle between them ends in a bout of lovemaking. Shanna states that she must be losing her touch since he's still pouting and he replies that he feels out of sorts and even Zabu noticed it. Shanna asks about how he and Zabu met and Ka-Zar recounts his origin for her. After a meal, Ka-Zar thinks out that maybe he and Shanna should settle down since they're fond of each other and all they're missing is a committment. Her reply: "Go find your cat, think about what you just said, then come back and we'll talk about lifetime committments. Fair?"

So, Ka-Zar heads off and tries to track his friend. The trail leads to a thundering waterfall and he realizes that there's something behind it. He steps through and into "...an incredible new land of incomparable beauty and immeasurable size! Stretching far beyond the puny boundaries of The Savage Land!" This is the land that we will come to know as Pangea. He hears a scream and rushes in to save Leanne, Queen of Zarhan from the Cat-People who are trying to capture her cat. While they lay low and follow them, she fills him in on her city. He finds out that her cat is ready to mate and is probably the reason why Zabu is there. Ka-Zar starts to feel something for her and makes advances, but he's interrupted when the tribe prepares to sacrifice the Queen's cat and Zabu jumps in to save her (so he jumps in to help). They free her and make good their escape and as Zabu and Felina cuddle, Ka-Zar declares himself to Leanne (and she reciprocates). They all make it to the city and when the guards bar Ka-Zar from entering, Leanne states that it might be for the best.

I'll quote the rest of the page for you: "You wouldn't fit in here, don't you see? Lemura is a city, not a jungle! It follows a very strict code of ethics and rules, a whole catalogue of do's and don'ts --a quagmire of politics and social doctrines! You'd suffocate here. You'd wither... you'd die..." "Which is a nice way of saying us jungle folk don't quite come up to your lofty station in life. Right?" "If it were only ME... but i've got a whole city to consider... a whole kingdom! I can't afford to be selfish. Please say you understand." "I understand that two people in love can overcome ANYTHING... that is, if they're really in love. How about that, Leanne?" "Oh Ka-Zar, I'd give my life for you... if it were MY life to give..." "I guess that's where we're different... I'd let the whole bloody jungle go up in flames if it tried to DICTATE my actions. But you wouldn't understand that... you're a woman of the people, aren't you?" "I love you Ka-Zar" "Sure... you bet. S'long your majesty. I hope you and Felina will be very happy together. If you're ever in the slums, drop in on us..." "Ka-Zar..."

"Don't look back, Zabu... it isn't real... it was all just a SILLY DREAM."

There ya go. Issue one. BANG. Right off the bat you KNOW this isn't the foolish little "Tarzan Wanna-Be/ Conan-Could-Be" of the previous series. You KNOW Bruce Jones KNOWS the inherent potential in the character and the WEALTH of stories to be told. Is it any wonder I grew to love this character so much?

#2- May 81. W-Bruce Jones A-Brent Anderson I-Carlos Garzon

The book starts with Ka-Zar lamenting last issue's events in the pouring rain. He then walks along and spots someone climbing a mountain and sees they're in trouble. He climbs up and we see it's Shanna. He tries to help, the rope snaps and they both fall. Shanna thinks they're going to die and yells out: "Ka-Zar! Oh, God! This is IT! This is REALLY it! I -- I LOVE you!" They bounce off the cliff and.... Ka-Zar wakes up to find himself being watched over by Winged Men in a Palace in the Clouds (Aerie Shalahn). After the ameneties, "Across the room, Shanna's eyes meet Ka-Zar's. Both remember her last words on the cliff... neither can yet deal with them. And the moment passes."

As we begin to learn more of Shalahn, a band of PTERONS attack. They drop a scout and we learn that the Pterons have taken Queen Leanne as prisoner. Zarhan is one of Shalahn's most valued allies and they plan to save her. Ka-Zar freaks and walks out. Shanna notes that this really isn't like him. Alone, he laments to Zabu, "What would I do if I had to CHOOSE between them, Zabu? What if it ever REALLY came down to that?" Aha! He knows he can't turn his back on her, so he goes back to the Aerie and helps.

They make their way to the caves where the Pterons live, and Shanna leaves to set a triggering mechanism to collapse the caves, while Ka-Zar goes to rescue Leanne. When he rushes into her room, he finds that she's actually in love with a Winged Man (Sep). Shanna is actually there to witness Leanne's and Ka-Zar's arguments after Sep leaves them alone. We find out that Sep bargained with the Pterons to capture her and take her to a remote part of Pangea so they can "elope" since she had found out Lemura was totally corrupt and became nothing more than a Prisoner instead of Queen.

Ka-Zar flips: "In return for WHAT? -- throwing your own kingdom into CHAOS and enslavement to the Pterson? And what about this -- this BIRDGUY, Sep? Is he just another means to an end, like I was? Did you tell him you loved HIM... like you told me?" But we find that Sep not only betrayed his people, but her as well (when the Pteron King walks in on them with Sep in tow). Ka-Zar totally flips out and attacks. The Shalahns, hearing his battle cries, join in the fray. After a bit, the triggering mechanism go off, and Ka-Zar instructs Shanna and Leanne to take off. As he follows, he gets caught in falling rocks and when he recovers hears yells of help. He follows the sounds to see Leanne and Shanna hanging over a precipice. "And even as the jungle lord watches, the narrow ledge supporting the two women he loves splits and crumbles beneath his fingers... both women fall simultaneously -- and in that micro-second, Ka-Zar knows that he has time to save only one... it is a choice that he must live with for the rest of his life..." "KA-ZAR! ... I ... I... you chose ME..."

Now tell me again. Is this guy just incredible or what? His characters come to LIFE so easily! REAL humans with their own idiosyncracies and everything! You just didn't see that then, and you actually don't really see it these days much either.

#3- Jun 81. W-Bruce Jones A-Brent Anderson I-Carlos Garzon

At the Aerie, Shann and Ka-Zar are teamed up in a game of arial badmington (or something similar :) ) and during the give and take, there is a long discussion / argument between them. He wants to leave "for a little while" and she knows he wants to go look for Leanne's body. The way the discussion goes is truly incredible in its believability. I'm tempted to quote the whole thing but it IS very long. Suffice it to say, that after the verbal explosion Shanna walks off.

Next, Ka-Zar is a guest at something like a gladiatorial match. Buth, the strongest one there, challenges Ka-Zar and after some insults, Ka-Zar decides to take him on and let off steam. Buth hits him when he's not looking and Ka-Zar gets totally pissed. He CREAMS him while telling a long joke! Buth's girlfriend makes a play for Ka-Zar, but he's not interested. He heads over to Shanna's room to apologize only to find her packing.

Ok, this is long, but this one I'll quote for you. "Going somewhere? I thought I was the one looking for a vacation..." "I've got my veterinary work back in the Savage Land. I can't hang around here in Pangea all year playing bala and chatting with bird-people." "Look, I'm sorry if I got a little hot under the collar earlier, I didn't mean--" "Spare yourself, friend. We both know it's me who should be apologizing. I was way out of line. I'm sorry. And I've been thinking over what you said. I agree. You should take off on your own. In fact, I insist on it." "You're wrong about Leanne. I don't love her -- at least I don't think I do... I mean, perhaps I could, but--" "You see? Listen to yourself! Ka-Zar, old kid, the truth is, you don't know who you love or what you want or where you're going. You're so screwed up about yourself you can't feel an honest emotion when it runs over you. But look, babe, I'm not Gail Sheey. You'll have to find your own 'passages' so start looking." "Wena thinks you're in love with me. What do you think?" "...I don't think it much matters what Wena or I think right now. What matters is that you go out and find Ka-Zar. After you've done that we can talk about Shanna or Leanne or whatever you want. All right? Okay?" "Okay. ...okay... I'm... sorry, Shanna..." "Don't. Just don't. L-look, I-I'm --I really n-need to get packed, y'know?" "Sure. Uh... a kiss good-bye?" "*sigh* Ka-Zar, for the love of God, do something right for once in your life and just GO!" "Yeah... right. Okay. S'long then..." "Wait..." "Where'd you get the shiner?" "I got hit by a Buth" "You mean a bus. I think you're developing a lisp...I hope so. It would be a relief to us all. Lord. Why do men get better looking as they get older?" "I'll stay over another day if you will..." "Not a chance" "How about half a day?" "Forget it." "Half an hour?..." "...you're on..."

(smile) All through this, Buth's woman watched and heard. And then flew off. During a game of mock arial battle, Shanna falls off her mount and Dephine (Buth's woman) gives her a WILD one which takes her away. Late in the day, no sign of Shanna. And some of the people in the game have turned out to be poisoned. Typ, the leader of the Shalahn, is assasinated and avenged by Ka-Zar. Dephine explains what she did, and Ka-Zar and Buth fly off to the birthing place of the mount Shanna is strapped to.

#4- July 81. W-Bruce Jones A-Brent Anderson I-Carlos Garzon

Shanna's mount gets struck by lightning and falls into the ocean. Ka-Zar tells Buth he should go back since he's the leading warrior and should lead Shalahn. He continues on as we switch to Shanna lying on the border of an island somewhere, unconscious. Ka-Zar's mount, weary from the ride, finally drops into the ocean in site of the island. Ka-Zar swims to sea, dragging the mount with him. Then, hearing a scream, he rushes over to save Shanna from a dinosaur. Shanna can't remember anything, so Ka-Zar recaps the last 3 issues for us (an her of course :) ). They smooch and when he sleeps, Shanna gets up and walks into a building somewhere. Through a doorway, she comes upon the body of Leanne hooked up to a large machine. She reaches for some cables and is about to kill her when she's stopped by Sep!! We learn that Sep managed to save Leanne, but she was in a coma. He hooked her up and recently he was the one that found Shanna. He hooked her up as well and transferred Leanne's "mind" into Shanna's body and vice-versa! Shanna/Leanne goes back to Ka-Zar after muddying herself up and tells him that Sep is on the island and he'd just attacked her! He rushes over and during their fight Leanne's body falls off the machine. Sep, upset at her treachery, tells Ka-Zar the truth. Shanna flips and tries to attack but Ka-Zar knocks her out and puts her on the machine. Sep restores her and Ka-Zar and Shanna leave Sep to keep watch over the comatose body of Leanne.

#5- Aug 81. W-Bruce Jones A-Brent Anderson I-Carlos Garzon

Ka-Zar and Shanna ride home on a skite and as they're flying over an ocean, he spots Zabu swimming towards the direction they had come. Ka-Zar dives off and swims up under Zabu for a little play-fighting. When they all get to land, Ka-Zar explains to Shanna about the "mental bond" he and Zabu share and we learn of how they grew up together. Then he tells of a story involving big cats: Tongah shows up and he and Ka-Zar greet each other in a much nicer manner than they ever did in "Lord of the Hidden Jungle" -- "Still looking like the last of the mohicans I see" "Still running around like an ape, I see" "Ha-Ha! It's good to see your ugly face again, Tongah!" But it's not a pleasant reunion as he explains that a saber-tooth tiger has attacked his village and killed a boy and mauled his father. Since Ka-Zar has a law that no "long-tooth" are to be killed, they ask his permission which he readily gives because if a long-tooth attacks a village, it must be dealt with. As Tongah, Ka-Zar, and the man who'd been attacked set out to find the cat, the man flips out and attacks them. Ka-Zar kills him with an arrow because he had caught Rabies. They continued their trek and Tongah gets attacked. Ka-Zar rushes over but couldn't tell if it was Zabu or not. He's not sure how, but he missed the cat who, in its rabies-crazed mind, attacked and was killed by a T-Rex.

Let me quote these very emotion-filled pages: "It didn't take an expert to see that the animal had been in the final, most infectious stages of the disease... or to notice the tooth-marks on Tongah's arm and the teeming, microscopic death they contained... Tongah made light of the 'scratches' as we walked towards his village... but we both knew he'd never make it... At sundown he turned to me, smiled and grasped my shoulder. Then, he disappeared into the jungle. When he returned, he bore a leather cloack, the freshly skinned pelt of a recently hunted carnivore. We built his funeral pyre. I helped apply his facial paint --symbolic of all he was clothed in at birth. I placed the cloak --his death raimant-- symbolic of a warrior's spirit on earth-- about his shoulders. I handed Tongah my knife and stood away as he sang his death song to the sun, hidden then, behind a gloom overcast. Just before he drew the gleaming blade to his breast, the clouds parted briefly and the fiery orb enveloped him in its blood-red light... In a single day, I'd lost my two dearest friends. Tongah and Zabu... I can't remember a time when I felt less like living... But the day was not finished. I still had to tell the village of the Kau People how bravely their two warriors had died. It was the lonliest walk of my life. But the sight that greeted me on my arrival soon released all the pent-up emotion of the past several days. I laughed at the same time that I cried... I had to marvel at how persistant and courageous these people were, to be able to trap a cat like Zabu that way! Lord bless him, he never looked better, poor baby!" "So THAT'S what started all the questions... what made you reconsider the value of civilization. You thought that civilization had a loftier, more HUMANE cure for rabies... that in the Savage Land, it was just 'claw and fang'..." "It all sounds pretty silly to you, doesn't it?" "No, not silly... though the fact that Rabies vaccine doesn't grow on trees doesn't mean the Savage Land's 'cure' is any less humane than civilization's. I doubt that Tongah would have traded a day out of his life here in exchange for that serum if he'd known it existed." "IF he'd known. But he didn't know, did he? That's just it... I'M the one who knows... g'night Shanna"

Wow. The power of the writing, is just too stunning. I've GOT to meet Bruce Jones one day.

#6 - Sep 81. W-Bruce Jones A-Brent Anderson I-Carlos Garzon

Shanna starts hallucinating all kinds of things happening and Ka-Zar can't figure out why. Ka-Zar gets stung by a giant scorpion and at night, Shanna hears strange music and follows it to Dherk of Atlantis who seems to exist in solid-state for only brief periods. He takes liberties in kissing Shanna and she lets him without knowing why. He becomes more insistent the next day, especially as Ka-Zar has fallen into a coma. But, her loyalty to Ka-Zar gives her the strength to turn down Dherk's offer. She finds a way to move him, but they are soon attacked by a Pterodactyl. Zabu fights him off but gets injured. So, Shanna tells him to rest and she picks up the reigns and pulls. Dherk keeps insisting she leave him and join her and finally wears her down with promise of a cure for Ka-Zar. But, she passes out and since he doesn't want her to die in the cold (they were trying to climb to a top of a mountain) Dherk makes himself solid and carries her and Ka-Zar to his lab. When Ka-Zar later wakes her up, we find that Dherk just recently died (saving them)

#7 - Oct 81. W-Bruce Jones A-Brent Anderson/Jerry Bingham I-Carlos Garzon

Ka-Zar ribs Shanna about Dherk while she ribs him about Leanne. Then, they sleep and Ka-Zar has a nightmare in which he came up against and fought his father during a raid on a village. The word 'coward' seemed to come up over and over during the dream while he fought his way through dozens of men and situations. He fights his way to an arena and saves everyone there but then before he could escape, he gets caught by a beast looking like a giant human heart. He breaks free and kills it and everything crumbles away. The last couple of pages of the book are Shanna and Ka-Zar analyzing what the dream represented. A little too quirky to go into, though.

#8 - Nov 81. W-Bruce Jones A-Brent Anderson I-Carlos Garzon

Shanna and Ka-Zar go back to Dherk's lab to look around. They find that Dherk's body has been moved and hooked into another machine where he seems to be alive. Then, they're attacked by a kind of robot. They escape temporarily into a main room and learn all about the technological wonder which Pangea really is. As Dherk (who's essence has been transferred to a robotic simulcrum) relates, it was "A resort and vacation spot for all Atlanteans. They used the Savage Land as a Game Refuge and Stock Area... genetic experiments conducted there...". The machines controlling Pangea's climate have been damaged, though, and must be fixed.

#9 - Dec 81. W-Bruce Jones A-Brent Anderson I-Carlos Garzon

Dherk, Shanna, and Ka-Zar head off to fix the great machines. Then, they go into a type of museum where (they believe) little mechanical copies of living creatures are stored. Shanna's eyes fall on a griffin and she steals it. Dherk comes after her the next night and as they're about to fight, he explains that the griffin is real and that it'll grow to normal size since it's no longer in it's enclosed dome! And sure enough, it grows, and the three heroes track it down. Zabu wounds it a little but it gets away and when the gang reaches up to it, it's attacking the Aerie. During the battle, Ka-Zar sends a rock into its eyeball and it falls back into a volcano. "The volcano erupts, spraying ash out over the valley... ripping an enormous gash in the volcano's base, where Dherk had stood" they get closer and see an inscription on a man-made entrance: "Abandon Hope All Ye Who Enter Here!" as mocking laughter drifts out of it.

#10 - Jan 82. W-Bruce Jones A-Brent Anderson I-Carlos Garzon

Shanna believes what they found is the entrance to hell as written by Dante Alighieri. "I know what you're thinking, Kevin -- it's only a poem, right? Well, a lot of people think Dante was divinely inspired... some even believe he really MADE the trip through hades with the aid of the poet Virgil and wrote down what he saw. And from the way that headstone smells..." They decide to go deeper, and it does indeed look like the bowels of hell. They meet Charon (guide and ferryman to the underworld) who takes them across. After a short ride, Ka-Zar gets up, makes a joke, and rips off Charon's head. He figured that since Pangea was supposed to be a "Disneyland" for the Atlanteans, this was another ride. They keep going on and seem to come across every level of hell, but all seemingly feeling like an amusement park attraction. Even Zabu finally follows them into the cave to help fight off Cerebus (who manages to knock Dherk off a cliff)! Unfortunately, after a while, they DO get attacked by flesh and blood demons. They fight them off and get back on the ferry and make their way into a city...

Special note on this issue: this marks the first issue of Ka-Zar to be sold in Specialty Stores and Subscription ONLY. No more newstand sales. Ka-Zar, along with Moon Knight and Micronauts were the first 3 books Marvel decided to test direct-sales on. They also all went up to 32 pages for 75 cents (where before they were less pages for 50 cents). This issue also has the drawing of issue 1 Brent originally drew (he was asked to come up with something more ferocious). It's a beauty!

#11 - Feb 82. W-Bruce Jones A-Brent Anderson I-Josef Rubinstein

As the troupe makes their way deeper into the city, they enter a castle and find a painting of Beatrice Portinari (Dante's great love) along with a locket of hers and what seems to be the ship's log of Dante's ship. It spoke of a "false sorcerer-priest, Belasco, was accused of heresy and tried for attempting to summon from the outer world, beings whom he called the 'Elder Gods' in an effort to attain immortality. Belasco has long harbored a secret passion for my own beloved, Beatrice. And when he was freed from his prison by his sorcerous familiars, he kidnapped her and fled italy by ship" it continues to relate Dante's trip to catch up with Belasco, how he made his way through the Savage Land and Pangea, and how he finally caught up to Beatrice on an alter, giving birth to horrible monsters. Ka-Zar, Shanna, Buth, and Zabu continue on, get attacked by Harpies, are split up. Ka-Zar finds his way into the control room, to see a 'hypnotized' Dherk, Shanna dressed up to look like Beatrice, and finally comes face to face with Belasco, indeed still alive!

This issue also contains a 5 page backup story by Bruce Jones and Gil Kane called "Tales of Zabu!" which feature Zabu as a "kitten"

#12 - Mar 82. W-Bruce Jones A-Brent Anderson I-Armando Gil

Belasco explains how he plans to use Shanna to give birth to his children. Beatrice wasn't strong enough to survive the childbirth, but Shanna should be able to. Then he shows off Buth whom he's got pinned to a cross. He lets him go and his minions shoot him down with arrows. Ka-Zar keeps attempting to attack, but he's not strong enough. As he holds Ka-Zar by the throat with his tail, he commands Dherk to dismantle himself (which he does). Belasco explains his side of the story: "Seven centuries ago, in Italy, through my practice of alchemy and the black arts, I was able to summon the Elder Gods' Demonic entities from a parallel universe whose chief desire was to invade and rule earth. I struck a bargain with them -- I promised to help them enter earth's plane permanently, using an unfinished pentagonal arragement of stones and a special incantation and they granted my wish for extraordinary powers and immortality. They also changed my human form to one that more resembled their own, adding horns and a magnificent tail, and gave me the privilege of becoming father to a new demonic race -- the race that I would soon populate earth! Yet, I needed a bride. I kidnapped the lovely Beatrice and we sailed to the site of this mountain, which the elder gods had indicated was the perfect location upon which to carry out the spell." Ka-Zar is put in a freezing chamber and Belasco walks away with Shanna. Ka-Zar pounds on the door, and somehow Dherk hears him. His hand crawls away to go unlock the door and free Ka-Zar. He makes his way to the top of the volcano, and Buth and his warriors join the fray against Belasco's demons while he's busy setting the spell to free the elder gods. Ka-Zar jumps at Shanna and rips Beatrice's locket from her (which contained the incomplete pentagon) and tossed it into the volcano and "...its stones land upon the surface of boiling lava... seconds later there follows a brilliant flash of all-consumming light. And as the dimensional passage begins to close above them... but the elder gods are not pleased... and in reply, Belasco's supplicant form explodes in a riot of flame and flesh, hurling backward into the turbulent depths of the chasm below".

Tales of Zabu showed how, after his mother had been killed, he was adopted and raised by wolves as one of them until the sibling rivalry ends in two male wolves being killed (one wolf killed his brother, and Zabu avenged him) and then Zabu left "home"

#13 - Apr 82. W-Bruce Jones A-Brent Anderson I-Armando Gil

Ka-Zar and Shanna have a little argument about future commitments. For example: "But what you did say in so many words is that you'd like to be married, right?" "Maybe. What of it? I'm certainly not twisting YOUR arm!" "You mean you've got someone else in mind?" "Oh sure! One of my MANY suitors! All the chimps in the jungle are panting after me!" ... and later... "Look, if you want to settle down, just come out and say it." "Settle down? With WHO? With what? ... how can we find anything bluer than moody old Kevin Plunder? Old wishy-washy-I'll-love-you-all-my-life-until-I-change-my-mind Kevin... just tell me one thing: why the hell did you ever say you loved me if you didn't plan on sticking to it? Huh? Why?" After that argument, Shanna falls into a river and gets swept into a waterfall. Ka-Zar jumps in after her but the part he dives in is too shallow and he knocks himself out. She's rescued by a "Monkey-Man" and brought to his village. There, she immerses herself in their culture and their ways. And, as Ka-Zar treks through treacherous jungle terrain in order to find her, she begins to fall in love with Mele and his daugther. Ka-Zar even breaks down during the trek in pain and fatigue, but he manages to get near. In fact, he rescues Mele's daughter from a Pterodactyl which is the catalyst that forces Shanna to marry Mele (his wife died, and he would have had to kill himself as well if not for the fact that he had to take care of his daughter. But, thinking her dead, he realizes that he must kill himself. Shanna, to prevent that, and because she did care deeply for him, wed him to keep him alive and with her). As Shanna pledges her love to Mele, Ka-Zar shows up, carrying Mele's daughter.

#14 - May 82. W-Bruce Jones A-Brent Anderson I-Armando Gil

Mele is ecstatic to see his daughter and embraces his life to Ka-Zar. During supper, Mele tells him of his wedding to Shanna and Ka-Zar almost chokes on his food (He knows their language and can communicate without difficulty). There's this great scene where Ka-Zar walks away thinking about Shanna being married and he bumps into a little tree. "Damn, stupid trees! Stupid thorns! Stupid JUNGLE!" and he breaks the tree in half "What the hell am I doing here ANYWAY!" he throws the broken tree away "I belong in the city! The CITY! Not this bloody refuge for baboons!" He sits on the floor, dejected. "Ka-Zar strong like a bull! ... Ka-Zar kill tree, put tree in its place... Ka-Zar stupid, foolish, jealous little boy..." You know what else we learn this issue? That Ka-Zar means "Son of the Tiger". As Kevin explains to Mele, "I have lightning-like reflexes and the supple strength of the Sabre-Tooth" Ka-Zar joins Mele in a ritual hunt for Rhinos. Shanna and Leila (the daughter) head off to the stream to wash some clothes. Shanna breaks down and says, "Oh, Leila... I love you very much, I DO! I've ALWAYS wanted a daughter as long as I can remember... but I think I've gone and done something just awful. I've made my life with one man while I'm... I'm *sob* still in love with another" (Leila doesn't understand all this, of course). During the hunt, Ka-Zar, Mele, and the Rhino they're hunting fall over a cliff. On the bottom, Ka-Zar's spear is sticking out of Mele. As he dies, he gets the truth from Ka-Zar about how much he loves Shanna. Then, the rest of the party arrives and belive that HE killed Mele!

In the "Tales of Zabu" section, we see his first love and how one day he came home to find her murdered. He tracks the killers and they turn out to be none other than the Ape-Men who've JUST cornered Kevin Plunder and are about to kill him!

#15 - Jun 82. W-Bruce Jones A-Brent Anderson I-Armando Gil

Ka-Zar is taken to the village and since Shanna is the widow, she gets the honor of beheading him. She fakes the cut and sets him free then tosses a dagger to him. They have a fake fight and as they get a little clear from the others, they run. Then, Shanna takes Leila and tells everyone to let them go or she'll kill her (Leila knows she won't). When they get clear, Leila says she has to go back. Shanna doesn't want as she loves her and she's now her daughter, but Leila knows she belongs with her people and Shanna belongs with Ka-Zar.

"Tales of Zabu" explains how Maa-Gor was the leading cause of the Sabre-Tooth population almost being extinct. He'd been attacked and scarred by one and decided to kill them all. So, now, we see Zabu attacking the tribe, effectively saving Kevin, and Kevin returning the favor by shooting Maa-Gor as he was sneaking up on Zabu.

#16 - Jul 82. W-Bruce Jones A-Ron Frenz I-Armando Gil

They return to The Savage Land, bickering all the way about committments and everything, and during their trek interrupt a tribe from sacrificing a lemur. After they settle down to rest, things start happening. Zabu runs off to fight a predator only to be killed when a giant boulder is thrown on his head. Ka-Zar rushes after and falls into a bear pit and gets a stake through his leg. When he comes out, he finds Shanna hung from a tree. He freaks and then hears a giggling. He turns and sees a giant red slug with teeth and tentacles and attacks it like he's never attacked anything before. "You are strong, hideous one. You are powerful beyond anything I have yet faced... ever conceived. Yet you will die this day! You will perish under the hand of KA-ZAR THE SAVAGE! ... for you have taken away everything that made my life worth living! You have left me with nothing... nothing.. But emptiness... and hatred. Die now, beast! Die FOR ZABU! Die FOR SHANNA! DIE!... DIE!... DIE!..." and then he collapses from exhaustion. When he opens his eyes, the lemur is on top of him and he's being held by energy bands. The lemur explains that he's an alien who's on earth to fight another member of his species whom Ka-Zar just killed. The Lemur would have died if Ka-Zar hadn't saved him and he wins the game because of Ka-Zar as well. The lemur explains that all will be set to how it was with only Ka-Zar remembering anything about it. They go back in time and Ka-Zar is in the cave that separates Pangea from The Savage Land. Seconds later, Shanna comes out and Ka-Zar just crushes her to him in a long kiss and tells her to NEVER leave him alone again.

#17 - Aug 82. W-Bruce Jones A-Ron Frenz I-Steve Mitchell

A very interesting story. Ka-Zar and Shanna are trying to solve a murder, but all the while, Ka-Zar's dreaming that he's a detective from a pulp novel. In fact, to him, the dream he's living is real life (because he ate a poison root). He hunts Shanna (him believing he's tracking her in New York, her knowing they're in The Savage Land) and at the end Zabu turns around and jumps on Ka-Zar because the poison wore off on him first. Like I said, an interesting tale, with the action going back and forth from reality to Kevin's dreamworld.

#18 - Sep 82. W-Bruce Jones A-Brent Anderson I-Armando Gil

Ka-Zar surprises Shanna with their incredible new tree-home. Then, a plane comes down nearby and they meet some rich woman named Ramona who came there on a Botany expedition. Ka-Zar is fascinated by her stories of life in New York and she practically throws herself all over him. Shanna eventually confronts the scheming witch and when the truth surfaces, they struggle. During their fight, Ramona's gun goes off... and nails Ka-Zar right in the forehead.

The inside front and back covers starting including fumetti stories (marvel joke-pieces done in panel-photo style) this issue, as well as wrap-around fold-out cover pieces.

#19 - Oct 82. W-Bruce Jones A-Brent Anderson I-Armando Gil

Ka-Zar is brought to Manhattan but manages to escape from the airport. The bullet in his head is causing him to act completely irrational and a lot more savage. He stops a mugging and makes short work of the punks doing it, swings into a burning building and saves a child. Ramona decides to find Ka-Zar a different route than Shanna. She goes to NY State Prison to speak with the warden and, one by one, she drugs everyone she comes in contact with. Until, eventually, she reaches the cell of KRAVEN THE HUNTER!

#20 - Nov 82. W-Bruce Jones A-Ron Frenz I-Armando Gil

Kraven laughs at Ramona and tells her he's in jail because HE wants to be. But, when she hands him the newspaper clipping showing Ka-Zar, he sees his woman Calypso has been taken to jail and thus he decides to help. "I like a little warm-up before I square off with the web-spinner" and suddenly Ramona knows Kraven isn't going to capture Ka-Zar, but kill him. Ka-Zar, meanwhile, is starting to focus a little better and begins to remember who he is. Unfortunately, there is some damage and although he can think clearer, he can't speak. Kraven does track him down and the battle is long and fierce. It ends in a somewhat funny way with Ka-Zar on a rooftop with Shanna jumping towards him from the north, Zabu from the south, Kraven from the east, and Ramona on the west aiming a rifle at Kraven.

#21 - Dec 82. W-Bruce Jones A-Ron Frenz I-Mel Candido

Ramona shoots and Kraven falls back from the building. Ka-Zar rushes over and grabs him to keep him from dying. He slips and Shanna grabs Ka-Zar. The wall crumbles, and all three fall... and bounce! Spider-Man set up a webbing net and saved them all. Spidey and Kraven begin boasting their bravado until Shanna shuts them up and tells them of Kevin's condition. Kraven freaks because all during their battle he had no idea Ka-Zar wasn't well. She rushes to call and ambulance and Kraven administers a jungle drug to Ka-Zar. A nice line from Shanna "Who ARE you? Kraven? What's behind that beetling brow? I can't decide whether to hate you or kiss you..."

Ka-Zar is taken to a hospital, and meets up with Peter Parker ("I'm sort of an acquaintance of Spider-Man, he asked me to look in on you and your friend"). Shanna needs to unwind a little, so while Ka-Zar rests, she and Peter go to the park. She tells him of how she got to The Savage Land. "I always loved working with big animals and they don't come much bigger than the descendants of the cretaceous age. And of course where there're dinosaurs, there's Ka-Zar the Savage ... we just kept banging into each other. I was always studiously dragging some warthog from a tar pit and Kevin was always beating on his chest, bellowing like an ape, and saying trendy things like: Ka-Zar strong like a bull' or 'Lord Ka-Zar monarch of all jungle!'... beyond a certain point it all got pretty silly... So, being the tactful, diplomatic, politic person I am, I approached the subject... he didn't take it so well. HATES to be yelled at. He hit me, I fell down, then I got up and kicked him in the groin. Then he got up and split my lip. Then I jumped on his back and bloodied his nose. Then he pulled me off and wrenched my shoulder. Then I slapped his face and spit in his eye. Then he picked me up and threw me about twenty feet. Then I got on top of him and pummeled the tar out of him for half and hour. Then he got on top of me and told me he was going to tear my lungs out. I called him an illiterate sissy. He accused me of dyeing my hair. Well, that REALLY teed me off! I grabbed onto his hair... he has wonderful hair, Kevin has... soft and wavy, silky to the touch, not rough like you'd think it would be... and his eyes... deep, beautiful, expressive eyes, filled with excitement, passion... and his lips... his lips... *sigh*... the man can kiss, Peter, my friend... the man can certainly *sob* kiss..." They head back to the hospital and the doctor tells them that Ka-Zar died.

#22 - Jan 83. W-Bruce Jones A-Ron Frenz I-Mel Candido

Shanna goes through life in a complete daze. Completely unfocused. She throws herself at Peter and then yells that she hates Kevin... hates him for leaving her alone. She gets a phone call that something's happened to Zabu and rushes out, hijacks a cab, and races to the zoo to find that Ramona shot him!!! That's it! She flips! She knocks out the man who gave her the news and frees ALL the zoo animals while the police finally manage to capture her and send her to an insane asylum. Spidey busts her out and she breaks free of her restraint and goes after Ramona. She attacks her and unwigs her! And then is SHOT by the doctor who operated on Ka-Zar!!!

#23 - Feb 83. W-Bruce Jones A-Bob Hall & Armando Gil I-Armando Gil

Ka-Zar and Zabu, alive and well, and being forced into action by someone who sends electrical shocks through him whenever he doesn't obey?! What's going on!? Well, Ramona is actually nothing more than a SPY, working for AIM!!! (Remember them?). They want him and Zabu to help capture another enemy. Ramona tells him that he actually did die for a few seconds, but they restored him. Then, while she's using him as a sex puppet, she thinks to herself that even their abilities aren't powerful enough to keep him alive forever, and that he WILL die in a few days. Meanwhile, the form hovering over Shanna belongs to none other than Spider-Man. Seems Shanna's wound wasn't that serious but that she fell back and struck her head against something.

#24 - Mar 83. W-Bruce Jones A-Bob Hall & Armando Gil I-Armando Gil

We learn a bit more about what the AIM fuss is. A man named Shreiber stole a formula for a powerful explosive using plants found in the Savage Land. "You accidentaly shoot me, then your AIM scientists in New York save my life, then you whisk me out here and force me to help you in this raid on one of your rivals in the world domination biz. Why?" "AIM wanted to see how a subject revived with their experimental technology would survive in combat. Also, we needed another hand in this mission... a savage hand, if you will. Those are the official reasons." "And the Unofficial?" "I WANTED you" In the city, Peter and Shanna are together as he's helping her through her grief. She asks to go see Ka-Zar again. In the morgue, she talks to the cabinet where he's supposedly resting. Ka-Zar is actually storming the Shreiber's stronghold and single-handedly destroys everything. Let's just say he was royally pissed and leave it that, ok? "Congratulations, Ka-Zar! You've captured our most dangerous enemy! And with the explosives he's created, AIM will be invincible!" "I don't like explosives and I don't like people who use them. I activiated the installation's self-destruct mechansm. I'm afraid there'll be no winners this round" "He blew up the compound! The formula's been destroyed! Ka-Zar! Shanna's dead meat!" "I don't think so, Ramona. I think I've finally figured out what's really going on." "No matter what you do Ka-Zar, you'll regret it. That I guarantee!"

#25 - Apr 83. W-Bruce Jones A-Ron Frenz I-Armando Gil

Ok, it's a little fast-paced. Shanna realizes something is screwy and doesn't add up which means that Ka-Zar's still alive so she rushes to the morgue to check but the body doesn't wake up. Peter has to slap her to snap her out of it. Unfortunately, she then falls into a state of catatonia. Ka-Zar, meanwhile, is on the plane Ramona originally used to bring him to Manhattan and we see she has some samples of the explosive formula. She orders Zabu thrown from the plane and Ka-Zar gets pushed as well. He grabs hold of Ramona's foot and when he lets go, she falls back into the vials and BOOM goes the plane while Ka-Zar lands in the ocean and is rescued by a fisherman's net. Spidey goes home to contemplate what's happened to Shanna and finds Ka-Zar there. (Ka-Zar learned of Spidey's Peter secret in Marvel Fanfare #2). He makes his way to the hospital, but Spidey blocks his path and tells him of how bad off she is right now. "If she's lost her mind because she thinks I'm dead, then seeing me might CURE her!" but spidey doesn't think so. Thus, they leap at each other, ready to battle!

#26 - May 83. W-Bruce Jones A-Ron Frenz I-Armando Gil

We find that the doctor who's running Electro Shock Therapy on Shanna is under Ramona's employ. Ka-Zar and Spidey burst in, make short work of everyone, and then Ka-Zar takes them all home to The Savage Land. They finally make it, and Ka-Zar passes out. Shanna is propped against a tree and that's how Buth finds them when he flies in, with Shanna yelling that Ka-Zar is dead.

#27 - Aug 83. W-Bruce Jones A-Armando Gil

Buth takes them to Aerie Shalan and asks if Dherk can cure Ka-Zar. With Aerian and Atlantean technology, Buth and Dherk enter Ka-Zar's mind and then Shanna's mind (where they also meet up with Mele). It's a long and fearsome battle through Shanna's minds and fears, but in the end, she pulls through and helps out as well. They all come out of their dreamstate, but Ka-Zar has to stay in his tube to recover. "You DID it, Shanna! He's out of his coma!" "Can we go home now, darling?" "I'd love to! I feel like a test-tube baby in this thing!" "Better give him a couple of weeks, Shanna." "Give me more than that, Shanna. A LIFETIME out to be sufficient" "Are you PROPOSING?" "That's what it sounds like... tell you when I wake up..."

#28 - Oct 83. W-Mike Carlin (from an idea by Bruce Jones) A-Armando Gil I-Mike Mignola

We see Sep and the inert body of Leanne. A voice comes from somewhere and offers Leanne's life if Sep would follow as well. He agrees. We shift to the Aerie where Shanna's trying to work through some anger. Seems she doesn't want to rely on someone so much that what happened to her can happen again. We find out that there's a volcano will is threatening to erupt and Ka-Zar has volunteered to go in and set off an explosion to prevent that. Shanna states she's coming as well. They're still in "fight" mode and Ka-Zar's not sure he'll even get a chance to give her the ring Dherk made for him. In the volcano, after a battle with a creature, they set about putting the machine together. Ka-Zar asks Shanna to hand him a map from his pouch and when she opens it, she finds the ring and a sheet of paper Ka-Zar's scribbled all over in how he'll ask her to marry him and things like 'Shanna Plunder' on it. The machine begins to hummm and they rush out. Outside, "Hey, Look! We did it! We blew a hole in the wall just like Dherk said we would! We've averted the danger to Shalan! So? Do we make a great team or what?" "Yes. We do okay." "Well?" "'well' what?" "You really know how to make a guy sweat, don't you? Will you... be... my wife?" "Yes, Kevin... yes" They kiss, and the volcano erupts!! When they get to safety, Dherk surveys the area. "Cursed underground caverns! I thought I'd accounted for everything!" He spots a small island and flies down to see Sep. Sep explains that "HE" would come and bring Leanne back to life. Who? Asks Dherk. ... BELASCO!

#29 - Dec 83. W-Mike Carlin A-Ron Frenz I-Armando Gil (Double-sized wedding issue)

As Ka-Zar and Shanna hold their wedding ceremony in The Temple of Vant, legend-laden circle of Shalanian worship, Queen Leanne has returned to her people and has gathered her army to attack the Aerie with the help of the Pterons! The ceremony is interrupted as the armies rage through and Belasco shows himself. Turns out the diamond Dherk used in making the ring for Ka-Zar was actually one of the blood stones of Belasco! When Shanna put the ring on, it allowed Belasco the ability to contact his demon gods. He gives the couple a potion to drink which makes them half-demon, and then uses his stone to perform a ritual on Leila. He taints her with evil and ages her. Leanne who was happily at Belasco's side, changed her mind when she found out she'd be ruling a world of demons, and thus breaks his machinery, freeing Ka-Zar and Shanna. Belasco makes another gemstone from Leila's soul, and then steals back Leanne's energy. As Belasco advances, and the Aerien peoples are being devastated, Shanna begins reading from a book of magic. She reaches the proper incantation just as Ka-Zar shoves a sword through him. He disappears and everyone returns to normal. Before they rejoin the fight, Wend, the priestess who was to perform the ceremony, states that it's time to continue. "Don't you see that if you go charging into the middle of this battle... one or both of you might not return. If you don't do it now... forever hold your peace!" They do it, and it's a short Aerien ceremony. As they reach the Aerie, they are surrounded by the enemy.

#30 - Feb 84. W-Mike Carlin A-Marv Wilshire / Ricardo Villamonte I-Carlos Garzon

In the midst of being a captive, Ka-Zar breaks free and with some quick thinking (he took Leanne's inert body and threatened to behead it if no one listened to him) he forced all the peoples to unite in council. (Lemurans, Aerie, Botor, Pterons, Tubanti). It seems to come that Ka-Zar is to blame for a lot, so the council's first act is to BANISH Ka-Zar from Pangea for all time!

#31 - Apr 84. W-Mike Carlin A-Paul Neary I-John Beatty

Most of this issue is taken up with Dherk explaining how Pangea came to be, and how each of their races were actually supposed to be the creatures who worked at the Atlantean Amusement park. After the history lesson, everyone (except the Pterons, of course) understand that they should all stand together and begin actually talking peace. Ka-Zar, Shanna, and Zabu leave Pangea. And, although they are attacked by a squad of Pterons, they beat them off.

This issue had the *weakest* artwork in the series. Sometimes it was so bad it actually detracted from the story.

#32 - Jun 84. W-Mike Carlin A-Paul Neary I-Carlos Garzon

Parnival Plunder makes his way to The Savage Land looking for Ka-Zar. Ka-Zar, meantime, begins having sit-com dreams. What I mean is that he starts imaging what his married life will be like and these take the form of savage takes of Flintstones, I Love Lucy, Father Knows Best, and The HoneyMooners. In between these daydreams, they meet up with Parnival and after a brief argument endulge in day to day things. At the end, Parnival gets his hands on some Anti-Metal and exclaims "The Power of the Plunderer is whole again!"

Another very weak issue. Same artist, thus, same lousy art. It hurts to go over these issues, Adela.

#33 - Aug 84. W-Mike Carlin A-Paul Neary I-Carlos Garzon

Another really boring issue where we see that Parnival is plundering the Savage Land of its store of Anti-Metal until Zabu, Ka-Zar, and Shanna stop him. The battle even makes its way to the antarctic, and Parnival falls under the ice and freezes. They get back home and Zabu brings a strange bone to Shanna. A shaman runs up to them, yelling about the bone, and Shanna vanishes! Ka-Zar picks it up and, holding onto Zabu, vanishes as well.

#34 - Oct 84. W-Mike Carlin A-Paul Neary I-Carlos Garzon

Ka-Zar touches the same Bone Shanna did, and disappears as well. What he and Zabu seem to have been transported to is an alien zoo with them as the "pets". He tries to escape when he hears Shanna screaming in pain but it stopped. He gets hooked into a machine and tests are performed on him. Shanna breaks out with some other prisoners and rescue him. She tells him that while she was being tested, the aliens told her she was pregnant! They hop on a spaceship and escape back to earth. Weird story. It ends with Ka-Zar closing the door on a panel and he and Shanna and Zabu are waving good-bye to the readers. There is a brief Epilogue which shows a boy actually READING the story we just did. Then, Ka-Zar's essence is ripped off the pages and he floats through space to land somewhere. He goes up against a kung-fu master and bests him. Then, into a muck monster. Some floating beings. A finally, giant red dinosaur. He bursts through some doors to land in THE LAND OF CANCELLED HEROES. There's a party going on honoring him, and we get to see a slew of other heroes who's books had been cancelled at that time (Giant-Man, Machine-Man, Spider-Woman, Ghost Rider, Morbius, Man-Thing, Silver Surfer, Ms. Marvel, Nova, Brother Voodoo, Dracula, Werewolf by Night, Nick Fury, etc etc etc. Ka-Zar gives a speech and ends the last two panels with: "No, all of us here have the dubious honor of being slightly ahead of our times. And a chance visionaries like us have to take is... being cancelled! But we ARE all heroes here... we DO fight back. And here in the land of cancelled heroes, we must strive for that ultimate of goals -- to come back! And I swear to you all here this day, that Ka-Zar The Savage will be back! I WILL BE BACK!"

And he was. Interesting side note if I may. I hadn't looked at this issue in YEARS. And, when I did, the first thing that struck me is the cover. It's a wrap around cover, featuring Ka-Zar in the front in a space suit, and the faces of Shanna and Zabu in the back. You know what? That Zabu picture is almost 96% identical to a Black Panther face I got tattooed on my chest a few months ago!!! They're both even facing the same way!! What a strange co-incidence...


Next time: [ ] (there was no label to the last series - it was just titled 'Ka-Zar' and referred to as Ka-Zar v4). Will I really write up some new summaries of v4? Maybe... although I doubt it... unless highly encouraged to do so...


(Off The Rack (c) Mike Aragona. All rights reserved. No reproduction or retransmission of this article is granted without written permission of Mike Aragona)

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