Hello and welcome brethren! In this edition, I’ll be starting a look at a few issues of Kull The Destroyer, in which the warrior that would become king has some tremendous adventures! I try to mix things up here in Ye Olde School Café once in a while, and this certainly is a genre I haven’t covered in a very long time. The character was created by the legendary writer Robert E. Howard, and anyone who knows this man’s work can’t be anything except impressed. He basically created the genre (sword and sorcery) with Conan, Kull, and Red Sonja, along with a few other great characters. His incredible contributions to the world cannot be questioned. The adaptation is written by the underrated Doug Moench, pencils by Ed Hannigan (another underrated creator), inks by the talented Alfredo Alcala (he did some fantastic work on Swamp Thing), colors by Hubert Paley, letters by Annette Kawecki, edited by Roy Thomas, and just look at that cover (very Ray Harryhausen!) by Gil Kane!
OK, let us travel back in time now, to when the world was not yet ripe with its many resources of today, but still a time with heroes and villains, damsels in distress, and evil creatures that roamed the sea….
As Kull is standing near a cliff, he watches the beautiful Kareesha as she dives off of the same cliff. He dives in after her, but she’s too fast for him. She swims through the wreckage of an old ship, sunken for some unknown reason, many years ago. As Kull passes by, he sees some kind of odd shaped box, and the strange object begins to glow a furious green color. He looks at it, and almost touches it, but then remembers about how he dislikes sorcery, so he leaves to chase after the woman. Once they are both on the shoreline, Kull questions the woman about something, but she refuses to answer him. Just then, a group of soldiers from Atlantis pop out of some corner and threaten Kull. He doesn’t take kindly to this, and then gives them the beating they deserve.
As Kull returns to his home, he sleeps, but his mind is anything but asleep. He dreams about some recent events, especially the ones that involve his acquaintance Kareesha, and all the mystical mojo surrounding her at the moment. He also dreams about fighting his mortal enemy, Thulsa Doom. Suddenly, a rock hits Kull in the head, awakening him from his slumber. The musician Ridondo (a “man of Sherwood forest” look-alike) informs him that the king, Om-Ra, has requested to see Kull immediately. Om-Ra tells Kull that he’s worried about their mutual friend, Khornah (former friend). This man, Khornah, is a would-be conqueror, and Om-Ra understands that if he’s allowed to keep going unchecked, he might one day overthrow the kingdom.
As Kull and Ridondo prepare to depart, Kull is mystically (and mentally) frozen in his tracks, where he’s beset by Kareesha, and told to not interfere in her plans. She then casts a spell on him so he won’t remember the incident. Kull then heads to Khornah’s ship, and gets a rather cold greeting. Kull tells Khornah that the king himself requested that he board this sip for its journey, so Khornah relents and lets him come with him. Not very long into this journey, Khornah is looking through a spyglass, and Kull snatches it from his hands. He looks in the same direction and sees a fleet of ships bearing the flag of their enemies from Lemuria! He tells Khornah to turn away, as they’ll be killed, but he ignores Kull, giving him the impression that he’s in league with the enemy.
As all this is transpiring, Kareesha is watching with her crystal ball. She remarks that she won’t allow Kull to be killed, because she wishes to use him as a puppet in the coming times. She gestures, and then we see that the ship is over the area where Kull and Kareesha dove into the water earlier. The glowing box that had mesmerized Kull slightly on the sunken ship begins to quake, and then the “inhabitants” of that sunken ship begin to rise to the surface. Meanwhile, Kull is fighting off Khornah’s minions on the deck of the ship, and everyone is about to be in for a surprise.
Suddenly, under the surface, the glowing green box erupts, and out pops the Kraken! It, along with these skeletons, comes to the ship and attacks it. Kull is busy trying to kill these undead skeletons, while the rest of the crew is trying to fend off the Kraken, but their efforts are futile. The ship is torn in half by the legendary beast, and everyone is either killed by the Kraken or just simply drowns. Everyone except Kull that is, because he’s actually grabbed by the Kraken, but manages to stab it in the eye, and it releases him. He swims to the surface, and then to the shoreline.
Kull staggers around and is startled by Ridondo, who is wooing a woman nearby. Ridondo exclaims that Kull looks like he’s seen a ghost, but he remarks that Khornah has not been dead long enough to have become a ghost. Just as he finishes that comment, we see that Khornah did not die, but also managed to get away and swim to another part of the shore. He then shouts that Kull will die for this atrocity!
Wow, this issue is something obviously inspired in some ways by the legendary Ray Harryhausen. The living skeletons, and even the Kraken looks like one of Ray’s creatures that he animated on the big screen. Doug Moench did a good job with the script, as you’d expect, and Hannigan and Alcala were dynamite on the artwork. Great issue front to back! Stay tuned next time for more great action and adventure!