Sunday, July 17, 2016

Weirdworld - The Dragonmaster Of Klarn!

Weirdworld had one final outing (in terms of continuity if not chronology) and that came in Marvel's high-end magazine Epic Illustrated. Alas the series never rated a cover appearance, but here are the four issues in which the final classic Weirdworld story was told.

"The Dragonmaster of Klarn" brings together many of the same talents who worked on Warriors of the Shadow Realm, but sadly minus the transformative work of painter Pete Ledger. Instead the artwork here, as delightful as it was by John Buscema, Rudy Nebres and Marie Severin falls short in many respects to the masterpiece which preceded it. I have nothing but massive respect for these three artists, but sadly the sum is less than the parts in these four chapters.

But that doesn't speak to Doug Moench's story which in many ways reveals many of the secrets which have dotted the saga to this point. If the earlier yarns had a Tolkienesque feel, this story reminds me of Michael Moorcock's work especially how it suggests that Weirdworld is for intents and purposes a massive game board upon which gods of light and gods of dark vie for advantage. Our heroes and their opponents are merely pawns in that great game.

The story begins with Tyndall, Velanna, and Mud-Butt a year removed from their defeat of Draklens. They are living in a Dwarf village but their typical disdain they encounter frustrates Velanna in particular. She as it turns out has come under the spell of yet another wizard Lord Majister, the brother of Draklens. He has formed a crystal vessel resembling Velanna and is slowly filling it up with darkness, a darkness which is also filling up her spirit. She becomes increasingly angry with Tyndall and Mud-Butt as the trio leave the Dwarf village and get drawn into yet another quest, this one to find the blade of the Glorywand, a magic sword which Mud-Butt had long ago stolen the hilt from. They encounter Goblins who surround a mountain in which lives a beautiful sorceress who sends them across vast distances of Weirdworld to find a hero named Wulfbuck. who has been changed to more resemble his namesake. This quartet work together against the wizard who has transformed his Goblins into a more powerful undead army and ultimately defeat him when Tyndall's ability to command powerful dragons proves decisive. Velanna eventually overcomes the curse and the heroes end their adventures once again on a happy note.

This story was enchanting, as are all of the Weirdworld but somehow this one falls a bit flat. I think it's because of the sameness of the story in many respects. While we do discover more about Tyndall's heritage and we do encounter a Velanna who is different, the story is yet one more battle against yet another wizard. Grithstane, Raven, Zarthon, Darklens, and now Majister, all different but all somewhat the same. I'd have liked maybe something a bit different, but that likely is because this time I read all these stories back to back, and that's perhaps unfair to Moench's storytelling.

Whatever the case, these are the last classic Weirdworld stories, and while the world itself seems to have been revived and quasi-fantasy characters like Arkon and the Black Knight have been woven into a brand new and rather different reality. But without the considerable talents the likes of Moench, Ploog, and Buscema, there is little to attract this reader to them.

No more to come...sadly.

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