Lake Michigan--March 2019!
Killraven and crew are sailing on the Great Lakes in their continuing journey west to Yellowstone. And we have a new artist- the much heralded P. Craig Russell, whose lush artwork would set the tone for this series going forward. But before we get started I have to share this opening snippet from the narration- as wordy as writer Don McGregor was, he did have his moments.
"Humanity used the five lakes like a callous lover. Farmlands and industries turned the waters thick with algae. "
He sets a tone. Nice splash page too as huge mutated sea lampreys attack their ship. Frost's companion Grok is injured in the battle and after the fight they near Milwaukee, their next stop. Meanwhile we get a look at a place called Death-Birth, a Martian citadel in the ruins of Chicago, where the invaders have enacted a hideous breeding program. The High Overlord of the Martian invaders makes an appearance, as does Skar, the villain from a few issues ago. The Overlord reveals that he purposely taunted Killraven with the knowledge that his brother might still be alive- and he knows that Killraven is headed for Yellowstone. Skar is of course detailed to capture Killraven, one way or another.
Grok is in bad shape and Killraven, meanwhile, laments that M'Shulla may be losing his focus as he gets closer to Frost. I think the burgeoning relationship between Frost and Killy's right-hand man is one of the best parts of this story. Anyway they're in Milwaukee- the image of the ice rimed freighters is nice- and they make an acquaintance of one Volcana Ash- or simply Ash, as she tells Killraven to call her. And Hawk learns firsthand not to mess with her, as she burns him just by touch. She mentions the Death Breeders and Killraven has another vision, like he did a few issues ago.
He finds himself seeing Death-Birth, the awful breeding pens in old Chicago. We see Eve 3,031 and her husband (?) Adam 3,031 being humiliated by someone named Atalon the Fear Master- someone who serves the Martians and who ominously hints that the child Eve 3,031 carries might be a future sacrifice to the overlords. Killraven is dispirited by this and the trance fades just as his group are discovered by a tripod. They lead it on a merry chase to protect the ailing Grok, but time runs out when the Death Breeders catch up. Never fear though, with the help of some beer vats they manage to save the day. McGregor of course had to go there with this being set in beer town.