Ka-Zar the Savage 5 (August 1981)

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It’s a flashback issue, but only flashing back to right before the first issue of the series. Jones gives the reader an insight into what’s made Ka-Zar so thoughtful about his place in the world (other than being the protagonist in a thoughtful comic book).

Jones gets away with a lot here because he realizes he needs to make Ka-Zar feel identifiable to the reader. There are quizzical pop culture references, making one wonder if all Ka-Zar’s time in the civilized world is spent watching TV or movies. But it works, because Jones has to make his struggles (as the protagonist) matter. They’re also pretty funny.

The issue is split between resolving the opening arc and the flashback, about half and half. Jones and Anderson’s trip, in the flashback, through the Savage Land is utterly fantastic. It mixes action and humanity.

I can’t believe this series isn’t more well-known.

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