Conan is back and he’s not only potentially slaying more, but he’s being written by Marvel writer extraordinaire Cullen Bunn! Question is, is it good?
Conan the Slayer #1 (Dark Horse Comics)
So what’s it about? Check out our full preview here. The official Dark Horse summary reads:
Alone, battle weary, and with nothing but his sword, Conan of Cimmeria faces his inevitable death in the arid wastes . . . but instead stumbles into a camp of Kozaki raiders. With a knife at his throat and a band of Turanian hunters at his back, will the half-dead barbarian find a new ally in the Kozaki chief?
Why does this book matter?
Some of the best Conan stories drop the character into impossible situations or recent defeat. This opens with Conan losing in a great war and being the last person alive which means his back is to the wall and the animal inside is read to strike! Blood and screams sure to follow…
Fine, you have my attention. What’s good about it?
Because of Conan’s state (wounded and weakened), Bunn forces Conan to ally himself with a band of questionable characters. They are unknown to us and Conan, which means there’s no telling where this story might go. At the same time Bunn introduces a Conan that’s a bit war torn and downtrodden. He’s defeated and deflated and while he’d snap your neck if you give him reason his drive and ambition are gone. This is the makings of an interesting and unique sort of story for Conan moving forward.
That doesn’t mean he’s a weakling cowering in the corner, however. The first half of the issue show off Conan’s ability to trick and destroy his enemies. Bunn drops him in an impossible situation and gives him the chance to prove why he’s the greatest fighter ever.
Artist Sergio Davila delivers in these scenes with plenty of blood and hacking going on. These scenes show how brutal Conan and war in general and they’re capped off with one hell of a sword in the mouth shot that should send shivers down readers’ spines.
It can’t be perfect can it?
I’m hesitant to call this a winner of a series as not enough is there to decide if Bunn can really sweep us off our feet. The biggest problem I had with this issue is the somewhat cliched nature of the characters who take Conan in. The father is the boss, he has a strong daughter who’s tougher than most of her brothers, and then there’s of course the son who hates Conan right off the bat and will probably double cross Conan and maybe even his father. These character dynamics are so familiar one could have thought them up on the fly. It’s too early to pass judgment just yet, but there wasn’t much new with the character dynamics to really chew on.
These guys know they’re screwed right?
Is It Good?
Conan fans will scream with joy along with him as he chops his opponents into pieces and there’s a version of Conan here that feels unique. There isn’t quite enough here to know where this story is going, but your interest should be piqued.
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