One of the beauties of Conan the Barbarian is how every issue can take you to a new place, be it the seven seas as a pirate or the dirty muck of a thieves’ city. It appears writer Gerry Duggan and artist Ron Garney are leaning into that feature of the character, ending the pirate adventure of issue #1 and bringing Conan into a mystery involving wizards and sorcerers alike. At this point, the question remains, why aren’t you reading Marvel’s Conan?
So what’s it about?
Read the preview.
Why does this matter?
Conan is so badass in this issue I dare you to read this and not get pumped up. He walks amongst piles of bodies and doesn’t even bat an eye. He’s fearless and I think you could argue that’s his true superpower.
Fine, you have my attention. What’s good about it?
This is an adventure and a half. It’s exciting, tense, action-packed, and densely rich with interesting things for Conan to interact with. From the opening pages where he walks amongst piles of bodies and fights men who claim to be gods, to attempts to dodge a bolt to the face from a mysterious warrior woman, there is something here to entertain most. Conan literally beats a man to death with a severed foot. I mean, come on, how cool is that?!
Something easily forgotten about the character is how smart and clever he is, and Duggan does a good job to reveal that and more here. He’s quick to see a trick and knows what it might take to see a thing through. As the story pushes forward, Conan calls upon a map he memorized, keeping with him the most important information for his mind alone. He interacts with those he probably shouldn’t trust, but he’s so certain of himself you won’t doubt his decisions. He’s an exciting character to read because he doesn’t reveal his hand until the enemy is already dead. It’s an exciting element of the character.
Garney’s art is great and renders Conan in at times brutish and hulking sorts of ways. The use of shadow and big burly muscles makes him look almost superhuman. The pile of bodies seen from different angles and distances may just steal the show, though. They’re quite disturbing, almost like some kind of monster.
It can’t be perfect, can it?
It’s damn near perfect. I might offer the complaint of no swordplay, but we do get some axe action. Upon further inspection, a new character seemingly goes along with Conan even after potentially killing him, which seems quite convenient to the plot.
Is it good?
I was on the fence with issue #1, but #2 has pulled me in and won’t let go. This is the Conan I loved growing up, and is reminiscent of Kurt Busiek’s great run on the character. Savage Sword of Conan reveals through blood and carnage, there is heart.
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