Conan the Barbarian is a complex character in that writers can use him in various ways all of which explore the sprawling world of Cimmeria. The recent Marvel rerelease of Conan stories is proof of that as he can be a silent thief, a killer of monsters, or a master swordsman. Savage Sword of Conan has been able to capture many of these elements of the character and in this 4th chapter, it is decidedly focused on the action.
So what’s it about?
Read the preview.
Why does this matter?
Gerry Duggan and Ron Garney have done a great job capturing the edgy nature of the character while infusing the narrative with magic and strange unknowns for Conan to smite. In this latest chapter, Conan must navigate the dark passages of a place housing treasure. Smashing skeletons ensues.
Fine, you have my attention. What’s good about it?
Duggan and Garney have a hell of an adventure going with this latest turn in the story, filling the pages with skeleton armies battling Conan, avoiding traps, and navigating the magics of an evil sorcerer. Just another day for Conan in his search for treasure. The issue opens with Conan smashing through the skeleton dead and the captions narrate the tale like one would expect around a campfire. It’s a great melding of story, visuals, and intense action.
The biggest win for this issue is a surprising turn for Conan’s compatriot Suty. The poor soul was stabbed with a dark venom last issue and the sorcerer comes for his payment. The turn of events is sad, especially since Suty and Conan have been through so much since the first issue. Garney will make you feel for Conan in the final moments further delivering on a complex Conan.
The scenes with the sorcerer, cast all in red, are dark and brooding helping to convey that 80s vibe ritualistic scenes always seem to have. Color artist Richard Isanove does an exceptional job adding layers to backgrounds that would be otherwise blank like in the opening pages with a fire roaring behind Conan. The green venom infecting Suty is quite well rendered too with its gross scaly look and sickly green running through his body.
It can’t be perfect, can it?
It’s a quick read and one you can probably finish within 5 minutes or less. That’s not a huge negative, but when reading side by side with other books it can feel like a lesser adventure. That said, this is an action thriller and the faster pace is warranted.
Is it good?
A fast-paced action adventure that’s thrilling. It captures so much that is good about Conan the Barbarian and then some.
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