Connect with us
King Conan Chronicles Epic Collection: Phantoms and Phoenixes
Marvel Comics

Comic Books

‘King Conan Chronicles Epic Collection: Phantoms and Phoenixes’ review

Celebrating an older, more jaded Conan, this collection makes a good case for a return to this world in cinema.

Marvel seems to be very interested in Conan as of late, with a slew of collections hitting shelves that gather the Conan runs published by Dark Horse between 2003 and 2017. These were runs I never read when they were initially in comic shops, but having read the King Conan Chronicles, I’m sorry I missed it years ago. Not every story collected here is stellar, but the strong tales building on Robert E. Howard’s classic character are worth the price of admission.

Like many fans of the original Conan film starring Arnold Schwarzenegger, I’ve hoped for the star to take on the role again as an older warrior statesman, as teased at the end of the first movie. It wasn’t until the early 2000s that I actually picked up some of Howard’s original Conan pulp stories, and was delighted to see that the author had also played around with the concept of barbarian as King in his later life. Even better, some of those stories and concepts were adapted into comic form in this very book.  

Listen to the latest episode of our weekly comics podcast!
King Conan Chronicles Epic Collection: Phantoms and Phoenixes
Marvel

This massive Epic collection includes Conan and the Midnight God (2007) #1-5, King Conan: The Scarlet Citadel (2011) #1-4, King Conan: The Phoenix on the Sword (2012) #1-4, Conan: The Phantoms of the Black Coast (2012) #1-5, and some material from Age of Conan: Hyborian Adventures (2006). All the runs retain the core tone one would expect from a Conan title, but there is enough variety in storytelling to keep even casual readers interested. 

My favorite run in the set is the Scarlet Citadel, both due to the incredible art from Tomas Giorello, as well as the fact that this was an original Howard story from the 1930s. In it, a middle-aged Conan finds himself trapped in a wizard’s stronghold and must fight to free himself and regain his throne. Giorello’s art is detailed and vibrant, making this one of the best-looking Conan adventures put to page. 

King Conan Chronicles Epic Collection: Phantoms and Phoenixes
Marvel

Joshua Dysart’s “The Midnight God” arc is also rather strong, with a more pessimistic version of Conan on display. The story plays into the fact that a barbarian warrior like Conan may not be suited to rule a kingdom, nor is building a family with a character of this nature all that desirable. Will Conrad does a fine job animating the narrative, with some beautiful coloring from Juan Ferreyra accompanying his line work. 

As with other Epic Collections, we are treated to a dozen sketch pages, as well as the introduction to the Scarlet Citadel, which gives many notes and insights into the creative process. It’s a hefty book that justifies its price tag, even if your only knowledge of Conan is the Schwarzenegger films from years past. In fact, this collection makes a good argument in favor of the action star taking on the role of his titular character for one last adventure. 

King Conan Chronicles Epic Collection: Phantoms and Phoenixes
‘King Conan Chronicles Epic Collection: Phantoms and Phoenixes’ review
King Conan Chronicles Epic Collection: Phantoms and Phoenixes
It’s a hefty book that justifies its price tag, even if your only knowledge of Conan is the Schwarzenegger films from years past. In fact, this collection makes a good argument in favor of the action star taking on the role of his titular character for one last adventure. 
Reader Rating1 Votes
8.7
Collecting an interesting era of Conan tales published by Dark Horse over a the course of a decade.
Awesome, cinematic art in a few of the runs collected.
Ample supplemental materials for those looking for insight into the creative process.
If you are new to the character, you may need a primer to truly absorb some of these arcs.
7.5
Good
Buy Now

Join the AIPT Patreon

Want to take our relationship to the next level? Become a patron today to gain access to exclusive perks, such as:

  • ❌ Remove all ads on the website
  • 💬 Join our Discord community, where we chat about the latest news and releases from everything we cover on AIPT
  • 📗 Access to our monthly book club
  • 📦 Get a physical trade paperback shipped to you every month
  • 💥 And more!
Sign up today
Comments

In Case You Missed It

X-Men #1 X-Men #1

‘X-Men’ #1 is an exciting relaunch

Comic Books

DC Comics reveals SDCC 2024 exclusives and panels DC Comics reveals SDCC 2024 exclusives and panels

DC Comics reveals SDCC 2024 exclusives and panels

Comic Books

Marvel reveals new addition to the Ultimates with new 'Ultimates' #2 cover Marvel reveals new addition to the Ultimates with new 'Ultimates' #2 cover

Marvel reveals new addition to the Ultimates with new ‘Ultimates’ #2 cover

Comic Books

New comic book company teased New comic book company teased

New comic book company teased

Comic Books

Connect
Newsletter Signup