It's been a few months since I did a review of Brian Wood's Conan The Barbarian
. At first, I was planning to review the series one storyline at a time. But things got in the way - as they do - and the next thing I knew the series was into its' second storyline and I hadn't said a word about new artist James Harren, who took over the art duties from Becky Cloonan
with Issue #4.
Sadly, the loss of Cloonan has sent the quality level of this book spiraling downward. Harren's Conan puts me in the mind of Brock Samson from The Venture Brothers
. While this style might work for a more comedic tale (ala Bruce Timm's Conan's Favorite Joke
) I find it ill-suited for depicting the dramatic story Brian Wood has been telling for the last three issues.
At least Brian Wood's story is still as strong as ever. Wood manages to make Conan a sympathetic figure, even in the midst of the tensest action scenes. Some have called Wood's take on Conan "Conan The Emo", due to the barbarian's brooding over the warrior woman Belit. I must admit to finding some of these scenes annoying, particularly the scene in Issue #5 where Conan is imprisoned and begins to despair that he will die alone and in a hangman's noose. Pondering dark truths and the ways of women deeply is one thing... but this just seems uncharacteristic of Conan. Still, the action scenes are well laid out and Belit is portrayed as a true equal to Conan.
Despite my reservations over the art, I'd still recommend this title to most comic readers.
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