Sunday, December 8, 2013

Conan And The People Of The Black Circle #2 - A Review

The People of the Black Circle
is one of Robert E. Howard's most unusual Conan stories.  While Conan was always an anti-hero at best under his creator's pen, Black Circle is one of the few stories where we see Conan in a truly villainous role, kidnapping a princess in order to ransom her against the lives of the bandits he is currently leading.  It is also unusual in that Howard devoted just as much of the story towards the actions of Khemsa - an acolyte sorcerer in the service of the titular Black Circle - as he does Conan's exploits.


Fred Van Lente's dialogue borrows heavily from the original Howard script.  Virtually all of the text is presented as it was in the original story, with Van Lente's main contributions being to edit certain sections that would add little to an illustrated adaptation.  He also adapts several internal monologues into actual dialogues between the characters.
The artwork by Ariel Olivetti is skillfully painted, though overly bright compared to most Conan comics.  A good deal of the definition is lost due to Olivetti's palette choices as is most of the subtle line-work.  It would have been better had this book been published in an over-sized volume rather than a comic-book sized one, so the details would be more easily visible.  This is a minor quibble and the book still looks good, though the reader may have to squint at some panels to see everything.

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