Monday, May 12, 2014

King Conan: The Conqueror #3 - A Review

The best moment of this issue comes early on, in one of the flash-forward scenes featuring Conan as an aged king.  Here, we see Conan show the scribe to whom he dictates the story of his life the one statue possessing his likeness that he has allowed to be made since his ascension to the throne - the statue that decorates what is to be Conan's tomb.   And Conan, being Conan, expresses precisely what he thinks of such opulence... by releasing the contents of his bladder upon his own statue!

Tim Truman has not added much to the tale in his adaptation of Robert E. Howard's one Conan novel The Hour Of The Dragon but this scene is a welcome and comedic interlude from some of the darkness that comes later.  Truman grasps the core of Conan like few writers today and this scene displays the essence of Conan as a character.  He holds no respect for symbols - only for that which is real.  He also holds no concern for the dignity of kings (not even himself!) nor for death itself.  This scene proves an interesting counterpoint to later scenes, where Conan shows his fearlessness and lack of respect for symbols and death in a more direct fashion as he sneaks his way into a Stygian city and a temple of Set.

As always, Tomas Giorello and Jose Villarrubia do a masterful job on the artwork.  Giorello depicts the wild and visceral world of Hyboria with a vividness few artists can match.  Villarrubia's colors subtly shift the mood of each scene, with strong colors enhancing tense moments and muted hues subtly suggesting the fading glory and decadence of the Stygian civilization.  

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