King Conan: The Conqueror #2 (Comics Review)
Last week I talked about getting back into Conan comics with King Conan: The Conqueror #1, a mini-series that tied into the previous mini-series King Conan: The Hour of The Dragon, all of it an adaptation of Robert E. Howard’s own The Hour of The Dragon novel featuring the world-famous Cimmerian warrior. Dark Horse is well-known for its comics adaptations of Howard’s various novels and short stories and they’ve done many of them over the years. The few that I’ve been reading, I’ve been mixed about, but overall I’ve loved reading them for the fun of it.
In The Conqueror #1, we see Conan as not a king but as a pauper, his kingdom stripped away from him and the man himself reduced to hunting for a jewel stolen from him. And in that hunt he returns to Messantia in Argos, one of his old haunts. Betrayals and treachery follow and soon, as we see in this issue, he finds himself in the open sea, desperately hunting for the next clue. As with the first issue, the second issue is amazingly well-told and the art once again is gloriously bloody and visceral, hitting all the right spots for a Conan story, embodying that classic feel.
As with the previous issue, here too we see King Conan, an old and wizened ruler, dictating his memoirs to his court scribe Pramis. This time he continues the tale of how he set off after the Stygian who had killed Beloso in Messantia and taken Conan’s prize away from him. In a simple boat with no supplies to speak of, Conan is set upon by harsh weather at sea and hunger and thirst. But he ends up being rescued by a merchant slave galley, and so begins a story of bloody violence that can have only one ending when someone like Conan is involved. And it turns out that there’s a great twist in the middle of the story that hearkens back to his days as Amra the Lion, the most feared corsair of the black coast, a time that he shared with pirate Queen Belit, his love.
Once again, Timothy Truman impressed me with his characterisation and his plotting. The story in this issue is deceptively simple and it is very focused. Conan needs to hunt down the Stygian and his ship, so he needs a ship to match. The math is pretty simple there. The orgiastic violence in the issue speaks to Conan’s nature and his origins as a typical pulp fantasy hero, who set the trend for countless other heroes to follow. Whether at the start of the issue or at the end of it, Truman is consistent with his pen, and seeing Conan… venerated is one of the highlights of the issue.
Seriously, if you’re not jumping up and down and fisting the air, then you didn’t really enjoy the story. I mean, I had a lot of fun in it and Truman definitely packed a hell of a lot of action scenes into it. If anything, this was an issue to inspire, and that happened with me. You totally get lost in the entire atmosphere of things as Conan does what he always does best, without hesitation and without qualms. This is the classic Conan, with the needs of the story placing him at a point where it is do or die for him.
And through it all, King Conan’s narration continues. If the story itself is something that gets you excited, then the narration completes that circle and drags you along with it all the way to the bloody end as Conan finally sets out on his mission, with men at hand and supplies to call his own.
Giorello and Villarrubia continued their excellent run with the artwork as they turned out another great looking book with The Conqueror #2. Giorello’s layouts keep the story moving at a brisk pace and he turns out one scene of orgiastic violence after another which is beautifully coloured by Villarrubia. Truman’s story is on one end of the spectrum and the artwork is on the other, and yet there is a perfect synchronisation between the two of them. Going through the issue, you get a great sense of the non-stop action that is going on and you can’t help but want more.
I wanted this to be as great an issue as the first one, but it turns out that it is even better!
More King Conan: The Conqueror: #1.
Posted on April 6, 2014, in Comics Reviews, Review Central and tagged Argos, Black Magic, Cimmerian, Comicraft, Comics, Comics Adaptation, Comics Review, Conan, Conan the Barbarian, Conan the Cimmerian, Conan the Destroyer, Dark Horse Comics, Fantasy, Hyborean Age, Jose Villarrubia, King Conan, King Conan: The Conqueror, magic, Messantia, Review, Review Central, Richard Starkings, Robert E. Howard, Swords and Sorcery, The Black Hand of Set, The Hour of The Dragon, Timothy Truman, Tomás Giorello. Bookmark the permalink. 8 Comments.