King Conan: The Conqueror #5 (Comics Review)
A couple weeks or so back I read a really wonderful graphic novel about Conan, The Phantoms of The Black Coast, and that one really impressed me. As someone who has really been getting into Dark Horse’s various Conan comics of late, that one proved to be a highlight, on the same level as one of the publisher’s current ongoings, King Conan: The Conqueror, which has proven to be one of the best new comics of the year, in terms of both the story and the art, and which has instilled a more intense fascination in me of all things Conan.
With everything going on currently with respect to my upcoming marriage (just four days left!!), I didn’t get a chance to read last week’s King Conan: The Conqueror #5, one of my most anticipated reads until a few hours ago, but as expected, it wowed me with every page. Writer Timothy Truman put a capstone on Conan’s adventures in Stygia and then he went big and epic with the story in a way that I didn’t think was possible and the artwork by both Tomás Giorello and José Villarrubia proved a match for Truman’s intensity and scope.
Up until now, Conan has struggled mightily to hunt after the Heart of Ahriman, a gem of great power and renown that was once in his possession but has since been lost to him. To get at it, he had to fight off assassins and priests and pirates but at the end of King Conan: The Conqueror he had finally made it to his objective. All that was left for him was to reach out his hand and take his coveted prize. The way that Truman left off the cliffhanger in that issue proved to be gut-twisting and I couldn’t wait to find out what Conan would do in that situation. And Truman certainly did not disappoint me for he turned my expectations completely around and delivered a continuation that both wowed and surprised me in equal measure.
The best thing about this issue is that it gives a lot of backstory to the reader about how Conan lost his kingship of Aquilonia and what the traitors are up to now. I haven’t read the preceding series, The Hour of The Dragon, but reading through this issue has made me want to read it even more than I wanted to before, reading through the previous issues of this series. The way that Truman weaves in all of the concepts of treachery and betrayal, mixing it all with the darkest of magics and the foulest of villains was well done indeed. This series might just be an adaptation of a novel by Conan creator Robert E. Howard, but Truman’s pacing and sense of narrative is no less impressive for that.
And if I’m honest, I don’t want to just read King Conan: The Hour of The Dragon, but also the novel itself, The Hour of The Dragon, for Truman’s writing here has gotten me really interested now.
What this issue does in the end is that it really rouses your passion for the character and the setting. After the events of the Stygian temple, Conan heads back towards Aquilonia to retake the kingdom taken from his victorious grasp, and that’s when Truman’s writing really kicked into overdrive mode and when things moved at a really fast clip. It is justified because the next issue is going to bring an end of this mini-series and to the larger storyline, but damn, Timothy Truman seems intent on going out with as big a bang as possible.
Repetitive of me to say this at this point but the pencils and colours by Tomás Giorello and José Villarrubia respectively proved to be as good as ever. The whole rough and edgy look to the artwork works very, very well for this series, and I’m really surprised at myself, that I take one look at this comic (or even this series) and consider the artwork to be among the best I’ve seen to date, because I expect that two years back I would have had a different reaction indeed. Just for all the detailed awesome visuals, this is a comic that you really can’t miss flipping through, even reading!
I find myself ever more fascinated by this series, and I’m definitely looking forward to the finale in a few weeks.
Posted on July 1, 2014, in Comics Reviews, Review Central and tagged Akivasha, Argos, Black Magic, Cimmerian, City of Serpents, 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, Set, Snakes, Swords and Sorcery, The Black Hand of Set, The Hour of The Dragon, Timothy Truman, Tomás Giorello, Vampires. Bookmark the permalink. 3 Comments.