Conan has always held a special place in my heart. Not just because of the great stories that have been spun whole cloth out of this wonderful character by some darn talented writers (not the least of which is the character’s creator, Robert E. Howard) and the amazing artists who have worked with the barbarian over the decades, but also to the fact that when my father bought me my first handful of comics two of the three were Conan books.
I was hooked.
Dark Horse Comic’s King Conan #4 (part 4 of 4 in a tale called “The Scarlet Citadel”) reminded me a great deal of what I used to love about Conan and his adventures. While not quite the character I remember (every artist casts his own interpretation upon a subject) I found this Conan, older and sitting down (reluctantly, so) upon his throne of many years to tell a scribe pieces of his history upon said throne, to be quite compelling.
Graphically Tomas Giorello (artist) and Darick Robertson with Richard Clark (cover artists) give this book a nice blend of the classic look of Conan with the more modern look of many comics of this generation. In particular the cover is quite stunning if a bit cliched (how many poses can one barbarian king pull while covered in blood and wiping a sword?), and the interior panels really pop with nice potent colors and clean rendering. Even should the story not be your cup of tea the visuals are solid enough to warrant giving this book a look.
Luckily, the story is a solid one as well. Sitting upon his throne Conan tells the final piece of a story that had his kingdom teetering on the boundaries of chaos as an invading army was almost upon the gates. How Conan, thought dead from happenings earlier in the story, is not only dead but comes through the other side of this potentially deadly situation is a nice solid read.
The fact that King Conan is sitting and telling this tale to a scribe should have been ample proof that he was not dead and that he must have (at least in some ways) won at least a part of the day, should not be too much of a spoiler.
Dark Horse Comics has a winner with this fourth issue of its King Conan series. It is my fondest hope that the stories to follow are just as good as this one (though the fact that Tim Truman’s script is an interpretation of an original story by Robert E. Howard certainly gives this one an advantage). Long may the barbarian sit upon his throne … All Hail King Conan!
King Conan #4 was published May 25, 2011 as a full color 32 page comic by Dark Horse Comics. Its cover price was $3.50, and it had a UPC of 7 61568 17580 6 00411. If you have a comic shop near you it may still be in stock; otherwise, you can easily order it online.