Conan: Road of Kings #6 confused me. Not that it was a super complicated plot or that it was written in some sort of code that I had to go decipher through weird symbols found in paintings of Robert E. Howard, mind you. No, the story was fairly solid and I thought each of the characters behaved as they should have behaved, but the art threw me off.
Having said (err written) that I should clarify that there is nothing wrong per se with Mike Hawthorne and John Lucas’ art in this issue. Bright, crisp with clean line work, it is easy on the eyes and does a great job of helping the characters live and breathe upon the page. What was confusing to me was simply the style.
I am used to my Conan books being a bit grittier looking. Typically, my ideal Conan book would be lines that were samurai sword thin and precise with colors that look as if they were mottled over with coffee grounds or the dust of a thousand battles fought barefoot through Cimmerian forests.
The art in Conan: Road of Kings #6 reminded me of the bright colors of a Saturday morning cartoon version of Conan. Mind you, this is not a bad thing. Each and every different reflection of Conan as a character and as a graphic work of art adds to the cumulative idea of the character itself and can only serve to broaden my understanding as well as broaden its appeal for others to enjoy it (say if they cannot stand art that looks gritty and war-torn).
As for the cover on the art? Um. Perfect. Painted by Doug Wheatley this is the Conan I thought I would be getting on the inside, but after I got past the (GEE! Conan is really bright and colorful!) moments I found that I was perfectly alright with the difference and just enjoyed reading the story.
In the issue itself, Conan faces newer dangers as he travels down the (you guessed it) Road of Kings. If he wishes to continue on his path, Conan will have to defeat a deadly executioner, a sorcerer and the evil (and wickedly cool razor handed) Gamesh. If that’s not enough to whet your whistle when it comes to barbarian goodness then I do not know what is.
The reason the writing stands out is the fact that it is written by legendary Conan scribe Roy Thomas (the man many say brought Robert E. Howard to comics in the first place) in his return to Conan.
All in all Conan: Road of Kings #6 was a good read and worth grabbing, especially if you are a fan of Roy Thomas or artists Mike Hawthorne and John Lucas.
Published by Dark Horse Comics, Conan: Road of Kings was released June 22, 2011 as a full color comic with 32 pages, priced at $3.50.