Now, this is different.
One of the titles that’s captured the attention of the Monsignor lately has been King Conan: The Conquerer. Don’t ask why — I’ve never read a Conan comic in my life. Okay, so, perhaps.. it’s just my craving for the new season of Game of Thrones. Or, more likely, it’s from reading this wonderful advanced review from our guest writer this week, none other than Comics Bulletin‘s very own @ZackDavisson (though I would rate the issue a 4.75 myself, but that’s neither here nor there). Enjoy the intermission.
KING CONAN: THE CONQUEROR #1
At last! The second half adaptation of Robert E. Howard’s only Conan novel, Hour of the Dragon. Dark Horse decided to split this into two mini-series, which gave the team enough breathing space to hit their monthly schedule — and gave fans enough time to build up anticipation for the big finish. I was surprised by write Tim Truman this issue, rather expecting him to keep the story going without skipping a beat; but he actually changed voice and perspective and made some choices that are sure to be controversial with diehard Howard fans (i.e. Conan never married nor made Zenobia his official Queen). The biggest change was going POV from Conan to Pramis the Scribe.
And it’s an interesting chance to get inside someone’s head. There’s an old tradition of Conan writers — established by Roy Thomas back in the 1970s with Conan #1, and observed by almost every Conan writer ever since — that Conan does not have thought balloons. No reader ever gets to peek inside of Conan’s head. This can be a challenge for writers who need to deliver exposition, but don’t want to rely on omniscient narrators. Truman solved this problem by letting us look out of Pramis’ eyes.
The rest of the story is wonderful. King Conan: The Conqueror has the perfect mix of Conan eras. He is king of Aquilonia, mature and confident in his powers; but at the same time he is a rogue on the run, mixing with his old allies like Publio the fence, navigating the back allies and Thieves’ Quarters of Messantia. There’s no political intrigue here like in King Conan: Phoenix on the Sword. Just old-fashioned sword and sorcery and high adventure. And maybe a few surprises here for those who think that Conan never loses a fight…
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