Conan the Slayer #4 kicks it up a notch with action in this arcs mid-point, In the first issue we briefly seen Kyrlo encounter with an unknown creature, the creature then promised to help Kyrlo take the crown form his father but not without granting the creature a favor in return.
A lot was reviled in the first few pages, for one the creature is a Ghul who has been wondering battlefields for ages, it also seems to enjoy death destruction, the Ghul is seen tracking Conan and company for reasons unknown. As for Conan, Taraslan and Oskana they are traveling on foot back to the village, and when they reach the village they are surprise to see Taraslan’s father’s funeral pyre. Knowing Kyrlo is the cause of Hetman’s death Conan confronts Kyrlo and calls him out in front of the village, A fight breaks out and when Conan mercilessly takes out all of Kyrlo’s followers, Conan’s savage nature is shown in this skirmish reminding the readers that he too can be as dangerous when he needs too.
With Kyrlo capture Conan suggest Taraslan should take out his brother to avoid future conflicts that will happen if he lives, but Taraslan doesn’t agree and instead he locks his brother away in a tent. Later that night Kyrlo is confronted by the Ghul who agrees to help him escape.
Conan and the others are attack by dragon like creatures summoned by the Ghul, the attack was just a distraction for Kyrlo as he is seen fleeing with one of the monsters, an angry Conan promises Taraslan that if he sends him after Kyrlo he will take him.
Conclusion: This was an action base issue this time around, although we do get a little back story about the Ghul, it looks as if the Ghul will be the main villain from here on out and that’s a good little twist for this arc. The most intriguing part of this issue is Conan’s ruthlessness when he confronted Krylo, at one point he was pulling Krylo by his hair and was going to throw him into the Hetman’s funeral pyre, for me I found that moment to be significant because most writers rarely write him that way and I found that to be refreshing.
Lies, Betrayal and treachery are the focal points in this issue, throw in a little death and you got yourself a classic Conan arc. The being of the issue the Lord of Kharwarism, Jehungir and an unknown sorcerer discuss the loss of his men, because of lies a lot of them have been either killed or missing and the suspects for this confusion are the Kozaks, because of Kyrylo’s obsession of becoming King he’s made moves that has put a target on the Kozak Tribe and now it looks as if Jehungir will attacking them soon.
We last seen Conan and company being attack by Trolls with no conclusion, it turns out the trolls had gotten the best of them and has taken them hostage. Conan meets a troll woman and in typical Conan fashion displays his crudeness towards her, she offers Conan his freedom but only if he becomes her mate, once again Conan refuses and the queen shoves a fish like object in his mouth which causes him to see the troll woman in a human form, at first he thought it was some kind of trickery but in actuality this is her true form.
Meanwhile Oksana, Taraslan and a Turan soldier are also having trouble figuring out what exactly are the trolls, each of them see something different, Oksana and Taraslan see sea like creatures while the Turan soldier sees demon hellspawns. A turning point in the issue is when the three of them talk about history between the neighboring tribes and the soldiers of Turan, its soon reveal to Taraslan and Osksana that Kyrylo is behind the attack.
Action picks up when Conan escapes from the woman and informs the others that their capturers aren’t trolls, sea monsters or better yet demons, in reality they are humans and their leader is a sorceress. A comedic moment happens when Conan and company leave the wounded Turan soldier behind for the sorceress.
The issue ends with Kyrylo pouring a salty like substance in to his cup of tea and then walking it to his father as he sits.
Conclusion: It looks as if we had hit the mid point of this arc and if I were to give this arc a rating it would be average at best, the reason being the pacing is extremely fast for my liken. But it does have its strong points, like the conflict between Kyrylo and Taraslan.
The issue jumps off with Kyrylo runs into a demonic corpse like creature who surprise Kyrylo by telling him solve all his problems with a pact, being the cruel and conniving man that he is, Kyrylo makes a pact with the unknown creature.
After surviving his deadly battle Conan has taking refuge in the Kozaki Camp in order to heal, it looks as if Conan has found his place among its people. The leader Myklo has shown a lot of trusts in Conan despite the manner the two have met, with Conan watching over his sons Myklo seems to think everything is good with him and his sons but Conan hints that the oldest son Kyrylo is not to be trusted and that his blind eye towards his sons could play against him in the future.
On a mission to find the missing scouts, Conan, Oksana and Taraslan come across a totem like corpse with mysterious symbols written over it, taking it as a warning sign they toward around but are quickly ambushed by unknown armored soldiers, Conan and company easily dispatch the armor soldiers leaving one alive, assuming the soldiers were paid off he questions the man only to find out that the youngest made a deal he didn’t fulfill, At that moment Conan is hit in the head by someone. Oksana and Taraslan are shocked when they see two giant size trolls walking up to them.
Conclusion: Conan The Slayer #2 features everything a true Conan story features, that’s betrayal, action, and mystery, the question is when this arc hits its conclusion will it be an entertaining or will it be just another story upon many of its kind. As for right now it’s a little too early to judge, once it hits the 5th and 6th issue is when you can really give it a proper review, But for now I’ll say it’s starting off pretty well. The writer Cullen Bunn seems to understand the lore of the Conan franchise and the tone of which it’s been establish in recent runs by other writers and for that I’m kind of optimistic towards this arc.
Writer: Brian Wood
Artist: Vasilis Lolos
Colorist: Dave Stewart
Cover Artist: Massimo Carnevale
Published by:Dark Horse Comics
At home in Cimmeria, Conan feels a confidence he hasn’t experienced in some time. However, Bêlit is unsure of herself among Conan’s family and clan in this strange, frozen land, a dangerous variable as the two face not only the impostor Conan, but also his vicious army!
Conan and Belit are still tracking the imposter throughout the harsh lands of Cimmeria, writer Brian Wood continues telling this adventure in story in narrative form with internal/interior monologues. In the beginning of this Issue its apparent that Belit is struggling keeping up with Conan, the land of Cimmeria is slowly over whiling the Queen of the Black Coast. After a brief encounter with a warrior who was sent to confront Conan, later that night they have a conversation that concludes with both agreeing Conan should continue tracking the mystery man alone. Now on her own in the cold mountains of cimmeria, Belit faces the dangers of the land and its occupants and must use her love for Conan as strength to it out alive.
Meanwhile Conan tracks the imposter and his crew of savages to what looks like a giant glacier , with sword in hand the Cimmerian angrily shouts for them to face him. In the end Border Fury had the potential to turn into a good story for the Conan series but sadly it looks like that’s not going to happened sometimes when comics have multiple story arcs a lot of things get disregard like character development or in this case a quick story conclusion’s, Border Fury would be a lot better if it had at least 6 issues just enough for writer Brian Wood to time to elaborate on how much damage the unknown warrior has caused in Cimmeria with that said I think the story was a little too fast for me to enjoy.
Artist Vasilis Lolos takes over for Becky Cloonan and will admit that I don’t particularly care for it, his style is unique and I don’t mean that in a good way. At times I couldn’t tell the difference between Conan and Belit due to them being drawing so similar, Lolos art is a little to grungy for me.
Final Thoughts: In the end Border Fury Part 2 is maybe the worst issue so far in the Conan the Barbarian Arc
Writer: Brian Wood
Artist: Becky Cloonan
Colorist: Dave Stewart
Cover Artist: Massimo Carnevale
Published by: Dark Horse Comics
While recent Aventures in Messantia haven driven them closer together, it also brought a new path of uncertainly for the barbarian and Queen of the Black Coast. Now in Cimmeria the homeland of the her beloved, a place where her status as the black queen is unknown and not respected or feared…
This adventure starts in the present day with Conan and a blind Belit on the run from unknown warriors in the snowy high mountains of Cimmeria. As they take cover, Conan promises Belit that she will make it out alive. From there, it jumps back weeks where the two first leave the Tigress and make way through the Northern lands until reaching the valleys, hills, and the Dark wooded under skies of Cimmeria.
At the village of Duthil, Conan and Belit are greeted by his mother who shows some bitterness towards her son, she tells him that he must meet up with the elders to discuss recent events that have taken place. An angry Belit question’s his mother asking why does she have so ill of feelings toward her son. The Cimmerian woman replies sharply telling Belit that woman here conduct themselves differently then where she is from. The next morning Conan meets up with the elders to talk about an unknown man who is using his name as he causes havoc in local villages, the conversation ends with Conan agreeing to rid Chimmeria of a man who would tarnish his name and kill his own fellow Cimmerians. Meanwhile, Belit seems to be have trouble adjusting and has a brief confrontation with some of the villagers, to which Conan intervenes and promises her that if she stands with him and helps find the man who is dishonoring his name that he’ll do the same for her. Scene changes, we see a village being burned down and its inhabitants captured and murdered by unknown warriors dressed in black armor. As the men round-up the rest of the villagers, a man who looks exactly like Conan is sitting on a horse and proclaims himself as Conan
Final Thoughts: Border Fury Part#1 is filled with narrative dialog’s, something I’ve noticed a lot from writer Brian Wood. Wood likes to script his tales in third person omniscient narration and in my opinion this format works for all of Conan’s adventures. It gives you sense that Wood himself is telling the tale and guiding the reader. One main focus for this issue is Belit, it seems the Queen of the Black coast is having a hard time adjusting to the non-piracy life and its quickly taking a toll on her mentally. Like Conan in the Argos Deception and Queen of the Black Coast adventures she is struggling emotionally. Wood is doing a role reversal with the two in Border Fury tale, which has sparked my interest greatly, I am waiting to see how this adventure unfolds and if Belit can keep it together. Artist Becky Cloonan is brought back and she brings a significantly darker and unique art style to this new tale.
Script: Roy Thomas
Pencils: Mike Hawthorne
Inks: John Lucas
Colors: Dan Jackson
Letters: Richard Starkings
Cover: Aleksi Briclot
Conan: Road of Kings #12 starts with Conan in belligerent state is greeted by Lt. Torio of King of Argos guards, he tells Conan that his capture will promote him to captain for sure, in anger Conan ask’s Torio if he was the one who struck him from behind. With a grin Torio tells him he was, at that moment Conan calls him coward and lunges for an attack on him only to be pulled by the iron chains placed upon his legs. Conan informs Torio that no cell will make him tell where Ivanos and his girl have fled to, aware that Conan has no clue of the events that has happened before his arrival Torio informs him that he knows Conan knows nothing and that he plans to catch Ivanos and Shandi on his own to which he’ll relish in his screams after he’s shown Shandi what its like to be with a real man.
An angered again Conan spits something into his mouth which makes him choke, pissed, Torio pulls his sword and threatens Conan before he is quickly stopped by Sholider who reminds him the barbarian is in his custody and a prisoner of the King of Argos. As they leave the cell, Conan notices that someone was watching the ordeal in the shadows, thinking he or she is a spy he calls them forth to face him, the stranger replies telling Conan that old Publius does not spy but didn’t think the guards wanted any witness’s. As they chat, Conan ask’s Publius how long has he been imprisoned here. Publius replies that it’s been so long that he has forgotten to the crime he was accused of, he warns Conan that no one has walked free and to be ready for the court torturer..
A few hours later, the guards return and escort Conan to the judge. As they wait for Judge Macabrus to enter, Torio and another comment that maybe the Macabrus plans to have a trial at dawn, at that very moment the doors open and the judge enters and ask’s what crimes has the man before him committed. In an out burst Torio tells the judge that Conan refuses to give information on the man who murdered his fellow solider, the judge replies that surely a half-naked savage couldn’t have gotten the best of them. Torio explains that once he had captured Conan he took all over his belongings, as he throws Conan’s armor in front of Macabrus he comments that by the quality of the armor it is indeed stolen and he’ll have it to defray court costs that includes the sword Torio had taken for himself. Before the Judge gives his final judgement, he tells Conan that if he joins Argos army and fights in the coming war the crimes against him would be dropped. Conan declines his offer and a now enraged Macabrus tells Conan that it is duty to serve the state. Conan replies by saying he is not a Argossean and doesn’t want anything to do with it kingdom or its ruler. Macabrus gives his final verdict which is for Conan to rot in the dungeon until he reveals the whereabouts of Ivanos and Shandi. With that decided, a frustrated Conan replies by calling everyone in the court mad and begins to attack everyone inside. Hacking and slashing his way to the last man, which happens to be Torio! Out of fear he directs Conan to the nearest exit but the Cimmeria didnt care what Torio had to say and stabs him in the chest, now on the run from the guards Torio had mentioned, Conan jumps on a horse and races to the docks………..
Packed with lots of action, this issue has a lot going on compared to the last, I said in the last review that readers should expect a down point in couple of issue but that’s not the case in Road of Kings #12. Roy Thomas jumps right into action and after reading this issue I was once again left wanting more, the artwork including the cover is solid as expected . With that said Road of Kings #12 is must for fans to pick up I mean come on who wouldn’t want to see Conan gutting some poor soul foolish enough to stand toe to toe against Roy Thomas and Mike Hawthorne’s version of the Cimmerian hero.