Review: Conan & Red Sonja – The Age of Adventure Part 2

25318
Dan Panosian Cover

Writer:Gail Simone, Jim Zub
Artist:Dan Panosian
Cover Artist:Dan Panosian
Published by: Darkhorse Comics

It’s been some time since Conan and Red Sonja’s encounter, and things have change, Conan is now back at sea with Belit, as they sail they come across a neighboring ship passing by, On that ship is Red Sonja and Annisia who think the Tigress is a Slaver Ship and as the twos hip past one another Sonja and company jump aboard the Tigress. Conan and Belit spring into action, with Conan facing Annisia and Belit facing off against Red Sonja, the skirmish doesn’t last long with Conan and Sonja both getting up hand on each other’s opponent. Once Conan realizes that its Sonja he lays down his sword and the four of them decide to catch up, Conan tells Belit about the time he and Sonja met and Sonja tells Conan about how she and Annisia became friends she then goes on to tell him about the oath she made to kill all slavers.

Later that night Conan and company are awaken by a crewman who shows them an island that is covered in Red Veins, the four of them jump on small boats and enter the island. They soon notice that the veins are Bloodroot and it has completely covered the island, the Bloodroot has infected everything even the wild life. After noticing a trail of Bloodroot they follow it to a temple, inside the temple sits the Sorcerer Thoth-Amon who informs them of his plan of unleashing Bloodroot on all the kingdoms, a fight assumes with Conan and company attacking the sorcerer and driving him back, Thoth-Amon then teleports away before he’s seriously injured, but not before promising his revenge against them.

The issue ends with a wounded Thoth-Amon carrying the last single Bloodroot as he walks in an unknown snowy environment.

Final thoughts: While Age of adventure is good issue it does have its flaws, one them being the pacing, Age of Adventure is extremely fasted paced I mean really fast, the other flaw is the fight between them and Thoth-Amon, the way they defeat him was a little too easy to say he’s supposed to be this powerful sorcerer. On plus side again the interaction between Conan and Red Sonja is brilliantly display, at one point Conan and Red Sonja are talking but are insulting each other at the same time as if they’ve been friends forever, Conan in front of Belit confesses that he was surprise how he didn’t end up in her bed because of her beauty, Belit’s reaction to the two of them was clear she was jealous, but not of Red Sonja but of the bond the two have in the short time they’ve known one another it’s reminiscent to her and Conan’s bond.

Although this is a left to be desired type of issue it’s still filled with action which in all honesty is what a Conan and Red Sonja Comic is all about at the end of the day.

 

Links: Preview Buy
Release Date: Out Now

Story:★★★☆☆ 
Art:★★★☆☆ 
Dialog:★★★½☆ 
Overall:★★★½☆ 

Review – Conan The Barbarian:The Song Of Belit – Part Two

Writer:Brian Wood
Artist: Riccardo Burchielli
Colorist: Dave Stewart
Cover Artist: Massimo Carnevale

I’ve read that this issue is one the most talked about issue ever, and I 22889have to agree with whoever said that statement. The Song of Belit is dark and has one of the most surprising endings I’ve seen thus far. Brian Woods lays it all on the line in this issue, for the beginning to the end there’s a sense of danger throughout the entire issue, unlike the past arcs there isn’t a happy ending if fact it’s one the most unexpected comic conclusions I’ve read in a while.

In the beginning we get a back story of sorts about the inhabitants of the black kingdom ,we see that as the land change so did the creatures that lived there, the climate changes forced species to evolve as time went by.  Form there we see Conan trapped in the vines of the Black Lotus, But he escapes and starts to look for N’Gora who seems to be missing, Conan then finds the weapons of his crew, but also notices that someone is watching him, to his surprise it was N’gora who is under some kind of spell,  and  tries to take Conan’s life. During their fight Conan feels uneasy about the bout and is trying to beak whatever spell that has been cast on N’gora, but it cannot be done, so Conan is forced to take n’gora’s life. After burying N’Gora, Conan beginnings to look for Belit, so races back to the ship to see if she and the other mates have gone back.  This part is interesting we see Conan panic alittle bit after funning the corpse of all the crew men.

When Conan finally reaches the ship, you can see that it’s been attacked the Head and mainsails have been broken, Conan reluctantly walks to his and Belit’s chambers. We that the doors are slightly open and in front lay what looks like a flatten red blossom peddle, When Conan opens the door we see Belit hanging form a rope.

Final thoughts: This issue left me feeling bad for Conan, he a Belit endured so much with each other, and devoted there life’s to one another, it truly look as if the two would have a happily ever after, but to then see it shattered at the end was unexpected, I knew it would end sooner or later, but I didn’t expected it to end like it did. I also really enjoyed the darkness of this arc and issue form the jump you knew something was going too happened, you just didn’t know what exactly. And that’s one aspect of the issue I liked a lot.  What else can be said, Brian Woods is on a roll. I will continue to read is run

Links: Preview | Buy
Release Date:  Dec 18, 2013

Story:★★★½☆ 
Art:★★★☆☆ 
Dialog:★★★★☆ 
Overall:★★★½☆ 

Review – Conan The Barbarian:The Song Of Belit – Part One

Writer:Brian Wood
Artist: Riccardo Burchielli
Colorist: Dave Stewart
Cover Artist: Massimo Carnevale

22888
Massimo Carnevale Cover

The Song of Belit is a new arc of writer Brian Woods, joining him in this new arc is Italian artist Riccardo Burchielli, who’s known for his DC/Vertigo comic series DMZ. Dave Stewart is back as the colorist for Burchielli’s artwork.

The arc is something different form the last arcs, for one it features a new land, and with that comes new mysteries and danger. And right form the jump we get a glimpse of how dangerous and mysterious this new land is, in the beginning of the issue Conan and Belit are aboard the Tigress and sailing the seas of The Black Kingdoms, As they sail deeper into the new seas Conan and the others start to become uneasy about the new sea. Belit tells them that there is a kingdom not too far from where they are and so they continue to sail. During the night a giant sea like snake attacks them, killing a handful of men before finally being driven back by Conan who once again expresses his discomfort with the new sea. When they finally reached the kingdom belit was talking about, they notice that it is abandon and again they come across a strange winged-ape liked creature. As they explore the grounds of the kingdom they a tomb of priest which is known to have treasure hidden underneath, under Belit’s orders they open the tomb and also set off a trap which takes out another hand full of men. Inside the tomb they find gold and other treasure like items, so they take possession of the treasure and start to return to the ship.

Once again Conan and the others see the winged-aped creature, but this time coming from the Tigress, this makes Conan curious so he runs back to the ship to see if it has done any damage, And after further inspection Conan sees that ape creature has done nothing to the ship so they go back to the city and continue exploring its lands, nightfall hits and Conan, N’Gora and the rest of their shipmates are in jungles of the mysterious land, and Conan quickly notices that they are being watched and followed. Conan then tells N’Gora and the others to go ahead while he stays behind to catch the one who is following them. But to his surprise it is not a person or creature that is following them, it is the jungle its self and its Black Lotus veins. The issue ends with Conan being wrapped by the Black Lotus veins, and us the readers wondering how Conan is going to escape this new and dangerous land.

This new arc looks really promising for the simple fact that its unknown, in past arc’s we pretty much knew what and who the antagonist was, but in this arc it’s a complete mystery. That reason only is what has me interested in the arc and the main factor for me to continue reading this arc.

Links: Preview | Buy
Release Date:  Out Now

Story:★★★½☆ 
Art:★★★☆☆ 
Dialog:★★★★☆ 
Overall:★★★½☆ 

Review – Shaolin Cowboy #2

21235
Geof Darrow Cover

Writer: Geof Darrow
Artist: Geof Darrow
Colorist: Dave Stewart
Cover Artist: Geof Darrow

Shaolin Cowboy #2 once again is filled with action and little to no dialog, just like the last issue. Throughout the entire issue the monk is cutting zombies in half left and right with ease, this issue should have been Called Continue reading Review – Shaolin Cowboy #2

Review – Conan The Barbarian: Black Stones Part 3

22375
Massimo Carnevale Cover

Writer: Brian Wood
Artist: Paul Azaceta
Colorist: Dave Stewart
Cover Artist: Massimo Carnevale
Published by: Dark Horse Comics

A twisted religious order targets the heathens Conan and Bêlit, who flee with a relic of immeasurable value. Mad warrior monks pursue the couple across a maze like landscape, cutting off every avenue of escape. With no other options, Bêlit looks to the mysterious item, hoping to find some salvation within.

After twenty- one issues Brian wood’s Conan the Barabarian run has seemed to come at its end, we has taken us all over Robert E. Howards  world and its original stories. Form Queen of the Black Coast to The Black Stones, Woods has brought us quality writing since starting his run, but some how The Black Stones Part 3 seems like its missing something, I’m not saying the issue is bad, just that it’s missing something.

The ending was a letdown of sorts for me, only because it seem rushed, like woods wanted to just get this arc out of the way finally, that may not have been the case but that’s the impression I got after reading this issue. Don’t get me wrong the issue is great it shows the love and bond between Belit and Conan at its strongest in this issue. And in the end that’s what these arcs or about Conan and Belit bond for one another as they travel together.

Artist Paul Azaceta work is good for the most part, although at times character faces look distorted in some panels. I’ve mention in the past that some artist do an exceptional job bring the world and crucial moments to life, Becky Cloonan and Davide Gianfelice are the ones that come to mind. Again I’m not saying is art is bad it just his artwork doesn’t appeal to me like the others do.

Final thoughts: This may sound like a bad review but it’s not, there’s a lot of good things going on with the issue, a lot of which I’ve talked about in past issues. In the end Conan The Barbarian: Black Stones arc turn out to be an okay arc, but had the makings of being a great one

Links: Preview | Buy
Release Date:  Out Now

Story:★★★★☆ 
Art:★★★☆☆ 
Dialog:★★★★☆ 
Overall:★★★★☆ 

Review – Shaolin Cowboy #1

 Writer: Geof Darrow21234 Artist: Geof Darrow Colorist: Dave Stewart Cover Artist: Walter Simonson ( Variant Cover) Published by: Dark Horse Comics

Writer/Artist Geof Darrow is back with an a new all-new story. Shaolin Cowboy is back and filed with action, action, action!. For all of you who has never read any of the pass Shaolin Cowboy Comic’s, it’s about a shaolin monk that wanders the land after being ask’s to leave the Shaolin temple. And like the past Comic Shaolin Cowboy #1 tells the same story but only in a different scenario. The first half of the issue back tracks on what happened many years ago, kudos to Darrow for reiterating some back story for new readers to get a feel for what’s going on now, the one down fall of this issue is that its’s 90% illustration, so if you’re not into comics featuring more illustration then disposition then this may be a problem for you.

As for me I though the artwork was the best part for the most part, Geof Darrow style features heavily detail panels, especially during action sequences, he details every single thing in each panel which I found impressive, the down fall for that is some panels look alittle too detailed, for example in the first 3 pages, where we see the monk walking in the dessert mountain side, the mountains in the background are way too detail, and I felt Darrow didn’t have to do so.

The writing is lacking in this issue only because Darrow decided to tell the story through Illustration, so there’s little to no explanation to who and why of the world. So the reader will have a hard time figuring out what’s going down, but there’s still some funny moments, one of them  involving some stoners.

Despite the lack of any explanation on whats going on the issue still has a nice steady flow to it, this should be able to keep readers attention until the next issue is released

Release Date:  Out Now

Story:★★★☆☆ 
Art:★★★☆☆ 
Dialog:★★★☆☆ 
Overall:★★★☆☆ 

Review – Conan The Barbarian: Black Stones Part 2

Writer: Brian Wood
Artist: Paul Azaceta
Colorist: Dave Stewart
Cover Artist: Massimo Carnevale
Published by: Dark Horse Comics

22374
Massimo Carnevale Cover

Black stones Part 2, gets more in-depth when it comes to the Black stones, along with how important they are to everyone else. In the last issue Conan and Belit enter a unknown village and caused alittle trouble to say the least, after escaping the two take refuge in the Forset of Ghouls for the night. Alone the two cuddle around a fire and Conan shares one of his child hood stories at her request, He tells her a story about a boy who was lost in a snow blizzard and was found frozen by his huntsman father, Belit comments on how horrible the story was, Conan tells her that it kept all the children form wondering off at night.

The morning comes at it seems as if Conan and Belit have been found by a savage tribe called Heretics, But seems Conan and Belit have anticipated this and set up a trap. Hiding in the trees the two start to throw giant size rocks at the savages  which quickly takes them out, at the same time another tribe of savages overhears the yelling of the Heretics and rush in thinking some of their fellow tribesman where being attacked. Still atop the trees Conan and Belit jump down and take out the other set of savages, the interesting thing about this part is that this group of savages seems to know that the scroll Conan is holding is a relic.

After taking out the two sets of men, they find themselves once again on the run under heavy arrow fire. With the enemy close by Conan gives Belit the relic and the two split up, Conan leads the men away form Belit before falling form his horse and knocking himself out. Belit on the other hand has a group men pulling at her as she tries to escape, one of them successfully pulls Belit form her horse and she falls into a lake, under water Belit unwraps the scroll/relic and a massive bright light expands knocking everyone out.

Next we see the little boy form the first issue running into a church, inside we see a priestess is there and he tells her that the relic has been used, the Priestess informs the boy that whoever has open the relic, will have a cursed bloodline. The issue ends with Belit entering the church.

Final thoughts: This issue is of the best issue I’ve read so far, Brian Woods covers all aspects need in order to make a great issue, filled with action, mystery, and other things of value. Black Stones pert 2 introduces a new antagonist, While Woods doesn’t elaborate too much on her in the few panels she was in, we do however get a glimpse of her personality, along with her obsession with the Blacks Stones. For example in the last panel we see her talking to the boy about the relic, we see her face expression which is normal, But then she leans over his shoulder and with a sinister face that would  make the joke even freak out, asks if he knows where the relic is. Her obsession with the relic is similar to Gollum’s of Lord of the Rings, where Gollum calls the ring his precious; she calls the relic her beloved.

So far this arc is looking very strong, Brian Woods is knocking this outta the park.

Links: Preview | Pre-Order
Release Date:  September 18, 2013

Story:★★★★☆ 
Art:★★★★☆ 
Dialog:★★★★☆ 
Overall:★★★★☆ 

Review – Conan The Barbarian: Black Stones Part 1

22373
Massimo Carnevale

Writer: Brian Wood
Artist: Paul Azaceta
Colorist: Dave Stewart
Cover Artist: Massimo Carnevale
Published by: Dark Horse Comics

As of late Brain woods has been on a roll, with arcs like, Border fury, Nightmare of the shallows, Argos Deception and Queen of the Black Coast all being quality arcs, It’s we can assume  Conan the Barbarian: Black Stones is going to be another great arc.

Conan The Barbarian: Black Stones takes place after the events of The Nightmare of The Shallows, Conan and Belit are seen walking through a rainy Forest, they quickly notice they are being followed and prepare to defend themselves against incoming enemies. The scene changes and we now see Conan and Belit aboard the Tigress and sailing the seas of western ocean two weeks for beforehand,  Conan and company jump aboard  a nearby ship and start to take out is crew and captain, with most of ship’s crew and captain all meeting there demises Belit and Conan come across a scroll, but before they can enjoy their victory an old man informs them that the ship has been blessed and is protected by the Black Stones. Conan laughs off the warming.

Next we see a present scene of Conan and Belit racing through the forest and come across a gloomy looking village that looks un-inhabited, the two then walk into a tavern looking for food an Ale, Conan then sits next to alittle boy at the bar, he then pays the kid to stable the horses and oil the saddles for the morning. An unknown man then comes up to Conan and asks if Belit is for sale, Conan plays along and begins to negotiate with the man, who offers five silver coins for Belit, Conan then counter offers the stranger a gold coin and asks for information on the village. The stranger tells him that the village in cursed by the black stones, and that lifestock, woman and children are most affected by it.

After getting the info they wanted Conan and Belit call it night, but not before the stranger again propositions Conan for Belit, who then angrily stabs the man in the hand which officially ends the night.

In the morning Conan and Belit come across the dead body of the man who had given them the information about the village, they then walk into a church and find a priest and the young boy who Conan had paid to stable the horses standing together. Conan the presents the scroll they had taken for the ship earlier, Seconds later a masked man jumps Belit from behind and threatens to take her life, the masked man tells him Belit should be punished and therefore be sacrificed.  Knowing they have been betrayed Conan asks for the person who has given them up, to his surprise he finds out that it was the boy who had betrayed them.

With his sword at Belit face the masked man asks for the scroll which turns out to be a Relic, In a flash Conan attacks the man and his followers in violent fashion. With only the priest left Conan approaches him and asks what he knows about the Black Stones, the priest who is terrified states that because Conan has the relic “They will damn you and one hundred generations of your offspring, just for touching it!”.

Seeing that getting information is useless they start to walk away from him, the priest then gets up and pulls out a dagger and yells out “in the shadows of the black stones” and then cuts his own throat. Stunned by the priests actions and knowing what trouble my follow the two agree to leave the village and camp out in the forest for the night.

Links: Preview | Buy-Now
Release Date:  Out Now

Story:★★★★☆ 
Art:★★★★☆ 
Dialog:★★★½☆ 
Overall:★★★★☆ 

Review – Amala’s Blade #4 “Mother Vs Daughter”

Story: Steve Horton
Art: Michael Dialynas
Colors: Michael Dialynas
Cover Art: Michael Dialynas
Published by: Dark Horse Comic

In this final issue of Amala’s Blade mini-series, things pick up where the last issue left off. Amala is seen riding on top of a dragon-like creature, which helped her escaped Avatouon. She is then confronted by the front-line of the Modifiers who are terrified of the creature and start to attack, Amala jumps form the creature and convinces the soldiers, who are nothing but children to stop firing. One of the soldiers informs Amala that she’s been followed by Purifiers who assume she is on their side.

22082

Amala then process to talk with one of the generals of Purifiers, she tells him that her mother is Lady Strawbale, and that if they give her a full pardon she would then join their side.

The general agrees and together they charge thus starting a war between the Purifiers and Modifiers, Meanwhile Smitty arrives and blames himself stating that its his fault the war has begun, seconds later the ghost of Abuela appears before him and asks if he needs assistants stopping the war. This encounter is interesting, it seems like the two have history, like they were lovers in the past.

As promise the ghost begin to stop the war, they some start to appear in front of all the soldiers of each side and convince them to stop the senseless bloodshed. As the ghost do their thing we see Amala ready to give a speech, but is quickly shot down before she can do so. The one responsible for shooting Amala was no other then the Prince, with Amala’s mother Lady Strawbale at his side , he then demands his followers to continue fighting but they turn on him and shoot him down, this drives Lady Strawbale mad to the point she attacks Ren.

The Attack on Ren also drives Amala into a mad rage similar to her mothers and the two begin to have it out in a final battle, during the fight Lady Strawbale insult Amala calling her a pitiful, doomed child. She also brags excessively about being a Modifier and the death of Amala’s father..

The fight between mother and daughter ends on a crazy moment; at one point Lady Strawbale is unable to move because of an explosion that occurred in the middle of their fight, so as Lady Strawbale lays on the ground heavily wounded, Her and Amala talk and it looks as if Lady Strawbale is about to turn a new leaf, But then out of nowhere the ghost of Amala’s father appears and forces her blade into the chest of Lady Strawbale, Shocked and angry Amala demands her father to explain why he made her kill her own mother, he tells Amala, sooner or later in the future her mother would have to tried to kill her, Amala then lashing out telling her father and the rest of the ghost to leave her alone forever, to which they all agree finally leaving Amala alone for first time in her life.

The issue ends with Amala, Smitty and Ren, who was thought to be dead, but turns out the wound he received from Lady Strawbale was not serious, Ren then asks Amala about Vizier. Amala smiles and replies “I have a feeling that problem’s taking care of itself,” in the last panel we see the Vizier waking up in his bedroom and is confronted by Amala’s monkey ghost and the dragon like creature that helped her escape earlier, In the last panel we see the dragon-like creature ready to strike the Vizier bringing a conclusion to the Arc.

Final thoughts:  Steve Horton’s Amala Blade miniseries is not a comic that will hook you, in fact there are a lot of holes in the story, and Horton misses to clearly the roles of certain characters in the beginning. For example when Lady Stawbale and Prince Markos are introduce it’s not particularly clear whether or not there bad or good, you only find out at the very end of this issue, that’s when you get a clear picture of what side they are on. Those aren’t the only characters with that problem there are a couple with things similar, but to not that degree.

The story itself isn’t all that great, average at best, but it’s still a good read. Horton’s writing is very consistent throughout the #1-4 dispite all the holes in the story, the comic has a nice steady flow to it. The same can be said about artist Michael Dialynas, he is also very consistent with his work. In the end Amala’s Blade should hold you over until the next big thing hits shelves

Links: Preview Buy Now
Release Date:  July 31, 2013

Story:★★★★☆ 
Art:★★★★☆ 
Dialog:★★★★☆ 
Overall:★★★★☆