Written by Brian Wood
Art by Becky Cloonan
Release Date: April 11, 2012

I’m going to start this review by saying a statement that doesn’t make a lot of sense: I don’t care for Conan. I have read sporadic issues in the past, pretty much just enough to know that the typical tales involving the Cimmerian do not appeal to me…now let me to quantify why I read this book in the first place: Brian Wood and Becky Cloonan. These two names brought me into this new Conan series and let me tell you, it is not your typical barbaric read. With the entire series, and this issue as well, Wood has made Conan an intelligent brute that is calculating, introspective, and while still a barbarian at heart, a helluva lot smarter than I’ve ever seen him. This Conan is a tactician as much as a warrior and I have enjoyed Wood’s exploration of what is actually at the heart of Conan and what makes him the barbarian he is. Wood is crafting an extremely interesting story with this arc, taking long pauses between extreme action and even going to so far as to remove virtually all action from this issue. A bold move in a Conan book, but one that is executed masterfully and makes the action scenes that much more jarring and impactful. He has made this title a true action/adventure and added an element of mystery to the tale that is only getting more intriguing by the issue. The pace of this particular issue is even stronger than it’s two predecessors and you can feel Wood really getting into a rhythm with this issue. He knows this character, what drives him, and while the reader has no clue where Wood will go with this, you can’t help but know it’s going to be an entertaining ride.

The second half of this dynamic creative duo, Becky Cloonan, brings some strong art to this book that aids immensely in the story Wood is crafting. Many times in work that is not creator owned it feels like the artist and writer are out of sync but that is not the case with this book. Wood knows Cloonan’s strengths and leans on her capable hands to tell a lot of story through the nuance of a panel with no dialogue or only inner monologue while the events of the “real world” drive the story forward. Cloonan’s art style is a great fit for this story and this is a prime example of two creators that are in sync and telling an enjoyable tale.

Verdict: 8.0/10


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