June 12, 2011

Dark Horse Reviews: Robert E. Howard’s Savage Sword #2

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Written by: Billy
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Robert E. Howard’s Savage Sword #2
Publisher: Dark Horse
Writer: Various
Artist: Various (cover by Tim Bradstreet and Grant Goleash)

The first story in this book is about El Borak called “The Incident at Hakim’s Rest. He’s a gunslinger that is currently in the desert of Afghanistan fighting against a ruthless ruler named Hakim. El Borak is not only swift with a sword or gun, but also possesses a keen intellect that he uses to outsmart Hakim. He’d better watch his back, though, because Hakim has a plan of his own, and he doesn’t fight fair! This story is by Mark Finn with artwork by Greg Scott. Rating 3.5/5

The next tale is “Dark Agnes: Storytelling,” part 2 of 2. This is definitely a character that I think has enormous potential. Agnes is also someone that female readers should really take a liking to for several reasons, but the most important is because she kicks butt! She is surrounded by many armed men, but for Dark Agnes, this is nothing new. While she is slicing up all of her would-be attackers, her male companion isn’t fairing as well. No need to panic, though; she’s more than ready to deal out more death using her blade! Story by Marc Andreyko with art by Robert Atkins. Rating 4/5

The third story is A New Game for Costigan,” and is about a character named Sailor Steve Costigan. Steve is a hard-nosed guy who doesn’t take any crap from anybody. Mainly because he’s got fists like bricks. He enters a bar and gets harassed by some goony “friends,” and is then offered a job by a wealthy man. The man wishes for him and his buddies to rough up his son, and stop him from marrying a local girl. Steve refuses, but his buddies take up the man on his offer and things go down hill from there. Story by Joe Casey with art by Pop Mhan. Rating 3/5

I can’t even begin to say enough great things about the story called Sea Curse,” by Robert E. Howard. This story was more of a short story than a comic book one, but the illustrations by Tim Seeley were awesome, too. “The Sea Curse” is a tale of an old woman that puts a curse on two sailors, because she believed they were responsible for a young girl’s disappearance one night. Eventually, two young boys on a boat make a gruesome discovery, and it seems as though the curse is coming to fruition. Rating 5/5

The fifth entry in this collection is a classic story, Valley of the Worm”! It’s written by comic book heavyweights Roy Thomas and Gerry Conway, with art from another master, Gil Kane. The story follows a tribe of Asgard’s (not the Viking gods, but rather ancient Hyborian age people of the North) greatest warriors as they make their way across the land, fighting savages, and then their leader, Niord, must slay not only a giant serpent, but also an evil beast from possibly Hell itself! Rating 5/5

Last but certainly not least, we have the mighty and savage Conan in “The Jewels of Hestermpart 2 of 3. Continuing from last issue, Conan has made his way to a castle where J’Wen is being held captive…or so he thinks. Conan slices his way through guards, sneaks down multiple corridors, and then finally takes a hostage to find out where his woman and the jewels are hidden. The guard warns Conan that all is not what it seems, but the headstrong barbarian won’t listen, and comes face to face with a room full of demons! Written by Paul Tobin with art by Wellington Alves. Rating 4/5

Overall this book is nothing short of fantastic. All the stories are solid, with my favorites being Sea Curse, Valley of the Worm, and Jewels of Hesterm. From a standpoint of artwork, the Dark Agnes story was visually exceptional, and the four or five sketches from Tim Seeley in the Sea Curse story were also really cool. The book has plenty of extras, too. You get artwork after most of the stories conclude, fan letters pages, and really nice looking solicits for compilations of the more popular Howard characters, as well. This book has it all, not just for fans of fantasy, but action/adventure, horror, and mystery to top it off!

Billy Dunleavy



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