Conan: Road of Kings #11
Publisher: Dark horse
Writer: Roy Thomas
Artist: Mike Hawthorne (cover by Aleksi Briclot)
After helping to set things straight in Tarantia, Conan boards a cattle ship to make his way to Messantia for some down time. He reaches the city without any difficulties, and pays the captain of the ship with some of his recently “acquired” gold from Tarantia. He immediately searches for a tavern that one of his old shipmates told him about called the Tavern of the Black Stag. He makes his way to the tavern, but then gets side-tracked by a scuffle in the alley. There is a mercenary there that is being robbed by three men, and Conan won’t allow this unfair fight to go on. He stops one of the men by breaking his neck like a twig. The other two men then advance towards him, but he cleaves them in half with his broadsword. The mercenary then reveals himself to be Conan’s old shipmate from the beginning of this tale, Ivanos. They quickly decide they need a few stiff drinks along with the company of women!
I’m gonna miss this series when it wraps up next issue. Yeah, I know it’s not the most cerebral read on the planet, but it entertains me to no end. The adventure aspect that it provides when Conan gets himself into hot water is great. Just when it seems like Conan is going to take care of everything, Roy Thomas finds a new way to give the upper hand to the antagonist. This particular story won’t blow your mind, but it will make you forget whatever it is you’re doing and escape to a world of fantasy.
It was especially cool to see Mike Hawthorne (artist) back on this book. His replacement did a good job, but Hawthorne had such a great flow to everything before taking a break. My favorite panel was when Conan and Ivanos first step into the tavern. They are in the background, but there is this creepy looking dude eyeballing one of the hot waitresses that is just hilarious and perfect at the same time (see below). Many similarities in one of today’s bars occur on a regular basis, I’m sure.
The story ends with a cliffhanger that is of the typical Conan story, with him being thrown into a predicament that looks rather ominous. We all know that one way or another he’ll get out of it in the end, however, it’s not the when, but the how that I’m interested in! Rating 4/5