Conan: Road of Kings #12
Publisher: Dark Horse
Writer: Roy Thomas
Artist: Mike Hawthorne (cover by Aleksi Briclot)
We’ve finally come to the end of the road of kings, and Conan doesn’t disappoint! In typical Conan fashion, he’s found himself locked up in a dungeon, with seemingly no means of escape. Lucky for him his jailers underestimate not only his strength, but his cunning mind, too! The new captain of the guards is really giving Conan a tongue lashing, but Conan gets the last laugh as he spits at the jerk and it lands right in the dude’s mouth (yuck)! This infuriates the captain, but then he’s told to leave the prisoner alone, because a fate worse than a beating at his hands lies ahead when Conan must face the ruthless judge of the kingdom. You see, he has a track record for hanging men, even when they might not necessarily be guilty!
I love Roy Thomas! Yeah, I said it, so what. The dude is money when it comes to just about everything he writes, but Conan is a book that he has mastered. He knows just when to add the action or back off and settle for some verbal sparring. The myriad of emotions that Conan displays in this series is nothing short of spectacular, as well. All this thanks to Roy Thomas, and his ingenious style of writing. He really lulls you into thinking that this is going to be just a story about blood and guts, but by the time you’re done reading the story, you feel as if you’ve read something special.
As always, Mike Hawthorne does a smashing job with the pencils (click to enlarge image above). He understands perfectly what it takes to utilize Conan to his full potential when swinging into action. I really enjoy the scenes where Conan is battling it out with some monster or beast, but even when he’s slicing his way through an army, Hawthorne keeps it rolling well. Some of his interior pages could actually be covers, and I hope someday he ventures into that arena, as well. Speaking of covers, I really liked this one from Aleksi Briclot. Simplistic, but effective in every sense of the phrase. Hopefully we see this team on another Conan book in the near future. Rating 4/5