Conan the Barbarian #3
Publisher: Dark Horse
Writer: Brian Wood
Artist: Becky Cloonan (cover by Massimo Carnevale)
Colorist: Dave Stewart
The battle is over, the bodies are fresh, and Conan is being seduced by Belit. She is very beautiful, very sexy, and extremely deadly, but Conan only sees what’s right in front of him. A woman that has him enthralled with her voice and eyes. So he does the natural thing, the thing that any man would do. He joins her crew, then takes her inside the cabin and boinks her. OK, well, not specifically in that order, but you get the gist. After a quick love-making session, Conan has words with Belit’s subchief. The warrior tells Conan that he must be special indeed, because she’s never taken a mate before. This along with a few other stories has Conan intrigued, and he also gets some advice from a shaman aboard the vessel, as well. Where will all this lead? Conan tells the ship’s men to sail for a certain location, so I guess he knows, but doesn’t seem to be revealing what’s behind this destination. Will it be a familiar place that Conan wishes to visit for some revenge, or a place where he can test the mettle of his new woman? We shall see!
Brian Wood is really doing a better and better job with each passing issue on this story. Not that it was bad and getting better, mind you, but it definitely is progressing nicely. It’s not your typical retelling of a Conan story, because of Wood’s style, and that’s quite refreshing. The Conan mythos really doesn’t need a different angle; Howard’s work is concrete and can stand on its own forever. A new perspective typically can’t hurt, though, with something this safe. If you’ve ever read any of the original stuff, you know what you get, and this just adds to that great stuff. Wood is certainly doing the name Conan justice with his revisiting of the story.
Cloonan’s artwork is growing on me a bit, but her rendition of Conan is still the thing that seems a little off. Not her work, but just compared to other artists that have handled Conan in the past. Her work otherwise is phenomenal, and the cool factor can’t be denied. She has a great handle on all things (settings, ships, skies, etc.), no matter what’s on the page. The grittiness really ups the stakes and makes this book even better. Having a fantastic colorist like Dave Stewart doesn’t hurt, either. His work for Dark Horse is the kind that tips the scales in Dark Horse’s favor. I hope they sign that dude to a lifetime contract, because the work he does on B.P.R.D. alone is insane. His colors make everything look perfect, whether it’s a darker book like this one, or one of his others, it doesn’t matter. The dude gets the job done and then some! The two covers were sweet, too, and check the alternate one out below (by John Paul Leon)! Rating 4/5