Conan The Barbarian #4
Publisher: Dark Horse
Writer: Brian Wood
Artist: James Harren (cover by Massimo Carnevale)
Colorist: Dave Stewart
Conan and his new woman, Belit, are heading for a land called Messantia. The last time Conan was there, he barely escaped with his life. Why go back, then? Well, for starters, the land is full of gold, and on top of that, Conan seems to be out to prove himself to his woman. Conan’s new shipmates don’t seem to think this is a good idea, but they do get slightly enthused when he tells them the plan. He’s going to be in chains and act as though he’s been captured. Meanwhile, Belit will hide below, and after the soldiers take Conan away, she and the others will steal some gold and then plot his escape. All good plans start out that way, but they rarely work out in the end.
Another solid issue from Brian Wood. He’s doing a good job with showing the reader what Conan was like in his youth. The uneasy feeling with the relationship between Conan and Belit is fascinating. You get the feeling this isn’t going to end well, and the anticipation is excruciating. Another great part of this story is how Conan, even at a young age, earns the respect of Belit’s crew. Just from seeing him fight one time, the crew is convinced that his plan will work. It sounds far fetched, but Conan has always been written as a great warrior that’s sure of himself, and that can inspire others, too.
We saw a new artist on this book, and it was a good change of pace. Not that Cloonan was terrible or anything, but the book never really felt like a Conan book. James Harren (BPRD, Abe Sapien) is someone that should be familiar to any Dark Horse fan, and is definitely an accomplished artist that is deserving of this job. He does a fine job on all aspects of this book except for one minor thing. Conan’s jaw looks a bit like Jay Leno’s in the early pages of this book. Other than that, everything was up to par as usual with his work. Dark Horse stalwart Dave Stewart was on colors, and any time you see his name, you can be sure that the job is done the right way. The cover by Carnevale is pretty good, too, but nothing spectacular. Rating 3.5/5