Comic Publishers

June 12, 2012

Dark Horse Reviews: Conan The Barbarian #1-4


Conan the Barbarian
Dark Horse Comics
Writer: Brian Wood
Artists: Becky Cloonan, James Harren

Conan is not a character of great intelligence, nor is he dull witted. He is a character built on passion, rage, honor, and violence. Before I read these four issues of Conan the Barbarian, I didn’t know what to expect beyond that. I was not terribly familiar with the Conan mythos, I’ve always been somewhat attracted to the idea, and had seen the movies, but besides that I was ignorant to the character. Now, after reading the first four issues of the current Conan the Barbarian series, I will be hunting down as many Conan books that I can find, in hopes that they will be a fraction of the quality that these were.


The story follows a young Conan during his exploits on the sea, a terrain that the young barbarian is not particularly familiar with. During his adventures, he proves himself to the pirate Queen Belit, and her crew, and a lust filled relationship begins with Conan and the Cutthroat Siren.

Like I said before, I knew next to nothing about this character, but I didn’t need to know anything about the late Robert E. Howard’s creation to enjoy this book. I’d recommend this book to anyone, but first and foremost to someone who hasn’t ever read a Conan book, especially if you’ve always had a lingering interest. This is the definition of a perfect jumping on point. Screw the New 52; this is one of the best reboots I have ever read. I learned everything I needed to know about Conan within the first ten pages of the first book. The rest was just an explosively fun romp in the pulp genre. Action, comedy, romance, and above all else, adventure, are all in full effect in every panel on every page.

Not only is Brian Wood’s writing superb, but Becky Cloonan and James Harren’s artwork are equally on par with anything Wood has to throw at readers. The way they both illustrate that this is a younger, less experienced Conan, just by a simple smirk or facial expression, is remarkable. It’s a subtlety that works excellently. Just by opening the first page of the first book I could tell this was a younger character.

I could keep praising this book over and over and over again. In fact, there really isn’t much I can say to detract from it. That’s why this series gets 9.5 out of 10 Stars in my book, and a recommendation to read this book even if you don’t particularly have any interest in the Sword and Sorcery genre.




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