July 12, 2013

Dark Horse Reviews: King Conan: The Hour Of The Dragon #2

KingConanHourDragon#2King Conan: The Hour of the Dragon #2
Publisher: Dark Horse
Writer: Timothy Truman
Artist: Tomas Giorello (cover by Gerald Parel)
Colors: José Villarrubia

The savage Cimmerian known as Conan has been many things in his lifetime, and all of the stories are well documented. The stories that tell of him as a king, though, are extra special. He tells these tales to a scribe named Pramis. He recounts how a wizard had laid him low before a battle at Valka. Conan still fought like a champion, but eventually he was put down by this evil wizard of which he spoke. The wizard tells the King of the warring tribe that they should take him alive instead of killing him right then and there, and this has the King worried. He then gives one of the guards a lesson on why you don’t question his motives. He turns the soldier’s belt buckle into a venomous snake, and it bites him on the neck, killing him!

This is a tale that has been read by many before, but somehow Truman makes it new again. Most people will agree with that assessment, and with good reason. You get a sense throughout the issue that Conan is in big trouble against this wizard that’s come back from the dead. The odds seem stacked ever so greatly against him, yet the way he’s written, you don’t dare count him out.

The artwork by Giorello and Villarrubia is absolutely stunning. The pages jump out at you, and that final splash page is just magnificent. One other page of note, is when Conan is in the dungeon, and he’s being harassed by one of the guards. After Conan can’t take his words any longer, he unleashes a punch that not only batters and bloodies the man, but also knocks his eyeball right out of the socket! Gruesome, yes, but also very visually effective, and superbly done.

A dungeon that seems inescapable, a beautiful woman, and an incredibly barbarous beast are all the things in play on top of the immensely powerful wizard and scores of soldiers within the castle. Those guys don’t stand a chance! Rating 5/5


Billy Dunleavy



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