October 24, 2011

Dark Horse Reviews: Conan: Road of Kings #9

Conan: Road of Kings #9
Publisher: Dark Horse
Writer: Roy Thomas
Artist: Dan Panosian (cover by Aleksi Briclot)

At the conclusion of issue #8, we saw Conan and his party trapped in the catacombs of an ancient burial edifice. They had just finished off some crazy huge bugs, but are now face to face with a horde of zombies. As usual, Conan is slightly frightened, because he thinks magic is at work here, but J’honn, the priest, tells him that he should fear death instead. Along with Prospero, Conan and J’honn start to slice their way through the army of the undead. They soon realize that their actions are futile. The horde is never ending, and eventually they’ll run out of gas, and the zombies will not. By shear luck, the warriors find out that inside the heads of these walking cadavers lies the secret to stopping them. They’ve been used as hosts to the bugs that were residing in the catacombs, and when you slice the head in half, killing the bugs, the zombies stop. The trio then make a furious assault on the corpses until few remain. One member of their party has gone ahead out of fear and selfishness, and this proves to be a problem for everyone. He mistakenly unleashes something else that quickly follows after him, and heads straight for the others as well.

What an action packed issue this was, and Roy Thomas shows why he’s been writing stories like this for decades. He really understands how to generate fear and anxiety for the reader. The guest artist, Panosian, wasn’t bad, but I definitely want to see Mike Hawthorne back on this book sooner than later. He really had this title down to a science, and his depiction of Conan was spot on. Next issue should prove to be interesting, because it looks like the ground work is being laid for Conan to one day become King!

Billy Dunleavy



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