January 25, 2012

Dark Horse Reviews: King Conan: The Phoenix on the Sword #1

King Conan: The Phoenix on the Sword #1
Publisher: Dark Horse
Writer: Timothy Truman
Artist: Tomas Giorello (cover by Andrew Robinson)

Just as Conan: Road of Kings ends, we get another dose of the Cimmerian, from Timothy Truman and Tomas Giorello! This team previously worked together on Conan: The Scarlet Citadel, and also Conan the Cimmerian, as well. In this story, we revisit just how Conan became King of Aquilonia, and how he dealt with his first big challenge as a ruler. It wasn’t in the form of war or even famine, no, it was the treachery of his own people trying to murder their newly appointed King! Several prominent citizens have been persuaded by a cloaked figure to hatch a plan to kill Conan and usurp the throne for their own vile needs. Can Conan snuff out this upheaval, or will one of his oldest enemies use his dark arts to subjugate the throne for himself? If you want to know, then pick up King Conan: The Phoenix on the Sword #1, today!

OK , well, first off, I’d like to say that I’ve read this particular Howard story several times, but it doesn’t bore me in the least. Different adaptations from a writing standpoint, as well as an artistic one keep things fresh for me. I like Truman’s style for a book like this and I know he’s a big fan of Howard’s work, so that makes it even more interesting. Just that fact alone honestly gives me the utmost confidence in Truman, and I can’t wait for the next issue. I did enjoy his work a lot on the hardcover I also reviewed a while back, too. This is the perfect jumping on point for new readers, so if you’ve ever thought about checking out a Conan story, this is it!

The artwork is solid, too. Giorello does a nice job with his more abstract art style (not really abstract, just not prototypical for a big budget book), but everything is recognizable and makes sense. My favorite scene is the ending when the villain reveals himself to another person, who is going to be used as a guinea pig. I love the facial features on this evil one, and his face is almost enough to send chills down your spine. The cover by Andrew Robinson is great, too. Nothing flashy or too busy, just a solid cover that is so cool it’s fit for a king! Check out the cool variant cover below by Gerald Parel! Rating 3.5/5

Billy Dunleavy



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