April 12, 2012

Dark Horse Reviews: King Conan: The Phoenix on the Sword #3

King Conan: The Phoenix on the Sword #3
Publisher: Dark Horse
Writer: Timothy Truman
Artist: Tomas Giorello (cover by Andrew Robinson)
Colorist: Jose’ Villarrubia

As King Conan continues to tell the scribe Pramus about a fateful night when he was under an attack from those he thought were his allies, we learn that even a barbarian like Conan can believe in gods. For it is on this night, while Conan is dreaming, that he’s approached by Epemitreus. In this dream, Conan is told of the plot against him, and that his old nemesis, Thoth-Amon, is the one behind it! Will Conan be able to stop the most powerful sorcerer he’s ever encountered? As if that wasn’t enough, Thoth-Amon has used his ring to conjure up a beast that resembles King Kong to battle Conan, as well!

Truman has a good handle on this character, and that’s an understatement. The parts with Conan in his elder years are very good, but the panels where he’s in his youth are even better. He shows the reader a version of Conan that is equivalent or better than any other I’ve read (aside from Howard’s). He keeps the dialog to a minimum with Conan, but lets Epemitreus do a lot of the talking. The pages that showed their conversation (during Conan’s dream) were pretty cool. The book was enjoyable from start to finish, even without its normal action packed themes. A typical Conan comic is riddled with swords, decapitations, axes, and such, so it’s nice to have an issue once in a while that is lighter on that content. It’s still attention grabbing, though, because it has a few fight scenes plus some great back story on Epemitreus and Set.

The duo of Giorello and Villarrubia is one of exception. You can definitely look forward to this series because of the artwork that these two put out. The scenery is the best part of the book, along with the creatures. In this book, we see a serpent that fights the god Epemitreus. The serpent is actually Set, but it never takes human form, which is really cool. Thoth-Amon also performs some spells, and the creature that he summons looks like some sort of distorted man-ape. Between the serpent, the man-ape, and Conan busting a few heads, this comic has my seal of approval times five! Honestly, if you’ve never given a fantasy book a chance, this is the character to show you how cool they are! Rating 4/5

Billy Dunleavy



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