September 17, 2012

Dark Horse Reviews: Conan The Barbarian #8

Conan The Barbarian #8
Publisher: Dark Horse
Writer: Brian Wood
Artist: Vasilis Lolos (cover by Massimo Carnevale)
Colors: Dave Stewart

After eight issues, there are a few things that are very evident. First off, Conan may be a youth, but he’s still an absolute savage when it comes to battle. He also has a weakness for women, especially the dangerous kind. Enter the swashbuckling, murderous Bêlit! She’s quite a vixen, but Conan is enthralled with her, well, was enthralled with her until now. He and Bêlit have made their way to Cimmeria (Conan’s homeland), and have encountered his mother. She tells them that a man resembling Conan is running around the countryside killing people and using Conan’s name! Well, that doesn’t sit well with Conan, so he and his woman hit the trail of this fiend to find him and destroy him. Along the way, though, Conan and Bêlit begin to figure out that they might be less compatible than they first realized.

This issue, while good, did kind of feel slightly like filler. Not that it didn’t have a point, but rather it could have been told in just a few pages instead of an entire issue. Most of the pages were just pretty landscapes and Conan and Bêlit’s thoughts. Again, not a terrible thing, but a little bit of action wouldn’t have hurt either. Wood does do a good job at humanizing these two larger than life characters even more so than he did last issue. And that’s saying something. There was also a scene where Bêlit was riding on a horse naked. At first, it seemed really out of place, but then Wood explained that she longs for her home and the life she led there, rather than trudging threw Cimmeria. The whole thing just seemed kind of strange even though it was explained.

Onto the artwork. In the past when Cloonan was on art, sometimes Conan looked slightly off, but honestly, that wasn’t bad at all compared to the rendition of Conan in this issue. Hopefully this artist is only filling in, because Cloonan and Harren were much better. There were a few panels where Conan looked Asian, and others where he looked like a girl. Yes, this story is showing us a young Conan, but he’s definitely old enough that his voice isn’t squeaky anymore. You know, like that episode of The Brady Bunch where Peter’s voice is all squeaky because he’s going through puberty? Just silly to make him look that young, isn’t it? Anyway, the cover was spectacular and really added a nice touch to the whole book. Rating 3.5/5

Billy Dunleavy



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