December 14, 2012

Dark Horse Reviews: Conan The Barbarian #11

Conan The Barbarian #11
Publisher: Dark Horse
Writer: Brian Wood
Artist: Declan Shalvey (cover by Massimo Carnevale)
Colors: Dave Stewart

The majority of Conan’s young life has been wrought in battle. For the last few months, he’s been with Bêlit, Queen of the Black Coast, and that has been nothing short of adventurous. The two have been inseparable, but now, Conan has a problem that swinging his mighty sword cannot solve. The crew of the Tigress picked up a man lost at sea, and the man has brought a plague aboard the ship. Everyone except Conan is on death’s door, including his lover. He travels to the nearest port, and after drinking some ale, and then beating the snot out of a few locals, he seeks the help of a healer. He then must make a decision: risk his own life and try to save his lover and the crew of the Tigress, or save his own neck and leave the city!

This was quite an interesting issue for a Conan book. Very light on the action and heavy on the dialog. You honestly do need a break from the constant decapitations and blood spilling once in a blue moon, and this seemed like a good time for it. Conan is distraught because he must choose between the love of his life and, well, his life. Not an easy choice to make, and a bold move on Brian Wood’s part considering that you typically don’t get this kind of a dilemma with Conan. Seeing Conan bewildered and not having any clue how to handle a situation is another fantastic part of this book. His usual pugilistic style of settling things won’t work now, and his anxiety about the situation is very exhilarating.

Declan Shalvey is now in his second issue as artist, and I must say that he’s doing a fine job. The best part of his work has to be the facial expressions of the characters. Whether it’s surprise or fear, or whatever you can think of, he hits it perfectly. That’s one of those subtle things that some readers might not notice, but it’s definitely worth checking out and it will convince you that he’s getting it done on this title. The cover by Carnevale is good, as well. It’s not an exact replica of a scene inside the book, but it does relay the same situation quite well. That in and of itself is cool, because that doesn’t happen a lot in books these days. Overall another book that is refreshing and also keeping with the great lineage that is Conan! Rating 4/5

Billy Dunleavy



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