The GeeksverseConan The Barbarian #1 – Advanced Review

Conan The Barbarian #1 – Advanced Review
Published on Wednesday, February 1, 2012 by

Published by: Dark Horse Comics
Written by: Brian Wood
Art by: Becky Cloonan
Colored by: Dave Stewart
Lettered by: Richard Starkings & Comicraft
Cover Art: A- Massimo Carnevale; B- Becky Cloonan
Assistant Editor: Brendan Wright
Editor: Dave Marshall

Be warned, might be some slight spoilers ahead.

I’m a big fantasy fan, but for whatever reason I have yet to ready any of Howard’s Conan novels. That’s probably something I should remedy soon. Reading the piece from the assistant editor in the back of this issue, I never knew that Howard’s books were out of order. I suppose that’s why the original Conan movie started out showing him as the king, since thats what the first novel started out as.

Because of that, the jumping around in time, it helps make sense of how Dark Horse has been publishing Conan. There are typically multiple mini-series going on at a time, that seem to cover all the spans of the barbarian’s life. This one, adapting The Queen Of the Black Coast, has a Conan in his 20s and it’s a good time to get in on the adventures of Conan The Cimmerian.

Wood’s captions read like they are out of a novel. There’s a storybook quality to them. It’s a bit wordy as well as possibly explaining too much, but for this book it ends up working. This Conan is simpler, but not in a bad way. He’s spent some time in the world but he’s still young. He’s eager, playful. At this time of his life he’s about having fun, or that’s how it comes across. The way Wood scripts him, his charisma comes through. This is someone that you would follow into battle, or allow onto your ship.

Truth be told, I enjoyed the Jason Mamoa Conan from the recent movie. I like the old Arnold ones just like everyone else, but I’ve liked the versions of Conan where he was slimmer, not so muscle bound, like Mamoa. That is also how Cloonan draws Conan.

He’s leaner, quicker.

Cloonan’s linework is sparse. There are no extra lines. She does good with the details of the setting and her Belit is amazing. On the technical side, she does pretty good. There’s a couple odd panels that interrupt the flow, but overall the work is solid.

The downside of this issue was that there wasn’t much in the way of action. We don’t see Conan doing what Conan does best, fighting. But both Wood and Cloonan do good with the set-up nature of the story. Storywise, it’s interesting and Conan is engaging.

Conan The Barbarian #1 receives
4.5 out of 5

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