Donâ€™t read this late at night…or a month after the last issue
My biggest problem with Kull is that so much of his mythos has been wrapped into the Conan mythos that telling one from the other is often difficult.Â This is especially true when it comes to the serpent cult, which has appeared in Conan comics from the 1970â€™sÂ and in the Conan animated series.Â Strip off King Kullâ€™s wardrobe, and feature him sneaking around the castle in his skivvies, and the line between the two – at least in this issue – is wiped away.
I do dig the Serpent Men. This race of beings that once ruled man before the uprising is a fascinating glimpse of days gone by as spun from the mind of Robert E. Howard.Â Even more interesting are the number of real religions that have the serpent as the central figure, and you get a weird creepy feeling of things that might actually have been.
In this retelling of Howardâ€™s The Shadow Kingdom, Kull is approached by a Pictish warrior who gives Kull the grand tour of his newly acquired castle, by way of the myriad of secret passages scattered throughout.Â Through their journey, the Pict reveals to Kull that his trusted aid is indeed a Serpent Man in disguise.Â Kull and his new friend dispatch the fiend swiftly.Â Thereâ€™s even a great moment where another Serpent Man approaches Kull in the guise of the Pict, and you get the feeling that Kull may not make it through the night.
As you might have guessed, a lot of this issue features revealing plot points, and some bloodshed as well.Â The most graphic elements of this issue feature the Serpent Men reverting back to their true form.Â Itâ€™s not something one should read before bedtime, unless they hope to dream of shape shifters plotting against them in the middle of the night.Â There are also some political moments in the issue as well, as Kull must deal with his current Queenâ€™s desire to be bedded, and her jealousy over Kull taking another bride to unite two kingdoms.Â Kull has a great line when he – the Atlantean – says heâ€™s only following the customs of the land, as he has no desire to marry two women.
The only difficult part about this issue is there are quite a few factions, tribes, and names bandied about that it would probably be better to read the previous issue and this one back to back.Â I felt a real disconnect as I tried to recall the information from the previous issue that had been read a month ago, and Iâ€™m probably not the only one.
The ancient political slant, along with the Serpent Men are keeping me interested in Kull, and Iâ€™m liking it more than the current Conan run.Â That being said, I was a bit disappointed in this issue, mainly because I needed a refresher on who the players were.
The art is good, I know the bloody visage of the dead Serpent Man staring back at me is going to cause a nightmare or two.Â The big problem I have with the art is in wide shots, all the characters look like they have rapidly receding hairlines – that or they have five-heads going on.
Having not read the original source material, I have no idea what is coming next, and that does bring some enjoyment to the series.Â I know that I have attempted to read tales that are a direct adaptation of the source, and Iâ€™ve never liked them that much.Â Kull #3 does a good job, but nothing better than a 3 out of 5 Star rating.