Boy howdy, that Cimmerian sure knows how to pick â€˜em
From the lands to the north, Conan has traveled seeking his fortune by hiring himself out to those armies he feels are worthy of his talents.Â In the land of Koth, protected by the ancient god Mitra, Conan finds his new employer in the form of Amalric the Lion, leader of a group of mercenaries, sent by the king to fend off armies who would claim the region as their own.
My biggest problem with the previous story arc, was the lack of high action one would expect from a title featuring the barbarian Conan.Â Issue #8 not only features an epic battle where Conanâ€™s intervention turns the tide of the battle, but it also kicks off with an ancient battle, and the tale of the ancient wizard Thugra Kotan who seals himself up in a giant blood diamond waiting for the day he will emerge to conquer Hyboria.Â While Conan is revealed to have some smarts and uses tactics to his advantage, nothing beats some sword and sorcery.
For those who are familiar with the Black Colossus story, names and locations have been changed, which could be a bit of a let down, but considering this tale has been told and retold numerous times in comic form, change is needed in order to keepÂ long time Conan fans interested.Â And though I am not versed in the popular tales, Iâ€™m interested in seeing what happens next.Â This is especially true after Thugra Kotan is revived and assumes the title of Natohk and leads an army of black scorpions across the dessert (the first Scorpion King?) to take down all those who oppose him.
Itâ€™s interesting that Natohkâ€™s using the scorpion motif, proclaims to be the living hand of Set, as Thoth-Amon (Thulsa Doom in the Conan movie), also claims to be a servant of serpent god.Â With Mitra presumably becoming â€œinvolvedâ€ in the next issue, the Black Colossus arc appears to be a battle between the gods played out among the mortals of Hyboria.
The issue kicks off with narration taken from ancient scrolls, and as I read it, I could hear the voice of Mako speaking the lines.Â Unfortunately, my biggest problem with the issue is in the opening narration. While I appreciate what the letterer is doing in using a font that gives the feeling of ancient text, I found it incredibly difficult to read the small type being used.Â Following the reading of the scroll, the lettering does settle down to normal, making the rest of the issue an easy read.
I really like the art by Tomas Giorello, which was broken up in the previous issue with the flashback art by Richard Corben.Â Here Giorello is able to go all out and draw faces getting melted, battles being waged, and the quiet glance of a statue following Conan without needing to worry about the jumpiness from the first seven issues.
I was seriously considering dropping this title after the last story arc, but with the action cranking up in the first installment of the Black Colossus, and the prospect of Conan coming to the aid of a comely queen, Iâ€™m more than likely hooked for the next five issues.Â If you are looking to get away from the superhero genre, and have a passing knowledge of Conan, then Conan #8 is a great jumping on point to get you hooked into Dark Horseâ€™s ongoing series.Â Conan #8 is fast paced, the art is good, and features a magician controlling an army of scorpions, and thus earns 4 out of 5 Stars.