Belit is still a little numb after her experience in Cimmeria, but Conan continues to enjoy the trappings of a pirate’s life. As they settle back into their lives aboard ship a vessel creeps in from the horizon and threatens to destroy everything. Read on in the Major Spoilers review.
Previously in Conan the Barbarian: Belit battled both wolves and snow blindness in Cimmeria as Conan confronted the impostor roaming the country side committing terrible acts in his name.
SPARTAN IN STYLE AND LIFESTYLE
This issue, the inaugural of a new arc, begins with a textually spartan recapitulation of Conan, Belit and crew’s exploits at sea. It’s your standard “Best in Life” list, except Conan replaces number three with something a little more physically gratifying than lamentations. This opening montage lets the art tell the story and it’s a beautiful and effective way of giving new readers a solid sense of the series without overwhelming with backstory.
Once into the story proper Belit, speaking with her soothsayer, complains of boredom and projects her own feelings onto Conan, believing him also to be weary of their piratical lifestyle. The soothsayer mixes together whatever noxious moonshines jumpstart his visions. Just as he goes full Tim Leary he utters the only intelligible words of his trance: “The Death”
The story begins to fall into place soon after as a mysterious Vking-style ship appears alongside the Tigress with one sickly occupant…
The narration boxes and the spare dialogue work very well with the imagery to give the story the proper sense of isolation I would expect out at sea. The stink of hopelessness begins to suffuse the story after a certain point and it’s a nice dramatic turn considering the first part of the book was all about how awesome things are for Conan, Belit and the crew.
I don’t think I would complain if all comics looked like this book. It’s gorgeous with its artistic minimalism and muted palette. It’s beautiful from the epic panels like the two-page nighttime spread of the Tigress to the small stuff, like the knowing glance from N’Yaga to Belit when the latter agrees to bring aboard the prisoner. Character designs feel three dimensional without being overdone—too many lines can be a bad thing depending on the type of story you’re trying to tell.
BOTTOM LINE: MAY NOT BE BEST IN LIFE, BUT WORTH A SHOT
This is truly an excellent jumping-on point for the book. Wondering why Conan’s on a boat? Doesn’t matter; he’s enjoying himself and that’s all that matters. My one complaint with this issue was the decided dearth of action—it’s definitely more of a talkie—but it’s made up for by the fantastic images and the well-written hook that’s reeled me in for the rest of this arc. 3.5 stars.
DID YOU READ THIS ISSUE? RATE IT!