Review: Conan the Barbarian #1

By Alex Vazquez

Conan the Barbarian #1brings us Robert E. Howard’s short story, ‘The Queen of the Black Coast’, in highly demanded comic form. To my knowledge, I haven’t read the original, but given how well Dark Horse handled King Conan (another great adaption of an REH story) I feel I am in good hands.

Most of the story in this issue is told in retrospect by the characters and serves as set up for thing to come. Moreover, it manages to be entertaining without any sword fighting or bloodletting (a feat for any Sword n’ Sorcery tale). I attribute this to Wood’s excellent character writing. He presents a young and very charismatic Conan whose rebelliousness is tempered with signs of greatness. I instantly found myself wanting to adventure with this Cimmerian lad.

Becky Cloonan’s art suits this point in Conan life. She draws us a more svelte hero in his early twenties, not the one with the gigantic mirth we have come to know (damn you Frazetta and Arnold).

Dave Stewart’s colors area appropriately morbid, especially in the pages where we glimpse the Black Coast Queen in question (drool). If she doesn’t haunt your dreams then you are no barbarian (I chide, I chide).

If you’ve never read the short story, then you owe it to yourself to pick this series up. Know ye now, O Prince!

Follow Alex on Twitter @Nettomono