In most cases, the mantra of Conan is “kill first, ask questions later.” At the very least his job is to sneak his way past the guards so that he may steal the woman/magic/bauble and win the day. Then he commences with the killing.
King Conan: The Hour of the Dragon #5 (Dark Horse Comics)
Missed our review of King Conan #4? Check it out here!
The penultimate issue is here and it doesn’t feel very fresh. Why is that? Because Conan ends up busting in and saving a dame, something we have seen him do countless times, but it is a flip on what we’ve seen in this series itself, where a woman saved him. Then again, once she unshackled him he had to save her, so maybe it’s not so fresh. The series opens with an old Conan telling aloud one of his past tales to a scribe. The story is about how he lost his kingdom to a wizard and how he regained the throne. Okay, so the plot might not be breaking new ground, but that doesn’t mean this issue isn’t a wild ride!
The ambiance alone should keep you sated.
What we have in this single issue is a grown up version of the knight in shining armor saving a girl trapped in a tower. Only Conan is in robes, wearing an eyepatch and has to cleave his way through the bad guys. Nice! The issue also delves into a secret ally Conan didn’t even know about, which ties into how he ruled equally amongst his people. It’s a nice way to tie back into the “King” aspect of King Conan, but also reveals how he might reclaim the throne next issue.
Adapted from the Robert E. Howard book, writer Timothy Truman does a good job balancing out the action and exposition in this issue. Obviously it helps when the art by Tomás Giorello is so damn pretty. Giorello, who last issue was a bit stifled with enclosed settings and closeups, gets to spread out more here. That’s partly due to the action, but also because he’s got a sexy dame to draw. Something I’ve noticed Giorello do is add a bit of mist here and there in his panels. It helps set a mood of mystery and mysticism, which goes great for a book like Conan. He also articulates faces incredibly well, even in scenes of crowds.
That…is one revealing tear.
- Sweet action and ladies articulated well
- Learning about the new ally is a tad heavy in the exposition department
- Plot isn’t so fresh
Is It Good?
Yes, complete with killing, saving the damsel and setting up what could be one epic battle in the finale. What puts this issue over the top is how Conan technically gains an advantage because of how he ruled as king, not necessarily because he can fight. This makes him more than the one dimensional hero he so easily appears.