I know what you’re thinking, “Wait, Conan is an Avenger now?” That’d be really cool, until you realize the Marvel Universe is too boring for Conan to give two shits about the myriad aliens and time streams when he could just get drunk, make love to beautiful women, and create piles of dead bodies (or all the latter three at the same time). If you’re not familiar with Conan’s modus operandi… Conan the Avenger #1 could be just for you. So let’s ask: Is it good?
Conan the Avenger #1 (Dark Horse Comics)
I did a little search and found out the writer of this title, Fred Van Lente also wrote Brain Boy another Dark Horse book that I found exceptional. (I really enjoyed the inventive ways the Professor Xavier-like powers of the main character were used and shown.) Namely, Fred Van Lente is a guy to get behind. Let’s see how he does with Conan, shall we?
Spread eagle Conan is HOT.
This issue opens with Conan in the dumps. He’s lost his girlfriend/queen Belit and he’s super depressed about it. He’d rather sit and drink and mind his own business. We all know that won’t last long, and quickly he is drawn into other peoples’ issues. The issue at hand is a witch messing around with unborn babies turning them into lizards. A witch hunter is on the scene, and won’t you know it he’s drawn to Conan and thinks he’s the witch doing the bad stuff. Conan of course doesn’t care much either way, but as we all know when injustice is thrown in his face he has to do something about it. Who else will?
Something that Van Lente does here is make Conan very badass. He’s also younger, and as a result, can be a bit reckless and pick fights no matter the odds. This brash nature makes the Conan of Conan the Avenger #1 much more interesting than some of his other depictions. He doesn’t get a ton to do in this issue though, but when he does it’s pretty boss.
Artist Brian Ching does a great job exhibiting Conan who’s a bit more lithe. The characters around him, looking a bit African, even if there is no Africa in the world, are unique and interesting too. If I had to pin it down exactly, I’d say the art reminds me of Rob Liefeld, with lots of hatching and detailed pencils, only the proportions aren’t horribly skewed. (So breathe easy on that score.) The art is very superhero-esque and that gives the book a bit more energy (but less whimsy) than other Conan books have.
Is It Good?
I should note that Ching’s art is extra intriguing because it’s a fairly unprecedented look to the Conan franchise. The story unfortunately doesn’t get going very quickly, but what we do see of Conan is worth a look. Recommended.