Conan is down in the dumps, which means only one thing: time to slice up some zombies! Yes that’s right, zombies are in this issue, and there is some choice slicing, but is it good?
Conan the Avenger #2 (Dark Horse Comics)
Last month Conan lost all his clothes, fought some worms with teeth and had to go toe to toe with a wizard. Yikes, a very full day, all while pining for his lost love Belit. Even though a lot went down the issue was merely okay — mostly because there wasn’t much rhyme or reason beyond the atmosphere of the issue, which was admittedly choice. This issue is sadly very similar, with lots of cool mythical elements and a wild and crazy world, but what’s the point if there’s no peril involved?
And that’s the rub; Fred Van Lente has a pretty good plot with a wizard hunter who’s also a wizard taking Conan under his wing. Yes, last issue ended with this wizard hunter attacking Conan, but we all knew that wasn’t going to last long. Which is the main issue I have with this series so far: things are too predictable. There are surprises sure, when it comes to the type of foe Conan must face, but when it comes to twists and turns and character dynamics it’s all rather ho-hum.
The strength of this series so far is the art, which is very good. It’s a style that doesn’t usually go along with Conan as it’s more mainstream in its look and feel. Artist Brian Ching could easily be put on an X-Men comic today and he’d work in seamlessly. Usually Conan artists are a bit more painterly or gritty, but here things are very clear in the action and choreography. The thing is, Conan usually doesn’t need such a good artist when it comes to action because the storytelling does all the heavy lifting. Van Lente is lucky because Ching is doing a lot of the heavy lifting here.
Is It Good?
There is a ton to like in this series and plenty of pretty pictures to look at, but a story is not made by its action alone. The last page screams for you to buy the next issue, but so far things are imbalanced enough that I’d be wary.