It was inevitable that Conan and Wonder Woman would meet. It just makes sense on paper. Both of them wield swords, live in worlds of varying amounts of fantasy, and love to fight (depending on what version of Wonder Woman we’re talking at least). Every few years publishers bring tantamount characters together and this week Dark Horse and DC give us the Wonder Woman and Conan team up we deserve!
So what’s it about?
The official summary reads:
What makes one a legend? How do legends carve their names into history, when countless others are forgotten? Wonder Woman and Conan the Barbarian are destined by the fates to be legendary, but when their stories collide, will both emerge victorious, or will the fickle Gods cut their lives short? Co-published with Dark Horse Comics.
Why does this matter?
Gail Simone knows her way around swords and sorcery which means these characters are in good hands. Penciler Aaron Lopresti has a very clean style and he’s not afraid to throw down some gore. Now, to make these characters meet in a way that makes sense.
Fine, you have my attention. What’s good about it?
Simone captures the feel of the series right off the bat with well written captions written on bits of torn paper and scrolls. In the very first page Simone delivers a scene showing readers the first time Conan met Diana, which informs readers they knew each other briefly a long time ago. That gives the story a good angle when they meet as adults since they know each other, but not too well. The entire story has the beginnings of a potential romance even, since these characters greatly respect each other’s ability to fight.
Before that though, much of this issue is focused on Conan doing his usual thing of killing bandits and attempting to amass gold. Conan is well written and if you’ve ever read a tale about him you’ll recognize him via his voice and verve. Simone of course has him save a man, but not necessarily because he’s a good guy. It’s a nice reminder Conan isn’t a hero of incredible moral values. Once Wonder Woman enters the fray, it’s rather cool to see how Simone is characterizing her as she’s been pushed to want to kill and fight. She’s clearly been pushed to the brink and isn’t the hero with the pleasantries we see in the most recent comic series.
Lopresti draws a very clean issue that’s easy to follow and willing to let the blood flow if need be. The opening page’s layout is a beauty as Lopresti uses spears, vines, and weapons to frame the panels (see above). Again, it’s a great first page that reminds us this is an epic fantasy series battle/team-up. Though Wonder Woman isn’t sporting a costume she does have some cleverly placed mud to remind us who she is. Conan meanwhile, is a bit bejeweled and looking a bit more like a king in this first issue. Given how often his life has changed over the years it’ll be interesting to find out what version we’re dealing with.
That’s going to leave a mark!
It can’t be perfect can it?
This is a bit of a slower paced first issue that spends quite a number of pages with Conan cutting up some bandits. It sets up Conan’s adventure and being redirected to Wonder Woman’s location, but running 5 pages it seems like a lot of time spent simply to show off a little action. Wonder Woman is given a bit of action later on so it’s fair, but it’s another sequence that seems to be biding its time. The final pages link these two characters up, but again it seems to be waiting so as to get to the cliffhanger rather than tell anything meaningful.
Is It Good?
This is a good start to a team up we probably never thought would happen, but wanted all the same. Simone has captured a good deal of the swords and sorcery vibe in this first issue and laid out the characters well. Now we just need the plot to speed up!