In his lifetime Conan had many roles. This issue reflects on Conan as a strategist and how he first earned the title of Great Commander.
It may be a bold statement, but the work Jason Aaron is doing with this book feels like it has the potential to mirror Neil Gaiman on Sandman.
The writing for the series so far, and indeed this issue is poetic. Not in that it reads exactly like a sonnet but in its inspection of every facet of Conan’s mythology.
That a character with “the Barbarian” written into his flagship title can be written as something so much more.
We’ve seen Conan as a savage, at sea, as a king and now as a great military leader who inspires men on the battlefield. An anomaly and a survivor who stands true to himself and his sword and forges forward.
The intricate tapestry Aaron weaves into his writing succeeds on so many levels. Yes, the war scenes are epic. The enemies intimidating. But it’s how Aaron uses these as setting and gives the reader such a crystal-clear view of how Conan is perceived by the people he encounters.
He’s written with such dimension that he may very well be the mindless brute other characters write him off as. Then again, he might be the brilliant tactician whose greatest strength is his mind and not his savagery and muscle.
Mahmud Asrar applies just as much effort and sheer talent into the pencils. His designs are so intricate and unique that there’s no doubt in my mind he is an artist who thoroughly researches what he draws.
Even without the words, you can read what Conan thinks of his world and the people he matches wits or metal with. You get a real sense that a battlefield is a dreadful place meant for men who relish the violence. He draws Conan with a real lust for blood who emerges from the fight having relished the experience of war.
Even the connective tissue that forms the bones of The Life and Death of Conan arc displays such control that it perfectly drifts in and bookends the story only when the heart of the issue has had its way with us.
This issue leaves you with a bloodlust for more, intrigued with where Conan’s journey will take him next, what aspect of his life it will explore, and on the edge of your seat to see what the children of Razazel have in store.