If you’re unfamiliar with the character Groo, let me sum him up for you: he’s a bumbling idiot barbarian who can never do the right thing with a handy dog as a sidekick. He’s all about the laughs, but in a strange sense he’s similar to Conan in a lot of ways. Now we finally* get to see these characters team up. Is it good?
*Okay so nobody has been waiting that long for this
Groo vs. Conan #1 (Dark Horse Comics)
The issue opens with Conan rescuing some damsel from a villain who can make you see your worst nightmares. It’s actually rather sound as far as Conan stories go and it’s a pleasure to read. That’s good, because it lasts seven or so pages. That’s when the Groo portion kicks in, but not before we find out Groo creator Sergio Aragonés puts himself right into the comic. If you were expecting a straight Conan vs. Groo comic you have come to the wrong place. This is as meta as it comes and it’s surprisingly funny.
Funny to see the different styles in the same panel.
Writers Mark Evanier and Sergio Aragonés infuse humor&madsh;a lot of it poking at Sergio—into the meta portions. We get a Mad Magazine shot for instance, a publication Sergio has worked on for years. The general gist of the book is that Sergio hits his head and then, and only then, does he contemplate a Conan vs. Groo story. Only it’s not a conscious effort to write the story, but Sergio actually thinks he’s Conan. He’s now running around the city with his ass hanging out (don’t ask) thinking he’s Conan. In a sense we get two stories going on at the same time, one about Sergio losing his mind, and the second about Sergio thinking he’s Conan and us seeing that story take place.
Cute and funny.
There isn’t much shown on the Conan side of things in this issue, however. Except for the opening seven pages, this issue spends its time focused on Sergio and his exploits. It’s cute and fun, but if you were expecting Conan and Groo sparring you’ll have to wait till the next issue. Groo does get some pages and they’re the usual Groo fare: they’re funny and silly if you like the “innocent moron bumbling around” kind of thing.
The art by Sergio and Thomas Yeates is exceptional to say the least. Yeates hits all the right notes when it comes to Conan. It has that dark mythical look he needs to capture the whimsy. The Sergio bits are done by Sergio himself, along with the Groo parts of course, and it’s everything you’d come to expect from his style.
This can’t end well.
Is It Good?
Not a bad issue with a meta angle that you wouldn’t expect. I do think you’ll need to be familiar with Groo to enjoy this fully, but it’s going to be a wild ride and it’s worth checking out this issue to jump on.