Conan the Barbarian has always been a series that is easy to dive into, swallow up an adventure, and put that comic away. Even the best recent stories by Kurt Busiek only lasted 2 or 3 issues, which is why I’m extra excited for Merideth Finch’s one-shot this week in Savage Sword of Conan #6. She teams up with artist Luke Ross for a fireside story of woe, violence, and revenge!
So what’s it about?
Read our preview.
Why does this matter?
Note the title has “sword” in it? Yeah, there’s a lot of swordplay, hacking at limbs, and other violence brought to you in the most glorious blood-bath ways.
Fine, you have my attention. What’s good about it?
Everything about this issue screams classic Conan storytelling from the opening scene in a dark bar to the gladiator games to a scantily clad woman who pines for Conan. The violence is high octane and even the damn cover exudes strange adventure! Speaking of, David Finch and Frank D’Armata join forces on the cover featuring an awesome action moment cast in shadows with a foe up against Conan that looks just inhuman enough to hint at the fantasy of this series.
Finch plays the book out beautifully instilling a bit of magic via a potion, giving Conan a very good reason to fight for his life, and even perfectly playing up the fact that Conan needed a bit of luck to make it out of this one. Conan is basically drugged so as to put him in a very dangerous fight to the death. Add to this how Conan is still groggy from the poison and the fight sequence is even more dangerous than most. This is a fight Conan could lose, which is something we don’t see often.
Luke Ross puts in a stellar performance here hitting all the right marks. The poison (colored perfectly by Nolan Woodard) being administered conveys a sense of doom for Conan and there’s very good pacing. A character watches Conan lay poisoned explaining what it is they’re doing there and he looks sullen and lost. The man knows he’s going to die. Later, when blood starts to spill Conan is ruthless and vicious never holding back. Ross cranes the angle of each panel so you’re right there with Conan and feeling every blow.
It can’t be perfect, can it?
Admittedly this issue is light on the fantasy elements with really only a magical poison used to feature that. That said, it lives up to the title of the book.
Is it good?
A great solo story reminding us Conan isn’t just a barbarian, but a force to be reckoned with. Yet another great story to add to the Conan legacy.