When I heard that Dark Horse was bringing Brian Wood and Becky Cloohan together to relaunch a new chapter in Robert E. Howard's Conan Saga I was intrigued. Can the team that brought us greats like Channel Zero: Jennie One, Demo and Northlanders conquer the Cimmerian?
Adapting the long anticipated Robert E. Howard short story "The Queen Of The Black Coast," this issue kicks off a young Conan's adventure on the high seas with his first true love, Belit.
This issue starts of at a crescendo with Conan fleeing from local law enforcement on horseback. Becky Cloohan's gritty lines and raw art style depict Conan's thoughts and expressions with nary a word, just a smile that lets you know that although Conan is running for his life, he is loving every minute of it. The young barbarian escapes by forcing his way aboard a departing ship and our high seas adventure begins. Brian Wood's smart writing really kicks in with a great combination of testosterone fueled reminiscing and frat boy-esque high fiving that allows Conans's natural charisma to win over both captain and crew. The stage is then set for what looks to be a cat and mouse romance between Conan and a woman very much his equal....Belit, The Pirate Queen of the Black Coast.
Having attempted Conan books in the past, they have never clicked with me as it is one of those books where you know you are missing a ton of daunting history that only long time readers possess. Kudos to Brian Wood for making this character approachable for new readers and bringing one of the most requested story lines to light for long time readers alike.
This ones a definite buy, and "BY CROM!" do it now.