If you’ve read the first four trades of Dark Horse’s Conan series, this book’s a no-brainer. Because the stories in this trade are by different creators and there’s no continuity to keep them together, I can’t say this book is as good or better than the previous trades. But there are some fun stories here with some gorgeous art, most notably by Rafael Kayanan.
Kurt Busiek, teams with Fabian Nicieza and delivers the goods with “The Helm” (that trails near the end of the book), while lesser stories take the center stage. Honestly, I wasn’t impressed with the other creators’ stories. Some of them just seemed “off”. Busiek and artist, Tim Truman give a valiant effort with the “Seeds of Empire” storyline which focuses on how the mythos of Conan affects the current empire in power. It’s nice to see how Conan can be portrayed as a tyrant or honorable depending on the historian. Despite this concept, the story falls a bit flat. The last story by Busiek and Bruce Timm’s about “Conan’s Favorite Joke” even failed to put a smile on my face.
Despite these shortcomings, the Conan faithful should definitely give this book a read, but do yourselves a favor and skip to the Busiek/Nicieza/Kayanan and stories; they’re good fun! The rest seem, sadly, like filler. God, I miss Cary Nord’s art! (Grade: C+)