By Timothy Truman (writer), Tomas Giorello (art), JD Mettler (colors)

Conan #48 begins the “Darkness Rising” storyline. It follows a servant girl to the queen named, Iniri,who’s en route to the Capital under armed guard. But when they’re ambushed by horde of undead soldiers, it’s up to Conan to save the day. This is my first issue of Conan since Kurt Busiek’s run. The style and feel of the story almost seem out of place. Perhaps it’s because this story follows the girl more than Conan or perhaps it’s because Cary Nord is no longer around. Whatever it is, I didn’t get the charge I usually do from reading an issue of this series.

There’s a lot of violence in this book and it makes for a quick read – only the narration seems to slow things down. There’s also a subplot that’s briefly touched upon regarding an undead warrior who has Conan’s number. But his appearance doesn’t surprise or invoke any emotion at all. It’s all just a little subdued. There is, however, a ghastly creature (The Scion of Nergal), that’s pretty nightmarish. I’m interested to see how Conan eventually confronts it.

Despite the dark themes, the book is colored with a lot of bright colors and that’s kind of what threw me off. It’s just lacking in atmosphere right now. With two issues left, I’m hopeful that Tim Truman and company can turn things around. (Grade: C-)

– J.Montes