Timothy Truman (Writer), Tomas Giorello (Art), Jose Villarrubia (Colors)
Don’t let the $4.99 cover price scare you off, this book is worth it. This is the conclusion of the “Hand of Nergal” story arc which has run for the past few issues and it’s a fine, action-packed conclusion.
The reader is quickly brought up to speed on the situation and away we go. You’ve got all your standard Conan elements here – a damsel or two in distress, no shortage of undead swordsmen for Conan to hack at, an oversized Lovecraftian beasty and a wicked schemer, Atalis, with a sinister lust for power. Conan and his small band find their way into Atalis’s lair whereupon they are immediately imperiled by the foul beasty. Just as Atalis unfolds the nature of his plan Conan and his band rally and after a touch of sorcery and much swordplay, emerge victorious.
While this may sound like stories you’ve read before it really is worth the read. Tim Truman shows a real facility with the character and the genre as he delivers a forty-page story that moves along crisply to a satisfying conclusion. The artwork throughout is superb and wonderfully colored as well. One of my complaints about many modern comics is that the colors are so dark that they obscure the art. Jose Villarubia uses a muted pastel palette that captures the mood of the story while letting Tomas Giorello’s art shine.
Not only do you get this fine story but Dark Horse reprints “The Hand of Nergal” from Marvel’s Conan the Barbarian #30 by Roy Thomas and John Buscema with an introductory essay from Roy, himself. The reprint has been recolored and relettered for the Chronicles of Conan Vol. 5 and provides an interesting contrast with the main feature. Top it all off with a beauty of a cover by Tony Harris and you’ve quite a nice package here.
This issue marks the conclusion of Dark Horse’s series of Conan as a wandering thief. At the end of the issue Conan sets off for home where his tales will be picked up in June with Conan the Cimmerian #0. I’ve been reading this Conan series for the past year and look forward to the new series, especially if the quality is up to the level of this issue. (Grade: A)
- Arthur Cooke