Maggots, sharks and snake gods in KING CONAN # 1

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Writer Jason Aaron (Conan the barbarian, scalped) and artist Mahmud Asrar (X Men) return to the Hyborian age to tell the story of a Cimmerian with a crown in King Conan # 1. With Matt Wilson in the colors and Travis Lanham in the letters, this opening chapter is full of the exact kind of thunderous action and bloody sports one would expect from a Conan story. With a fun, responsive script and stellar visuals, it’s a great start to this follow-up series and a solid addition to Conan’s tales legacy as a whole.

“THE LAST CONAN STAND AT THE EDGE OF THE WORLD! Jason Aaron and Mahmud Asrar return to the CONAN saga in a brand new adventure that takes the Cimmerian story further than ever in ALL media to date! As Robert E. Howard has claimed, when King Conan becomes restless on the throne, he sails west, to an unknown land and adventure. Now see the first leg of King Conan’s fateful journey from Aquilonia, as an ancient and terrible danger threatens to end the Cimmerian saga once and for all!

Writing and plot

As with his previous 2019 series, Jason Aaron writes an appropriate script for this well-trodden world in King Conan # 1. Its script is full of the awe-inspiring storytelling and dialogue used in all the tales of the Hyborian age. Aaron’s first chapter here is a simple retread of what many Conan tales look like. This time around, there is the wrinkle of the fact that he is now the King of Aquilonia and the responsibilities he escapes. Much like in Howard’s original writings, Conan’s hardened exterior hides the intricacies of his character. For a long time, Conan reader, to watch the legendary Cimmerian grow as a man grappling with the weight of massive responsibility is cathartic. Don’t be fooled though, it’s a sword-like barbaric tale through and through.

Aaron’s careful pace makes the most of the 22-page length of this comic with solid action, revealing flashbacks, and a big cliffhanger. Even with the re-introduction of a classic Conan foe, this comic isn’t going to wow you if you’re a longtime Conan fan. However, it’s still a good start for this miniseries.

Artistic direction

There is a strong point to make Mahmoud Asrar being the first contemporary Conan artist, and King Conan # 1 built more of this case. the X Men The artist’s truly epic framing and visual style make each panel a mythical piece of tapestry. His thick inks and thick pencils capture the detail and atmosphere in the desolate surroundings of this comic book. Asrar’s take on this older, grizzled Conan positions him as the cunning and greedy warrior he always has been, albeit a bit wiser. The aging Cimmerian is captured here at its most regrettable and contemplative. He reflects on the choices he made that led him to the throne – and that cursed island. Asrar draws Conan with the necessary complexity through multiple flashbacks and in the quiet moments of the current plot.

Unsurprisingly, he also still draws kickass fight scenes. Conan hardly looked scarier than when he was drawn by Asrar. The kinetic power the Cimmerian is drawn to matches some of the best Conan artists in character history.

Matt Wilson’s colors in this book perfectly match the vision developed by Asrar. The rich, dark tones used on the figures and the menacing island give the story a feel of a timeless myth. The natural tones collide with the black magical and supernatural purples and hazy greens that arrive with Conan’s nemesis. Conan’s chiseled, scarred appearance is on par with the best of color renditions made by colorists of the past. Travis Lanham’s lettering is crisp and easy to follow, with a classic font over the narration for that ‘scrolling’ effect. This is a stellar-looking comic that is visually on par with many of Conan’s other great books.

Verdict

King Conan # 1 is a totally entertaining opening chapter of this addition to the myth of Conan. Jason Aaron’s screenplay keeps Robert E. Howard’s vision intact while continuing to create a story in his own style. Mahmud Asrar and Matt Wilson’s visuals are deep and full of energy, bringing more complexity to the story. Be sure to pick up this # 1 when it hits shelves 12-22!


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