Conan #6 Review

Reviewer: Chris Delloiacono
Story Title: Day of Farewell

Written by: Kurt Busiek
Art by: Cary Nord and Thomas Yeates
Colored by: Dave Stewart
Lettered by: Richard Starkings and Comicraft
Cover by: Joseph Michael Linsner
Assistant Editor: Matt Dryer
Editor: Scott Allie
Publisher: Dark Horse Comics

If you haven’t gotten down to reading this book yet, what are you waiting for? Last year’s issue #0 of Dark Horse’s Conan series recently won the Eisner Award for Best Single Issue of 2003. As good as that award winning story was the storytelling is actually getting better. This is the best new title of the year. It’s looking like 2004 is the year of Conan.

For those that are worried that the current storyline is not an adaptation of a tale by Conan creator, Robert E. Howard. You shouldn’t be. It spawns from events that happened in a Howard story, “The Frost Giant’s Daughter” and tells an all-new adventure that’s perfectly in keeping with the original works of Conan’s creator. I recently read the first volume of the new printings of Howard’s Conan, “The Coming of the Cimmerian,” and so far, Busiek has been immensely successful in translating the stories by Howard, but also at telling new stories that fit into the established continuity. In his brief career Howard only wrote forty-two stories. The need for more intermittent stories is necessary, so as not to burn through the source material too quickly.

The adventures of a young Conan in the dark land of Hyperborea come to a close this month. Conan and his traveling companions had been captured, drugged, and put into the gladiatorial servitude of the immortal masters of Hyperborea. Thanks to a slave girl, Iasmini, Conan was freed and began the task of administering a counter drug to free his comrades. As last issue closed out Conan and his companions began their uprising.

Kurt Busiek certainly doesn’t rest on the laurels of the rave reviews Conan has been receiving. If you thought you knew exactly where this story was going or how Conan would vanquish his enemies…be prepared for a major surprise. The entire situation turns around on Conan and the readers, thanks to a masterful plot twist by Busiek. We don’t get a neat perfect-world conclusion to this storyline, but we have our closure—At least for now. At some point, Hyperborea will be revisited.

Cary Nord is as much a part of the success of this comic as Busiek. Swords, sorcerers, action, adventure, and smoking hot females that’s what Conan’s about visually. Cary Nord is the man with the artistic implements for the job. With the addition of the amazing cover by Joseph Michael Linsner, you get a book that is second to none artistically.

Each month as I have closed my copy of Conan, the exceptional quality has blown me away. I planned only to give it a cursory look when issue #0 came out late last year. .35 cents for a brief fling with Conan would be worth it. Then I could easily leave it behind. Fat chance! Once you pick it up, you’re hooked. The thing is, Conan is getting better! From the point we’re at now, if it gets any better, we’ll have to be like Spinal Tap and add an 11 to our scale.