By Geoff Hoppe
Aug 5, 2007 - 14:11
That guy from Munch's "The Scream" guest stars.
The Obligatory Warning: gore and violence at a hard “R” level.
Conan and the Midnight God follows Conan on a quest to defeat a rouge sorcerer. Writer Joshua Dysart tried valiantly to address a cornucopia of Howardian themes. Sadly, the series’ final installment doesn’t satisfactorily wrap up any of them.
The first problem with Dysart’s ending is that it feels repetitive. The last Conan side story, Song of the Dead, also ended with a crazed sorcerer and a giant god-demon. Prior to that, Kurt Busiek wrote a story in the Conan monthly that involved an evil sorcerer and a humongous, writhing beastie. Dysart picked two tough acts to follow that make his story weaker in comparison.
Joke all you want, but gargantuan, Lovecraftian terrors do indeed possess a logic that brings order to their gibbering madness. In Busiek’s story, the destruction of a giant monster hinged on Conan finding and mercy-killing the unlucky ally channeling the beast. In Songs of the Dead, Joe Lansdale took a wry approach, having Conan comically behead the crazy lady behind the ferocious beast’s* incarnation. Dysart’s approach is comparatively disappointing: Conan just stabs the heck out of the monster.
To be fair, there’s more to it than that: Conan meets a group of ancient sorcerers who inform him that ancient evils have corresponding “old wounds.” Attack said “old wounds,” and the monster will fall. Unfortunately, this solution comes across as simplistic. The explanation of the monster’s weakness is also introduced too abruptly to be integrated successfully into the story.
Penciler Will Conrad turns out a strong final performance. The quality of his work has remained consistent, though issue #5 doesn’t allow him as many chances to show off his chops as the first four parts did.
Worth the money? Only if you’re really into this one. Otherwise, skim it in the store.
*No, said crazy lady’s name wasn’t Maggie. Shame on you for getting that reference.