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Conan the Barbarian # 8 Advance Review


By Andy Frisk
September 2, 2012 - 13:07

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In "Border Fury Part 2" Conan and Belit continue to pursue the marauding maniac that is razing the Cimmerian countryside under the name of Conan of Canach. Conan of Cimmeria is not only looking to restore his, and his family's, name, but he's looking to put an end to the insanity of violence plaguing his people as well. Even Belit, a Pirate Queen and no stranger to violence herself, is appalled by the actions of the man using her lover's name. Thus, she is motivated to put an end to this man's actions as well. Cimmeria is a harsh land though. Much harsher than the warm and soft lands of the south that she is used to. Shel loves Conan, but the hardships she is enduring to be with Conan might end up being too much for her to handle...

I've never read Conan the Barbarian tales written as well as Brian Wood's Conan stories from Dark Horse Comics are. Wood has raised the tales of Conan to a height of intelligence and relevance akin to the tales of his late Northlanders series from DC Comics' Vertigo imprint. The changing dynamic of the relationship between Belit and Conan, as reflected in the incompatibility of their respective homelands, and their being a product of these environments, is beautifully and touchingly written into the narrative. These types of themes are something that we rarely find in a Conan story. The artistry in this story raises the character to new levels of importance and potential.

While the art by Vasilis Lolos brings Wood's themes to life just as powerfully as Wood brings to life the depth of the characters' potential as storytelling vehicles and is solid in every way, yet another change to the cast of artists on the book is a little disappointing. Lolos's art falls somewhere between Becky Cloonan and James Harren's style (both of which have pencilled the book thus far). This helps to keep something of a consistency to the book's overall look, but I'd love to see Cloonan settle down as the regular series artist, or at least for a complete arc. Wood and Cloonan's art are perfectly together. There can never be enough of it. 

Whatever Wood writes, be it his own creator owned series or a publisher's franchise like Conan the Barbarian or X-Men, the book is worth reading. In fact they are, as a rare case in mainstream comics these days, worth multiple re-readings. Conan the Barbarian is more than this though. It is a must read. 

More Andy? Read Andy's music blog here.

 

Rating: 9.5 /10


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