Sunday, January 22, 2012

Conan: Road of Kings #12 (of 12)

With this issue we reach the end of Roy Thomas' welcome return as writer on Conan.

Thomas, of course, was responsible for the original Conan the Barbarian comic book series that Marvel began in the 1970s, and he wrote it for a decade before leaving the company.

Dark Horse wisely brought him back to the fold for this maxi-series, which has followed the barbarian's adventures (and misadventures) along the Road of Kings, which winds across several countries. He wraps up his adventure in Messantia - in a jail cell, to be exact, as he faces "justice" at the hands of a less-than-honorable judge.

The writing on the series has been solid - very much in the style of the original series, with a bit more graphic violence thrown in. But this issue seems to feel the burden of having to set up the next series in line, which brings Conan and Belit together (which is to say, that seems the only point of this issue).

The art has been something of a sticking point for fans (and for me as well). This issue is drawn by Mike Hawthorne, and while he's a good artist, I don't think his style is a good match for Conan. The character is more grim and gritty, while this style is more mainstream and clean-cut. I think he'd be a great fit for most superhero stories.

So the series has been a nice bit of nostalgia for long-time fans, but it doesn't quite measure up to past efforts.

Grade: B-


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