Friday, December 14, 2012

Conan the Barbarian #11

Written by Brian Wood
Art by Declan Shalvey

I think it’s kind of cool that Brian Wood’s Conan will basically be my definitive take on the character. I've written before that my foreknowledge of the character was basically non-existent before Wood, one of my favourite writers, took over the property, and started working with a line-up of artists (Becky Cloonan, Vasilis Lolos, and Declan Shalvey) that I could not pass up.

It's a rare thing, after reading comics for thirty years, to know that you are reading a definitive run on an long-established character. I know that for many fans, Conan means Roy Thomas and Barry Windsor-Smith, but for me, it's going to mean Brian Wood. And what that further means, is that my definitive Conan is going to be young and unsure of himself, trapped between the heart's demands and the need to be free and on the move.

The crew of the Tigress has come down with a vicious sickness, and only Conan remains healthy. He's set off in search of help in a rough port town, although Bêlit, his queen and lover, has demanded that he leave her to die. When the local healer suggests that he do what Bêlit ordered, he's left in a difficult position.

This is a simple and straight-forward issue, but it reveals a depth to the character that I hadn't expected to be there before beginning to read his adventures. Short of a brief bar fight, there is no action to be found in this issue, yet it is a gripping read.

1 comment:

Taranaich said...

There's only one truly definitive Conan run, and that's Robert E. Howard's original stories. It's who Thomas/Smith drew from, and it's who Wood/Cloonan & Co are drawing from. Then again, since by your own admission this is your first real exposure to Wood's Conan, of course it's going to be definitive for you, since you don't really have anything else to compare against it.

Conan's character is complicated, but Wood isn't really making him any more complex than he already was, just changing the elements.