Saturday, June 18, 2011

Comic Review: Conan: The Hall of the Dead and Other Stories

    When Zamora becomes too hot, Conan tries to move on to greener pastures and richer plunder, taking his conniving young lady friend, Jiara, for the ride.  But as usual, he’s run afoul of some dastardly fellows and has a price on his head.  Just another day for the Cimmerian.

    Kurt Busiek’s last couple issues start this volume, followed by an interim story by Hellboy creator Mike Mignola, and rounded out by new series helmer Timothy Truman.  I certainly would have preferred Busiek stay on for the full run of the series, not only because he has such a command of the character, but because I prefer consistency.  That said, so far it hasn’t been bad.  Mignola’s story mixes in some typically Lovecraftian ideas, which fit perfectly with Robert E. Howard’s original writing (Howard and Lovecraft being correspondents for several years, inspiring each other).  

    The art continues to be mostly excellent, though there are a few rough patches.  However, the art for the Mignola written part is particularly good, especially Dave Stewart’s coloring.  Sadly, Nord’s run on the series lasts only a few more issues after Busiek’s departure.

    This volume isn’t amazing.  It feels, and I guess is in many ways, transitional.  Not only is the series changing hands, but Conan seems to be in a sort of flux, leaving one area in search of his next adventure.  Making new friends and new enemies.  And maybe getting some ideas about what else civilization might have to offer a barbarian.  I don’t yet know how I feel about Truman.  That will take at least another volume to start getting a good feel.  Still, if you’ve read the first three volumes, absolutely check this one out.  This is not a good place to start, however.

Conan: Volume 4: The Hall of the Dead and Other Stories
Author: Kurt Busiek, Mike Mignola, and Timothy Truman
Artist: Cary Nord
Publisher: Dark Horse Books
ISBN:  978-1-59307-775-4
Pages: 200


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