In Conan the Slayer #8, we are given a pretty conventional set up to the barbarian’s stories. Conan finds himself at the head of a tribe of raiders. The leaders of the city that finds itself most frequently raided are tired of the general’s excuses and let him know that if his army doesn’t end the Conan’s threat to their trade and money, he won’t have to worry about finding a luxurious retirement villa.
One of the general’s advisers suggests setting a trap for Conan on an island of steep cliffs where there is only one way on or off. That way he will be isolated and they can hunt him at their leisure.
What no one knows, is that island is guarded by an undead monster who doesn’t want to be disturbed.
There are certain tropes that Conan stories almost always rely on. Robert E. Howard set the tune years ago and writer since have made Conan dance to it. Cullen Bunn (Uncanny X-Men, Monsters Unleashed, Micronauts) isn’t shaking up that formula here so far, but he is having fun with the familiar measures. The story so far, is one of the better ways of trapping Conan with a supernatural menace.
Similarly, Sergio DáVila’s art lands high within the standards of traditional Conan comics: sybaritic city dwellers in their silks, rough barbarians in leathers and women whose clothing amazingly falls to rags that show plenty of side boob but no nipples. Only in a Conan comic can the hero be shown beheading his enemies and mounting the heads on spears and still be the hero.
While, I joke about his art, DáVila (Vampirella, Swords of Sorrow) does a great job of creating separate environments for the island , the city and the steppes. The detail work is amazing and everything is laid out clearly and drives the story forward.
If you are looking for a good place to start a Conan Story this issue is a good place. You really don’t need the first chapter of the story, as that isn’t as important to the set up as this one is. And it looks like next issue should really ramp up the action with Conan hunted by the Turanian army and everyone hunted by the devil in iron.
Writer: Cullen Bunn
Artist: Sergio DáVila
Colorist: Michael Atiyeh
Publisher: Dark Horse