Robert E. Howard’s Kull The Conqueror, exile of Atlantis and King of Valusia, returns in a brand new tale from IDW. But what’s he doing in present day Antarctica?
Writer Tom Waltz (TMNT, Ghostbusters) begins this adventure flipping things upside down with an opening scene reminiscent of John Carpenter’s The Thing. Snake Men have invaded a military base on the earth’s most southern continent and it’s up to Kull and his Pictish warrior sidekick Brule Spearslayer to knock some reptile skulls in and save the day. But how did we reach this point, and just who is Kull anyway?
Waltz shifts gears and takes us back to that “age undreamed of, before the oceans drank Atlantis and the gleaming cities” to introduce our hero and his world. If Kull is unknown to you, you may be familiar with some of his back story. Other writers have used elements of Kull’s history to flesh out Howard’s other, more well-known barbarian, Conan, in film and comic adaptations. But Kull was Howard’s first creation, and he’s a far different hero. An introspective king with a crown weighing heavy on his brow.
Throughout the tale there are call backs to the original Kull short stories by Howard, some of which have been previously adapted in comic form. It seems the focus moving forward will be on one of these stories in particular, “The Mirrors of Tuzun Thune”, first published by Weird Tales in 1929. This is a great way to set things up for both new readers, and those already familiar with Kull.
The artwork by Luca Pizzari (Black Knight, Sons of Anarchy) is excellent. It’s dynamic and flows across the page with a healthy balance of clean lines and thick shadow. His renderings of Kull, Brule, and the kingdom of Valusia seem both fresh and nostalgic as the story unfolds in wide-screen panels. Pizzari’s art has qualities that remind me of the works of both P. Craig Russell and Tim Sale.
The issue does leave the reader with a few head scratches to be followed up on as the story progresses. Just how did King Kull and his companions end up in the present day? Only time will tell.
KULL ETERNAL #1 IDW
WRITER- Tom Waltz
ARTIST- Luca Pizzari
Review by J.P. Harvey