Conan #26


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Conan #26


  • Words: Kurt Busiek
  • Art: Timothy Truman
  • Inks: Timothy Truman
  • Colors: Dave Stewart
  • Story Title: Seeds of Empire, A Tale of Princes and Perhaps of Kings!
  • Publisher: Dark Horse Comics
  • Price: $2.99
  • Release Date: Mar 15, 2006

By Crom! Conan bloodies his sword on his thrice-damned enemies while the back-story of an Aquilonian prince and his suspicious wazir grows.

Dark Horse’s Conan is a simple pleasure for any fan of Robert E. Howard’s timeless character. This comic has consistently stayed true to the Conan we all know and love. He is a brigand, he is a hero, he is a savage, he is a menace, he is a protector. In every issue Busiek throws Conan into battle after battle, shedding light onto his mysterious childhood and dropping hints of his kingly future. He also keeps the story arcs no more than two or three months long and does not forcibly connect them so virtually any point is a "jumping on" point. The back-story of the Aquilonian prince obsessed with the tales of Conan’s exploits has been the only reminder that there is a larger story. In issue #26, the larger story starts to take center stage. It begins with the prince reading a story about Conan wherein the Hyborian is convinced to save a village from another herd of bandits, thus taking him one step closer to becoming a king. The story unravels and leaves us at not one, but two, cliffhangers.

For over two years Busiek has been busy putting Conan through the ropes. We have seen his childhood, his early years as a warrior, and even been blessed with some re-tellings of classic Howard tales. In issue #26 Busiek does not change his stride. It begins with a bloody battle of swords and battleaxes and ends in the same manner. Howard envisioned Conan as the greatest warrior to ever walk the planet, and Busiek continues to do justice to that idea. He fights bandits and raiders who are no more or less evil than he is, and he wins. He takes advice that may or may not be honest and noble, and he succeeds. He is bloodied, surrounded, and fighting a man whose prowess is at least comparable to Conan’s and he defeats him. Reading this, it is no wonder the Aquilonian prince worships this warrior king, Conan. I worship him too. Unfortunately for the naïve prince, in issue #26, the scheming wazir makes use of this worship and drops hints of darker things to come . . . .

Cary Nord has been drawing this book for the two years Busiek has been writing and though it is sad to see him leave temporarily, his replacement, Timothy Truman, is nothing if not appropriate. Nord’s Conan looks different than past incarnations. He is lean and muscular and often garbed in nothing but a loincloth. Truman’s harkens back to the classic Marvel Conan or even the incomparable Frank Frazetta’s. He is a giant of a man with a thick jaw and muscles on top of muscles. But it isn’t only Conan who looks different now. In everything else he draws, Truman’s lines are thicker, darker, and more focused than Cary’s. I am fond of both artists, but Truman’s is a nice change of pace—it was a stroke of editorial genius to replace Nord with a contrasting style that breathes a new kind of artistic life into the comic.

Conan’s latest series of adventures may not be different from older versions. He kills his enemies with a savage sword and swears "By Crom!" about a million and a half times per issue while dealing with evil wizards, nightmare creatures, and sultry wenches. But that is Conan, that is how he is supposed to be, and as long as Busiek remembers that, and keeps attracting good artists, Dark Horse’s Conan should always have a place in your monthly comic bag.

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