Overview

Conan: Road of Kings #2

Review

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Conan: Road of Kings #2

Credits

  • Words: Roy Thomas
  • Art: Mike Hawthorne
  • Inks: John Lucas
  • Colors: Dave Stewart
  • Publisher: Dark Horse Comics
  • Price: $3.50
  • Release Date: Jan 26, 2011

Two issues in, this book appears to have a definite theme: greed and what it gets you.

Conan, Olivia, and Krismar the pirate, having lost their entire crew last issue in a trap into which the crew’s avarice led them, are now in the city of Shadizar—or “Wicked Shadizar,” as it’s colloquially called. (It’s a sword-and-sorcery comic; things are better when they’re “wicked.”)  All Conan wants is to get Olivia home to her father, the King of Ophir. All Krismar wants is enough loot accumulated to set himself up in a life of leisurely thieving. So Conan agrees to help the pirate, which naturally lands them in worse trouble.

Through all of the proceedings, writer Roy Thomas steers his favorite barbarian (whom he’s been writing since 1970!) along a sure and confident course.  By now Thomas could probably write Conan stories in his sleep (and who’s to say he doesn’t?), and the plot for this issue reads as if it flowed pretty much effortlessly from Thomas’s mind. 

Since Conan—and comics about him—have been around for so long, it’s probably inevitable that the franchise would pick up some tricks from other franchises, and this story seems to owe a little bit to Indiana Jones and possibly The Terminator. The major set piece is Conan and Krismar trying to rob the vast treasure hoard of a merchant named Nitos. There are no real surprises here. The arousal of the creature’s wrath when Krismar steals its ruby eye reminds one of the opening sequence of Raiders of the Lost Ark; just substitute a multi-tentacled, poisonous monster for a colossal stone ball. And after Conan and his friend escape, we’re introduced to Nitos’s hit man, Gamesh, who is a bit like a supernatural version of a cyborg. (This is probably the cleverest bit in the whole story.) Conan will no doubt be having fun with him next issue.  It’s all pretty familiar stuff.

Familiar, but well drawn. Penciler Mike Hawthorne makes Conan tough, roguish, or charming as the plot requires, and the inking of John Lucas keeps everything crisp and clear. The color palette of Dave Stewart, dominated by golds and earth tones, unifies the story and maintains the needed atmosphere. Play a little John Williams music in the background to this and you’ve got a pretty complete package. Conan fans will get what they’re looking for in Road of Kings.

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