Conan 1

Quick Rating: Hmmmm…
Title: Out of the Darksome Hills

And Away We Go…!

Writer: Kurt Busiek
Artist: Cary Nord with Thomas Yeates
Color: Dave Stewart
Letters: Richard Starkings and Comicraft
Design: Darin Fabrick
Editor: Scott Allie

With apologies to They Might Be Giants:

Barbarian Man, Barbarian Man
Doing the things a Barbarian can
What’s he like?
It’s not important
Barbarian Man

Is he naked, or dressed in mail?
When he’s being drawn
Does he need detail?
Or does the detail slow down the tale?
Nobody knows
Barbarian Man

Usagi Man, Yojimbo Man
Usagi man hates Barbarian Man
They have a fight
Usagi wins
Usagi Man

Marvel Man, Universe Man
Size of the Marvel universe man
Ignores other publishers
Marvel Man

He owns lots of characters
Incredible Hulk and Spiderman,
Even X-Factor and Dazzler
Powerful man, Marvel Man

Reader Man, Reader Man
Hit on the head with a comic book
Won’t give anything but Marvel a look
Reader Man

Should he go to a gym and read comics less?
Is his apartment a total mess?
Who came up with Reader Man?
Degraded man, Reader Man

Usagi man, Usagi Man
Usagi man hates Reader Man
They have a fight
Usagi wins
Usagi Man

The Dark Horse Conan has finally begun after some anticipation. It has been referred to as Ultimate Conan. That may be accurate. My recollection of the old Savage Sword series is that it was jam-packed with action and overflowing with story. It was also over-sized, so that may have had something to do with it.

So, what have we here? Conan appears out of nowhere in the midst of a fight and finds himself entwined in the lives of some villagers caught up in a local war. There is jealousy and violence and all kinds of barbarian activity- although it did seem that every exhibited exceptional table manners. The story fit my expectation of a Conan story, but I will probably want something a little more in my older years. As opposed to Marvel’s Ultimate stories, I don’t foresee any revelations in the Conan tale. There is not something sitting out there of which I can’t wait to be reminded. No names trigger goose bumps, even iof Red Sonja or Kull or some other buff character appears. I sort of hope the series can sustain itself, but I’m not sure how it will. For that matter, the old stories had some amazing art, but even they may have been a bit too repetitious. I like the art better here than in the prequel. I had a few quibbles at the time about a lack of definition in some of the panels and that has been handled. If you are interested in the Conan tales, but have no experience of them, then this may be a fine introduction to the world of sword and sorcery. If you love Conan like only a young man can, then you’ve been looking forward to this for months. For Kurt Busiek fans, I have no idea what you will think. I really like Astro City, but this is not that. You may very well like this, but probably not for the reasons that you’ve liked his other work.

February, 2004

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