• Chronicles of King Conan, The - Volume Six



    The Chronicles of King Conan Volume Six: A Death In Stygia and Other Stories
    Released by: Dark Horse Comics
    Released on: October 9, 2013
    Purchase at Amazon

    In case you weren’t aware, Conan the Barbarian became a king and had kids. King Conan the comic book told tales of his years as king and along with that, some tales of his heir, Conn. Apparently Conn was killed in some previous story line in this Marvel Comics title from the 1980s, and this collection of reprinted tales from Dark Horse Comics tells of the reunion of the barbarian king and his thought-to-have-died son. Chronicle vol. 6 reprints issues of King Conan # 25 through #30, for those keeping track.

    Conan the King is bored with the life of a king, sitting in on dull meetings of his council, grain reports, and all the back-stabbing and conspiring that goes along with politics. He’s also interested in building up his elite squadron of warriors, The Black Dragons. He needs to keep busy doing things he likes, apparently as part of his healing process for the loss of his son. And there are pressing matters on the horizon, ones that please Conan because they involve bloodshed.

    A wizard wants him dead, people in his council want him dead, and an old foe wants him dead. Of course, none of them get their way. A religious coupe is forming and Conan just doesn’t want to deal with it. When Red Sonja shows up, he gleefully agrees to help her steal something she has a buyer for, all the while making passes at her. She shoots him down, but who can blame him for trying? The action finally gives way to a battle between Conan and Shooz Dinj, a skull wearing, pale skinned warrior with a vendetta against the womanizing muscle-head.

    At times the dialogue gets tedious, but it’s a great bit of nostalgia for those who were reading these as kids. The artwork is okay, varying in detail depending on who worked in it. Top Cow Comics creator and Image Comics co-founder Marc Silvestri lends early pencils to most of the issues this collection covers, with Geof Isherwood providing the inks. At times things have an interesting look to them, but at other times, it seems like average comic book art from the period. All the covers are fantastic, courtesy of Michael Kaluta.

    It’s classic Conan, and we all know what to expect: atypical dialogue with lots of difficult names to pronounce and remember, blood and violence, dames and demons. The good ol’ Comics Code Authority keeps the violence from getting too interesting and keeps the sex pretty much out of the picture, so it’s quite homogenized stuff. It may be disappointing for those used to reading the more contemporary efforts at telling Robert E. Howard’s tales of the force of nature that is Conan.

    Available in paperback and kindle.