• Conan The Slayer #8

    Conan The Slayer #8
    Released by: Dark Horse Comics
    Released on: April 26th, 2017.
    Written by: Cullen Bunn
    Illustrated by: Sergio Davila
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    “After the tragic death of Taraslan, the young Kozaki hetman, Conan has been decreed by acclaim of the Kozaks to be their new leader. First on Conan’s agenda is a reprisal against the Turanians for their craven attack on the Kozaki camp during Taraslan’s funeral. Conan goes to the island of Xapur to negotiate a pact with pirates to raid Turanian shipping. Conan and the pirates make a daring attack on a heavily armed freighter that carries rich silks, spices . . . and a savage, monstrous ape that escapes its confinement during the battle and nearly kills Conan. The new Kozaki hetman manages to turn the tide, but rather than having the Kozak archers slay the beast, Conan allows the tortured creature to escape. The pirates have their plunder, Conan has hostages, and the ape has its freedom.”

    This issue begins when a Yuetshi fisherman, caught in a storm, scaled the cliffs of Xapur only to find just what he was looking for – an ancient city where a perfectly preserved body of an ancient lay in rest, a ceremonial dagger laid on his chest. When the man tries to steal the blade, he realizes that the hulking body of the ancient man isn’t nearly as dead as he had hoped.

    Elsewhere, Jehungir plots against Conan again. He needs to be rid of him if he is to take over the Kozakis. Conan and his crew launch a series of raids, each more daring than the next, making things even more difficult for Jehungir. He and his advisor Ghaznavi plot to lure Conan to Xapur, where it is difficult to escape, after he’s been plied with women and wine – then they intend to hunt him down and kill him. A captured woman named Octavia will be the bait – though she’s none too happy about this. They setup a prisoner exchange to set all of this in motion, and sure enough, Conan drinks too much and gets friendly with the beautiful woman, just as it was planned.

    Octavia is no fool, however, and she manages to talk Conan into starting a fight. Conan emerges the victor but again, Ghaznavi has a way to keep the plan in motion by convincing him Octavia has escaped Jehungir and fled to Xapur…

    Jehungir and Ghaznavi’s plot seems a bit farfetched but there’s enough action and broad shouldered barbarian brawling in this issue to make up for that and let’s face it, Conan has always had a thing for chasing members of the fairer sex. Given that he was already familiar with Xapur, maybe he would make the effort after all. Of course, neither he nor Octavia nor, likely, their foes realize that as the fisherman learned in the opening pages, the island isn’t quite uninhabited. Bunn leaves this one open ended, setting things up but resolving very little. This ensures we want to come back next issue to see how it all plays out. Sergio Davila’s artwork continues to impress. Great detail, impressive fine line work, a nice sense of realism to the human characters and an appreciable sense of fantastic for the non-human characters. Michael Atiyeh’s coloring is just as strong here as it has been in past issues as well. All in all, a fun read.