• Conan The Slayer #9

    Conan The Slayer #9
    Released by: Dark Horse Comics
    Released on: May 24th, 2017.
    Written by: Cullen Bunn
    Illustrated by: Sergio Davila
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    “After Conan’s successful raid against a Turanian ship, Jehungir Agha is even more determined to end the reign of the new Kozaki hetman. A parley with the Kozaks to negotiate for Turanian hostages is set, and Agha’s counselor Ghaznavi hatches a plan to use the beautiful Octavia, a Nemedian princess now reduced to slavery in the Turanian court, to lure the lusty barbarian to the isolated and uninhabited isle of Xapur, where the Turanians can hunt the Cimmerian far from the sight of his Kozaki warriors. Octavia does indeed draw Conan’s attentions during the parley, and when Conan is later told that she has escaped the Turanians and hides on Xapur, Conan sets off after her, unaware not only of the impending ambush, but also of the awakening of dark power on Xapur.”

    Conan’s always had a weak spot for the ladies, so it’s not a shock that he would follow Octavia to Xapur. As he searches the island for her he comes across the ruins for which the island is named. When he was on the island a few weeks ago the ruins where just that – ruins – but now they seem to have been rebuilt into a huge fortress. No humans could have built a structure this big in such a short time. When confronted with this insanity, Conan decides to leave, to get out of the east and head west from whence he came – but then he finds a shred of clothing that smells of Octavia’s perfume.

    He sees large footprints leading back towards the ruins and follows them. When lust overpowers his fear, Conan makes his way to the top of the wall and gazes on what lies on the other side – a huge, shining city, reborn but seemingly completely abandoned, there are no people nor animals here. Conan, being Conan, doesn’t want to leave empty handed and despite his better judgement continues further into the city to find the buxom blonde he’s been dreaming of since first meeting her. He makes his way into a room and finds a beautiful dark haired beauty named Yateli, who is decidedly nonplused about finding a sword wielding barbarian in her room. She tells him of the night before, when the Yuetshi scaled the walls only to be defeated by Khosatral magic – was it a dream? She’s not sure. She’s sleepy, her memory is foggy, but she seems to remember being stabbed in the chest the night before. Yet she’s alive, so it couldn’t have happened. Despite the woman’s advances, she’s not who Conan is here for. When she falls asleep he moves on, past a sleeping guard and into a chamber where a giant snake that seems to be a living statue lies coiled around a column.

    As he moves further into the belly of the building he hears drums, then voices, and then in some sort of trance he sees the origins of the being men call Khosatral Khel, how he had his slaves raise the city of Dagon and waged war against the Yuetshi only to be defeated by a priest and lay dormant for centuries – until that fisherman arrived on Xapur and inadvertently resurrected him…

    Anyone familiar with Conan knows that he does not like magic, so it’s interesting that Octavia’s sway over him is powerful enough to get him to even consider dealing with what he knows is a supernatural force. This chapter explains quite well how the first two installments of this storyline fit together. The loose ends are becoming a whole, while our favorite Cimmerian once again finds himself in deep trouble for the sake of a member of the fairer sex. Cullen Bunn’s story end on a cliffhanger, as you’d expect it to, but before it does that it does a fine job of explaining the dark history of Xapur and in doing so, setting up the very serious threat that Conan will have to contend with next issue. Once again Sergio Davila’s artwork, complemented beautifully by Michael Atiyeh’s coloring work, is top notch. There’s a lot of detail here to take in and the scenes that take place inside Dagon and the resurrected city are very impressive. These scenes show a nice eye for detail and obviously a lot of care was put in to getting the architecture just right. It’s an impressive looking book and a really fun read. Recommended for anyone with a taste for sword and sorcery tales or those who just like a good adventure story.

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