• Conan The Slayer #10

    Conan The Slayer #10
    Released by: Dark Horse Comics
    Released on: June 28th, 2017.
    Written by: Cullen Bunn
    Illustrated by: Sergio Davila
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    “Drawn by his fiery passions, Conan has followed the beautiful Nemedian princess Octavia to the isolated island of Xapur. Unknown to Conan, this is Jehunghir Agha’s scheme to ambush the Cimmerian far from the protection of his Kozaki warriors. But as Conan searches for Octavia, he discovers that a baleful darkness inhabits Xapur. Its crumbling ancient fortress is mysteriously reforming to its former glory, and residents long dead once again walk its streets as in a dream, unaware that eons have passed. Conan learns that this mystic resurrection is the devilry of Khosatral Khel, a demonic giant whose sleep has been disturbed and whose terrible power has awakened…”

    Jehunghir Agha and his men wait in hiding for Conan to appear, but so far the barbarian has done no such thing. He figures Conan is still searching for Octavia but wonders if the Cimmerian’s troops are nearby if they won’t come looking for their leader. Jehunghir decides he and his men will follow Conan into the island’s belly, leaving the wizard Ghaznavi and a half a dozen armed men behind with instructions to kill Conan should he slip past them and make it back to the marsh.

    Of course, Jehunghir Agha and his archers are shocked to find the ruins rebuilt – the men wary of the stories they’ve heard of the place, stories of horrible hauntings. Jehunghir Agha urges them forward, unaware that inside the walls Conan is doing battle with Khosatral Khel, and while the fiend may have the advantage Conan is Conan and being Conan, won’t go down without a fight. They brawl amongst the palace walls until Conan is able to distract the beast so that he and the lovely Octavia might make their way out. They bar the door and head up the stairs but it’s no matter, seconds later Khel is hot on their trail. Eventually their make their way to a dead end, a room with only one door and no windows. The door is metal as is the bolt that secures it and it buys them some time, but not enough time.

    Then, just as the door is about to come hurtling down, Khel stops. There are sounds outside but Conan uses this reprieve to find the blade that he saw in his vision, the blade that he thinks might be able to stop Khel where his sword was not. But in order to get to the dome where the blade rests, Conan must pass the copper throne and the massive supernatural serpent that rests upon it…

    What a great issue! If the last few were building up to something, this one is pretty much all pay off, and yet there’s clearly a lot more to come as Conan’s time on Xapur isn’t over yet. There’s a lot of action in this one, some of it quite bloody and grisly, but it ties together a few of the threads from the last few issues in a nice way and leaves the door open for more sword and sorcery fueled mayhem yet to come. As to how Conan will make his way off of the island, well, that remains to be seen, as does the longevity of his relationship with the woman he followed to this damned locale in the first place, but this is definitely an entertaining read. This gritty barbarian action from the pen of Cullen Bunn makes for a really entertaining read.

    As to the artwork? Sergio Davila’s pencils were really solid to start with but have gotten better with each passing issue. This tenth installment in particular really lets him show off just how finely detailed his artwork can get, not just in the way that the characters are illustrated but the costumes and backgrounds as well. The coloring from Michael Atiyeh is also really strong, bringing the lush colors of the jungle exteriors to vivid life and adding plenty of splashy blood red to the combat scenes. The best issue yet? It is, but it’s very likely that those who stick around for the next one will see that the best really is yet to come.
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