• Conan The Slayer #11

    Conan The Slayer #11
    Released by: Dark Horse Comics
    Released on: July 26th, 2017.
    Written by: Cullen Bunn
    Illustrated by: Sergio Davila
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    “Jehungir Agha has used the beautiful Nemedian princess Octavia to lure Conan onto the remote island of Xapur where Agha hoped to corner and murder the new Kozaki hetman. Xapur is home to an ancient fortress city, a ruin shrouded in mystery and tales of curses and ancient evil—tales that prove to be true when the demonic giant Khosatral Khel awakens from his mystical slumber and threatens to crush Conan and Octavia as he pursues them throughout the serpentine passages and halls of Xapur. Trapped in Khel’s inner sanctum, Conan and Octavia look to be running out of time as the mighty Khel batters the chamber’s massive steel door, but something draws the raging giant away before the crippled portal gives way. Agha and his warriors have drawn the baleful gaze of the Devil in Iron!”

    Conan takes Octavia by the arm and pressures her to move quickly, telling her that this is a place of ghosts. They can’t be certain that the giant snake he just killed will stay dead. Eager to escape, Conan finds the door hidden in the wall and manages to get it open – he saw this in a dream, he has no other explanation for how he was able to find it as easily as he did. In this dream, possibly a taunt from the iron giant Khosatral Khel himself, he saw become a god to the natives and he saw him go on to demand blood sacrifices and how he was eventually defeated.

    The two survivors wander the halls and find the chamber where Khosatral was laid to rest. Conan insists that they find the knife that was used to do this – and then sure enough, beside the dead body of someone who tried to rob the tomb, they find just that. They make their way outside and head towards the place Conan hopes his boat still rests, screams audible in the distance, possibly from Jehungir Agha, the man who tried to use Octavia as a lure to trap Conan in the first place. The Cimmerian and his muse have no sympathy for this man, all of his warriors now laid to rest by the giant that calls the island fortress home. Of course, once they come face to face the draw swords and do battles

    This issue brings the latest storyline to a more than satisfying conclusion complete with an epic battle, some smart mouthed dialogue and a plot twist or two, all of which serve to further the ‘big picture’ that writer Cullen Bunn has been working towards since the first issue of his run on this series. It’s a fun read, complete with all the action and suspense you’d want out of a good Conan story, and some welcome supernatural elements thrown in for good measure. Bunn writes Conan well, he’s the consummate tough guy to be sure, a barbarian bumping elbows with civilization in interesting ways and finding his place amongst his newfound Khozak allies. And yet, Conan is still Conan. He’ll stab you if you get in his way and he’ll always go after the girl. If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it! The artwork from Sergio Davila has been excellent from the start of the series and that thankfully doesn’t change with this latest issue. Lots of detail, a great sense of how action should ‘move’ within the panels, nice layouts and a great eye for detail make his artwork a joy to look at. Conan couldn’t look more tough, more barbaric – and Octavia couldn’t look more beautiful! Add to that a real skill for coming up with some interesting locations for all of this to play off of and it’s easy to see why his art is being so well received by the Conan faithful as it is. Michael Atiyeh’s coloring work needs mention as well, as it does a fantastic job of bringing the pencils to vivid, full color life. And if that weren’t enough we get an absolutely kick ass cover piece from Thomas Grindberg. All in all, another fine issue in a genuinely great series.