Monday, January 14, 2013

Conan #1-9 is a huge disappointment

Conan is poorly written, terrible in almost every way writing can be.  The text ranges from incredibly boring to genuinely unpleasant to read:


"Favorable tax laws."



"But significantly not so in young Maeldun's case."

The plots are simplistic and linear.  For example, in issue two, Conan is on a ship being attacked by another ship.  He shoots arrows at the other ship, and then he uses his sword against the attackers.  At the conclusion of the battle, the leader of the attacking ship is impressed and invites Conan to join her.  That's it, that's the entire issue.


Hope you want an entire issue of this.

There are really only two characters, and one, Belit, is an unstoppable pirate queen at one moment, and a harmless little girl unmanned by a little cold and jumping at her own shadow in the next.

Sorry, you can go from this:



To this:



And the stories entirely omit what makes Conan special.  Conan is famous not because he's a muscular guy with a sword.  He's a guy with a sword who is constantly using his brawn and animal cunning to defeat sorcerers and Lovecraftian monsters.  But in these issues, there's no real hint of monsters or magic.  It's a particular waste of Becky Cloonan's talent for horror.


I wish there had been more of this.

What the issues do having going for them is art, for a little while. Becky Cloonan and James Harren are the pencillers for issues 1-3, 7 and 4-6, respectively.  They almost, but not quite make up for the quality of the writing.  But issues 8 and 9 are illustrated by Vasilis Lolos.  And Lolos give us panels like this:



And this:



And this:



A 10 year old boy might like these comics.  Everyone else is far better off with The Tower of the Elephant and Other Stories and The Hall of the Dead and Other Stories.

4 comments:

  1. Thank you for putting my worst fears into words, this book has been at the bottom of pile for months. I came back to monthly rags in 2012 and this was one of my first pulls. I feel like Wood misses the point of Conan entirely. He totally dismisses the civilization vs. barbarism dynamic and butchers a fairly easy love story. This book should read more like Mickey and Mallory and less like My Fair Lady.

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  2. I echo Rebus' sentiment. You've hit the nail on the head. The Busiek Conan stories were much better.

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  3. The typewriter font seems... an odd choice.

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