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Comic Review: Conan the Barbarian #1
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Conan the Barbarian 1Conan the Barbarian #1
Script by Brian Wood
Art by Becky Cloonan
Colors by Dave Stewart
Letters by Richard Starkings and Comicraft
Covers by Massimo Carnevale and Becky Cloonan
Dark Horse Comics
Release Date: February 8, 2012
Cover Price: $3.50

I’ve been looking forward to Conan the Barbarian #1 ever since it was announced. Why? Because with the announcement of the book’s creative team, it promised something different for a Conan comic, and happily, it delivers. Big time.

Fans have been begging for Dark Horse to adapt the classic Robert E. Howard Conan story Queen of the Black Coast for quite a while now, and that has to be tricky for writer Brian Wood. Thankfully, he more than delivers on this fan’s expectations.

The story picks up right from the recently wrapped Conan: Road of Kings miniseries and flows flawlessly into this title. Wood makes it extremely accessible to new readers without beating you over the head with who Conan is and what he’s all about. A few simple lines of dialogue and anyone reading this that has never read a Conan comic before is as up to date as someone like me, who’s been reading the characters exploits for years. Wood does a fantastic job of revealing bits of character through short lines of dialogue. For a Conan book, there’s not a lot of action, but that’s no fault of Wood’s, since this is an adaptation of an existing Conan story. Very well written all around, though.

Just as with the writer, I’m not that familiar with artist Becky Cloonan. All I’ve heard about her is that everyone loves her and now I can completely tell why. While her style is pretty much a complete and total 180 degrees from a traditional Conan artist, she really makes this work. As opposed to the realistic muscle and blood filled art that you would regularly see in a Conan comic, Cloonan makes this book look BEAUTIFUL, which is an adjective that I never expected to use when describing a Conan book. There’s a sweetness to her art that normally would stick out like a sore thumb, but it works SO well here. She’s done a heck of a great job here.

Ladies and Gentlemen, this is pretty much THE perfect first issue. A great jumping on point for new readers. Different enough that it will surprise anyone with preconceived notions on what a Conan book is, yet it will pleasantly surprise long time fans, because it’s the Conan we all know and love, with just enough difference to keep it fresh. This issue is definitely a must-have!

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