Comic Review: King Conan: The Scarlet Citadel
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King Conan: The Scarlet Citadel
Written by Timothy Truman
Art by Tomas Giorello
Colors by Jose Villarubia
Letters by Richard Starkings and Comicraft’s Jimmy Betancourt
Chapter-Break Art by Darick Robertson with colorists Dave Stewart and Richard Clark
Cover by Gerald Parel
Dark Horse Comics
Release Date: February 28, 2012
Cover Price: $14.99

By Crom, finally a tale worthy of a king! King Conan: The Scarlet Citadel is a compilation of the four-issue mini-series of the same name. This is a story from Conan’s later years retold in glorious fashion. And for the first time we hear the tale directly from the Cimmerian himself.

We start the story with Conan relaxing on his throne as the King of Aquilonia. A young scribe, Pramis, is tasked with chronicling the exploits of the famous monarch for the kingdom’s libraries. Once convinced to share some of his history, Conan settles in to tell the story of his capture by the evil sorcerer, Tsotha-Lanti. Imprisoned beneath the Scarlet Citadel, the captured barbarian is quick to realize that he is not meant to survive his stay in the dungeon.

Gigantic creatures and twisted, malformed guardians abound in the dark recesses of the castle. His journey to escape takes him far beyond the normal prison break and exposes him to many trials and challenges. His fortuitous meeting with a fellow prisoner is the pivotal point in the story. Now able to escape, Conan begins his quest for vengeance. Aided by the magic of his new ally, he makes an extraordinary journey in a very short time. His goal being to arrive in time to assist in the defense of his kingdom from both the traitors within and the ones marching upon his capital. The battle ensues and the story comes to a close. Fittingly, the last words written are those of Conan’s creator Robert E. Howard.

Timothy Truman did a wonderful job of adapting this story into comic form, especially taking into account the way the tale was told. I have been a fan of Howard’s work for decades and could find no fault with any part of this masterpiece. Additionally, I loved the art that Tomas Giorello used to bring the visual component to this book. It reminded me so much of the old monthly The Savage Sword of Conan series with its gorgeous large panels and heavily detailed drawings.

Any fan of Conan will love this adaptation and any fan of the sword and sorcery genre will adore it as well. If you missed the mini-series then this is a great way to get it all in a single edition. You’ll find yourself shopping for more Conan stories after you read this one, it’s that inspiring.

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