Conan the Barbarian #4
Script by Brian Wood
Art by James Harren
Colors by Dave Steward
Letters by Richard Starkings and Comicraft
Cover by Massimo Carnevale
Dark Horse Comics
Release Date: May 16, 2012
Cover Price: $3.50
Conan the Barbarian #4 kicks off a brand new story arc, The Argos Deception. Conan is in a weird place in his young life. Used to the life of a barbarian, he now find himself young and in love and… a pirate. Can the barbarian be tamed? Has he found the love of his life? I have no clue, but right now, all signs point to “yes.”
Brian Wood‘s writing this issue is fantastic! The issue is a wonderful character study on Conan, and that was one thing that I never knew I wanted or needed, but after reading it, I’m sure glad that I got it.
What impressed me the most was how the story was equally balanced with action and narration. Sometimes in comics, you get a little too much of either one and it makes for either a really fast or a really slow read where you come up disappointed in the end. But again, the balance in this issue is perfect. The story itself, you’ll recognize as a heist film, and while that’s entertaining in its own right, the character stuff is really the stand out aspect of this issue. And not just Conan, while Belit’s character is not put under the microscope like Conan’s is, their relationship IS, and there’s some really interesting swerves thrown in for good measure. It’s a great read, start to finish.
While not familiar with James Harren‘s work, I really like him on this book. His opening page is just plain magnificent and the rest that follows is almost equally as good. His style is along the same vein of Becky Cloonan, but very subtly different. Definitely not jarring at all, and readers who were picking up this book just for Cloonan’s art will, I predict, stick around. Again, it’s not the traditional style for Conan, but it really works for the story being told. Harren’s work here is fantastic. The only thing that I didn’t care for were his cityscapes. They seemed in my opinion to be a little on the generic side. But, there’s only a couple of them and again, it’s not a deal breaker at all when it comes to enjoying this issue.
I have to be honest, while I am REALLY loving this Conan the Barbarian series, I’m a little worried about it. It’s common for a book to have five or six issue arcs, but THREE issue arcs? While I, and a lot of other people, enjoy it, I think it gives readers maybe TOO many chances to jump off and say “I’ll just wait for the trade.” And that’s something that I DO NOT recommend doing, as this comic is really enjoyable in single-issue monthly doses.