Brandon Borzelli's Geek Goggle Reviews
Conan The Avenger #21
Dark Horse Comics
Van Lente, Luis, Owens & Atiyeh
This issue of Conan is the second part of the story called, "A Witch Shall Be Born." However, this issue is very self-contained. Queen Taramis and Salome are nowhere to be found. Instead this issue is entirely about the crucifixion of Conan. Its brutal but beautifully written. It's gritty but it shows a weakness in the character that previously didn't really exist. This visuals bring these tough scenes to life in an inspired way. This reads great as a one-shot and I highly recommend checking this out.
With the fall of Queen Taramis, her captain is dragged outside the city and left on a cross to die. However, Conan isn't going to die because of the desert, but because of the vultures that pick apart those strung on the cross. Conan's predicament has possibilities as he is left unguarded, which might sound cartoonish, but the explanation makes sense.
Conan is left unguarded because the vultures won't swoop in and eat him while another man is hanging around. This helps to make the scenario of Conan being left alone believable. There is also a decree to leave Conan alone otherwise the person that helps him will be flayed. It seems that all the bases were covered. However, Conan doesn't plan to die.
Conan fights to get the nails out of his hands. He fights the vultures with his voice and then teeth. He battles through the hallucinations that the sun brings and he fights the thirst that fatigue brings. He appears to win some and lose others. However, he still feels life pumping through him when a chance encounter occurs.
The book is a great read as the reader joins Conan through his ups and downs. He fights then seems to be on the verge of giving up. He sees a way out only to fail. The comic really brings the reader into Conan's head as never before. It's an elegantly written comic book.
The visuals are fantastic. Conan is his normal large self. However, the artwork brings him to the brink on several occasions. He appears to be a man on the verge of crying or screaming but fighting the urge off at every turn. Conan's eyes even show defeat in some of the darker moments. However, the panels then eventually display the fight that Conan refuses to give up. The artwork tells a fantastic story.
"Conan The Avenger" tells a self-contained story about Conan getting crucified. The comic excels on taking the reader through the trials of facing death. The book digs into the character's head as he comes up with an idea for escape, battles through the pain, only to find failure staring him in the face. The comic book is as good as it gets for going for a punch in the gut. This is a read that requires no previous knowledge of the character or the story line. I recommend picking this up to find out what Conan is all about.
4.5 out of 5 Geek Goggles