Thursday, December 24, 2015

Review - King Conan: Wolves Beyond the Border #1 (@DarkHorseComics)

"I'll be content with a moment of peace...if the gods grant that it lasts so long."

Every good warrior comes to a point where they have to take a step back. Very few of those warriors get the benefit of retiring to a throne, but when you're Conan, you get slightly preferential treatment. King Conan: Wolves Beyond the Border #1 from Dark Horse Comics is another entry in the series about the legend and it doesn't miss a beat. The issue is written by Timothy Truman, illustrated by Tomás Giorello, colored by José Villarrubia and lettered by Richard Starkings & Comicraft.

King Conan grows weary of the crown. When an old soldier visits him with talk of a cursed relic and rumors of Pictish tribes preparing a full-scale invasion on Aquilonia's borders, Conan eagerly embarks on what could be his final adventure!

At this point, you'd be hard-pressed to find a take on Conan that's completely fresh, yet Truman still manages to make the character feel new in King Conan: Wolves Beyond the Border #1. King Conan lusts for the life he used to maintain, one full of action and brawls. Truman does a great job of building the story up to a point where Conan may get what he wants, following him as proceeds from the mundane routine of a king to the possibility of a big adventure. The characterization is phenomenal as well, with Truman ensuring the characters around Conan revere him for all the right reasons. The ending of the issue is a very appropriate set-up for the remainder of the series as well, giving him plenty to work with as a traveling warrior.

There's a pulpy look to King Conan: Wolves Beyond the Border #1 that Giorello brings to the table. King Conan looks sufficiently grizzled and worn, but he wears it very well as a king. Just about every character in Conan's kingdom sports a similar level of grit to them that's becoming of a kingdom rife with danger. Panels do a great job of conveying action to the reader, from a bar brawl to the recounting of a tale centered around sacrifice. Villarrubia casts a red hue on the artwork due to the artifact that's got Conan transfixed which works very well to bring the reader even further into the world.

King Conan: Wolves Beyond the Border #1 is a great first issue that draws upon the legacy that is Conan and spins it in a new direction. King Conan is no longer content to rule from a throne and is determined to find something to entertain him. Truman's script is clean and fast-paced, wasting little time in moving Conan from king back to Conan the adventurer. Giorello's illustrations look as if they could be part of a history book--if that history focused on King Conan. King Conan: Wolves Beyond the Border #1 is a lot of fun to read and hits all the right notes for a book about the famed warrior.

King Conan: Wolves Beyond the Border #1 is in stores now.


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