All Hail King Conan In Conan The Barbarian #4

by Tony Thornley

One thing we’ve seen consistently in this run of Conan The Barbarian is the wild nature of our protagonist. This issue, though, makes that implication explicit, as we see what kind of caged animal Conan would become.

Cover by Esad Ribic

Jason Aaron, Gerardo Zaffino, Matthew Wilson and Travis Lanham tell us the tale of King Conan’s first year as the king of Aquilonia.

Conan clearly didn’t know what to expect when he takes the crown, but he didn’t expect it to be boring. However, he brought peace to Aquilonia and the regions around it, leading to him falling ill from the sheer boredom. However, being Conan, he finds a cure his own way- with a sword in his hand…

Aaron has proven himself a master of taking advantage of the different eras of a character’s life in his Thor run. Here, he dives deep in Conan’s psyche, and crafts a believable result of his settling down, showing him as a caged animal. Of course, it would take Conan embracing his nature to get through this challenge. It’s a great take on the character, and continues to build a foundation for future stories to take place.

Zaffino’s wild, more sketchy and angular style is a great fit for this story. He is able to capture the rage of Conan, while he’s simply sitting still. He also has a great eye for action, drawing the eye across the page, while ending each sequence with a satisfying splash. With Wilson’s colors it’s a great issue, despite the drastic change from the series so far.

We’ve seen the beginning, middle and penultimate chapters of Conan’s life. Aaron and company have built a fascinating foundation for a terrifying climax to the life of Conan. I can’t wait to see how this story ends.

Conan The Barbarian #4 is available now from Marvel Comics.

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