If there’s one thing about Conan the Barbarian that’s never been in doubt, it’s that the title character is one of the most cunning warriors in fantasy literature. It was inevitable that we’d get an issue focusing on that part of Conan’s character.
Jason Aaron, Mahmud Asrar, Matthew Wilson, and Travis Lanham wrap up the first arc of the relaunched series in the midst of a violent war.
Conan has joined the armies of Turan as a mercenary as they attempt to invade the deserts of Stygia. The barbarian escapes multiple ambushes unscathed, gaining the trust of his comrades and the suspicion of their generals. Can Conan win them over, or will it lead to more bloodshed?
Aaron’s formula for the series has become familiar now, but it’s still a lot of fun to read and absorb what makes Conan the legendary character we know today. It’s an enjoyable action tale, but also a deeper story about how intelligent and cunning Conan is. Really, the only drawback is that the single issue story format is starting to wear thin, which makes it feel a bit formulaic.
Asrar and Wilson’s work on the series has to be career best for both of them. This issue is strongly action based, but Asrar fills the background characters with personality, whether they’re rivals or allies. It allows for a lot of storytelling without pages and pages of exposition. Wilson bathes the issue in red, symbolic of all the blood shed as well as the fiery personality of our hero.
This continues to be one of the best series of the year even with a few small downsides. I look forward to seeing how Conan makes it out of the situation he’s in.
Conan the Barbarian #6 is available now from Marvel Comics.