‘Conan the Slayer #4:’ Advance Comic Book Review

Issue #4 of Cullen Bunn’s Conan the Slayer is juicy goodness. I say this not only because of the awesome violence and gruesomeness brought to visceral life by Sergio Dávil (art) and Michael Atiyeh (colors), but because Bunn approaches the goings on with a rhythm and poetry that gives the weight of myth to Conan’s plight.

Conan has befriended a clan of Kozaks, and he has also stepped into the middle of a family spat. The younger (more war-ready) brother has made an evil alliance to kill his younger brother and take the spot of Hetman of the tribe from his father. With Conan there, his plans don’t go so smoothly, but for Bunn, writer of the phenomenally layered Harrow County, that’s just setup. If you think you know what the story is about and where it might go, you really have no idea. In the last issue, not only did Conan foil the plot and keep the younger brother alive, but he also dealt a hand of death to some nasty sea creatures, whose mother wants revenge. Plus, a Ghul that feeds on the spirits of the dead is tracking Conan, due to the fact that he’s left so many corpses in his path. Now, with Conan returning to the Kozak camp, how will the family reunion play out between the brothers? How many will Conan kill?

Yes, there is joy in how these questions are answered, but with a lesser writer, it might feel pretty standard. There is an eloquence with how Bunn handles the proceedings, and even the artwork recalls the visual feeling of a mythos that is larger than life. I’ve compared it to Old English Poetry, like Beowulf and The Worm Ouroboros. Like those, this is high fantasy. This is a Conan story truly worth reading.

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