I feel like I’ve missed an issue – the great thing is I wasn’t lost for long. Conan, the great warrior, has become the leader of a Kozak clan and was forced to deal in politics to save some hostages, one being a princess. Conan was immediately sexually drawn to her. When she escapes, Conan finds himself following the mysterious beauty into a suddenly resurrected ancient city. Something mysterious is going on, something beyond the understanding of humanity. Cullen Bunn has made this iteration of Conan so compelling that I was on the edge of my seat with him as he walked through streets and into buildings.
This book is so beautifully and lovingly crafted. It would be one thing to simply tell this story, but Bunn crafts his prose like he’s writing classic literature. The man is a chameleon – one of the most versatile writers in the comic industry. If you look at another of his books like Harrow County and compare the style to this, you wouldn’t think it was the same writer; however, what the two books share is his ability to craft a world in such a way that the stories almost write themselves, and the characters continue to grow without breaking the already crafted logic. Nothing is forced, and there is no melodrama. You are constantly surprised and drawn further in. His Conan feels like you’re reading one of Burrough’s John Carter books – that might be one of the greatest compliments I can give it. There is always mystery, discovery, and the will to press forward, no matter what. It is one half of what envelops you as a reader.
Another half is Sergio Davila’s really beautiful artwork and Michael Atiyeh’s coloring. There’s an image of Conan perched on top of the walls of the city, like he’s an eagle about to fly in and grab his prey. It’s powerful and beautiful. It paints Conan as having the skills and grace of some of the greatest predators. But they don’t shy away from the humanity of Conan; he isn’t only brawn and scowl. He is surprised, he is tortured, he feels regret and sadness, lust and confusion. He is a human, often dealing with something he doesn’t understand.
This is one of the best fantasy, adventure books out there. I refrain from saying “the bes,t” because I’m not reading every single one of them.