Fear is pervading the streets of Yaralet. Even rogues fear to tread the town’s dusky streets. Phantoms wander the streets of the town. The phantoms are enormous armies of the undead, ruthless creatures that threaten to overwhelm the townspeople. Of course, young Conan finds himself in this town, aimlessly joining the army that opposes the zombies. And, of course, Conan is unconcerned about the coming battle that he’s gotten involved with; as the narrator informs us, “There was something about this place. There was menace in the air. He could smell it as clearly as the smoke from Fat Esau’s fire. It was a small matter. Trouble followed him like a starving cat, it seemed. When it was time to eat, Conan would surely feed it.”
This is a wonderful set-up story for what looks to be a slam-bang action story. Readers see a number of subplots begin to play out. There’s palace intrigue and an evil wizard. There’s a royal wedding coming and a rebellion brewing. There are zombies and warriors and battles soon to come. All the pieces are in motion, and it should be fun to see what happens with each one.
Tomàs Giorello is the new artist on this series, and I really enjoyed his work. Giorello’s art is more gritty and earthy than previous artists on this comic. The town of Yaralet has an all-pervading feeling of rundown nastiness, a drab feeling of oppression hanging over the streets of the town like a cloud. Giorello also draws a nice version of Conan as well. He’s sinewy and strong, ruthless and intense in Giorello’s hands. Colorists Jo Mettler and Tony Shasteen add to the feel of the book with their muted, earthy coloring scheme. When we see the full moon rising over the city of Yaralet on page one, the art and coloring create a nice feeling of impending doom. My only complaint about the art comes on the last few pages It would have added to the tension of the moment for Giorello to show the attacking army in great detail. Unfortunately, he skimps a bit in the backgrounds in that sequence, and that robs the sequence a bit of its intended feeling of impending doom.
The last four issues of the current Conan series promise to bring a spectacular action storyline that will tie up the series. It should be fun to see how this storyline plays out.