Hey cool, I thought, a comic drawn by Joe Kubert. The dude’s a legend, a real master of the comics, so it would be fun to pick up a new comic by him. Surely it’s gotta be worth my $2.99? Plus the comic was written by Tim Truman, who was one of the first graduates of the Kubert School for comic art. Obviously Truman loved Kubert, and wouldn’t attach his name to something mediocre. That would be disrespectful to one’s mentor.
But honestly this comic kind of sucks. We do get work by Joe Kubert, and florious comics work it is, too. But Kubert’s work takes up a mere seven pages, wrapped around an intensely dull and pointless piece illustrated by Truman.
So about that Truman story, do you know the Conan story where some bizarre, supernatural creature attacks Conan or his family or his friends? The one you’ve read about two dozen times before if you like the character? Well, here it is again. And worse – it’s not even really about Conan, it’s kind of about his mom but not really.
Truman as writer of the story makes no effort to join the current story and flashback together. Why does Conan stare angrily off into space on page four, thinking of this story as he contemplates the weather in his current abode? Truman doesn’t tell us, and neither story really fills in the gaps. It all seems rather pointless.
It is kind of fun seeing Tim Truman’s art again and seeing that his page arrangements and obsessions haven’t changed much since he wrote and drew Scout way back in the day. For what it’s worth, Truman draws a decent weird scary creature, but really who cares?
Besides, Truman is outclassed by his mentor. Joe Kubert’s been drawing and thinking about comics for so long that it’s become routine for him to create interesting work. He’s a master at making any scene, no matter how uninteresting, into a compelling visual. And here he does just that. It’s not exactly thrilling to see Conan carrying a stag into court after a hunt, but he does make that scene seem interesting. But honestly, hoo ha, how thrilling.
New Joe Kubert work is always cool, but it’s frustrating to see the art in service to such a desultory story.