Writer and Art: P. Craig Russell
Colors: Lovern Kindzierski
Letters: Galen Showman
Publisher: Dark Horse Comics
As Conan discovers that the goddess emergence at the end of the previous issue was a smoke and mirrors display that was being pulled off by another player who is looking to get their hands on the jewels, we see after he deals with this rival, he follows the priests to the jewels, and is on hand to witness the group being ripped to pieces by the creatures that guard the treasure. We than see Conan's efforts to secure the treasure come up short, but he's able to escape with his life, and he also made a new friend of a young woman whose life he saves.
This final issue is pretty much what I expected to see, though I will concede that I was a little surprised to discover that the goddess from the end of the previous issue was yet another ruse as truth be told I didn't expect the writing to offer up this little trick a third time. Still after this final lie is exposed and Conan deals with the con-artist as only he can, the issue pretty much transforms itself into a standard Conan adventure, as he finds himself being pursued by a group of cannibalistic monsters as he works to secure an invaluable treasure while also struggling to protect a young woman who follows the exact behaviour pattern that such stories require of it's female supporting players. Yes this issue offers up the ever predictable big finish where the treasure is perched precariously on the edge of a cliff, as is the young woman, and Conan is forced to choose between saving her life or the treasure. Now of course Conan makes the choice that I'm sure everyone expected him to, and we see he manages to get over the lost of the treasure rather quickly, as it wouldn't do to have our brave hero throwing a hissy fit. Still just once I'd like to see a character make the selfish choice when they were faced with an either/or decision, as frankly this type of scene has completely lost it's ability to cast any sense of doubt over the decision that the hero is going to make. I will say that I did find myself enjoying the book's willingness to play up the idea that the monsters that emerged from the shadows are thoroughly unpleasant creatures, as there's a delightfully unsettling sequence where we see these creatures tear apart a group of priests. I also have to say I also enjoyed the scene where Conan delivers one of his big sword swings, and he's surprised to find that the attack hasn't killed the creature outright, as the character's stunned expression was a great little Conan moment. The book also ends on a fun note as we see Conan and his new sidekick head off on yet another adventure.
The art of this issue managed to impress me with how clearly it was able to detail the various events that play out, as the scene where Conan discovers the goddess was yet another trick was nicely laid out by the art, and there's a wonderfully unsettling bit of art as we see the priests are ripped apart by the monsters that guard the treasure. There's also a great little visual moment that I've already made mention in the previous paragraph but it's worth a second mention, as the art does a lovely job of expressing Conan look of utter shock as he discovers that his strongest attack didn't rend the creature in two. In fact the only quibble I would make about the art on this issue is that there are moments where the visual continuity from one panel to the next is a bit shaky, as the art makes it quite clear that Conan's sword kept falling when he was knocked off the cliff, but on the next page it's clearly shown back in it's scabbard. It than proceeds to appear and disappear from the scabbard over the rest of the issue, which struck me as downright strange.
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