Writer: Joshua Dysart
Artist(s): Will Conrad, Juan Ferreyra (colors)
Publisher: Dark Horse
One of the many threads that exist in the unruly and rude territory that is the internet, one Robert Howard fan stated that they didn’t care for Dysart’s take on Conan because it wasn’t “Howardian” enough. The last issue of Conan & the Midnight God, for this reviewer, clearly disproves this statement. While the team behind issue #5 may have left some of Howard’s more archaic attitudes (particular towards women and race) behind, they’ve embraced the spirit of dark adventure that was the greatest part of his works.
The art and the coloring open strong in this issue, contrasting an earlier, more innocent part of Conan’s life with the dark and subterranean place he finds himself in now. While the thick canopy of trees on the opening page does not look much like the Cimmeria of my imagination, the sepia colors and the filtered light make a great foil for the lightless and fog laden realm that Conan awakes into at the beginning. Given the limited space of each panel, the art also does a very good job of presenting the size of the kings before Conan by placing the Cimmerian at the feet of the great statues, allowing readers to judge the scale.
The art continues at this level of quality throughout the book, weather its on rain soaked battlefields or in demon infested caves. The climax perhaps could have used more room dedicated to it in order to let accentuate the moment more, but the artists did a fine job with the page space allotted.
Dysart also shines in the words, particularly in their tribute to Howard, whether it is in dialogue or narration. The ancient gods that speak to Conan sound like very much like something from REH’s work, while the narration is straight-forward, colorful and imaginative.
Dysart, as in previous issues, also continues to round out the other characters that surround King Conan, particularly Pallantides and the evil sorcerer Ra-Sidh. His best work, perhaps, is saved for the internal conflict of the Cimmerian, a king whose crown weighs heavy on him and struggles with impulses to return to a more simple (and barbaric) existence.
All in all, Conan & The Midnight God, the last issue in particular, does an excellent job of capturing the charm of the Conan stories while taking it in a new direction never covered by the original work. Good, blood-soaked fun.
If you liked this review, be sure to check out more of the author’s work at http://madbastard.hypersites.com
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