Four Colour Thoughts – Conan the Barbarian Vol. 3 #1

The Creators – Jason Aaron – Writer, Mahmud Asrar – Artist, Matthew Wilson – Colours, Travis Lanham – Letters, Esad Ribic – Cover

The Players – Conan (Cimmerian, Barbarian, Thief, Reaver, Slayer, King)

The Story – The Life and Death of Conan sees the man as a king and as his younger self while encountering a very deadly threat.

The Take – With the return of Conan the Barbarian at Marvel Comics, is also means a new creative team and that can be found in Jason Aaron and Mahmud Asrar who start things off with a bang. In a story titled The Life and Death of Conan, it is not yet another Robert E. Howard adaptation, though one can never do wrong in doing as such, but a new story that begins when Conan is the King of Aquilonia and looks back to his past in order to determine the threat that faces him currently. With a new story also comes a new villain and while not fully revealed as of yet and intimated as some old and venerable god, there is said god’s emissary and she is a formidable enemy herself. All of the things that one expects to see in a Conan comic book is here from the old witch to the battles between Conan and those who are supposedly bigger and tougher than he; intrigue, violence, drama, mirth and beautiful women too. Aaron knows what Conan is all about and it shows on every page. All of it comes to life thanks to the incredible pencils of Asrar who outdoes himself on this book, the pages looking the best he has ever done and channelling his inner John Buscema and Cary Nord, drawing Conan with his signature look. Every page is a masterwork and after reading the book, it is almost a must to go back and pour over each panel, drinking it all in once again like a giant flagon of ale. One would think that after hundreds of issues over the years, there would be little to tell of the barbarian hero without regurgitating what has come before, but much like some of the Dark Horse stuff that preceded this tale, Aaron and Asrar seem to be giving readers something new and it is wonderful to say the least. Additionally, the book sports the first part of a new prose story to be continued in future issues by John C. Hocking and it too, is as good a read as the comic itself. A strong outing from Marvel, stronger than most would probably have thought at first and if it continues as such, there is no reason why Conan cannot be a perennial best-seller once again.

Worth It? – Yes.

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