The Cast: Conan, Rune
The Catalyst: Conan is travelling along one night when he comes across a temple of some sort and sees a glint of red, a gem shining under the stars. Stopping to pick it up, he finds himself trapped within the place where he soon comes across a dying man with a story about a dark god, a creature called Rune who has killed everyone there.
The Convergence: While he needs to find a way out of the place, Conan cannot let the monster that caused so much carnage to remain among the living and so instead of sneaking out as he was warned to do, he issues a challenge that none could defy and one that brings Rune literally crashing into him, hoping to feast upon the Cimmerian’s flesh.
The Critique: Barry Windsor-Smith takes the character he created with Chris Ulm and the barbarian hero he first drew many years previous and brings them together in a titanic tale that is just as exciting as it seems. It is a tale packed with horror as the demon-like Rune has already killed and eaten hundreds, thousands even, wiping out the entire population of that where Conan now finds himself and it is Conan that he means to eat next. Unlike his previous victims though, Rune has never faced a Cimmerian before, nevermind Conan who has killed his fair share of monsters and whose will, much like his body, is like a thing unto iron. These two characters are a perfect fit for each other and Windsor-Smith was born to bring them into conflict with one another. The artwork is detailed and incredibly beautiful even given the horror that is put down upon the pages of the book and while there is a lot of horror, there is even more action as the two battle it out in epic fashion. There is some doubt as to who will win the fight, though one should always bet on the hero and here, as it is Conan, there can never really be any doubt. Windsor-Smith though does not end things definitively even though Conan could be called the victor, for while he might have won the battle, Rune too lives to see another day, for whatever reason, letting Conan live when he had the choice to end the threat of the Cimmerian once and for all. For what it is worth, while Rune might not be the biggest or most widely known of all characters from the halls of comicdom, this crossover was executed flawlessly and one of the best to ever be put down on paper. If one can find it, it is definitely worth seeking out.
The Credits: Barry Windsor-Smith – Writer/Artist, Alex Bialy – Assistant Inks, Eric Hope – Colours, Joon Kostar – Letters
Companies Involved: Marvel Comics, Malibu Comics
Chronology: November 1995
Worlds Collide – Chapter Six: Conan vs. Rune #1
The Cast: Conan, Rune