Monday, October 2, 2023

Comics Review: "CONAN THE BARBARIAN #3" Unleashes the Power of Cimmeria

TITAN COMICS/Heroic Signatures

STORY: Jim Zub
ART: Roberto de la Torre
COLORS: Dean White
LETTERS: Richard Starkings of Comicraft
EDITOR: Matt Murray
COVER: Doug Braithwaite
VARIANT COVER ARTISTS: Patrick Zircher; Max Von Fafner; Roberto de la Torre; Doug Braithwaite
32pp, Color, $3.99 U.S. (September 2023)

Suggested for mature readers

“Bound in Black Stone” Part III: “The Fortress”

Conan the Cimmerian was born in the pulp fiction of Robert E. Howard (REH), first appearing in the magazine, Weird Tales (1932).  In 1970, Marvel Comics brought Conan to the world of comic books via the title, Conan the Barbarian. With only a few pauses, Conan comic books have been published for the better part of five decades.

Titan Comics and Heroic Signatures are the new producers of Conan comic books, and they start with a new Conan the Barbarian series.  It is written by Jim Zub; drawn by Roberto de la Torre; colored by José Villarrubia; and lettered by Richard Starkings.  The new series finds Conan returned to his homeland of Cimmeria just when it faces a terrible new threat.

Conan the Barbarian #3 (“The Fortress”) opens as Conan and Brissa of the Pictish Gurian Tribe enter the citadel of black stone that has risen from the frosty ground of Cimmeria.  They are following figures swathed in hooded robes that are seemingly the escorts of the band of undead Picts known as “Tribe of the Lost.”

Along the way, Conan and Brissa discover a band of Cimmerians imprisoned in a rock-hewn cell.  Now, joined by a trio of Cimmerian warriors:  Hydallan, Mago, and Tormey, Conan makes his move on a skull-clad priest and the source of the undead plague.

THE LOWDOWN:  Titan Comics has been providing me with PDF copies of their publications for review for several years now.  Conan the Barbarian #3 is the latest.

As I said in my review of the first two issues of this series, Titan Comics and Heroic Signatures' revival of the Conan the Barbarian comic book series is definitely edgier than Marvel Comics' 2019 revival.  Writer Jim Zub has recalled the ass-thumpin, p***y-pounding, blood-splattering pulp storytelling that recalls Roy Thomas.  The spirit of Conan's eccentric (perhaps, mad) creator, Robert E. Howard in every word of Zub's scripts.

I'm trying to find the words to describe the storytelling of artist Roberto de la Torre.  He brings Zub's script to comic book life with fire, black magic, and mountain-leveling thunder.  De la Torre's art feels like a true inheritor to the comic book master of Conan, the late John Buscema (1927-2002).  Dean White brings out the magic in de la Torre art, while Richard Starkings' lettering gives it the thunderous soundtrack that doesn't quit.

Whew! Time for a cigarette.  Seriously, dear readers, if you love Conan comic books, you will hate yourself for denying yourself this new Conan the Barbarian.

I READS YOU RECOMMENDS:  Fans of Conan comic books will want to try Titan Comics and Heroic Signatures' Conan the Barbarian.

[This comic book includes the essay, “Robert E. Howard and His Ages Undreamed Of” Part Three, by Jeffrey Shanks.]


Reviewed by Leroy Douresseaux a.k.a. "I Reads You"

The text is copyright © 2023 Leroy Douresseaux. All Rights Reserved. Contact this blog or site for reprint and syndication rights and fees.


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