Sunday, May 08, 2011

Conan: The Road of Kings #4

As I noted in my review of the third issue of this comic book, writer Roy Thomas has so far supplied a stand-alone story in every issue of this mini-series even though all the stories fall under a wider story arc. Issue #4, while still having a beginning, middle and end isn't quite as tight as the previous issues, and seems to be designed to move the main story forward. In issue three, Conan was given a scroll by his old friend Murillo and asked to carry it to a mysterious party in the city of Belverus.
Conan delivers the scroll, only to find himself caught up in political intrigues within the city. He is captured by the king's guards and dragged before the king in chains. Thomas's skill with dialog shines in this scene as the smug king taunts Conan and Conan responds in the expected fashion. Artist Mike Hawthorne depicts a frothing mad Conan, who is dragged from the room spouting threats that I really hope he gets a chance to carry out. Conan is quite the fan of payback.
Conan ends up in the dungeon of the royal torturer, who finds that it isn't going to be easy to make the Cimmerian talk. In fact it looks like Conan is going to die without opening his mouth, but when things look terminal for our hero..well, read it yourself. I will note that the next few scenes lead to some of Mike Hawthorne's best art yet on Conan, two terrific two-page spreads of an ax wielding Conan doing what he does best.
A well written comic book with good art, that comes out on time is a rarity these days, but Conan: The Road of Kings delivers. (I should note that Tim Truman and Tomas Giorello are also doing a fine, regularly published mini series, The Scarlet Citadel.)
Next issue, Conan gets back on the trail of the kidnapped princess, Olivia. Looking forward to it.

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