Sunday, December 11, 2011
Conan the Undead?
Undead Conan was the phrase used in several previews of the new BOOM series, Valen the Outcast. It's somewhat apt in that the protagonist, Valen, is the former monarch of a Kingdom not unlike Aquilonia, but since Valen's entire origin hasn't been revealed I don't know about his background before becoming king. I don't get the idea that he was a barbarian, but hey, this is issue one. He is, however, a great big guy with a sword and a bad attitude. Oh and he's dead.
Well, he's technically undead, since he's walking around and talking, a sentient zombie as it were and he can only be er.. re-killed by having his heart pierced or his head cut off. Other wounds just make him mad. A necromancer named Korrus Nullus killed Valen on the battlefield and cursed him with 'unlife', as he apparently does with a lot of folks, who then become his thralls, but Valen somehow managed to escape being controlled by the sorcerer and now he's out for some payback. All and all, not a bad concept for a sword & sorcery comic.
The first issue zips along with sharp writing from Michael Alan Nelson and dark, moody art by Matteo Scalera. Both men seem well suited to the title, though I'm not familiar with either of them from other comics work. My only complaint is that the coloring, which is a bit too dark, often obscures the artwork and it can be hard to tell what's going on in some panels. (The fact that the borders between the panels are colored black doesn't help.)
Overall though, I enjoyed the first issue. It's not really Undead Conan, but it does have a nice S&S dark fantasy vibe, and the first issue is available for a buck. Give it a shot.