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Review: King Conan: The Hour of the Dragon #3

20130726-201608.jpg Dark Horse‘s latest run of our well known barbarian hero is a worthy homage to the original 1932 Weird Tales magazine and of series past. Narrated by an aged King Conan to his scribe, The Hour of the Dragon tells the tale of how he met his beloved-and now deceased-queen Zenobia. After a group of second string royalty and a not-so-high priest awaken a long dead wizard, Conan is dethroned and imprisoned. In the bowels of a castle he meets a ravishing servant of the king who does anything and everything to help him escape. Despite her efforts he can’t help but think, is this too good to be true?

Where a recently released Red Sonja misses the mark, Timothy Truman is right on point. Oftentimes historical fantasy tales are plagued by clunky, awkward dialogue (e.g. “me thinketh that thy sayeth…”). Truman, however, interjects the right amount of old world slang to give it a historical feel without bogging down the narration. That being said, there are a handful of pages (and this might apply more to issues #1 and #2) that, due to sheer volume, draw my eyes to the captions before the artwork. Whether these can be compressed without detracting from the storyline is debatable.

Along with awkward dialogue, for me, clean lines and bright colors can bring down a historical fantasy story. Fortunately, penciler Tomas Giorello and colorist Jose Villarrubia give King Conan a gritty, almost faded appearance. There are times Conan is staring straight forward and an eye or part of his face is completely shaded, giving him an asymmetric look that completely works. It isn’t without it’s flaws though. The dungeon-dwelling primate dressed in armor that attacks Conan looked like a bizarre Planet of the Apes reference.

Three issues in and I feel like we’ve only seen the tip of the iceberg. I hope that Truman and Giorello continue to explore the land and people while remaining true to the Conan bloodline. They do that, and I’m on board.

Story: Timothy Truman Art: Tomas Giorello
Story: 7.5 Art: 7.5 Overall: 7.5 Recommendation: Buy

Dark Horse Comics provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review