Review: Conan the Avenger #1 (Shadows Over Kush Part One)

24691Wired recently published a fantastic article about which X-Men comics to read after seeing this weekend’s blockbuster X-Men: Days of Future Past. It is a highly recommended piece, because breaking into comics can be a daunting task (the DC Universe has multiple earths). It got me thinking about the Conan universe though, and I realized that Dark Horse Comics does an exceptional job of allowing new readers into the Cimmerian’s world. By publishing shorter runs, adapting fan-favorite novels, and mixing in new material, Dark Horse makes breaking and entering relatively painless.

Writer Fred Van Lente and artist Brian Ching‘s new series Conan the Avenger: Shadows Over Kush is no exception. We find a slightly slimmer, but equally brooding, Conan in Shumballa drowning his sorrows of a lost love in the bottom of a goblet. While almost at rock bottom (literally), he meets a Witch Hunter, Agara, hellbent on finding the soul responsible for hexing the birth of a noblewoman. Agara’s trail to the evildoer mistakenly leads to Conan…a battle indubitably ensues.

While I’ve become accustomed to Timothy Truman and Tomas Giorello‘s gold standard, this new pair is a welcomed addition to the Conan family. Van Lente takes Robert E. Howard‘s nearly century-old unpublished work, and brings a broken Conan back from the edge. Couple a haunted barbarian with Ching’s gritty sketches, and the path to Kush will undoubtedly be paved in glory and bodies. Not to get ahead of myself, and cover art aside (underwhelming for a new series), but Part Two equally matches the strength of the debut issue. It becomes evident that Conan and Agara’s quarrel  is against a more sinister force.

Are there two sets of X-Men in the same time period? Which Robin is this? Unraveling the Marvel and DC worlds can be paralyzing, even for the most ardent fans. Fear not, if you are looking for a compelling script, vivid illustrations, and a perfect starting point…Conan the Avenger is it.

Story: Fred Van Lente Art: Brian Ching
Story: 9 Art: 9 Overall: 9 Recommendation: Buy

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

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