Conan finds himself beyond the Black River, surrounded by the warlike PICTS! But the tribesmen may be the least of his worries if he cannot fight his way through the demonic beasts slithering around the forest!
If you expected a continuation of the first issue, then you might be disappointed. Conan the Barbarian #2 has our favorite barbarian on a mission to destroy the Picts but is recruited by them to deal with an infestation of giant venomous snakes.
Write Jason Aaron has delivered a fascinating second issue that doesn’t continue the first issue’s plotline as much as look into the nature of Conan himself. It’s an issue that adds some depth to a character who can be summed up by fighting, booze, and women. We see him grow in the issue and we can also now see how he went from a loner to a King. It’s a character focused issue… it also has a lot of battle and Conan chopping things up.
The art by Mahmud Asrar with colors by Matthew Wilson, and lettering by Travis Lanham is fantastic. Not only is this setting so different than the previous issue, a jungle versus city and crypt, but everything tells a bit of a story. We learn so much about the Picts by what’s shown as opposed to told. We can guess what their community and people are like. The battles, full of chaos and destruction, are still easy to follow with gore flowing everywhere. It’s just fantastic to look at as well as read.
The issue is a fascinating one as it deviates from the first issue. It takes us on a new adventure giving us a bit more about who Conan is and what his beliefs are. We see growth in a character, some leadership that’s not as present in that first issue. Aaron is giving us not just the story about Conan’s death but also how he got from point a, the loner barbarian, to point z, the King.
This is a perfect example of how to craft a standalone story that also ties into the greater meta story that’s being told at the same time.
This series so far is excellent delivering so much in each issue. Not only are there suggestions about what books to read for more about the Picts but the issue continues the prose story “Black Starlight” by John C. Hocking. The series celebrates the character’s origins.
Another great issue in what is becoming one of the best series out there. Fantastic storytelling and fantastic art and bonus prose combine for something that stands out from the crowd.
Story: Jason Aaron, John C. Hocking Art: Mahmud Asrar
Color: Matthew Wilson Letterer: Travis Lanham
Story: 9.0 Art: 9.0 Overall: 9.0 Recommendation: Buy
Marvel provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review