Ah, Conan the Barbarian. Just the name brings up images burly men in fur shorts, bare breasts, bloody battles and Arnold Schwarzenegger. Conan’s newest comic series, “Queen of the Black Coast” brings those images back in a way that will easily appease hardcore fans.
The first issue of “Queen of the Black Coast” drops us in on Conan running away from soldiers in typical Conan style. He escapes on a ship that is thankfully leaving harbor and he “makes friends” with the crew. He also finds out about a sinister female pirate named Belit and we get this series’ villain. Of course, it’s a female with barely anything on that Conan fantasizes about.
The story may not sound like much, but you need to remember this is Conan. People read Conan more for the action and less for the story. With that in mind the story is your typical Conan story with a villain who Conan must fight and it’s a half naked woman to boot. If you’re expecting Shakespeare look elsewhere because you will never find it in a Conan comic.
The artwork by Becky Cloonan is okay at best, poor at worst. Conan’s design is not the best looking to date. In fact, if the comic wasn’t called “Conan the Barbarian” you would think he looked like your semi-gruff-pretty boy badass that any teenager draws on his Deviantart.com page. In fact, everything looks basic and underwhelming. Half the time you don’t even notice the artwork at all. It’s just so bland that Conan deserves better than this. The cover art is way more interesting and better drawn than the actual comic. Why couldn’t that have been the art style?
There is an extra six panel comic called “The Adventures of Two-Gun Bob: True Stories from the Life of Robert E. Howard” where we get a comical look into the life into Howard, creator of Conan the Barbarian and everything Sword and Sorcery. The tiny Sunday funnies style comics are a nice extra to the comics and are worth looking forward to every issue. This one especially was particularly funny concerning Howard’s view of literature.
Mediocre art should not scare away anyone who enjoys “Conan the Barbarian.” This comic is worth checking out for any Conan fans but only for the fact that it’s Conan fighting a woman. Crom will understand if you ignore the art and enjoy the story.