|CONAN THE SLAYER No. 1, July 2016|
Cullen Bunn’s narrative for Issue One of “Conan The Slayer” certainly seems to be “one that fans will no doubt be familiar with” as the Ghastly Award nominee undoubtedly manages to capture the mood and feel of Robert E. Howard’s writing with this story of animalistic human savagery, gruesome mutilation and Turanian affairs of state. In fact in many ways “Blood In His Wake” actually reads like an adaptation of one of the Cimmerian’s genuine novels rather than simply a twenty-two page officially licensed comic book.
For starters the American author immediately replicates the father of the sword and sorcery subgenre’s writing technique by ‘picking up’ the “brazen” fighter’s adventure part-way through its telling and introducing the “black-haired, sullen-eyed” titular character literally just after he has single-handedly survived a large-scale battle in which the barbarian’s “proud desert wolves” have been slaughtered to a man by an all-encompassing Turanian host. As a result this publication’s audience are instantly thrown into a compellingly dramatic action sequence which follows the bloodied and bruised blacksmith’s son as he ambushes his heavily-armed pursuers with extreme prejudice and finds safety within the tent of a Kozak settlement; “Oh, I wouldn’t worry about them, Cimmerian. I have less use for Turanians than I do for warlords and even less for those who refuse to show respect to their betters.”
However Bunn’s script doesn’t simply rely upon providing plenty of panels depicting grisly decapitations and dismemberment in order to tell his tale. But instead additionally weaves the primal political machinations of the Hyborian Age into his work; something which gives a smattering of depth to Mykylo’s motivation for sparing Conan’s life after the bandit Hetman’s reputation is arrogantly insulted by three “Turanian bloodhounds.”
Sadly Sergio Davila’s breakdowns for “number one hundred and thirty eight in a series” are not quite as good as the plot, and at times disappointingly appear both rushed and almost unexpectedly amateurish in their execution. There is little doubt that the former “Dynamite Entertainment” artist can produce some outstanding illustrations, as his double splash of the sinisterly shadowy Ghul menacing “the uncountable dead men” the Cimmerian “left in his wake” attests to. Yet his rather anatomically correct, distinctive drawings become increasingly less disciplined in their pencilling, as the comic progresses…
|Script: Cullen Bunn, Artist: Sergio Davila, and Colors: Michael Atiyeh|