Saturday, 17 December 2016

Conan The Slayer #4 - Dark Horse Comics

CONAN THE SLAYER No. 4, October 2016
Whilst undoubtedly this comic’s 8,657 quite rightly expected Issue Four of “Conan The Slayer” to feature a plot within which the titular Cimmerian was the central focus, Cullen Bunn’s narrative for “Blood In His Wake” does so in a somewhat illogical manner. For having previously shown Kyrylo selling out his brother to the Turanians, as well as murdering his father in order to attain the title of Kozaki hetman, the Bram Stoker Award-nominee disconcertingly pens for the overly-ambitious traitor to attain his thoroughly deserved come-uppance via a certain black-haired barbarian, rather than his rival sibling, Taraslan.

Admittedly, the “inexperienced” horseman is still carrying a somewhat debilitating arrow wound courtesy of his younger counterpart conspiring “with the Turanians to assassinate” him, and additionally, is evidently exhausted from his flight on foot from “a pack of hideous troll brothers and their amorous sea-witch mother”. But surely it would still make much more sense for the true heir to Mykylo’s chieftainship to boldly “stride into the funeral of a great man while brandishing a weapon” and face the monster who had “slain his own flesh and blood out of arrogance and jealously", rather than the mercenary outlander; especially when Taraslan is still aided by “the battle-proficient Oksana”..?

Equally as implausibly lazy as the North Carolina-born writer’s ‘excuse’ to have Conan stride into the midst of the Kozaks and mutilate a handful of them, is the American author’s highly questionable plot-twist concerning the captive conspirator’s unfathomable release by the Eater of the Dead and subsequent escape in the pincer-like arms of several flying demons. Just why a deity who has haunted the wastes “for boundless centuries” has decided to aid a failed usurper of a small horse-faring tribe is never explained, nor why he determines the smartest way to extract Kyrylo from his imprisonment is to conjure a flock of noisy, winged creatures and thereby risk his ignoble pawn's safety at the hands of an enraged Cimmerian..?

Enthusiastically pencilling all these dubious ‘goings-on’, Sergio Davila’s breakdowns are as refreshingly raw as his figures are well-muscled and dynamically drawn. Indeed, it is hard to pick out which is the commissioned artist’s best work within this twenty-two page periodical; the phenomenally gory head-removing sweeps of Conan’s infamous broadsword or the characters’ wonderfully dramatic facial features.
Script: Cullen Bunn, Artist: Sergio Davila, and Colors: Michael Atiyeh

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