|CONAN THE SLAYER No. 6, January 2017|
Fortunately, such a torrent of ‘thrills and spills’ is tremendously well-paced, and instead of simply being an unendingly empty gratuitous depiction of campsite carnage, the GLAAD Media Award-nominee manages to imbue the numerous combatants with a genuine sense of malice, panic, terror and determination, courtesy of a thoughtfully emotional beginning which sees a frustrated Jehungir Agha angrily give orders to have the horsemen dispatched, and a lamenting Conan honouring his fallen friend. Such character defining scenes are admittedly somewhat dialogue-heavy, but the barbarian’s anguish, in particular, is so well delivered that at one point it appears that the Cimmerian’s belief he is “haunted by the spectre of death itself” will lead him to just impotently walk away from the sorrowful broken wastrels and into the surrounding melancholic wilderness.
Rather enjoyably however, the “sword and sorcery hero” is never given the opportunity to make such a depressing exit, as an assassin’s arrow suddenly fizzes past his head and pierces the chest of a nearby Kozak. This bloody death, one which comes at the simple turning of a page, immediately alters the entire dynamic of Bunn’s narrative, and swiftly sees artist Sergio Davila not only pencilling black-clad ninjas, “their armour… padded and oiled so as to be silent”, mercilessly murdering any of the tribesmen who haplessly stand within reach of their dead throat-slitting knives. But Conan and Iksana gustily ridding the silent intruders of their innards, arms, throats and brains in all manner of macabre mutilations; “Take up arms, Kozaks! This is your Hetman’s funeral! Teach the dogs to respect the dead!”
|Script: Cullen Bunn, Artist: Sergio Davila, and Colors: Michael Atiyeh|