Thursday, 2 February 2017

Conan The Slayer #6 - Dark Horse Comics

CONAN THE SLAYER No. 6, January 2017
Enjoyably ‘down to earth’ and non-fantastical, at least until the comic’s rather grandiose finale as a fiery Taraslan returns from beyond the grave to burn alive the leader of a Ninja clan who has set his assassins upon the dead hetman’s tribe, Cullen Bunn’s script for Issue Six of “Conan The Slayer” brings the titular character’s journey to become head of the Kozaks to a somewhat satisfactory conclusion. Indeed, the American author’s script is arguably packed full of the seemingly endless blood-letting and savage swordplay one has come to expect from a publication featuring the barbaric creation of Robert E. Howard; especially an officially licenced one.

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


  1. Just a hunch, Simon, but I get the feeling that this is a series I'd very much enjoy reading. That last picture of the bloodily eviscerated dude is awesome!

    1. "That last picture of the bloodily eviscerated dude is awesome!" - which is precisely why I included it in my posting, Bryan... bait for a gorehound like you ;-) I'd certainly recommend this story-arc as a tpb, as its one of the few titles I currently collect which I immediately read upon purchasing.