|CONAN THE BARBARIAN No. 5, June 2019|
Admittedly, the twenty page periodical starts off well enough with the heavily-muscled sailor desperately battling against the elements on board a cursed ship, doggedly trying to sail the persistently drifting seafaring vessel single-handedly by tying down the craft’s mast, boom and appropriate spars with half a dozen thick ropes. But this brave defiance against the odds soon disappointingly transforms into an utterly manufactured moment when the Alabama-born author tries to convince this book’s audience that Conan has been managing these Herculean manoeuvres repeatedly for an astonishing three weeks, and gone without food for three whole days.
Such an implausible feat arguably requires more than an acceptable willing suspension of disbelief, and is subsequently made all the more miraculous when Aaron adds to the adventurer’s seemingly never-ending plight by insisting he fight a multitude of mutated oxygen-breathing sharks and a hideously transformed red-eyed rat during “the worst boat trip in the history of seafaring.” However, the worst is yet to come, when a delirious Barbarian, partially-convinced that his sword is now talking back to him, is finally found by a ship absolutely packed full of blood-thirsty pirates and despite his frail physical state decides to take the fight to his foe; “With a roar and a mighty leap, he was a pirate again. The fiercest pirate on the Southern Sea.”
This reckless display of bravado is probably perfectly in line with the Cimmerian’s ‘fight or flight’ mentality, as the savage has repeatedly proven in the past when ‘trapped like a tiger’. Yet, on this occasion Conan is not momentarily overcome with a resounding blow to the head or disabling wound from a well-aimed arrow. Instead, he successfully kills a third of a well-armed and fully-prepared raiding force with nothing more than an axe and sword. Indeed, within the space of a single Mahmoud Asrar pencilled splash page, the former Corsair’s opponents have staggeringly “voted unanimously to elect him their new captain.”
|The regular cover art of "CONAN THE BARBARIAN" No. 5 by Esad Ribic|