|CONAN THE BARBARIAN No. 4, May 2019|
Indeed, the American writer pens Conan being so “sick as a Stygian dog” as a result of his sovereignty, that the poorly warrior actually starts being sick mid-way through an alleyway assault, and would have been beheaded if not for the all-too conveniently contrived arrival of the beleaguered man’s pet wild lion; “I owe you for that one, boy. It’s a good thing you’re as stubborn as me when it comes to staying put in cages.” Admittedly, the Cimmerian’s apparent need for swordplay in order to restore his usual vigour undoubtedly provides this publication’s audience with plenty of opportunities to witness the barbarian cleaving many a limb and head from the bodies of his opponents. But just how “the King’s maladies”, which unsurprisingly suddenly begin to manifest themselves as physical wounds, are bested by weeks and weeks’ worth of strength-sapping night-time skirmishes is never satisfactorily explained, nor why the heavily bearded monarch ever seems to suffer from such ignoble ill-humours again during the entirety of his reign?
Equally as troubling as this comic’s perplexing ‘team-up’ with “a gift from the King of Kush, caught in the great jungles of the south”, is Gerardo Zaffino’s unbearably busy pencilling, which seemingly fills each and every panel with all manner of overly-complicated tonal hatchings. This artistic technique isn’t arguably too intrusive for the sequences set within the better lit halls of Conan’s castle, yet debatably become somewhat indecipherable as soon as the Argentine freelancer applies them to the partially-masked ruler’s night-time bloody escapades, such as when the vomiting vigilante first fights alongside his unbelievably ‘tame’ feline friend.
|The regular cover art of "CONAN THE BARBARIAN" No. 4 by Esad Ribic|