Wednesday, 4 August 2021

Conan: Serpent War #2 - Marvel Comics

CONAN: SERPENT WAR No. 2, February 2020
Captivatingly pairing up this comic’s unlikely cast across two different time periods in their combined defiance against the Elder Gods, Jim Zub’s script for Issue Two of “Conan: Serpent War” probably pleased the vast majority of its 22,420 readers in December 2019. Indeed, the Canadian author’s development of Solomon Kane’s burgeoning relationship with Moon Knight makes the deadly duo’s escapades in England 1584 A.D. utterly compelling, and strongly suggests that the partnership could plausibly work in a future title together if penned with the same liveliness; “Slow down, Big Hat. I’m not with them. If you were fighting snake guys, then I think we’re on the same side.”

Perhaps unsurprisingly considering the strong-willed characters concerned, the same mutual respect does not appear all that forthcoming with Conan of Cimmeria and Agnes De Chastillon though, who could best be described as being prickly with one another. This hostility doesn’t admittedly manifest itself to the point where the two swashbucklers trade sword-strokes, but the Sixteenth-Century Frenchwoman’s somewhat infuriating ability to see a chauvinistic slight towards her in everything the Barbarian says and does, strongly suggests that if the pair weren’t entwined “on this snake-tainted journey” that they would not get along in the slightest.

Adding an extra element of intrigue to this twenty-page periodical’s proceedings, is Zub’s inclusion of the “Great Satyne”, a servant of Set from the village of Tezunar during the Hyborian Age. This priestess appears both generous and benevolent to her people, which resultantly generates a remarkable amount of positivity as to the young Stygian’s personality. However, having suddenly been approached by the living manifestation of Set, it quickly becomes clear that the “loyal and fervent” servant will not be so forgiving to those warriors who have “set upon a path to take” a sacred family heirloom “and shatter its power”.

Supporting so diverse a story is Stephen Segovia as the publication’s leading artist and Vanesa R. Del Rey, who once again pencils this book’s haunting sequence of James Allison on his deathbed. The Filipino illustrator’s panels depicting Captain Basso’s treachery and his sailing ship’s subsequent destruction at the hands of Marc Spector’s alter-ego is absolutely first-rate, and does a terrific job of cementing the aforementioned friendship between the Fist of Khonshu and Robert E. Howard's crack-shot Puritan.

Writer: Jim Zub, Artists: Stephen Segovia & Vanesa R. Del Rey, and Colorist: Frank D'Armata

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