Writer: Kurt Busiek
Artists: Cary Nord and Thomas Yeates
Publisher: Dark Horse Comics
I know that this isn't going to sound all that impressive considering my earlier confession that this series is my first prolonged exposure to Conan, outside of the Arnold Schwarzenegger films.
I've only read a handful of issues that found their way into my collection, however, I have to say this is the single most impressive issue of Conan that I've ever read, and it marks the first one that really opened my eyes to the potential of the character.
Up until this point, I've looked upon him as a sword-swinging barbarian who was hacking and slashing his way through numerous fantasy realms, but this issue clearly spells out the idea that there is more depth to the character than I initially believed.
I mean, there's a great little exchange where Conan spells out the price for his aid to the woman who has freed him from the drug-induced condition. In fact I have to say before this issue I would've had little trouble believing that Conan would've abandoned his allies so he could effect his own escape, but this issue makes it pretty clear that he's a steadfast ally to those he considers worthy, and I wouldn't be surprised if he abandoned his plans of escape and set his sights on a far more ambitious goal of bringing this corrupt society crashing down.
This issue also does a wonderful job of presenting the dark underbelly of this realm, as while it is a paradise, Conan has the curtain pulled away to see the true horror of this society, and his sense of injustice is perfectly conveyed.
As for the art, Cary Nord does a fantastic job on this issue, as the visual confusion of Conan's drug induced state is well presented, as is his inner disgust as he discovers more about this realm. The lemming style suicide sequence is also a wonderfully disturbing visual, as is the sequence where Conan gets his hands on a sword.
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