New Reviews of Old Comics
For whatever reason, the dollar boxes were overflowing with good comics on my last trip; too bad I didn’t have more dollars available for comics that day. I found a slew of Conan the Barbarian, which long time readers will know has grown to be something a new favorite of mine. First I was seeing issues in the high 100s, but as I rifled through more boxes I noticed lower numbers, like in the 70s. Although I was strapped for cash that day I told myself I was going to get at least one of these and decided to go with the oldest one I could find. I had #71 in hand at that point, until I found some in the 50s, then 40s and figured I couldn’t get any lower and then I found #29. Would one of the other issues have been a better choice? Who knows. I made a decision and stuck with it.
Master Conan writer Roy Thomas teamed with artists John Buscema and Ernie Chua to bring us “Two Against Turan!” where our Cimmerian hero strides into Aghrapur the coastal capital of Turan a cosmopolitan place not accustomed to seeing such a hunka-hunka burning barbarian strolling around, much interrupting their half naked parade in honor of Tarim with derisive comments. Well, local folk don’t take too kindly to things like that, so they attack Conan and quickly get their asses handed to them. Also, Conan tackles a horse and rider before even more townspeople bring the heat, shoving our hero into a darkened room where he meets a swarthy ally who leads them both to a tavern. *phew* All of that bloodletting can make a man thirsty. Of course nothing is simple in Conan’s world, not even a drink so he and his friend are attacked and this time subdued by town thugs. When Conan awakes hours later he finds himself in the company of a hooded man claiming to be friends with the other guy he met. Conan is suspicious, but mostly he’s hungry, so he agrees to be led by a guide to the where his friend from the bar is being held prisoner; Conan repays debts to people who help save him. After some obligatory, savage fight scenes Conan finds his buddy and brings him back to the hooded guy only to find out they’re the same person (kind of), and needed to be together with an occult gem to be brought back together. And he’s a bad guy. Magic types are usually bad guys in Conan’s world. Since it’s almost the end of the issue Conan breaks up their little reunion party to save the day. The issue ends with Conan being given a choice to join the Turanian Army or go to jail. Figuring he likes eating more than sitting in jail, he goes with the former.
Yes, friends, this is a standard issue of Conan the Barbarian; Conan comes to town, finds trouble, knocks some heads around and saves the day. Of course Roy Thomas’ skills as a writer make this standard concept such an enjoyable read, and John Buscema is no slouch in the art department either. That ending is kind of intriguing with Conan joining an army. I’m not well versed in the whole Conan lore thing, but I always think of him as a lone wolf wandering around picking up babes and killing anyone who gets in his way. The idea of him being an army would be an interesting, albeit probably short lived storyline. Like he’s really going to listen to someone barking orders at him. An old issue of Conan never fails to entertain.