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Review – Conan the Barbarian #1 (Marvel Comics)

Conan the Barbarian #1 (Marvel Comics) variant cover (detail) by Jesus Saiz
Conan the Barbarian #1
Overall
8.8/10
8.8/10
  • Writing - 9/10
    9/10
  • Art - 8.5/10
    8.5/10
  • Overall - 8.8/10
    8.8/10
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Summary

Writer: Jason Aaron
Artist: Mahmud Aarar
Colorist: Matthew Wilson
Letterer: VC’s Travis Lanham
Maturity Rating: Teen +
Publisher: Marvel Comics
Release Date: January 2, 2019

Conan is many things—a king, a thief, a warrior—but he is always a Barbarian!

 

“Live for the Kill” Conan the Barbarian #1

Conan has made his triumphant return to Marvel Comics with Conan the Barbarian #1. Marvel Comics was the first to publish Conan comic books, starting in 1970, and they continued to do so until 1993. Now the Mighty Cimmerian is back in Conan the Barbarian #1 by Jason Aaron and Mahmud Asrar. They promise to bring the excitement and adventure that Conan craves!

Writing

Conan the Barbarian #1 (Marvel Comics) main cover by Esad Ribic
Main cover by Esad Ribic

I am not that big of a Conan fan. I am mainly just familiar with him from the cultural zeitgeist and I may have seen parts of the Arnold Schwarzenegger films (Conan the Barbarian and Conan the Destroyer). So, when Marvel announced a while back that they would be publishing Conan comics once again, it was more of a “meh” reaction from me. But it seemed like a lot of creators who grew up with these comics were excited, so it had me interested to see what they would do, and that is basically what got me to read Conan the Barbarian #1.

With his epic run on Thor still continuing, you might not be able to pick a better writer right now to tackle Conan. Jason Aaron does a great job of diving right into this world. We get a nice introduction to who Conan is and it gets the reader right at home from the start. Aaron does a great job of making Conan the Barbarian #1 feel epic in its tale and scope. Aaron catches that great fantasy setting in his writing; fans of his Thor run will not be surprised by this. 

Conan the Barbarian #1 has that great “sword and sorcery” type feel to it, which obviously the story has to have. Aaron does a great job of making new readers feel right at home as well. You can certainly jump right in on this story and have yourself a dandy good time. That is the main thing about Conan The Barbarian #1: that it is a lot of fun to read. It starts off a fun and exciting tale and leaves you wanting more. It is not the greatest story ever told and it doesn’t need to be. 

Art

If you are debuting a new Conan book you are going to want an artist to match that high fantasy, action-oriented storytelling, and Mahmud Asrar definitely fits the bill. Asrar delivers some wonderfully detailed work throughout Conan the Barbarian #1. Conan looks beautifully savage as he hacks and slashes his way through this issue. Asrar’s tight line work and attention to detail bring the “Hyborian Age” to life. From the scratches and scars on Conan’s body to the small cracks and ruined walls, those little things add so much life to the story.

Asrar also brings a sense of energy and movement to the pages of Conan the Barbarian #1. The action is intense and bloody, and he also does superbly well on his sequential storytelling, with his panel structure and layout. Having the fantastic color artist Matthew Wilson on board also does not hurt things, either. Wilson gets to play with a ton of different settings in Conan the Barbarian #1. He excels at adding the right amount of shade, depth, brightness, and darkness to add to the story being told.

Conclusion

I don’t really know what a Conan the Barbarian story is supposed to feel like, but Conan the Barbarian #1 feels like one to me. It has all the ingredients of a fantastic fantasy tale and was just a ton of fun to read. Aaron delivers a winding fantasy tale that I am very excited to see where it takes Conan, and the art team is fantastic as well. I can’t imagine, if you are a fan of Conan, not liking this; and if you are new to the “Cimmerian Barbarian” then this is a perfect place to jump on!


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About the author

Brent Jackson

Brent is happily married and an avid comic book consumer who loves nothing more than the smell of comics in the morning and diving through a long box of back issues. By day he is a nutritionist and has also been training in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu for over 10 years. He is probably not the coolest person you have ever met. Follow him on Twitter and Instagram @brentjackson30

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