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Review – Conan the Barbarian #2 (Marvel Comics)

Conan the Barbarian #2
Overall
9/10
9/10
  • Writing - 9/10
    9/10
  • Art - 9/10
    9/10
  • Overall - 9/10
    9/10
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Summary

Writer: Jason Aaron
Artist: Mahmud Asrar
Colorist: Matthew Wilson
Letterer: VC’s Travis Lanham
Maturity Rating: Teen +
Publisher: Marvel Comics
Release Date: January 16, 2019

Conan has journeyed beyond the Black River into the wilderness to hunt down the “savages” known as Picts. Conan first seeks revenge, but he learns more about himself from the savages.

 

 

“Run to the Hills” Conan the Barbarian #2

Conan the Barbarian #2 is part 2 of Jason Aaron’s “Life and Death of Conan” story arc. When we previously left off, King Conan had been once again captured by the Crimson Witch and her “children.” It seems the Crimson Witch needs some mighty powerful blood to bring the death god Razazel back to life. It seems the more Conan defies death the more powerful his blood becomes. Conan the Barbarian #2 is another story early in Conan’s life as he cheats death. In the woods beyond the Black River is where the Picts live. The “savages” are feared by the Aquilonians; they have sent Conan to slay them.

Writing

Conan the Barbarian #2 (Marvel Comics) main cover by Esad Ribic
Main cover by Esad Ribic

Conan the Barbarian #2 won’t win any awards for originality. After the first few pages, you can kind of guess what is going to happen, as Conan fights these native Picts, which are an allegory for Native Americans. The settlers view them as “savages” and so does Conan. Then you can probably guess where it goes from there. It is a story that has been told a lot, but that does not mean it is bad. It is a common trope but Jason Aaron writes it very well in Conan the Barbarian #2.

The thing is, you see the basic plot coming from a mile away, but Aaron just weaves it so magically and it is just so well done that it doesn’t matter. This issue was a ton of glorious Conan fun, like the first issue. Aaron has this Conan “voice” down pat. Everything feels epic and woven into this mythical “creature” known as Conan the Barbarian. From the dialogue to the narration, everything feels true and authentic.

I like that Jason Aaron is also slowly teasing this Crimson Witch storyline. This issue does not directly deal with it, and we are left with the mystery of what happened at the end of issue #1, but that is okay. We get a completely enjoyable story here and it does push along the narrative of that Crimson Witch storyline.

Art

Mahmud Asrar continues to be the perfect artist for this series. He gets to get his hands “dirty” once again with Conan the Barbarian #2 with tons of bloody fights and battles. I won’t spoil the creatures Conan fights in this issue, but they look fantastic. Asrar gets the right amount of detail and features perfectly to make your skin crawl.

Asrar also depicts all of the violence and mayhem well in Conan the Barbarian #2. It is gory and violent, but it is nothing over the top or too gruesome to make it unsettling or comical. It is just the right amount. I continue to love Asrar’s character designs throughout these two issues. The characters’ clothing, weapons, and other attire are exceptionally well done.

Matthew Wilson, if you don’t know, is a phenomenal colorist and he continues to shine in Conan the Barbarian #2. From the dimly lit forest to afternoon sunny skies, Wilson paints the scenery with exceptionally vivid colorations throughout the issue. He nails this dirty yet beautiful Hyborian Age color palette and is just the icing on the cake for the series.

Conclusion

If you are not reading Conan the Barbarian you are missing out on a bloody good time. This continues to be an all-around fun comic book. Aaron continues to weave a fantastical Hyborian Age tale of Conan the Barbarian. It has all the battles, tales and travels you could want out of the series. The art team of Asrar and Wilson is top notch and brings a visual flair to the series. I have never been a big Conan the Barbarian fan, but I am now!


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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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