When word got out in 2007 that Mark Evanier and Sergio Aragonés, along with Thomas Yeates were going to bring us the greatest barbarian battle ever seen in comics history, there were naysayers galore. “Nay!”, they said in the dark corridors of their local comic shop, “The Cimmerian would never bring himself down to the level of that buffoon!” “Nay!” they shouted from the rooftops, “Groo would never understand a thing Conan would say!” “NAY!”, they yelled from the dairy aisle, “They are out of cheese dip!”
Well here we are, seven years later, and we finally have the first issue of this four part mini-series from Dark Horse in our hands, and while it is an entertaining read, there is one reason why I have to recommend you wait for the trade on this one.
The Meta Story…
Listen, I am as big a fan of a well done meta-reference as the next guy. Perhaps more so. And framing stories I get, I really do.
But when a full 8 out of the 20 story pages are “Mark and Sergio’s Madcap Comic Store Adventures,” or “Sergio’s Conan Delusion” then 40% of the book I bought, isn’t what I bought at all.
A little like opening your pepperoni pizza and having just under half of it being potato salad instead. Sure, it may ALL be yummy, but it isn’t what you wanted in the first place.
To be totally honest though, that is really the only gripe I have with the issue. Groo vs. Conan #1 is a great read, the writing for all three portions (Conan, Groo, and Mark and Sergio) is sharp, and right on point. During the individual sections, there wasn’t a single portion that seemed out of place. The quality of the art is exactly what you’d expect from these two artists, and when the characters cross over from the Groo world to the Conan one, they aren’t drawn in each other’s styles, but instead is very reminiscent of a “Who Framed Roger Rabbit” type of production, with each set of characters inhabiting the other’s world.
Which, with a crossover of this sort, is exactly what is called for.