I’m back from the comic shop this week and I got 2 new comics plus a hard cover collection:

  • Echo – 2
  • Grendel: Behold the Devil – 7 of 8
  • Astro City The Dark Age Vol 1 – “Brothers and Other Strangers”
  • And now for a review of something I’ve read recently.

  • Conan Volume 0 “Born on the Battlefield” by Kurt Busiek and Greg Ruth
  • Conan is one of those books that I’ve given up reading month to month. I buy the hardcover collections as they come out and this is the latest of them. It’s labeled “Volume 0” because it tells the tale of Conan’s youth between the ages of eight and sixteen. These are the years when he was still living with his Cimmerian clan in the mountains of their land.

    I’ve liked the Dark Horse Comics revival of Conan in general but this is the best volume so far. It puts Conan into a context that makes him relatable. It’s a very human and historical story. There is very little sorcery going on and a lot of sword. There aren’t even any monsters besides the natural wild predators found out in the wild today.

    Conan grows up in a fairly stable tribal society where boys learn to hunt and defend the tribe. Life is hard in the mountains, there are sometimes border skirmishes, and Aquilonia (think ancient Rome) wants to settle their land. Conan doesn’t quite fit in with the rest of the clan but still he is liked and the elders tell him stories and teach him what he needs to know.

    This is another one of these books where, just flipping through it, the art doesn’t do much for me. It’s well drawn but the color is kinda grey and bland. That all goes away with the reading. Ruth is an excellent storyteller and I was so engrossed that my “flipping through” impression melted away. It reads really well and there is detail to be found in the reading. He captured the color of the Cimmerian hills well too. That’s why I never judge comic art until I read it. It’s amazing how much different an impression art can make when actually reading it as opposed to flipping through the pages.

    I especially liked the climax of the story. It’s kinda funny because a couple of weeks ago I mentioned that I was a bit disappointed by the inevitable fight scene climax of Iron Fist Volume 2 but Conan Volume 0’s inevitable fight scene climax was terrific. It’s as well done as I’ve seen and ancient battle depicted.

    If you’re a Conan fan or a fan of comics in general pick up this volume of Conan. It was a good one.