Conan the Barbarian #1
Written by: Jason Aaron
Art by: Mahmud Asrar
Colors by: Matthew Wilson
Lettering by: VC’s Travis Lanham
Published by: Marvel Comics
What it’s about…
HERO RETURNS TO MARVEL! From an age undreamed – hither came Conan the Cimmerian, black-haired, sullen-eyed, sword in hand, a thief, a reaver, a slayer, with gigantic melancholies and gigantic mirth, to tread the jeweled thrones of the Earth under his sandaled feet – Robert E. Howard’s creation returns to comics, in an epic tale as only MARVEL could bring you!
Conan’s travels have brought him to the far reaches of the unknown, from his birthplace in Cimmeria to the kingdom of Aquilonia and all in between. As his fighting prowess allows him to carve his way through life, so too does it attract the forces of death!The all-new ages-spanning saga begins here, by writer Jason Aaron (THE MIGHTY THOR, STAR WARS) and artist Mahmud Asrar (UNCANNY X-MEN, ALL-NEW, ALL-DIFFERENT AVENGERS), as Conan’s destiny is forever changed!
What I thought about it…
The news last year of Marvel Comics reacquiring the rights to the Conan franchise had me worried. It’s not that I’m a hardcore Conan fan, but I did enjoy what Dark Horse comics had done with the property over the last couple of decades. Plus, Conan returning to Marvel probably meant we wouldn’t get any more team-ups with Red Sonja, Wonder Woman, and others. Fortunately, Conan the Barbarian #1 has put my mind at ease.
If you’ve read some of his Thor run, you know writer Jason Aaron is a natural fit for this book. His work in Conan #1 has the writer’s usual mix of violence, humor, mystery and world building. In Conan the Barbarian #1 Aaron gives readers a glimpse into Conan’s past where he fights for sport and is paid only in wine, gold, and women.
Conan the Barbarian #1 also features a glimpse into the character’s future. In a single issue, we get a story of both a young and brash Conan as well as a world-weary King Conan long after his battle days are done. It’s a fun story that was well worth the cover price and it kept me guessing all the way through, and it’s nice to know even Conan can fall for the charms of a woman who may or may not have something to hide.
In the art department, holy cow, Mahmud Asrar knocks it out of the park! I thought Asrar’s work in X-Men Red was good, but the interiors in Conan the Barbarian #1 are 100 times better. His art is perfectly suited for the Hyborian Age and Conan, with the monsters are scary and the women are gorgeous. His figure work is classic Conan, he’s massive and towers over others. That’s the way I remember Conan on those mass market books I read in eighth grade.
It won’t be easy to forget the last 15 or so years of Conan comics from Dark Horse, but for now, at least I’m pretty happy with Marvel’s Conan. For a number one issue, Conan the Barbarian #1 had a ton of story, intrigue, and action.
I don’t know what else Jason Aaron has in store for the character, or how long Mahmud Asrar plans to stay on an artist. But if this issue is any indication and the two have a lengthy run on the title, we could be looking at a classic Conan series in the making.
Conan the Barbarian #1 score: A