Brandon Borzelli’s Geek Goggle Reviews
Conan and the People of the Black Circle #1
Dark Horse Comics
Van Lente & Olivetti
The latest Conan series launches with a bit of a hired-gun-type Conan story. The book has a nice build-up before launching into the action but unlike a lot of other Conan stories, this one backs away from the narration. The artwork delivers a nice punch to the overall reading experience. So far, this is looking like a promising start to a series. A must read for Conan fans and worth a look for everyone else.
The book spends a good portion of the book setting the stage. A king is dying from some sort of poison. Those around him already presume death and are starting to take steps for the post-king era. The catch in all of this is that the king could potentially be saved, but it rests in a lock of hair that has gone missing. Some want the lock to save the king while others want to make sure that lock stays missing.
Unlike a lot of Conan stories, Conan enters the comic book in the form of blackmail. Some men he’s been riding with have fallen under capture and rather than see them put to death Conan agrees to assist on the quest. But there is a catch to everything.
The part about the book that might lose some readers is how long it takes for Conan to enter the book. I like the world building but I can see those craving action being bored with this setup. The aspect that might not work for Conan fans is how easily Conan is lured in. Some might see this as being out of character.
The book works well in the plot. It simply wouldn’t be a Conan book without a damsel in distress, black magic, some ugly villains and a lot sword play. The book also excels with Conan’s voice that Van Lente gives him. He definitely has a handle on what Conan might say. This reminded me of how well Van Lente brought Hercules to life over at Marvel.
The book is gorgeous. There is no doubt that Olivetti’s painted or water color style would look excellent in a Conan setting. The action does give off a very stiff look but it provides a nice framing. Olivetti’s best page is the entrance of Conan as the image is clearly poster worthy. The book is a beautiful work of art.
Conan and the People of the Black Circle is off to a good start. The plot is put out there early and Conan seems to have gotten himself in over his head all by the end of this issue. The book might be better served with the narration as seen in Truman or Wood’s Conan but this is a nice change of pace. This is definitely a book to look for.
3 out of 5 Geek Goggles