As the end of the volume steadily approaches, does the franchise contain enough power to hold your attention? Read on to find out.
The official description from Dark Horse:
On the poisonous banks of the cursed river Zarkheba, the crew of the Tigress is driven to madness by an ancient and unspeakable horror. Now—beyond all hope and reason—their only chance for salvation may rest along the edge of Conan’s blade!
I have to say the people behind this interpretation have continually impressed me by showing emotional nuances of a character that’s largely been portrayed as two dimensional. What we have here is an emotional entry, that for some fans may have been a bit predictable at points, but nonetheless maintains its sting. That’s what makes it work, as the journey of our Cimmerian warrior comes to a crossroads, when he’s forced to deal with events that were beyond his control.
Brian Wood pens the affair, and he does a good job executing a rather frightening introduction for an antagonist while also taking the time to guide our hero through an increasingly dark set of revelations. From the author’s innate sensibilities and sterling execution, he offers up a dense but never uninteresting piece of fiction. He highlights faults and strengths all the while slowly but surely building up the monstrous mystery within this jungle. At the close, Conan is left in a position where he has to confront what awaits in the dark but in a way that will make any devoted reader eager for next month’s outing.
The art by Riccardo Burchielli matches the quality of the text but there are moments where it did feel a bit underdeveloped. These minor instances did little to take me out of the experience, because truth be told I didn’t notice them until I began my second reading. Nonetheless we’re still given an array of visuals that sate the appetite while exciting the spirit in ways that will surely build the hype for these final releases.
Conan the Barbarian #23 is an outing that, I imagine, would make Robert E. Howard proud. Highly recommended.