Ryan Thomason

Conan: Island of No Return – Review

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This two issue arc by Dark Horse was a break in the six part Road of Kings run that they did for the Conan the Barbarian comics. Man, this didn’t disappoint.

First off, we get Conan fleeing on a series of rooftops being chased by city guards. What did he do? He was nailing the Judge of the city’s wife, and got caught mid act by the Judge himself. I’ve never seen the helmet that he has before, I have a lot of catching up to do. Damn does it look cool though. Instead of the two horns coming off the side that we all know about when we thing of barbarians. This has two shorter, but wicked looking horns coming straight off the front. I think it is by far more badass looking.

Where were we? Oh yeah, Conan is being chased by the guards, when he gets pulled into a hiding spot by two figures. They turn out to be two lovely ladies, who look like they’ve done their fair share of killing, and they have a proposition for him. Join them on a treasure hunt for fame and glory, and well, a giant pile of treasure.

Of Course Conan goes with them for it. It’s Conan!

The place in question is a pleasure palace for orgies and dark rituals that was built by some prince. It’s on some skimp of a rock in the middle of nowhere. The hard part? It’s a sheer cliff face all around to get to the top where the palace is. Of course Conan has no problem climbing it, and once all three get up top, they soon discover they aren’t the only ones there. It appears some other opportunists are there and they have a much bigger crew of pirates to loot the place dry. We get to see some of Conan’s cunning when they trick the pirates in believing one of the ladies is a ghost, the pirates flee, they go looking for treasure. Which they find of course, a giant pile of treasure.

If this seemed too easy though, we finally get our first taste of action in toward the end of the second issue. The guardian of the treasure is some 12 eyed monstrosity with tentacles wrapping around Conan who’s got his hands full of treasure. Of course the girls leave him for dead, they knew about the guardian, and well, you know what’s going to happen here. Conan cuts that pile of crap for a guardian to pieces in the water and huffs his way out of the water, and picks up a single gold coin.

Now, the dumb ladies are trying to make a break for the rickety little boat they have before Conan catches up to them. Really ladies, you think you can get off that easily? Luckily for the girls, the pirates come back, and Conan faces the bigger threat. Sadly, we don’t get to see him get his payback for their betrayal (hopefully in a different run).

Now for the fun part of watching Conan decapitate, de-arm, de-leg, de-everything on the punk ass pirates. Our Cimmerian doesn’t let down while he cuts the pirates to shreds, and then steals their ship to leave them to starve to death of the rock in the middle of the ocean. When Conan pulls out the single gold coin, his only loot for his efforts, he laughs, as he sails away in the big pirate ship.

Overall, I had a ton of fun reading these issues. The script by Ron Marz, Pencils by Bart Sears, and inks by Randy Elliot are a perfect combination. I really liked the pacing, and the art didn’t let me down one bit. Now I know what I’ve been missing out on for so long, and by Crom I will never do so again.

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