REVIEW: ‘King Size Conan,’ Issue #1

Reading Time: 2 minutes

King Size Conan #1

King Size Conan #1 is published by Marvel Comics, written by Roy Thomas, Kurt Busiek, Chris Claremont, Kevin Eastman, and Steven S. DeKnight, art by Jesús Saiz, Kevin Eastman, Roberto de la Torre, Pete Woods and Steve McNiven, colors by Ive Svorcina, Pete Woods, Carlos Lopez, Neeraj Menon, and Jesús Saiz, with letters by Travis Lanham. Conan of Cimmeria has been a great many things. Warrior, brigand, pirate, and even a king. This giant-sized anthology book looks at just a few faces the wandering warrior has worn over his many decades in media.

Conan is one of the icons of dark fantasy. Even back when the genre was still at the height of being Tolkien-centric, Conan stood out from the pack with his bloody battles and dubious morality. And while these aspects of his character made him stand out back in the day, he is much less notable in the modern fantasy landscape. This is a truth I didn’t fully appreciate till reading through King Size Conan #1.

While the five stories that make up this collection are each well written, they offer little to make them truly stand out. Well, with only one exception. By and large, they are stories of bloodshed and battle, whether against men or monsters, whilst the Cimmerian proves his prowess and cunning time and again.

The exception that I spoke of steps away from the battles and blood that are Conan’s trademark to look at a more poignant moment that occurs after the swords have been sheathed. Penned by Claremont, this tale sees Conan talking with a young woman from the enemy’s camp who is wounded beyond saving. His discourse with her is one of surprising kindness while still tinged with a brutal honesty whose absence would’ve made the discourse feel far too unlike our protagonist. While Conan comes across a bit harsh a time or two during their conversation, he is still never the less sympathetic toward the young warrior. It is an unusual side of the Barbadian to see, which is a large part of why it stands out so much from the rest of the book.

Overall, the art in King Size Conan #1 does a good job of delivering the swords and sandals style stories that this anthology seeks to tell. The sword fights are filled with a sense of power and skill, which goes doubly for Conan himself. Only in one particular story does the art fail to deliver here, as the body proportions come across all wrong, giving characters an almost gnome-like look to them. This, coupled with some overly heavy line work, which leaves many panels difficult to interpret, makes this one story the only blotch on the visual presentation.

Rounding out the book’s look is the lettering. Lanham provides a consistent lettering job throughout this book, providing a constant to link the stories with. Its clear delivery of the plot helps each story land cleanly.

When all is said and done, King Size Conan #1 delivers a strong collection of new stories about everyone’s favorite Cimmerian.

King Size Conan #1 is available now wherever comics are sold.

 

King Size Conan #1
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TL;DR

When all is said and done, King Size Conan #1 delivers a strong collection of new stories about everyone’s favorite Cimmerian.