Written by: Jason Aaron
Art by: Mahmud Asrar, Matthew Wilson, and VC’s Travis Lanham
Release date: January 16, 2019
Conan is back to follow up a great first issue in one of my most anticipated series if 2019. Following up a great first issue is never an easy task. Coming out swinging like they did in issue one often can lead to a let down in issue two like a book like this starts to settle into its natural pace but this is obviously not Jason Aaron’s first rodeo. The book is definitely a slightly more measured pace than issue one but still carries more than enough of the action and violence that you want from a Conan title, introduces a little more background information as to the state of its universe and also does a little to progress the overarching plot established in issue one.
The book starts with a panther being tracked by hunters from a Pictish tribe somewhere in the wilderness of the western frontier of which is leading them through the forest, unfortunately for them waiting in ambush is Conan. A bloody battle between Conan and the tribe ensues, a narrative explaining the details of the war between the Picts and the town on the other side of the river Veltrium until the giant Ghost snake appears. One ghost snakes become a pack of ghost snakes making short work of the Picts to the amusement of Conan. Conan contemplates his likely demise as he vows to fight the snakes until the end.
Conan awakes surprisingly being awoken by a Pict elder explaining that he is under his protection and none of the warriors would attack him while he stayed despite the hate in their eyes as long as he assisted them in ridding their surrounds infested with the giant snakes. Conan agrees and over the course of time leads groups of warriors into the jungle to take on packs of giant ghost snakes and gaining the respect of the enemies amongst which he dwells to the point in which he is beloved and leads a group on a crusade to finish the job and takeout the king snake. Conan leaves the tribe to return back to the ‘civilized’ side of the river and the book ends with the reveal the two evil children of the witch from issue one are on his trail waiting to strike.
Another really strong issue from Jason Aaron and another great issue of art by Mahmud Asrar who just has the whole style this book needs. I really enjoyed the period in which Conan is leading the raids and gaining the respect of the people he is leading and was just a cool story within the story of living with, learning about and coming together with groups that may live in another way than you do up to even being murderous enemies.
As a reader, I appreciate when a writer is not only able to craft a great arc but also have every issue a quality story in its own right and in this book Aaron has done a good job writing to have its own arc and problem to deal with and resolves while progressing the main arc albeit subtly.
It’s another great Conan story from Jason Aaron and the art and colors continue to compliment the writing and the character perfectly. And it has Conan messing up some crazy giant snakes so what else do you want?