Writer: Jason Aaron
Art: Mahmud Asrar, Matthew Wilson, and VC’s Travis Lanham
Cover Price: $3.99
Release Date: May 8th, 2019
Jason Aaron guides Conan fans through his rise to Commander and eventually King by giving them an in-depth look into the character development of the Cimmerian in this week’s all-new Conan the Barbarian #6. Let’s take a look!
WARNING SPOILERS AHEAD!!!!
Never Gives Up
Jason Aaron’s open the story with Commander Bahram of Turan riding through the desert and encountering Conan after a battle drenched head to toe in blood. However, it’s Mahmud Asrar who makes this scene extraordinary. The splash page Asrar creates has a detailed depiction of Conan sitting on a pile of dead bodies, vultures circling, intestines laying on the ground, and Conan dripping of blood just staring into the reader’s eyes. By the third page of the story, Aaron and Asrar come out of the gate showing fans how coarse, ruthless, and truly savage the Cimmerian is. WOW! However, by the end of the issue, this creative team reassures fans that Conan is not some mere brute and that he is not a man to be trifled with. Aaron’s says it all with this quote; “when they found him after the massacre, he was covered in enough blood to drown most men.” Who survives that? How do they survive that? Well, we’re gonna find out!
The story continues with Conan describing to Commander Bahram that they were ambushed and that he was the only survivor, even though the King didn’t believe him. The barbarian reassured the Commander, as well as the readers, of his reputation and constitution. Aaron continues to hammer home the Cimmerians character by showing fans that Conan does not pray, lie, flee, or get lucky. He creates his own luck and stays true to his compatriots until the end, even if he is the last one standing… and Conan WILL BE the last one standing.
Never Underestimate the Cimmerian
The story continues, as many of the prior issues, with doubt towards the great barbarian. Many look down at Conan because he’s not like them, doesn’t look like them, appears rough, uncivilized, crude, and wild. Even within the cultures that continue to adopt him, he is outcasted and given remedial tasks until one day they finally realize how truly amazing the Cimmerian is. Aaron has been guiding readers since issue one with this idea that Conan is not simply a barbarian, but so much more. There is just something about him that happens once a battle ensues. He always finds a way to survive, regardless of the circumstances. And after Commander Bahram dies in battle without heeding Conan’s advice, the teaming troops of the militia follow the Cimmerian from here on out.
Next, Aaron shows a different side of Conan; one of wit, intelligence, and leadership, which many don’t ponder when they think about the great barbarian. The Cimmerian confronts the other great Commanders to divulge an idea about flanking the troops by sea and dragging their warships across the desert with elephants to surprise the Stygian armies and take them by surprise. However, the Commanders laugh at Conan and brush off his idea while the Stygian army attacks their camp. Conan, realizing immediately that they have no chance for survival, takes his troops and runs while the other “Great” Commanders all die that very day.
Never Stop Facing Death
Thereafter, Conan was taken, in chains, to King Yezdigerd to explain why he continues to survive while all of his troops and Commanders continue to die. Many say that the Cimmerian is a coward, but the readers no different, as well as the men who were forced to chain Conan up. Again, Aaron’s writes another tremendous description of the barbarian. King Yezdigerd says “they described a man with the power and fury of a wild jungle cat who fought like an unearthly demon.” There is no better way of describing Conan the Barbarian than that!
Aaron continues the issue describing how Conan has survived for so long and continues to survive, which actually makes total sense to the readers of this run so far. The Cimmerian tells the King that the only way to survive is to continue to face death every day and sharpen your wits like steel. Most people get lazy the older they get, but not Conan. He lives every day like death is coming to take him away. And after accusing the remaining Commanders of being lazy, pillow lounging, idiots, one of these Commanders challenges Conan to battle only to find his demise awaiting him.
Asrar’s play by play of Conan ripping the chains away, wrapping them around the Commanders neck, chocking him out, and Travis Lanham’s letters amplifying the tension, make this scene one of the best in the issue. The panel progression by the art team makes readers feel like they’re standing in the room watching the fight unfold beside Conan!
Aaron concludes the issue by telling readers that King Yezdigerd never acted on Conan’s plan and eventually the barbarian left, commanded opposing forces, rose up to become King of a different land, and took down King Yezdigerd himself. The final page flashes to the future with the older King Conan tied down ready to have his blood drained by the Crimson Witch and for the glory of Razazel.
The story is amazing, the narration is incredible, and the character development is truly unbelievable. This reviewer went from never reading a Conan comic EVER, to reading all of Gerry Duggan’s Savage Sword of Conan, as well as every issue of this run, all in one sitting. Even though Aaron can be heavy on the dialogue at times, it’s still very informative and helps the Cimmerian mature and evolve into something more than this brute that I assumed he always was before now. Asrar’s art is detailed, stimulating, lively, and draws readers into the story while Wilson and Lanham guide fans throughout the issue with ease. This reviewer is ecstatic for the next issue and left wanting to know more about King Conan and how he’s going to escape the Crimson Witch, as well as those two creepy kids from each issue. These 6 issues of background have been great but I’m ready to know more about Razazel. Hopefully, Aaron sheds more light on that in the next issue. Either way, this fan has no doubt that number 7 will be amazing! Pick this up and add this series to your pull list!