Writer: Jason Aaron
Art: Mahmud Asrar, Matthew Wilson, VC’s Travis Lanham, and Esad Ribic
Release Date: June 26th, 2019
There may have been many loves of Conan’s life beyond ale and battle but Conan will soon find out that NOTHING is sacred from the Crimson Witch as Jason Aaron continues his run in this week’s all new CONAN THE BARBARIAN #7. Let’s cut a swathe through this issue!
WARNING SPOILERS AHEAD!!!
This is how you drum up a story. Aaron has the characters discuss the direction instead of narrating each detail. The barmaids guide the readers through the beginning of the story turning the issue into a mystery. Readers want to know what Conan is doing with these ladies and why he’s doing it right from jump street. Initially, this reviewer expected something awful to happen to each one of the women as the story unfolded. However, that was not the case. In addition, Aaron beautifully narrates all the angles, emotions, and feelings too difficult to draw or verbalize in conversation. For example, Conan holding off his urge to be with the women he purchased was merely a love story. Readers later find out he was simply holding off his urges and remembering a lost love named Belit, which currently has a book out as well.
Now, this reviewer was confused once this reveal happened. The last issue left off with Conan killed by these two evil, demonic, cult following kids. Somehow, readers were placed in a story about Conan buying women and trekking across a dessert. Well, fans find out by the end of the narrative that this past adventure was not only about bar women, pirates, revenge, and love once lost, but it was to show the audience about Conan’s dying words from the last issue, which were ”Zenobia”. Aaron introduces a new love interest named Zenobia and a son. WAIT! Does Conan have a son? Seems that way… and this fan wants to know more!
Aaron gives fans a story within a story that doesn’t give us answers about the Crimson Witch or even her two children disciples. But, fans see that Aaron has more to this story than some witch stalking Conan his entire life to take his blood for some world-ending ritual. Readers new to Jason Aaron discover that there is always more than meets the eye within his stories. There is always a second, deeper story (sometimes more) that later intertwines and becomes just as important as the main focus.
This is truly what makes a master storyteller. The ability to strategically plan, organize, and melt layers of the story together to create an actual mystery while revealing crucial clues and plot threads along the way takes time to orchestrate. The ability to cultivate a story while still holding the reader’s attention from issue to issue to truly see the long view is something only a few writers today are capable of, which is what makes Aaron one of the best in the business.
Jason Aaron may be one of the best writers in comics today BUT Mahmud Asrar is no slouch either. Asrar’s art was top level through each panel and progressed the issue flawlessly with such delineation. Splash pages were perfectly placed and the story was so easy to follow and captivated my attention from page one. This reviewer especially loved the barmaid at the beginning of the narrative. She was drawn so attractively until you got to her face which was beaten, bruised, and scarred. From the wolves to Conan laying in his own blood at the end of the issue stabbed through by the two children, Asrar paints a horrifically beautifully picture of this era and lifestyle. The detail from Asrar was truly incredible which is ultimately what elevated the issue to practical perfection.
There was only one BIG problem in the issue and it actually has nothing to do with Aaron and his team at all. Conan was just drugged “about a week ago”. Literally AGAIN! Yes, it was another Conan book. Yes, it was a guest writer. But, the editors need to look at this and so NO! It just happened in another book and it makes Conan look like a fool. He drinks drugged alcohol now like it’s his job! Come on now…
The line “if you wish to judge a man’s prowess as a lover, see him dance with steel” was so $&@$ awesome to read and made this reader wish he could fight in such a way that he literally could seduce women around him by doing the very same. In addition, the endearing love shown throughout the issue by Conan was breathtaking. Conan was not only a pirate, a thief, a barbarian, and a King, but also a lover, and devoted to his heart. He knows honor, loyalty, and compassion. Aaron has made Conan so much more than a mere barbarian and continues to progress this character in ways that this fan could never imagine. Conan is no longer a brute. He’s so much more and I went from never reading anything related to Conan to now being hooked.
I strongly recommend picking this issue up and adding the series to your pull list. Readers will not be disappointed. And hopefully, editors are reading this review and will STOP DRUGGING CONAN!