Writer: Jim Zub
Art: Patch Zircher, Java Tartaglia, VC’s Travis Lanham, and Marco Checchetto
Release Date: July 10th, 2019
A chance violent encounter in Shadizar lands young CONAN a position as a bodyguard for a wealthy merchant in this week’s all-new SAVAGE SWORD OF CONAN #7 by Jim Zub. But could a twist of fate put Conan in the hot seat with no choice but to play the hand he’s dealt? Let’s dive into this deadly game of SERPENT’S BLUFF!
WARNING SPOILERS AHEAD!!!
NICE ZUB STEP
Jim Zub begins this tale like almost any other. Actually, this story continues like the usual Conan ballad through three-fourths of the issue until Zub gives readers the exciting twist this reviewer hasn’t seen reading a Conan book in years. Conan is going to have to survive with reason, logic, and a game of chance. Additionally, this straight forward chapter turned into a semi-murder mystery, meets Jabba’s Rancor pit, meets Maverick! This reviewer left the issue completely intrigued for this young Conan adventure through the Devil’s Den and excited for next months tale.
Not only was the story treacherously enticing, but the thought Zub put into the little nuances of the issue shown through in spades (no pun intended). Zub creates a card game called Serpent’s Bluff that actually sounded like a mix between Black Jack and Magic the Gathering, which seemed very interesting to this reviewer. Furthermore, readers will see subtle hints dropped throughout the story that will hopefully lead to something bigger in later issues. For example, almost an entire page was dedicated to the “centerpiece” in the den yet never referenced again as well as the Debtors Lounge. Zub used panels to point out specific characters that this reviewer has no doubt will become important to solve this mystery before the arc is completed. Point is; the time Zub took to craft this story shined through on each page just as much as Patch Zircher and Java Tartaglia’s artistic flare.
Zircher and Tartaglia’s knack for detail, character expressions, and deeply vivid colors exploded off the page and drew this reviewer into the story from jump street. The fight scenes were powerful, animated, and easy to follow from one panel to the next while the colors were darker in tone and portrayed the mood of the grim underbelly within the issue.
Zircher and Tartaglia’s art is natural, vibrant, and tells so much of the story without any dialogue needed.
This art team worked so well with Zub in order to focus on the key elements of the issue as the mystery took shape. Zircher and Tartaglia strategically placed specific bright colors, figures, and characters throughout each page in such a way that they popped at the reader to draw attention to clues for later in the narrative. How much would you like to bet that Conan gets thrown into the Debtor’s Lounge or that the “centerpiece” is used for some larger purpose later in the story? Does anyone want to wager that the woman in the bright red dress is more important than readers are led to believe?
If you’re not reading ANY Conan books, you need to start and this issue is a great place to start and dip your toe into the cold Cimmerian waters. It’s a different Conan story than many are used to but still has some of the basic, brutal, and barbaric traits that make the Hyborian the same savage gladiator that older fans have grown to love. This issue not only focuses on everyone’s fun-loving (sarcasm) Cimmerian, but it also has hints of mystery, adventure, and even gambling! Don’t hesitate any longer and head to your LCS and start reading some Conan. Why not start with SAVAGE SWORD OF CONAN #7?