Writer: Frank Tieri
Art: Andrea Di Vito, Scott Hanna, Java Tartaglia, VC’s Travis Lanham, and Dave Wilkins
Release Date: December 11th, 2019
After witnessing a heinous crime, Conan hunts down a mysterious demonic sect in this week’s all-new SAVAGE SWORD OF CONAN #12. But whatever his intentions, Conan may well doom the nation if he doesn’t solve the mystery in time! By Crom, let’s slash through this issue to see a brand new tale by Frank Tieri and follow Conan on an epic quest across the Kothian Hills that may have a surprise twist before it ends!
Frank Tieri comes out swinging in this thrillingly exciting, nonstop, adventure that literally bursts at the seams with relentless action, sorcery, and graphically gnarly fight scenes. Readers will pick this issue up and drink it down faster than a glass of ice-cold milk after a piece of double chocolate cake with peanut butter frosting! And if that wasn’t enough to entice readers, then lean in heavy with some fantastic art by Andrea Di Vito, Scott Hanna, and Java Tartaglia. This art team creates exceptionally clear and vivid inks and illustrations that will immediately grab your attention while bringing each page to life.
Not only was the story fast-paced, fun, and wildly entertaining, but the tale was simple, easy to understand, and is perfect for any new reader of Conan to dip their toe into the character and see what all the fuss is about. However, there were a couple of aspects of the character that Tieri may need to flush out if he’s going to continue writing SAVAGE SWORD OF CONAN. First, Tieri’s version of the great Cimmerian came across extra dopey, extremely ignorant, and almost cocky in his altercations. Even the way Conan talked at times was a bit too “Barbarian-esque”. For example, some of the first words Conan states are “Now fight lost.” What is that? He’s not a caveman. Classic Conan is cunning, smart, and lives by a strict code. He’s not an idiot who only relies on his strength. However, in Tieri’s defense, as the narrative continued, Conan’s true attributes began to shine through a bit more.
Not only did some of the dialogue throw this reader out of the narrative but the simple fact that Conan talked way too much was another problem that this comic fan had with Frank Tieri’s portrayal of the Hyborian born Cimmerian. In a Conan Comic, this reviewer loves the background narration while a fight is happening instead of the actual remarks from him throughout the battles. Conan is a lot of things but he’s most certainly not chatty. Conan speaks with his blade, his code, and his actions. He’s honorable and doesn’t crack jokes. While the Barbarian was fighting the cloaked men, it just felt out of character for him to be making fun of his opponents while slicing their throat.
Now, as much as there were moments that Tieri’s portrayal of Conan didn’t hit home with this critic, Scott Oden’s concluding story wrapped up wonderfully and perfectly depicted the classic character diehard fans know and love. With lines like “Serve your Agha in Hell, you Turanian Pig.” and stories like Oden’s, readers will get a taste of how truly unorthodox, overpowering, and tactically cunning this Hyborian Barbarian truly is. If given the opportunity, Conan the Barbarian fans should explore all twelve chapters of Scott Oden’s novella!
Overall, if Tieri is to continue writing this series, my hope is that his writing style of the Cimmerian will evolve and become more accurate to the stories and characterizations that have developed over the years. That said, the issue was still a ton of fun and wet my whistle as a weekly dose of Conan the Barbarian. It’s a great start for Tieri, as well as new Conan fans, to experiment and explore the character. That said, if you’re looking to save a buck, the issue seems to be a one-shot that could be skipped over. However, if you’re like this comic fan who needs his Conan fix for the week, go grab it simply for a good time!