Review: Conan the Barbarian #23

I’m going to switch up the way that I usually write my reviews a bit this week. I normally stick to a set format, but this issue of Conan the Barbarian really impressed me in a completely different way. Artistically. I don’t think that I’ve seen a more beautifully drawn issue of a comic book in my entire life. And this isn’t just flattery for the sake of flattery. Riccardo Burchielli has completely blown my mind. Conan has never been depicted so well. He has definitely taken charge of this series. But I’ll save the rest of this rant for after the recap. So Conan is still under the effects of the black lotus. That right there is enough to keep your attention. He’s wandering aimlessly for this unseen adversary, but it seems like the wild has been personified as it fights off every advance that he makes. He can’t find his crew, he can’t find his love, and the wild has taken over the mind of his most trusted ally.

Conan the Barbarian #23 CoverAs the script indeed stays strong with brilliant narration, the art has taken center stage in this issue unlike ever before. This book seemed almost interactive. The shadows have become a character in this particular story. The action sequences are so demanding that I almost felt physical fatigue after they ended. And watching Conan feel every moment made me feel them alongside him. There were several pages in this issue that invoked an emotion in me that I rarely ever feel while reading, one in particular, but the images were so powerful that I was speechless for several minutes after finishing it. I know that sounds unnecessarily dramatic, but it needed to be said. Like I said earlier, I’m not trying to flatter anyone, but if “best interior art” was a category for the Comic Bastards End of the Year Roundup, I would have no trouble filling that slot. I wish that I could track down some of this original artwork for my personal collection.

Don’t forget, folks, this run by Brian Wood is almost over. You really can’t afford to miss these events. This has been one of my favorite ongoing series for two years now. If you haven’t had a chance to jump in yet, you’re really missing out. No lie, you need to get online and add every single issue of this book to your cart as soon as you can. What the hell are you waiting for? Stop screwing around and make the best comic book purchase of your life.

Score: 5/5

Writer: Brian Wood Artist: Riccardo Burchielli Publisher: Dark Horse Comics Price: $3.50 Release Date: 12/18/13