By Laramie Martinez
It is a well-established fact that Conan is at his best when he defeating his enemies. Seeing his enemies flee and hearing their women’s lamentations are excellent highlights, but the real meat of all Conan stories is in the heat of battle. Conan the Slayer #3 is a great example of the creators knowing what makes a good Conan comic. While not perfect, this is my favorite of the series so far. Cullen Bunn's pacing is excellent in this issue and Sergio Dalvia provides solid artwork with a couple impressive standout panels.
Bunn has created a well-oiled machine in this issue. Each storyline is intriguing in its own way. The first portion of the issue revolves around two befuddled nobles, discussing the frustrating task of killing Conan. Over the next few pages, they discuss their plan. I won’t go into details, but I will say that it raises the stakes for Conan and his new allies, providing a long-term threat that looms over the rest of the issue. The second portion of the issue deals with Conan’s fight with the Troll Queen and her sons. This is almost a mini arc within the issue, it provides a dramatic reveal and shows some character development and surprises for the characters. This is especially true for Conan, who Bunn has modeled his take after the character in the original Conan stories as opposed to the one in the movies, a trend that stays consistent with the rest of the series Dark Horse has put out. We get to see a little of the crafty Conan as opposed to the brute. Finally, the last two pages, give another excellent cliffhanger, giving the reader something immediate to react to, balancing the long-term threat mentioned early in the issue.
All that being said, this comic isn’t perfect. I don’t expect Bunn to be subtle, this is a Conan book after all. But there is one section where the prose gets a little too purple. There was also one cringe-inducing adverb used during the introduction of the Conan section that almost ruined it for me. But in the end, these mistakes weren’t enough to keep me from enjoying the work.
Artistically, this was another good turn out for the Davila and Atiyeh team. Without giving anything away, this issue had an excellent plot device for showing multiple monsters for the price of one. Each design by Davila is a wonderful piece of sword and sorcery villain. Davila makes it clear in this issue that he has mastered two things, the gory coup de grace and the image of the brooding king. These two stand-out panels were a good sign of where the art is going with this book.
Conan the Slayer #3 is a well-paced book with solid art with some standout panels. It contains three storylines which all provide the audience with a different level of suspense. I have to say that after this issue, I’m convinced that the storyline and art style are headed in the right direction.
Conan the Slayer #3
Writer: Cullen Bunn
Artist: Sergio Dalvia
Publisher: Dark Horse Comics