Before I render this review, I offer up a little bit of advice….Never trust an attractive and scantily clad woman that you meet deep within the bowels of a temple dedicated to an evil god. There just can’t be anything good that can come from that. There just can’t. But of course this is Conan. And attractive, scantily clad women in evil places is pretty much par for the course for our mighty barbarian. That and evil priests, warrior elites, ancient powerful artifacts etc. etc. This is especially true when the source material of the comic is an original work by Conan creator Robert E. Howard himself. He liked to write about these types of things and in Issue #4 of 6 this graphic adaptation of his The Hour of the Dragon full length story, we have all of these types of things, played out in full. You might just like it. As for me, I haven’t as much. I have watched things improve greatly from the opening issues as writer Tim Truman has faithfully adapted the Howard tale and Tomas Giorello has drawn some seriously amazing art that renders a reader back to those iconic images of Frank Frazatta from his work on the mighty barbarian rendered in the 1970s. It is really good and impressive, worthy of the Conan name.
My problem for the whole series however has been that The Hour of the Dragon just simply isn’t as good of a story as is in Howard’s archives. I haven’t been sold on it completely, even though I think Truman and Howard are really giving it a strong effort. The material just isn’t that great. And trying to write a story of a guy who never really seems to ever be in any true danger it would seem is a tall order. No matter what he may face…Attractive scantily clad women deep within the bowels of an temple dedicated to an evil god, powerful evil priests, warrior elites, or ancient artifacts…It just doesn’t matter. Old Conan doesn’t ever seem to even break a sweat while running through these things. I mean, I know the guy is tough, but some of Howard’s best stories had Conan on the brink of death and defeat utilizing not only his great strength, but his underestimated wit. It is that wit that has always made Conan interesting. With The Hour of the Dragon adaptation, we see no wit, but only blind anger and ass kicking. He has not utilized that wit, outside of some simple disguises used to gain entry into the current city that he finds himself. The guy is all muscles and testosterone so far.
As I have mentioned, I am real up and down on this mini. Last month, I was up as Truman and Giorello’s talents were matched perfectly and we did see some of Conan’s cunning being equal to his brawn. Here in Issue #4, we have gone back to the brawn as we are approaching the final battle that will decide the fate of this tale. Here is to hoping that Truman and Giorello are up to the challenge to finish this thing on a high note, worthy of the title that it bears.
Writer: Tim Truman Artist: Tomas Giorello Publisher: Dark Horse Comics Price: $3.50 Release Date: 5/28/14 Format: Mini-Series, Print/Digital