Review: Conan the Barbarian #18

Written by Guest Contributor: Jordan North It’s hard to care overly much for a plot line that literally doesn’t matter at all in the grand scheme of things. As Conan drones on with the Yellow Lotus storyline that’s exactly what we’re getting, and have been for three comics now. A dream sequence can only be exciting for so long, after that it starts to lose its weight a little bit.

Conan #18 does offer some interesting bits to be sure and it’s worth it for fans of the series to see the “What If?” future presented here, but even for a dream sequence none of it is particularly intriguing. We see Conan’s son, the birth of his daughter and watch him, Belit and the whole family grow old(er) on a private island paradise. Well it seems that way, but for Conan a pervasive sense of foreboding can’t be shaken and, sure enough, eventually the island is invaded by weirdly Mad-Maxian characters which cause a break in the mental state of his son Niall which lead to his eventual departure. If this sounds the least bit exciting that’s because it is, but only the least bit.

Conan #18 CoverThe book ends with a senile Conan on his death-bed spouting nonsense and his now much older wife and daughter who seem to have been dealing with it for a while. It’s sad and pathetic but eventually Conan is able to die in relative peace. Once again this is a drug induced dream so none of it means anything at all and there’s none of that trippy cool stuff that can often be found spicing up plots like this. It pretty much plays out like a standard issue of a comic just with no real stakes.

Conan wakes up and for some reason decides that he really liked his somewhat morbid and depressing dream (did I mention his son disappears never to return?) and now plans to go after the merchant who sold the drug to him to confirm the events as eventual truth.

I actually chuckled as the last page announced, in bright colors and with an exclamation point an event called, BLACK STONES! Which sounds boring and pretty lame and is a great metaphor for how I’ve felt about the past couple issues. (“The thing you’re reading is exciting and engaging, we swear!”) There are things to like here, just not an incredible amount. Conan has been better, even in this run.

Score: 3/5

Writer: Brian Wood

Artist: Davide Gianfelice

Publisher: Dark Horse

Price: $3.50

Release Date: 7/17/13