Conan the Barbarian #17
Written by Brian Wood
Art by Davide Gianfelice
Colors by Dave Stewart
Letters by Richard Starkings & Comicraft
Cover by Massimo Carnevale
Dark Horse Comics
Release Date: June 19, 2013
Cover Price: $3.50
Conan the Barbarian #17 is further proof why it’s one of the 5 books that I wait for every month. There’s only a handful of books that, month in and out, I set my calendar by. This is one of them, and if you’re reading it, I’m sure it’s one of yours too.
In Part 2 of “The Nightmare of the Shallows” writer Brian Wood takes Conan and Belit on the strangest trip that they’ve ever been on. A head trip. It seems last issue, the two young lovers got into some yellow lotus that they maybe shouldn’t have and now they’re both seeing things that, to put it mildly, aren’t exactly there. But, it’s quite a ride for both them AND the audience. Wood has kept these two characters together a lot longer than I’ve thought he would. After all, Conan isn’t known for his lasting relationships. But one of the great loves of his life was Belit, it was always maintained that they spent part of their lives together, but it was never revealed how long and what exactly happened during their time together. Wood has solved that problem, and it’s more entertaining than I couldn’t ever imagined.
I’m sure their story is far from over, but so far he’s given us some detail on those events and I have to admit, it’s nice to see Conan with a steady companion for a change. This issue in particular is quite a look into each of their minds to uncover some hidden secrets about what they think about each other, and just how much they’re actually in love.
Artist Davide Gianfelice is amazing on this book. Unfortunately, I hadn’t seen his work before, but that’s fine, I now know who he is and I’ll be keeping an eye out for his name. I can’t say enough great things about his here. It’s basically the perfect style for Conan. Not hyper-realistic, not cartoony, it finds a home somewhere in between. Although this book is full of twists and turns and surprises and so is Gianfelice’s art. In the hands of any other artist, this book could be quite a mess. As I said, this issue is all over the place, but it’s solidly anchored by the art, and that makes this issue that much more enjoyable.
In the last seventeen months, I’ve given you plenty of reasons to pick this book up. If you haven’t by now, there’s just no hope for you. This issue is one of the shining examples why you need to add this to your monthly pulls list, the art is superb and so is the writing. You’ll be hard pressed to find a better, more entertaining comic out there.