Conan and the People of the Black Circle #1 Review
Script – Fred Van Lente
Art – Ariel Olivetti
Letters – Richard Starkings & Comicraft
Published by Dark Horse Comics
Conan created by Robert E. Howard
Dark Horse does it again with the second release from its official Robert E. Howard Licensed Conan series. I said in my last King Conan review that I would welcome more adapted Howard stories and it appears Crom was reading FTN that week!
After reading this first issue I had to step away and think about how I would review it.
It seems that the beginning of the story has little to do with Conan and more to do with a dying king.
The king of Vendhya is in bad shape. He seems to be dying of an unknown illness and is having visions of far away sorcery. Only his sister, Yasmina, recognizes the signs of an evil spell and forms a plan after a very hard decision is made to save the king’s soul. We also find that plots are afoot in Vendhya. This is revealed in a discussion between Kerim Shah, a visiting dignitary, and Khemsa, a demonic sorcerer serving The Black Seers Of Yimsha. This is my dilemma…I can say no more!
The appearance of our hero in this particular story is essential to the plot and any hint at how, where and when he appears will spoil it. I will say that this story takes place during Conan’s barbaric hill tribe days and the character is quite different than the seasoned warrior king of the King Conan series.
I gotta say that Dark Horse is nailing it on the Conan front. Now, with the excellent King Conan wrapping up its first half I am thrilled to see another Howard Licensed story get released! I am also thrilled that Dark Horse is treating the character seriously and with respect.
Like King Conan before it, Conan and The People of the Black Circle combines a brilliantly adapted script and some really beautiful artwork to create a great comic book.
Fred Van Lente does a great job leading us through the story and introducing Conan as a dangerous and mysterious warrior not to be trifled with. Conan is younger, carefree, and impulsive. He seizes opportunity instead of gathering a council and pondering alternatives. He acts.
I can’t say enough good things about the artwork. It is simply amazing and the characters and scenery are incredibly lifelike. Ariel Olivetti is the kind of artist a Conan story needs, blending the fantastic and realism flawlessly. Side Note – Olivetti also worked on the Mystique series for which Panel 2 Panel crew member Meghan Ashley is the cover model!
I really tried to analyze this book. I tried to find something to critique…any negatives whatsoever, to no avail. Maybe it’s my bias for anything Conan? Nah, that’s not it, I’ve read some poorly executed Conan comics. Maybe it’s that I don’t do many reviews and usually it’s something I love from the start? That could be, but I think it’s something else. I think that it’s the fact that Dark Horse Comics has just got it right! Bottom line, Dark Horse has hired the best Conan writers and artists and has partnered with the Howard Estate to bring fans of Conan a quality series of projects and I couldn’t be happier.
I give Conan and The People of the Black Circle a barbaric…..
5 out of 5 nerds