Script – Fred Van Lente
Art – Ariel Olivetti
Lettering – Richard Starkings & Comicraft
Publisher – Dark Horse Comics with the Robert E. Howard Estate
Conan created by Robert E. Howard
Conan and the People of the Black Circle is yet another exceptional entry in the Robert E. Howard Officially Licensed series of Conan stories from Dark Horse Comics.
First I would like to take a moment to talk about the artwork by Ariel Olivetti. It is simply amazing in my opinion. Each panel of the first three issues is a work of art unto itself and with a script by Fred Van Lente, that brilliantly captures the essence of the character, you have the ingredients for a great comic book. Even the lettering, handled once again by Richard Starkings & Comicraft enhances the quality and artistry of the book.
Issue three begins with Conan and his hostage, the devi Yasmina, on the run from both the Wazuli tribesmen and Kshatriya troops. Conan trades some cash for a passing girl’s clothes to disguise Yasmina and the two head into the mountains. They are soon stopped by the wizard Khemsa, servant of the Seers of Yimsha, and his lady, Gitara. There is a brief standoff and before any action can go down, Khemsa’s masters appear, force Gitara to run off the mountainside and crack off the piece of rock Khemsa is standing on sending him into a free fall behind her. The Seers then kidnap Yasmina in a purple magic vortex and Conan is left to wonder what the hell just happened.
As Conan recovers from his WTF moment, the Wazulis catch up to him. He tells them he is not responsible for killing their fellow tribesmen and they should ride with him to Yimsha to help him retrieve Yasmina. The Wazulis feebly attempt to attack Conan and he rides away.
Conan soon comes across Khemsa as he lay dying. Khemsa wants revenge on the Seers and with his dying strength gives Conan a magic girdle and instructions on how to reach the Seers home turf. Conan, although usually wary of wizards and magic, knows when to use it to his advantage and accepts the offer. Khemsa dies and Conan continues his journey.
He soon comes upon a group of soldiers from Kshatriya and gets the drop on them. Finding that the men are led by none other than Kerim Shah, Conan strikes a deal to partner up to save Yasmina and settle their differences after.
Will Conan and Kerim Shah be able to work together? Will their personal fight get in the way and hinder the mission? Can they make it past the Seers and their acolytes and rescue Yasmina before she becomes the slave of the Master of Yimsha? You’ll just have to read the rest of the series to find out!
Dark Horse Comics deserve some praise here for putting the teams together for both this series and their other Howard Estate licensed book, King Conan: The Hour of the Dragon. Both series are in my top picks of 2013 and I really hope they keep these adaptations coming. With incredible artists and great writers Dark Horse and the Robert E. Howard Estate have a dedicated reader in this FTN reviewer! I cannot give Conan and the People of the Black Circle issue three, anything less than a perfect…
5 out of 5 nerds