In this week’s entry of The Marvel Rundown, King Conan #6 takes center stage! Plus, we’ve got Rapid Reviews of Sabretooth, Avengers Forever, and What If…? Miles Morales!
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King Conan #6
Written by: Jason Aaron
Art by: Mahmud Asrar
Colouring by: Matthew Wilson
Lettering by: Travis Lanham
Cover by: Asrar and Wilson
While Conan the Barbarian is still appearing in Marvel Comics at the moment in the Savage Avengers title, this feels like the more appropriate farewell to the character. He was, without a doubt, in his best form when drawn by Mahmud Asrar and written by Jason Aaron — the creative team that I think has set a benchmark for the character and his portrayal in comics at the very least.
Asrar has just rocketed up my list of favourite working artists with his work on this character, both in this series as the previous ongoing series that he and Aaron launched. His pages have a dynamism and depth that make for a very satisfying and full reading experience, and it certainly helps that Matt Wilson’s been colouring his Conan work. He really captures the full Conan experience: the occasional raunchiness of the character, the huge variety of weird creatures and monsters that he brawls with, and the vast expanses he finds himself in. This issue really does cover all of those bases, offering a succinct yet broad take on the character that will leave a stamp on his legacy; it ends a story while excitingly inviting the possibility for more tales, at whichever publisher will be lucky enough to print his stories next.
Some of Aaron’s best Marvel work can be found here. Aaron exerts much of the same energy he used for Thor; grand storytelling with a brutalist punch to it, and in some respects Conan is a better fit for him than Thor ever was. For all the grime he covered Thor in throughout his run, Conan allows Aaron to really dig in and get dirty. He’s ultimately a more physical character and his stories reflect that.
Conan and Thoth make their last stand against the horde of weird zombie creatures led by the princess, and like I mentioned before, this just hits all the Conan buttons. There’s a lady who has it out for Conan in more ways than one, there are monsters, I swore I saw a gorilla in there somewhere; there’s blood and violence, and there’s some sentimentality towards the Conan character that I can always appreciate, of him being a man of the wilds and such. Which I frankly find a little funny in that this sentimentality of freedom and the wild is being attributed to such a violent and angry person; it’s ironic enough that it loops around to being a little sweet.
Final Verdict: BUY. If you haven’t been reading Asrar and Aaron’s Conan adventures over the past couple of years at Marvel, you’d best do yourself a favour and pick this up. I really do think that you can just read this and get enough the idea of what’s been happening; it’s clear and succinct enough to tide you over.
- Avengers Forever #7
- This series (and accompanying Avengers run by Jason Aaron) is at its absolute best when it picks up a fun idea and runs with it, and this issue does that perfectly. Watching a group of Steve Rogers from across the multiverse learn what it means to be a hero in their own way is really charming. The best part of the issue is how well it highlights how resilient each and every Steve is across the multiverse, no matter how big or bad the challenge may be (or if they just so happen to be a dog). Aaron Kuder, Cam Smith, and Guru-eFX kill it with exciting pages even without a whole lot of action in the script. The issue moves pretty fast, but I think that works for a story like this, where we’re seeing a lot of build-up and fleshing out of these characters that should come to be important later on. I may have my quibbles with this run, but this is a fun issue that does a good job of laying the groundwork for what’s to come. —CB
- Sabretooth #5
- “It’s dark and Hell is hot…” especially if you’re Victor Creed aka Sabertooth. While not as hot and heavy on the action, this is a great step forward in the character development of Sabertooth, his supporting cast, and the mythology of Krakoa. For the past four issues, Victor LaValle and Leonard Kirk have created a space on the Mutant paradise, part prison, part hellscape, and have not only told a tail of brutality, but they’ve also used it as an allegory for what prisons are in the U.S., as well as our own emotional jails, and who has the power to imprison and what that looks like. Drama, betrayal, politics, and social commentary, all of this is the beginning of the end as this series lays another brick on the end road to the Mutant dream that is Krakoa. —GC3
- What If…? Miles Morales #5
- This issue is by a different creative team than What If…? Miles Morales #2 – #4, but features the return of most of the creators from #1. Written by Cody Ziglar with pencils by Paco Medina, inks by Walden Wong, colors by Chris Sotomayor, and letters by Cory Petit, this issue brings together the various Variants of Miles to which we were introduced over the course of this series. The majority of the panels go to the climactic battle, between the team of Miles Variants and the team of Aaron Variants (not to be confused with the team of Jessica Jones Variants from The Variants #1, released last week – I wasn’t kidding about Marvel’s Variant fever). While this fight does have a solid teamwork-and-superpower-based climax, the best scene comes when Spider-Miles and Captain America Miles get to share a few quiet moments of conversation. Maybe next time we can get a Miles-Verse Infinity Comic series where the different Miles Variants just get to hang out and shoot the shit, ya know? —AJK
Next week, the next big event beings with A.X.E.: Eve of Judgement #1, plus Moon Knight reaches lucky issue number thirteen.