‘Dark Horse Comics’ Roundup Reviews: Week of December 30th

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image1Conan The Avenger #21

“A Witch Shall Be Born”  Part 2

Writer: Fred Van Lente

Artist:  Jose Luis

Conan’s greatest ordeal!

A false queen—the evil twin sister of the rightful ruler—sits on the throne of Khauran. After quashing Conan’s brief rebellion against the impostor, the brutal mercenary leader Constantius orders the Cimmerian to be crucified.  Now, Conan will suffer the most agonizing ordeal of his life.  Featuring the most famous sequence in the Conan canon: Conan’s crucifixion!

We’ve seen it in the movie, and now we get to see it in panels in the Comics.  In Conan The Avenger #21, the majority of the issue deals with Conan’s crucifixion.  It was to not think of a certain Canadian hero who was also crucified in the Australian outback in comics years ago since he was crucified on a nearly perfect wooden “X”.  But back to Conan, the issue is pretty hard to get thru without being thirsty or thinking of all the pain that Conan is going thru.

The vicinity of the story doesn’t take place but maybe a few feet around Conan and the desert around him.  It could almost pass as a silent issue if you cut out all the dialogue (there really isn’t a whole lot.  Mostly word boxes to help the story flow and progress) and watch all the facial expressions that he makes during his pain, hunger, thirst, and the struggle.   It was great chemistry between the entire team to make an issue like this happen with the Dialogue, art, inks, and especially the colors.

Verdict 9.0/10

image2Lobster Johnson:  The Glass Mantis

Writer:  Mike Mignola & John Arcudi

Artist: Toni Fejzula

Murder interrupts the opening of a new exhibit at the Metropolitan Museum. Lobster Johnson investigates to find out what makes a blown-glass sculpture worth killing for.

Lobster Johnson: The Glass Mantis (22 in a series) does what a lot of comics don’t do very much these days.   The book was able to keep a story almost like a one-shot contained into a simple, regular sized comic book.  Having a theatre background, I felt the title was giving props to the classic play “The Glass Menagerie”   Which was pretty awesome to do.  The artist treats us to several glass blown objects throughout the story.  (Including a big surprise one!)

The story of The Glass Mantis takes place in the 1930’s in the middle of Lobster Johnson’s crime fighting days.  A prominent murder interrupts the opening of a new exhibit at the Metropolitan Museum.  The assassination prompts Lobster Johnson to investigate what the glass blown sculpture, The Glass Mantis, was worth killing someone for.

The read is a treat for people who are a fans of old-time adventures and period time pieces.  It has light science fiction, and supernatural elements added to enhance the mystery and action.   The colors aren’t bold, but they aren’t dull either.  Almost a neutral tone that reminds you that this is a flashback story that you are reading.  The story reads fast, but there are plenty of surprises to satisfy.  The ending ends with  good closure, and makes you wish that they would revisit this again sometime in the future.

Verdict 8.0/10

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