Conan the Barbarian #3
Written by Jason Aaron
Art by Mahmud Asrar
Colors by Matthew Wilson
Letters by Travis Lanham
Conan’s journey takes another trip to a moment in his past where he faced his own impending death.
This time, a 17 year old Conan has been captured in Nemedia and sentenced to death for stealing gold. The execution is a show for the mine workers and their families as thieves are hanged before being dropped down to a snarling pack of wild dogs.
When Conan is brought out to be executed, it doesn’t go as planned and the defiant barbarian ends up back in the cells as the local leader and his men tend to their wounds. Conan’s time in lock up isn’t uneventful either as he has some choice words for a local priest wanting him to convert.
Conan physically explains to the man why his coming was a mad idea.
As the executioner brings out Conan to torture him before his death, the defiant barbarian gives the man an ominous warning before a series of events occur that shock everyone, Conan included.
It’s a masterful idea to showcase standalone Conan tales with the theme of certain death as a build up to the next confrontation with the Crimson Witch. Jason Aaron adds context and ethos to Conan’s journey as well as remind the reader that as close to death as Conan has come, he has faced it with defiance and somehow triumphed. Aaron channels the raw, uncompromising world of the characters in the dialogue and plot of this issue.
Mahmud Asrar’s art is the perfect complement to Aaron’s words. Every panel is beautifully detailed and the characters look great. There is a brutal beauty to how the panels and the action beats are phenomenal.