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Conan: Road of Kings #5 – Review

This is another title that I jumped right into without reading previous issues and I have to say that it wasn’t a bad experience as a new reader to the series. There’s something about the character of Conan that fires that neuron in the brain that controls excitement. In Conan’s world being a barbarian is actually not a good thing, but then you see just how bad-ass he is and you can’t help but think that everyone else in his world is wrong… barbarians are cool!

In this series Conan is tracking down a disowned Princess that’s been stolen away from him. Of course the world questions Conan’s intentions with the Princess, but readers familiar with Conan know that deep down inside he’s a bit of a softy for the women. The Princesses captor is a half day ahead of him and has managed to get him and the Princess captured for execution. Conan makes it to the kingdom the night before and starts causing a ruckus instantly. He jumps down to face the Executioner and under estimates his opponent, but I’m sure that his opponent has under estimated Conan as well.

Conan Road of Kings #5 CoverThis book is pretty good and appeals to that savage barbarian in all of us that wants to go out with a sword and kill a sabretooth tiger or something similar. What’s needed to make a successful Conan book is his supporting cast. Since you can’t really have character development for Conan, you have to have a cast of characters around him that are interesting and that can actually change. Basically, Conan doesn’t change the world changes around him. One character that is particularly interesting is the kidnapper who is constantly trying to slit the Princess' throat even though he knows he’ll be killed next. The guy has either hit rock bottom or has a very strange tendency for suicide in the worst possible way.

Roy Thomas (there's not much he hasn't worked on) really understands the world of Conan and his character in general. He also understands that that there is no twist on the character. You either do Conan the way he is or you fail at Conan.  Thomas does a great job of keeping the story interesting by cutting back and forth between the different points in time for the story.

The art is actually very good. Usually when a story is a spin-off of the main series the art tends to be pretty shaky. With Road of Kings artist Mike Hawthorne brings an attentive eye to the world of Conan and captures the world as much as he does the muscles. Again, because the story takes place both in the recent past and the present, Hawthorne is challenged to draw the same setting twice and he manages to change the details to match the setting. In the day time the ground is blown out and bright as if the sun were beating down on it. At night the ground is cooled off and full of details giving these two scenes similarities in geography, but they are not just carbon copies of each other.

Road of Kings was good, it was even purchase good. I would say that if you’re not looking for swords and magic that you’re probably better off passing on it, but if you’re tired of summer events or mystery thrillers than perhaps you should unwind your mind with some Conan and let his sword do all the thinking for you.

Overall Score – 7.9/10
*Not for everyone, but still really good*



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