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Conan: The Island of No Return is a new mini series from Dark Horse Comics. Written by Ron Marz and drawn by Bart Sears. If you are looking for an alternative to the big events or just wish to read something without too much continuity and parallel worlds, then get your hands on this series. This mini offers: action, adventure, swords, sorcery, scantily clothed people and fun double entendres.
Its really a simple story: while running away, Conan encounters two sexy thieves and it so just happens that these girls were looking for someone like Conan, to help them reach a Palace on the top of a cliff... on a island that is suppose to be haunted! Conan accepts and the journey begins.This issue we don't see much of the "Island of No Return". They only mention that long ago, the island held a pleasure palace and its possible that now the palace is full of abandon treasures. Aside from that we can't tell what the story is really about, vengeance? Greed? Whatever it decides to be, this issue serves as a great introduction to the characters, both new and old. An excellent jumping on point for new readers to the Cimmerian warrior's world.
The story is quick paced. Once you read it, you can easily see the structure of the book: action, exposition and cliffhanger. It is a very simple story that gets the job done. Its a reader friendly adventure that recaptures the tone of a 1930's pulp. The story is dominated by action and it doesn't concentrate on drama, stoping only to give some backstory and exposition. This is the pace that should be in every Conan book. Its not full of narration captions, in fact it has no captions, everything is driven by dialog. This is the best approach a writer can use to write a Conan story. Every time they use narration caps they tend to be obnoxious and overly descriptive. A perfect choice from Marz, by saying less he actually says more. The dialog is fluid and serves as one of the primary tools to showcase the world of Conan.
The art works in a perfect combination with the story. Delivering what looks like a storyboard like sequential storytelling. It never misses a beat. Always portraying a fluid, vivid almost animated adventure. This is the kind of storytelling that doesn't require accompaniment by words since the art does an uncanny job on describing a scene without them. The only bad thing about Sears is that the characters have too many muscles and the use of too many lines in the characters' faces. But he cerntanly gives life to his characters and their surroundings.
This is one of those books that is perfectly balanced between story and art. The creators' final product is a book of solid storytelling in a setting that is as adventurous as it is enjoyable. Although the books ends with one of those "I've seen this a million times endings" I'll come back for the next issue. Mostly because of how fun this issue was to read.
Overall Score - 8.5/10
*Great: Easily getting a second printing. Worth any comic fan's time and money has prefabricated ending but enjoyable anyway*