By Fred Van Lente, Brian Ching & Michael Atiyeh
Conan the Avenger continues its great opening arc with issue #2 this month, and this one remains a highly enjoyable chapter in the expansive Dark Horse Conan saga. The story in Avenger is moving in some really exciting directions, and the continual appearance of a spectral Belit is put to magnificent effect throughout.
For long-time fans, we’re very lucky to have Fred Van Lente writing this series. He really seems to get the character of Conan and the world he inhabits. In the second installment of the Shadows Over Kush arc, there is a ton of quick-paced action throughout most of the book. While this definitely made for a lot of excitement, it also didn’t detract from developing the overall plot. The narration, of course, helps carry this through, but the dialogue in Conan the Avenger #2 was also spot-on for the series. However, it should be noted that the visuals themselves also really help carry the story. Overall, this was a pretty dark issue that somehow managed to simultaneously be a lot of fun! The central story development between Conan and Agara the witch-hunter was especially exciting and could lead to a terrific team-up in future issues. Finally, the use of the protagonist’s visions of Belit throughout this latest installment was just fantastic; the way in which her ghostly appearance marks out Conan’s next course of action was both intriguing and powerful.
The artwork in this issue made it particularly dynamic in appearance, and this book had a perfect visual flow from start to finish. Brian Ching has an excellent overall style of illustration for the series that retains a raw, gritty vibe while introducing a subtle, fun cartoony undertone. The many battle sequences featured in issue #2 were excellently illustrated, and the environments in particular look amazing. There were maybe one or two panels that had a small imperfection, but as a whole, this one looks flawless. Furthermore, Michael Atiyeh’s color work is phenomenal. The overall tone of each scene is perfectly conveyed through the excellent colors, which also add a tremendous amount of depth to the visuals. The final scene in the issue was not only quite shocking, but it was amazingly visualized by both artists involved. The last page was especially jaw-dropping!
Conan fanatics can again breathe a sigh of relief as the creative team for Avenger demonstrates the first issue wasn’t a fluke. This series has had a great start and things keep getting better. Issue #2 was action-packed, dark, and opened up some thrilling new possibilities for the character.