Saturday, September 15, 2007

Conan and the Midnight God

Best comic of the year? Maybe. After picking up and reading the mini-series Conan and the Midnight God, I feel that it stands to reason that it is unlikely another comic will come along before year's end to topple this Hyborian juggernaut. So really, that "maybe" to me is a "Crom, YES". Not only did I read the series, but I re-read it, and read it again. I made my wife read it. I'm making my friends read it. I contacted Dark Horse to let them know they rule for putting stuff like this out for the slavering geek hordes to consume. I even made sure to mention it in my weekly column, All The Rage. I love this comic. Saying it's a 10 outta 10 is a damned crime. It's an 11 out of 10 at the very least. Conan and the Midnight God is what all comics should strive to be. It will be difficult to read other comics and not compare it to this kind of perfection.

Of course, your mileage may vary. I'm sure someone out there read this and decided it was a pile of steaming dung. I'm sure someone bought it and said "It's okay... Yeah, okay". I am not those people. I am the guy who climbed to the roof of his house and screamed for more. I'm the guy who wondered why all comics can't floor me like this.

Damn. So, uh, am I fanboy seizuring enough for you?

To be completely frank and as dispassionate as possible, Conan and the Midnight God is an excellent yarn, one set in the older years of Conan, 40-something King of Aquilonia. Conan seems a bit bored with being king, even though he is quite pleased to be expecting a child with his wife. Then a Stygian emissary shows up and the tale kicks into high gear. From that point on you will experience all of the trademarks of life in Hyboria; including tonnes of action, zombies, naked brutality, and surprising compassion. There are even a couple tear-jerker moments. I laughed, I cried, I cheered. It became a part of me.

Yeah, that last bit is an inside joke with a friend, but it's still quite true. I'll never forget this story. It's probably the best Conan story I have read in comics, one of the best Conan stories ever, and is certainly one of the better things you will read this side of Vanaheim. Perhaps I have become bored or jaded with what I usually read and this series totally ninjaed up on me and whomped me good. It's possible that this series is exactly what I needed to read during a really shitty month. One thing's for sure, though, this comic is quality. Pure quality. From Josh Dysart's terrific writing to Will Conrad's immersive pencils. Not to mention the great colour job by Juan Ferreyra, which adds some excellent visual depth. Oh, and the Jason Alexander covers. Can't forget those. Drool worthy (as you can no doubt see; unless you are blind, then, um, sorry) they are. Seriously, it's like being transported to the lands and time of our favourite Cimmerian. If only Conan the Destroyer had done that. Sigh.

Still not convinced to rush out and pre-order the trade paperback or just buy all five of the single issues? No worries. Here, take a look through issue #1. This is pretty neat because not only can see what the issue has to offer, but you can build it up from script through the final lettering stage. Really cool site feature, DH.

In conclusion, this is a great comic book series, any way you slice it-- be it with axe, sword, or knife. Dark Horse has a great track record with the Conan comics and this is absolutely no exception. Do yourself a favour: pick this story up, go home, and crush your enemies.

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