Saturday, January 29, 2011

Robert E. Howard's Savage Sword #1 - Dark Horse Comics

It took me a long time to get my hands on this magazine. I was out of town the week it was published in December. I ordered a copy on-line and finally received it today.

REHSS, is meant to be reminiscent of the sprawling black and white Savage Sword of Conan magazines published by Marvel in the day. I was in fact disappointed when I read the previews of this issue and learned that it would be in color. Those disappointments are lain to rest.

I can't heap praise upon this book, but I really wanted to. Don't get me wrong, while I believe the price of all comics is too high, with the 80 pages of this particular one and a price tag of $7.99, it weighs in at just under .80 a page.

It is not a Conan cash cow for Dark Horse. There is a Conan tale in the first issue, actually the first part of a three parter, and I would be shocked if there wasn't Conan tale in each issue, but the Cimmerian is not all that is offered.

In issue one, the reader is given a Conan tale, a John Silent story (actually, this is kind of a sequel to Dark Horse Comics Solomon Kane: The Castle of the Devil), a Dark Agnes story, an El Borak text piece, and a Bran Mac Morn story.

The Conan story is written by Paul Tobin, illustrated by Wellington Alves. It takes place when the Cimmerian was a young thief. At ten pages, it moves fast and is part one of a three part tale.

Next up is John Silent. This tale is well written and self-contained. The art is engaging.

The text piece about El Borak is more of a teaser for issue 2 which will feature Francis X. Gordon in his first comics appearance with art by Tim Bradstreet.

Part one of a two part Dark Agnes story is next. This was the weak link of the book, but was not terrible.

Worm of the Earth is an adaption of a Bran Mac Morn story of the same name. The script is by Roy Thomas and the art is Barry Windsor-Smith. This is a reprint and makes up the bulk of the book (37 of 80 pages). This was a treat and worth the price of admission alone. Please Dark Horse, more of stuff like this.

All in all, very well done. I would have liked it to have been magazine sized and in black and white, but those gripes aside, this was great.

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