REVIEW: The Savage Sword of Conan #2 Jim Zub (W), Richard Pace (A), and Patch Zircher (W, A)

Following a strong first issue, the second bimonthly installment of Titan Comics revived version of The Savage Sword of Conan has arrived. The eye-catching painted cover illustration by veteran artist Dave Dorman (Star Wars, Aliens: Tribes, etc.) shows an axe-wielding Conan locked in combat with a multilegged monstrosity atop a pile of skulls.

The Savage Sword of Conan #2The cover feature for this issue is “Conan: Leaving the Garden,” penned by Jim Zub with art by Richard Pace (Batman: The Doom That Came to Gotham, etc.). Conan awakens to find himself buried alive, the caravan he was guarding devastated by bizarre, tusked humanoids. “Crom’s children are too stubborn to die,” muses Zub, and the barbarian hauls himself out of his grave through sheer force of will. Grievously wounded and with danger nearby, Conan must keep a low profile while learning more about the warped creatures that massacred his companions. A curious local boy offers Conan his assistance, but it soon becomes clear that the innocent child is enmeshed in a twisted culture. Zub’s storytelling is muscular and solid as usual, and through Conan’s interactions with the boy Zub shows a paternal side of Conan not often seen. Dark and sketchy, Pace’s artwork has an almost expressionistic feel that suits the grim mood of the narrative. The thick blacks and contorted facial expressions are especially effective in the early panels as Conan struggles his way to the surface.

Also included in this issue is “Master of the Hunt, Part Two,” once again written and illustrated by Patrick “Patch” Zircher. Solomon Kane continues his search for the missing Maddocks boy and the hairy beast responsible for a string of disappearances and livestock killings. He’s accompanied on the trail by Old Gruffudd, an elderly blind man who seems to have insight into the recent supernatural goings-on in the Welsh countryside. While the artwork remains stunning, the plot didn’t progress as much as I would’ve have liked in this exposition-heavy installment. The ultimate showdown is nigh, however, as the finale is set to appear in The Savage Sword of Conan #3.

Bonus material includes three full-page pinup illustrations—two of Conan and one depicting Solomon Kane—and the Chainmail letters page. In response to a reader’s letter, the editor promises not only that readers can count on more gorgeous painted covers in the future, but that they’ll also specifically relate to a story within the issue. (Something readers always haven’t been able to count on with the past incarnation of The Savage Sword of Conan.) It’s also mentioned that, while Conan will naturally remain the primary draw, other Robert E. Howard characters beyond him and Solomon Kane will be featured in future issues of the magazine.

While not quite as packed to the brim as the debut issue—there’s no short story this time, and one fewer pinup—The Savage Sword of Conan #2 remains an entertaining read for fantasy adventure fans.

Read The Savage Sword of Conan #2 Jim Zub (W), Richard Pace (A), and Patch Zircher (W, A)

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Robin Marx

Robin Marx

Born in Spain and raised in the United States, Robin Marx has lived in Japan for more than two decades. He works in the video game industry, handling localization and international licensing. In addition to over a dozen video games, his writing has appeared in a number of role-playing game supplements. He lives with his wife and their two daughters. You can link up with Robin over at: https://mastodon.social/@RobinMarx

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