Review – Conan The Barbarian #12 (Marvel Comics)

Publisher: Marvel Comics
Writer: Jason Aaron
Artwork: Mahmud Asrar
Colours: Matthew Wilson
Lettering: VC’s Travis Lanham
Release Date: 29th January 2020

Finally resolving his twelve-part story-line to “Marvel’s flagship Conan title”, Jason Aaron’s script for “The Power In The Blood” is arguably far closer a tale to Robert E. Howard’s source material than some of this year-long saga’s other instalments. In fact, if the Alabama-born author’s slowly declining 23,679 strong audience could set aside any concerns surrounding the fact that the titular character had to be brought back from the dead by Crom so as to participate in this twenty-page periodical’s plot, there is debatably plenty of pulse-pounding pugilism to enjoy within this particular publication.

For starters, the King of Aquilonia’s sheer grit and unconquerable determination to remain the ‘last man standing’ in this heroic final confrontation is quickly made abundantly clear when he literally bludgeons the Crimson Witch’s massively-mutilated daughter around the head with a formidably-sized rock following his miraculous resurrection. The Cimmerian has never been one to shy away from a fight, even when his chances of success are seemingly slim, and this ‘lust for life’ shines through as he hews a path straight past the acolytes of Razazel until he comes face-to-face with the blood-hungry deity himself; “You’re the Lord of Blood, eh? Let’s see how you like it when it’s your own being spilled!”

Similarly as impressive is how Aaron captures Conan’s intelligent quick-thinking, and shows the adventurer as being far from the simple “black-haired, sullen-eyed, sword in hand” barbarian he is sometimes frustratingly portrayed as being. Not only is the bearded monarch quick to ascertain his inhuman opponents’ weakness, and resultantly conjure up a solution to his dire situation, but he also momentarily demonstrates his all-too human side as well, in a brief display of pity as to what the sorceress’ twins have done to themselves so as to be “remade in the image of Razazel!”

Adding plenty of energy to this comic’s sense-shattering shenanigans are Mahmud Asrar’s illustrations, which truly manage to depict the sheer savagery at hand in the barbarian’s desperate battle for both his own life, and the salvation of his kingdom, if not world. The breath-taking power of the Black Dragons’ fetid foes is tremendously well-pencilled, with the pair of heavily-boned, grotesque abominations repeatedly breaking the bones of the well-armoured soldiers as if they were just a hapless child’s plaything.


The writer of this piece was: Blax Kleric
Blax Tweets from @Blaxkleric ‏

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