Writer: Jim Zub
Art: Scot Eaton, Scott Hanna, Frank D’Armata, Vanesa R Del Rey, Juan Francois Beaulieu, VC’s Travis Lanham, and Carlos Pacheco
Release Date: December 4th, 2019
James Allison will soon die. But it’s not his first death. He’s lived many lives, in many places – lives he can recall in vivid detail. But when an Elder God called the WYRM reaches across time to James, an ages-spanning quest begins in this week’s all-new CONAN SERPENT WAR #1 by Jim Zub. The serpent god set plans to usher in an eternity of darkness, and only the chosen warriors across time and space have a hope of stopping him. Let’s see what Conan the Barbarian, Solomon Kane, Dark Agnes, and Moon Knight have to say about that!
Readers, Jim Zub begins his four-issue mini with intrigue and confusion. A character, new to this reader, by the name of James Allison, is introduced into the story immediately opening the door for speculations, suspicions, and uncertainty. As clever as Zub is at finding a way to intertwine these four random characters of Conan, Moon Knight, Solomon Kane, and Dark Agnes, he manages to over complicate reasoning and plot for organizing the team together. Zub spends a majority of the issue quickly skimming over each character but doesn’t take the time to build on the villain at large. Other than a name, what exactly is the villain’s purpose? What exactly are these heroes attempting to do and why? Furthermore, “how” James Allison manages to get these warriors together still remains a mystery to this reader.
Instead of forcing issue one to be incredibly quick, this reviewer would have loved more information on Solomon Kane and Dark Agnes to which this reader knows very little about. Additionally, the comic is titled CONAN SERPENT WAR, yet Conan was barely in this inaugural issue. At any rate, this comic could have been titled MOON KNIGHT SERPENT WAR and still had the same effect. Shouldn’t a book with the title character be more heavily involved? As a Conan fan, this reader was expecting a story more dedicated to Conan with the other characters having side rolls to fill out the story. This, however, was not the case. Zub makes this issue mystifying but ultimately simultaneously perplexing at the expense of the title character Conan, as well as the other heroes. The better title should have been JAMES ALLISON SERPENT WAR.
Overall, Jim Zub jumps from scene to scene almost violently without distinction or definition to the tale. He sacrifices story for quick character synopsis without truly distinguishing who the narrator is and what incentives or motivation this narrator, or James Allison for that matter, has to the plot. It appears as though the background still needs to be flushed out or dare I say ”set”.
If you’re searching for a Conan the Barbarian title, this isn’t it … yet anyway. If you’re excited to see Moon Knight or even a Moon Knight/ Conan the Barbarian team-up, so far this isn’t the series for you. The issue focuses more on a new character named James Allison and confusingly hops from character to character abruptly without taking the time to plant a firm foundation within the narrative of the story. This reviewer initially picked up this series searching for an epic team-up only to leave the issue a bit disappointed. However, with only one issue in the bag, this comic fan still has confidence in Jim Zub and this series moving forward. Hopefully, the background leg work and snippets of character introductions are past us and Zub can give fans the epic team-up they deserve.