Writer: Jason Aaron
Art: Mahmud A. Asrar, Matthew Wilson, VC’s Travis Lanham, and Esad Ribic
Release Date: October 30th, 2019
It’s all been leading to this! The thief, the reaver, the slayer – Conan meets his ultimate fate at the hands of the Crimson Witch in this week’s all-new CONAN THE BARBARIAN #10 by Jason Aaron. But what lies beyond? By CROM, let’s dive in and find out the secret history of the Crimson Witch and her mysterious underlings!
This reviewer has been clamoring for months now that Jason Aaron needed to provide readers with answers. With this series prevailing monthly, as well as this story being at least 12 issues long, the narrative felt like it hampered or even stalled. Well, if you’ve been hanging in there with Aaron’s Conan run, it finally pays off this issue! Jason Aaron spends the entire issue catching up fans as to the background of the Crimson Witch, her children, how they were conceived, and provides glimpses of his past 9 issues sprinkled throughout showing the children in the background and how the stories intertwine.
This issue was not Conan heavy. However, it crams in so many of the gaps that the anecdote has been dragging out since the series commenced. This issue may have been lacking with our Hyborian-born Barbarian but it was severely required to shed light on the big bad and ultimately assemble the overarching story that has been dangling in the wind for months. Now, Aaron has seized both aspects of his story and caught them up to one another. Therefore, nothing is left to reveal other than the conclusion.
This reviewer finds that occasionally writers try too hard to be extra crafty with their storytelling. Often times, Aaron in particular, chooses to gradually uncover pieces of information in clever or ingenious ways as cliffhangers to the widespread story. He began this technique in THOR GOD OF THUNDER and has now finally started to get to the conclusion almost 6 years later in KING THOR. This critic has followed along throughout each issue of his Thor run. However, larger mini-stories kept this critic interested in the huge story hanging over his entire run. This was not the case throughout CONAN THE BARBARIAN. It came across that way at first but the past couple issues were severely lacking in potent story and firepower while abandoning key elements to this larger plot on the writing floor. To finally see Aaron get to the fireworks factory, makes this reviewer overjoyed and reinvigorated for the next concluding issues.
Now, not only did Aaron get his ducks in a row, but Mahmud Asrar’s art was sensationally graphic and telling. He amplified the grotesque nature of the Crimson Witch, as well as the sadistic nature of her children. The shock on the facial expressions of the children watching Conan slaughter their mother, or the anger in Conan’s face as he swung his mighty sword amplified every brutal action Asrar illustrated throughout the narrative. This type of story appears to fit Asrar’s artistic talents masterfully. If you mix it together with Aaron’s writing, readers get a magnificent story this week worth every penny.
If you’ve been hanging on for hope that more of the overarching story would get flushed out, then this is definitely the issue for you! Readers will leave this week’s tale with better insight for the overall story, more connective tissue to the plot of the narrative, a better direction moving forward, and a deep anticipation for next month’s issue. Aaron and Asrar mesh beautifully together while raising the stakes for Conan and leaving readers wondering if this is truly it for the Cimmerian. If you haven’t been reading CONAN THE BARBARIAN, don’t dive in now unless you can get your hands on the back issues. Otherwise, this trade will be well worth the price when it hits stands. This isn’t your classic Conan but it sure is pretty dang good!