Writer: Jim Zub
Artist: Roberto de la Torre
Colorist: Dean White
Letterer: Richard Starkings
Cover Artists: Alan Quah; Roberto de la Torre; Gerardo Zaffino; E.M. Gist; Dan Parent
Publisher: Titan Comics
Release Date: August 30, 2023
The Tribe of the Dead transformed Hauler’s Roam from a lively settlement to a slaughterhouse. How will Conan and the Pict scout Brissa fare amid this Dawn Of The Hyborian Dead? Let’s venture into Conan The Barbarian #2 and find out!
After the zombies slay the not-so-peaceful inhabitants, they search the homes and buildings for survivors. Afterward, the methodical murderers march off, dragging the bound and broken bodies behind them. Conan and Brissa follow the trail of blood. Brissa urges him to attack. Perhaps they could slay the undead war party, Conan reasons. But then how would they find who sent them?
Conan The Barbarian #2 follows their trek across Conan’s homeland. He wonders how many other animated corpses wander the Cimmerian steeps. Conan also learns more about Brissa. Her history makes him ponder the sword he found during the battle of Venerium. It’s served him faithfully throughout his wanderings. Might it be linked to whatever sorcery directs the current carnage?
Jim Zub draws from Howard’s well, investing Conan The Barbarian #2 with action, mystery, and perhaps even love. At least he delivers plenty to read. He rewards those who persevere with a haunting vision, a heartrending battle, and a discovery that may rock Conan’s understanding of his people.
Roberto de la Torre packs pages with panels that follow Conan and Brissa’s trek. They tread through forests, grasslands, barren hills, and dramatic rock formations. Their journey ends in the snowy hinterlands of Conan’s youth. What they find there is beyond anything they might have suspected. Conan’s mane, mien, and muscles convey a majesty that bespeaks his Marvel years. Brissa belongs at Conan’s side. The eyes of the undead glow, and their jaws drop open when they spot their quarry. Battles sing as steel sweeps through the air in Conan The Barbarian #2. The rent flesh sends blood flying in this gruesome gallery. And yet, Conan’s comradeship with a woman who should be his enemy is what lingers.
Dean White streaks the unforgiving land and stormy skies with color. Aside from when Roberto de la Torre leaves areas blank, nuanced and lifelike color pervades. The overall tone is dark amid the short days and long nights and as cool as the Cimmerian winter. Yet light shines down from the sun and the moon, illuminating the living and the dead.
Richard Starkings fills spherical white dialogue balloons and colored narrative boxes with black, uppercase lettering in Conan The Barbarian #2. That is unless they escape and invade the white spaces or colored sky. In rare instances, these wanderers glow white amid dark scenery. While easier to read than his lettering for Dark Horse Comics’ Conan series, the words seem smaller and packed tighter than Marvel’s 1970s contributors. If Grim Jim stuffs his bags so tightly, perhaps Riotous Richard could ease the load on the travelers who must carry and unpack them.
Conan and his Pictish partner learn about each other and search for the source of the soulless scourge in Conan The Barbarian #2.