The first issue, which is #0, of Conan The Cimmerian by Dark Horse Commics, is a special issue. It is written by Timothy Truman, the artist is Tomas Giorello (who also did the cover), colorist Jose? Villarrubia, letterer Richard Starkings and Comicraft, and Dave Stewart as the cover colorist.
I must say I really enjoyed this first special issue. Here come the spoilers, I?m going to tell you how the comic is set up and just about everything about, so if you just want to pick it up and read it, then stop reading this review. Otherwise read on.
The comic shows Conan returning to Cimmeria some years after he had left and traveled the south lands. He is attacked by a group of Vanir, and easily kills them. This would be an incredibly short story if not for one thing; the battle is played out with the back drop of Cimmeria being explained by the poem written by Robert E. Howard, ?Cimmeria.? Each page has a few words from the poem or large sections in entirety, the backdrop is somberly depicted to be harsh and cold, and a feeling of despair lurks on these pages. The artist changes style and color brightens when the poem tells of Conan?s travels, thereby changing the mood. I am very pleased that the authors and Dark Horse, preferred to bring Conan?s world to light by using the full text of his poem ?Cimmeria?, thereby rooting the series on Howards? model instead of just their own interpretation,.
To further link this comic to Howard, the first page of the comic shows a small room with a desk an old manual typewriter and a few issues of Weird Tales sitting on it. A few other items lead the reader to enter not Conan?s world but the world of Robert E. Howard. Boxing gloves hang on the wall; a book on the crusades sits on the desk. These are pieces of Howard?s life that made him who he was and coalesced in his mind that which would become the most famous Barbarian of all times, Conan. Once again at the end of the comic, the author and artist transitions from the world of Conan back to that of Howards Texas with a depiction of him writing the poem ?Cimmeria? on a wind swept Texas hill about Frederisksburg.
Lastly on the letters page is a short piece called ?The Adventures of Two-Gun Bob; True Stories from the Life of Robert E. Howard.? Here is text taken from Howard?s correspondence with Clark Ashton Smith, regarding the writing of Conan.
As I said I am pleased with this comic and the background it provides on Conan?s creator Robert E. Howard. The art and color are very much in keeping with the mood one gets in reading the words of ?Cimmeria?. If there is one complaint it is with the artists rendering of Conan himself, which to me looks to be to much caveman like and not enough intelligent barbarian. When I read the description of Conan I see some of the noble savage, but more to the point I see a very intelligent brooding fighting machine, of supreme confidence, neither arrogant nor whimsical. All in all I would give this a 5.0 out of 5.0 on my comic rating scale.