“The Green Empress of Melnibone”
Writers: Roy Thomas, Michael Moorcock and J. Cawthorn
Artist: Barry Smith
Conan, Elric and Zephra are fighting off hordes of various demons on the way to Yagala which is under the Sighing Lake. They reach it but find that Kulan Gath who is working for Xiombarg has already started to awaken Terhali the Green Empress. And Gaynor and the Chaos Pack also arrive and a big free for all fight ensues. Elric manages to stab Gaynor which turns him to dust. Terhali blasts Kulan Gath to pieces and also knocks out Conan and Elric. Then the Lords of Law possess Zephra and she manages to defeat Terhali but dies in the process. Elric goes home and Conan delivers the body of Zephra to her father.
“My head aches with names I have no faces for.” exclaims Conan in the story. I can relate. There are a whole slew of characters that get thrown at you. It can be hard to follow. In fact Conan is for the most part a spectator in this issue. The real heavy lifting is done by Zephra possessed. An interesting idea to combine Conan and Elric but just didn’t work out. It has some positive moments. The end with Conan delivering Zephra to Zukala was touching. This evil wizard is now a broken old man and truly loved his daughter. Conan of course has disdain for all this sorcery and many weird named cast of characters. I think it was a good idea to wrap this up quickly. So on a sad note this was Barry Smith’s final issue. His artwork really brought Conan alive and I think he is an important reason this series was a success.