CONAN THE BARBARIAN #31

“The Shadow in the Tomb!”
Writer: Roy Thomas
Artist: John Buscema & Ernie Chua

Conan continues his service in the Turanian army. He is with a force that has gone to subdue rebellious hill-men. These hill-men are huge and savage brutes. They attack and drive the survivors into a cul-de-sac. The hill-man chief proposes that the best Turanian fights their champion. If they win then they can go free. The captain remarks that he would need a magic sword to defeat the giant. This brings back a memory that Conan had.

Back in the winter that he left his village to see the world. He was being pursued by Vanir. Along the way he is ambushed by a huge bear. In the fight they break through the ground into an underground cave. The bear is killed and Conan finds himself in some tomb. He needs a sword and takes the one sticking out of the tomb grasped by a skeleton hand. Then his shadow comes alive and he defeats it by throwing a curtain on the fire. After he leaves the cave he discards the sword.

So back in the present he knocks out the Turanian captain and takes his place. He manages to cause a rock slide and crush the giant. So the survivors go free. At the end we see that the crushed giant was wielding the sword that Conan found in the tomb.

This was an enjoyable story. It starts with Conan battling savage hill-men. Then a story from his early youth. His first encounter with the supernatural and how he manages to triumph. We get to see his distrust of the supernatural when he discards the sword. The story nicely ties his past adventure with the current one. A good stand alone story and next issue will go back to a multi-issue storyline.

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