SAVAGE SWORD OF CONAN #4

“Iron Shadows in the Moon”
Writer: Roy Thomas adopted from story by Robert E. Howard
Artists: John Buscema and Alfredo Alcala

Shah Amurath is chasing the young woman Olivia through a field of reeds. She trips and the evil Shah plans to take his escaped slave back. Only he instead finds himself confronting a wild barbarian. Conan is all that is left of the Kozaki a band of brigands that were recently slaughtered by the Shah’s forces. He quickly takes his revenge against the cowardly Shah. The escaped slave girl Olivia begs for Conan to take her with him. He agrees and together in a boat he stole row out into the Vilayet sea.

They land on an island and decide to rest there and get some fresh fruit. Only they are attacked by a flying block of granite that was thrown at them. A block that no human could throw at such great distances. They come on an abandoned temple filled with iron statues of demonic looking men. While staying the night Olivia as a dream of a young man in the temple being sacrificed by the demons. A god appears and turns the demons to statues as he takes the young man away. She wakes up screaming and runs from the temple. Conan follows and they decide to leave. Only the boat has been smashed by the mysterious being that stalks them.

Soon after the island is visited by pirates. Conan goes down to join them and finds the captain is Sergius a man he left behind during last issues adventure. He wants revenge and the two fight with Conan winning. Only a rat-faced member of the crew hurls a rock that knocks Conan unconscious. They take him and tie Conan up in the temple while they get to some heavy drinking. During the night Olivia sneaks in and frees Conan. Outside they run into the creature that has been stalking them a giant man-eating ape. Conan manages to kill it. Just then the moon animates the iron statues and they start to kill the crew. The survivors make it to the ship and find Conan there and threatening to kill anyone who tries to board unless they acknowledge him the captain. The crew is only so glad to pledge their loyalty to escape this cursed island.

“The Corbin Conan”
Artist: Richard V. Corbin

A portfolio of scenes from Conan’s famous moments by underground cartoonist Corbin.

“Blackmark Triumphant!”
Writer & Artist: Gil Kane

Blackmark has defeated the flame lizard in the arena and the people demand his freedom. King Kargon decides to have Blackmark executed but his men hold off because of the mood of the people. Blackmark’s friend Balzamo tells that Blackmark has the knowledge in him of King Amarix and should take advantage by making the rocket fly. Blackmark demands to have the chance knowing the punishment for failure is death. He does manage to get the rocket in the air and bring it back fulfilling a prophecy that the man who makes the ship fly will be king of New Earth. A revolt ensues where the king is killed and Blackmark is make the ruler.

This full length adaptation of Howard is probably one of my favorites. I have the giant color treasury edition when I was a kid and this just mesmerized me. I loved the mysterious story of an island with pirates, creepy iron statues that come alive and a giant ape. This is definitely one of Howard’s best Conan stories.

Corbin’s artwork is good and a nice filler.

The Blackmark story continues along nicely with Blackmark basically becoming the king. A nice blend of post-apocalyptic and Conan type story.

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