“The People of the Black Circle”
Writer: Roy Thomas adapted from story by Robert E. Howard
Artists: John Buscema and Alfredo Alcala

In Vendhya the king Bhunda Chan is dying. He is being killed by sorcery and his sister the Devi Yasmela must put him out of his misery. He is the victim of an agent of Turanian king Yezdigerd and a servant of the Seers of Yimsha. Yasmela decides to go north and have her governor use the capture of seven sub-chiefs of the Afguli to get their chieftain the barbarian Conan to get revenge. She wants him to kill the seven wizards that make up the Seers of Yimsha. Only she is discovered by Conan and kidnapped and taken to the hills.

Meanwhile her servant is working with the conspiracy and her lover is the servant of the seers. She gets him to betray his masters and they plan to use this to carve out an empire for themselves. So Khemsa uses his magic to infiltrate the prison and kill the captive sub-chieftains so they can’t be ransomed.

“A Probably Outline of Conan’s Career”
By P. Schuyler Miller and John D. Clark, Ph. D.

Reprinted from Savage Tales 2. Also has some new classic art from the old Weird Tales issues.

“A Portfolio of Robert E. Howard”

A portfolio of artists and their drawing of Conan, Red Sonja and Kull. The artists are Frank Giacoia, Gene Day, John Buscema, Tim Conrad, John Allison, Virgil Finlax, Rich Corbin, and Roy G. Krenkel.

“The Hyborian Age Chapter 5 Fire and Slaughter”
Writer: Roy Thomas based on writing from Robert E. Howard
Artist: Walt Simonson

Grom the Pict sends his men to learn from the west. They serve as mercenaries and bring back fighting tactics. They also learn to mine iron and make weapons and armor. As Aquilonia continues its wars of conquest the Picts invade. The Gundermen hold them off but many of the Gunderman units desert to do so causing Aquilonia to lose its war to conquer Nemedia. As punishment they brutally ravish the Gundermen. This allows the Picts to invade and destroy Aquilonia as their subject nations openly revolt.

“Worms of the Earth”
Writer: Roy Thomas adapted from story by Robert E. Howard
Artists: Barry Smith and Tim Conrad

The Roman governor Titus Sulla is having a Pict crucified for objecting to being cheated by a Roman merchant. He has the Pict envoy their to watch. The Pict manages to goad the Roman centurion to kill him by spiting in his face. Later we find out the envoy is the king of the Picts Bran Mak Morn. He vows revenge and plans to call on the Worms of the Earth to get his revenge. He leaves the Roman settlement but not before killing the Roman that killed the Pict.

Well this was an excellent issue. It was filled with not one but two classic REH stories. The first is his second longest story and involves Conan in the Hyborean equivalent of India. It has many different plots and schemes going on that involve Turan, a mysterious wizard sect and Conan trying to free his captive lieutenants. He captures the beautiful Yasmela who is one of Howard’s stronger women characters that he created for his Conan stories.

The second is probably considered one of Howard’s best. A creepy tale set in Britain in the time of the Romans and involves revenge and supernatural forces. Bran Mak Morn is an enjoyable character and one of his classic stories.

The articles were good especially the reprint of Conan’s career. I like that Conan had a career just us normal folk. The next entry into the fate of Conan’s world showed that Howard put a lot of thought into his fictional universe. This was an excellent issue.

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