“Two Against the Hawk-City!”
Writer: Roy Thomas
Artists: Ernie Chan and John Buscema
Conan has come back to Harakht after completing his mission and finds his mate Belit missing. He goes to the temple and confronts the king Mer-ath. Mer-ath tells him that while Conan was gone he had a dream. A dream of Harakht being destroyed because of the actions of Belit. So he tried to have her arrested but Belit managed to grab Mer-ath and threaten his life to gain her freedom. She also took Neftha along as a shield since Mer-ath was her lover. So now Mer-ath plans to use Conan as a hostage until Neftha is returned to him.
Conan tries to fight his way out and a net brings him down. A black slave than knocks him out. Conan is taken to a dungeon and chained to the wall. His only companion is the slave who brained him. The slave named Zula has a proposition. If he frees Conan than Conan will accompany him to Kheshatta so he can take care of unfinished business. Conan agrees and Zula produces a vial of acid that dissolves their chains. Then they fake a fight so the guards come. They ambush the guards and fight their way to the giant hawks. Zula knows how to control them so the two escape Harakht.
Meanwhile Belit and Neftha reach Luxor. Neftha knows a way in and takes them to a small temple of Set. Neftha chants a spell which turns the two women into snakes so they can slither into the palace.
I enjoyed the side trip that Conan took. We got some great reimaging of Howard stories but it is nice to get back to the main plot. We find out what has happened to Belit and Neftha. The slave girl they rescued is proving to be genuine in knowing stuff to help Belit gain entry to the palace in Luxor. Another big thing is the introduction of a new character to the Conan universe. Zula a black slave who is a warrior and aspires to be a wizard is a favorite of mine. A mysterious and powerful companion that will show up throughout the Marvel Conan. This was a really great story filled with action, suspense and the return of the great John Buscema.