“The Devourer of the Dead!”
Writer: Roy Thomas and Ed Summer
Artists: John Buscema & Ernie Chan
Conan and Zula have arrived at Luxor the capital of Stygia. First Conan manages to climb the wall and help Zula over after taking out a guard. Than disguised as a Stygian and his slave Conan goes to the local tavern to get some intel. A funeral of an important Stygian presents an opportunity to get into the palace. So Zula takes out some obnoxious Set acolytes and appropriate their robes. Joining the procession they go to a half finished pyramid where the body along with the slaves are sent to the Devourer. One of the priests notices that Zula is a black and not Stygian so Conan and Zula fight their way out. They escape by jumping into a pool. Coming out farther along the river under the pyramid they catch a ride on the funeral barge with the coffin and recently slain slaves. They come to a huge chamber and find the Devourer which is a giant blob like creature with several mouths. They set fire to the barge and escape on the coffin. The fire causes the Devourer to flail around and cave in the chamber. Then it is discovered someone is still alive in the coffin. They find Belit there. She says she was put in by King Ctesphon II. Also that Neftha the slave girl is actually the king’s sister.
So Conan finally reaches Luxor. This was an enjoyable story. Luxor was portrayed in a two page spread and looks like a cool city. I love the humor with the Set acolytes who were making fun of Zula as a dumb barbarian and he answers them intelligently in their own language. He also gets the satisfaction of taking them out. The big ending has them take out a monster and surprising find Belit in the coffin. Another big surprise is finding Neftha wasn’t a common slave girl but Stygian royalty. Sets up anticipation for the next issue. Also nice to finally get toward the resolution of Conan and Belit’s quest.