“Conan the Liberator”
Writer: Roy Thomas adapted from book by L. Sprague de Camp & Lin Carter
Artists: John Buscema & Tony Dezuniga
Conan’s army of liberation continues it’s march to Tarantia. Conan’s army has taken a bit of a hit with a mysterious plague and desertions. At the village of Almira he is ambushed and barely escapes with his life. The loyalists have a larger army. Yet there are some positive signs. The king’s own guard the Black Guard has deserted to Conan. They tell how King Numedides has gone completely mad and thinks he is a god. Conan hearing the palace is no longer guarded takes the Black Guard to Tarantia.
In the capital Numedides attempts to rape Alcina but is stopped by Thulandra Thuu. Thuu now openly brags that he is the real ruler of Aquilonia. Soon though Conan arrives. With the help of Dexitheus a Mitra priest who has some knowledge of sorcery in his youth Conan successfully confronts Thuu. The wizard decides that ruling Aquilonia isn’t worth it and takes off. King Numedides at first begs for his life but when Conan turns his back he tries to knife him. Conan chokes him to death and crowns himself king. He banishes Alcina and makes Dexitheus his chancellor. Later a newly crowned Conan finds out he has to deal with the mundane bureaucracy of ruling.
“The Chan Barbarians”
Artist: Ernie Chan
Six portfolios of artwork. They include Conan in some classic scenes from “Tower of the Elephant” and being nailed to a cross. One has the women in Conan’s life and one of Solomon Kane and Kull.
The ending of the story that tells of how Conan becomes king. I found it an enjoyable story. Conan of course will crown himself. The tyrant Numedides proves himself to be a total coward and completely crazy. The evil wizard when confronted goes off in a huff that Aquilonia isn’t worth his time. I wonder if De Camp and Carter ever brought Thulandra Thuu back. He was a good enemy. The traitorous Alcina gets spared since Conan won’t kill a woman. Yet she tries to worm her way back with pleading that she was under the control of Thuu.
Finally the ending was the best. Conan is ready to choose his harem but has to go over the budget for the kingdom. Being king has it’s less than glamourous times. A fun adaptation that gives us how Conan became king with beautiful artwork.