“For the Throne of Zamboula”
Writer: Roy Thomas adapted from book “Conan & the Sword of Skelos” by Andrew J. Offutt
Artists: John Buscema & Tony DeZuniga
Conan has been betrayed by Aktar Khan. Now he seeks vengeance. He allies with Boland the rebel that seeks the throne. He also gets the Shanti tribesmen to join in by luring out his loyal troops. Than Conan attempts to sneak into the palace to free Isparana. Only they were waiting for him and soon he is captured. He is tortured for a while before being brought before Zafra. Zafra attempts to kill Conan with his magic sword. Only Conan manages to evade the sword and leave the room. The sword needs to kill once activated and turns of Zafra. Conan than takes the sword and a uniform from a guard he kills to find Isparana. He finds her in the dungeon being tortured and dispatches the guards and torturer.
With Isparana they go to the throne room to take Aktar Khan captive. Only he is surrounded by guards and the two are forced to surrender. The guards are sent outside because Aktar Khan wants to use his magic sword to dispatch the two. Only with Zafra dead it doesn’t work. Boland and the rebels arrive and Boland dispatches Aktar with a well placed arrow. Conan is disgusted by the cowardly way Boland killed him. Before Boland and do anything Zafra crawls in still alive. He commands the sword to kill Boland which it does. Conan cuts off Zafra’s head before he can turn it on him. The people proclaim Junghir Khan the young son of Aktar the rightful Khan.
“REH: Bard from the Shadows”
By Fred Blosser
An article on the poems of Howard. A somewhat dry article.
“Mirror of the Manticore”
Writers: Roy Thomas and Fred Blosser
Artist: Kerry Gammill
Olgerd Vladislov crawls off into the desert to die after his encounter with the creature at the oasis. While in the desert he witnesses a father and his daughter escaping bandits. The leader Khemal Bey kills the father and takes the daughter. They leave a mirror with a manticore figure in the frame behind. Olgerd than finds from the dying father that the mirror can heal him. He tells Olgerd how if he will rescue his daughter. Olgerd agrees and uses the mirror to regenerate himself. He goes off and confronts Khemal to a duel for control of his brigands. Olgerd wins and becomes known as the Tiger.
The final ending to Offutt’s novel. It was an enjoyable ending that had many twists and turns that were unexpected. Conan negotiates different factions to rescue Isparana and defeat the Khan. What I found unexpected was how Boland showed himself to be just as equally an unjust ruler. Zafra the wizard shows up unexpectedly and kills Boland which was another surprise. An enjoyable story that I will have to someday read the books.
A fun bonus was the story of how Olgerd Vladislov came back from his encounter with the creature from a Thomas story. This was before they got the rights to DeCamp. So after adapted the Flame Knife there was some discrepancies unanswered as how he came to escape the creature. So Thomas had Blosser come up with a story outline and I have to say it did a good job. We now know how Olgerd escaped to once again confront Conan. A good solid issue.