CONAN THE BARBARIAN #140

“Spider Isle”

Writer: Bruce Jones

Artist: John Buscema

Conan is dragged unconscious aboard the riverboat of Lupos Davalte. A guy with a hook for a hand has captured Conan for some humiliation that he caused Lupos. Later Conan wakes and has to beat up some thug with a whip. He tries to strangle Lupos but is restrained by the crew and tied to the mast. Lupos is about to torture him when his first mate Fhrank makes the suggestion that Conan could man the oars. Lupos agrees and Conan is chained to the oars. He gets in a fight again with the whip guy and this time kills him.

Here we get a flashback to why Conan is a prisoner. Lupos was about to disfigure a woman who tried to lift his purse when Conan intervened. Conan bent his hook and humiliated him in front of the tavern. So he had Conan’s ale drugged so he could capture him. The boat is low on supplies and has to pull to shore. Everyone including Theta the girl of Lupos goes ashore looking for supplies. They come on a skeleton hanging in a web and later one of the crew goes missing with another running away in terror. They come to a dried riverbed and find the missing crewman in a web. Then they are surrounded by giant spiders.

This is a really good story. Conan is in serious peril and a prisoner. We get a boat going down a huge river and pulling over into a spooky forest. The forest has giant spiders. Along the way we are introduced to other characters besides Lupos. The first mate has an obvious hatred of his captain and has saved Conan’s life. There is a girl that Lupos has who is obviously terrified of him. Plus we get Big John Buscema back drawing and inking his work. I never seem to get quite used to other artists drawing Conan. A really excellent issue with a solid story, interesting characters and a cliffhanger ending.

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