Writer: Bill Mantlo
Artist: Gary Kwapisz
Conan is leading some brigands through the mountains after they looted a caravan. The men are cold and hungry but Conan seems well fed and still has a horse. That is because he took food instead of loot. Now the men want his food and a fight breaks out. The horse is killed and the noise starts an avalanche. Only Conan survives but without any food or shelter it looks grim. While wandering along he comes on an army of the dead. Since he looks almost dead and Conan wonders himself it he is dead they accept him as one of theirs. They come on the city of life and attack. During the attack Conan is hit with a crossbow bolt. The dead have to retreat back to the mountains at dawn. The living soldiers killed also join this army. Since Conan doesn’t the inhabitants find out he is still alive and bring him inside.
Conan finds out that the city has properties that prolong the lifespan. That barbarians laid siege to the city and they hired mercenaries to fight them. Their reward was to be allowed to live in the city. Only at the end they were betrayed and the survivors killed. Now their dead bodies attack. Each day their numbers grow as the living decrease. Conan finds out they haven’t had anyone born since this. They think that if Conan can get the queen pregnant then they will bring in new life to keep the city going. Only Conan wants no part of this. The regent tries to stop Conan but ends up killing the queen. The queen comes back as undead and helps Conan find a horse to flee the doomed city.
“The Dinner Guest”
Writer: Alan Rowlands
Artist: Tim Burgard
Conan is chased by men to a lone cabin in the woods. An old couple are eating their meal when Conan bursts in. He fights and kills all the men after him. He rides off to an old woman in terror but the old man really enjoyed it.
“Extra! Bonus Pinups”
Artist: Ernie Chan
Full page portfolios of Conan in action.
Mantlo did a guest stint as writer for this issue. You can always count on him to deliver an excellent story and this was no exception. A fascinating tale that is one I remember from all those years ago as standing out. During that time the zombie genre wasn’t overdone so it was quite fresh. You find out the inhabitants of this city had what was coming to them. They were decadent and would watch the fighting with amusement. That the fools would fight for them. Yet they paid for their treachery. An excellent story with beautiful artwork by Kwapisz.
The backup story was told with all images. No dialogue or exposition. They just told the story with pictures and I always love those kind of stories. The old man seemed to live vicariously through Conan. This was an all around excellent issue.