Writers: Gary Kwapisz & Jim Owsley
Artist: Gary Kwapisz
Conan has been hired my a wealthy merchant in the Zamorian city of Zemizar as a bodyguard. He foils an attack by ninjas from the local cult. Seems that the merchant Slogg has been using goat meat in his slaughterhouses. Goats are sacred to this cult. The merchant and the cult had come to a truce but with tough times Slogg decided to go back to slaughtering goats. His wife is the daughter of the cult priest which was part of the original truce. Conan soon figures out that someone is out to kill him so he quits and goes to an old witch. This witch tells him about the cult’s upcoming sacrifice of 1000 babies and that they fear Conan will interfere with it. He decides to go back and be the guard of Slogg. This is a good thing for his wife has been conspiring to take their infant son to be sacrificed. Conan and Slogg go after them and fight zombies. They come on the ceremony but the wife summons the goat god. He comes as a giant goat-man. Only he decides to eat the wife and Slogg. Conan rescues the infant and finds a good family to raise him.
“Trail of Blades”
Writer: Charles Dixon
Artist: Geof Isherwood
King Kull is with his men hunting for bandits that prey on caravans entering Valusia. He sets up an ambush at a likely spot. Sure enough the bandits attack and Kull’s men destroy them. Kull fights the bandit leader who he knew in the old days when Kull was a bandit. He plans to crucify him until the bandit points out what the caravan was transporting. It had weapons to arm rebels. So the bandit leader is freed while the caravan leader is taken prisoner.
Kwapisz like Buscema before him gets his chance to plot out a story. I found it a very interesting and unique story. Conan is involved with a fight between two factions. The idea of a merchant using goats for his slaughterhouses that are sacred is a unique twist to the idea. Naturally Conan is much more smart then everyone gives him credit for. The disgust he has with the whole crazy civilized people is dead on what Howard would have written. A fun story with many twists, beautiful artwork and plenty of action.
The backup Kull story by Dixon was of course up to the expected standards. A story that starts out as expected but has a twist at the end I didn’t see coming. Dixon was a good choice to write these Kull backups. Also at the end are a series of portfolios by Ernie Chan that are beautiful to look at. A good solid issue.