“The Devourer of the Dead”
Writer: Roy Thomas
Artists: John Buscema and Ernie Chan
Conan has arrived back at the Barachan pirate stronghold of Tortage. There is some surprise that he is still alive and after a bar fight, he gets recruited by Strombanni a pirate captain. Strombanni is looking for the Treasure of Tranicos and has a medallion from the Stygian wizard that Tranicos stole the treasure. He wants to find the other half on the wizard’s island. They set sail and find a merchant to plunder. They take a Zingaran noblewoman for ransom and also get a young woman disguised as a man. The woman is Valeria and is accepted into the crew. A Zingaran pirate captain that is a rival to Strombanni, Black Zarano has followed him. The two agree to find the medallion and share the treasure.
On the island of the wizard, they do find the other half. Only it was trap set by the wizard. A giant hybrid creature part crocodile, part lion and part hippopotamus erupts from the Earth. Conan manages to defeat it by destroying the medallion.
“Bride of the Buccaneer”
Writer: Roy Thomas
Artist: E.R. Cruz
Kull and his friends are playing when they find a Lemurian pirate washed ashore. They take him back where the chief will torture him. Only Sareeta has fallen in love with him and frees him. They are escaping when Kull attacks. Only he is convinced by Sareeta to let them go after she tells of her love and desire to leave Atlantis.
Conan is back in more familiar lands after his adventures in the far east. This is a sort of prequel to the Howard story “The Treasure of Tranacos.” It introduces Conan to the two main pirates of the story This also introduces him for the first time to Valeria. I love seeing Valeria as she was meant to be after the atrocious Max Bemis series. This story does a great job of introducing interesting characters and getting Conan back to being a pirate. Plus it show how knowledgeable that Thomas is about Conan and the world he inhabits.
The back up is back to the Kull ongoing series. Once again, we get to see the origins of a well-established story from the Kull comics. This time the origin of his friend Sareeta and how she hooks up with a Lemurian pirate. Of course, we know this ends in tragedy but an enjoyable look at Kull’s early life. A really enjoyable issue that show how wonderful it was to get Thomas back. It even has the map and Nemedian quotation that the old series had. I admit to missing that.