“Conan in the City of Magicians When Wizards Make War”

Writer: Roy Thomas

Artists: John Buscema and Ernie Chan

Zula takes Conan to a meeting of the Black Ring. There he offers to have him lead the army against the invading Kushites. The wizards debate this offer with Hak-Heru offering to save the city with his demon horde. Yet the wizards are open to it so Hak-Heru challenges Zula to a game of Zinat. It looks like a board game but Conan is transported as the piece for Zula. He has to fight various creatures and wins. He gets transported to Hak-Heru’s dungeon and frees Imhotep.

Meanwhile the armies of Kush arrive. The wizards set twin stone gargoyles against it. Ageera the Witch Smeller casts a spell that forms a giant skull. This clashes with the gargoyles and both are destroyed. Hak-Heru summons the demon horde, but Imhotep arrives and cuts the wizard in two with his scythe. He then has his horde which is under his control start to slaughter both Khesetta’s army and Kush’s. Conan reminds him of his vow, and he quits to take his horde to free Conan’s crew.

After everything is done, Thoth-Amon comes to put the city back to order. Imhotep frees Conan’s crew and the two part company. Conan is back to being a pirate.

This ending of the City of Magicians storyline was very satisfying. There is much strange magic and creatures that Conan has to fight. A big epic battle between two armies and two magical forces. Conan gets revenge on Mongo. Imhotep gets his revenge and his demon horde back. Thoth-Amon makes a guest appearance. Conan gets his crew back and Zula remains in Khesatta to follow his dream of being a powerful wizard.

Now this was the end of the policy of chronological stories for the magazine. After this they would go back to the old policy of adaptations and jumping around. I think was inevitable as it limited Conan to being a pirate when there are so many rich story ideas to explore.


“The Road Goes on Forever”

Writer: Michael Higgins

Artists: Ron Lim and Dan Adkins

Conan and Jorma battle the Hyperboreans when they suddenly just disappear. Conan doesn’t make much of this and finds out his mother as well as father is dead. So, he and Jorrma decide to become mercenaries. Conan comes up with the idea to take down the Aquilonian settlement of Venarium. He has Jorrma join the Aquilonian army. Conan will be a scout for the Cimmerians. Jorrma is to open the gates but gets caught and tossed in the dungeon. Fortunately, he has powers to hypnotize the girl that brings him his meals. She knocks out the guard and goes and unbars the gate. She gets killed and this sets off Jorrma who explodes magic and destroys the settlement. Conan is happy that Jorrma survived, and they go to get a drink.

Wow is this an issue that just goes off the edge. There are all sorts of weird magic happening, and Conan seems to be oblivious to it. He also has no emotion when he hears his mother died. The story also has relegated Conan to a secondary role in the story. Plus, it gives us a seminal moment in the history of Conan. i.e., the siege of Venarium which seems nothing like what it should be. Fortunately, Roy Thomas would retcon this in a later issue and we get the proper story of this event. Jorrma has all these weird powers which aren’t really explained, and Conan is oblivious to it. A very, very weird issue that I didn’t really care for.


“Conan and the City of Magicians Part IV Kheshatta!”

Writer: Roy Thomas

Artists: John Buscema and Ernie Chan

Conan arrives at Kheshatta. He manages to steal some camels from a caravan to gain entry. Only he gets knocked out by someone and finds himself on the slave block. He is surprised when his old comrade Zula manages to buy him. Zula is now a wizard and has taken over his old master’s title and estates. After a bit of playful fun fighting the two comrades make peace. Only a vengeful female wizard decides to send a demon to attack Zula. The two have to fight it to win. Zula will help Conan find Imhotep and rescue him. Meanwhile the army of Kush is approaching the city to make sure it never threatens Kush again with a demon horde.

“The Haunter of the Ring”

Writer: Roy Thomas adapted from story by Robert E. Howard

Artists: Jerry Decaire and George Freeman

King Conan comes to visit his friend Count Trocero. Trocero has married a new girl but there are problems. Trocero believes he is the reincarnated soul of a former evil ancestor who killed his wife. His wife was that woman in the past and is now trying to murder him. Conan figures out that the problem is from an old, rejected suitor who gave the wife a cursed Stygian ring. This ring will compel the wearer to kill the one they love. Now he summoned a demon to get the wearer of the ring. Only Conan managed to slip the ring on the guys finger and the demon comes and takes him.

In this issue Conan finally gets to Kheshatta. He has to sneak in and gets captured and sold into slavery. A surprise to find that Zula has become a lord of the city. There is a fight between him and Conan because Conan doesn’t trust the wizard Zula. Yet they make up and he will help Conan. Ends with the Kushite army approaching. Promises a big action-packed final with all the actors coming together. I really am enjoying this storyline and it builds on past stories that Roy wrote.

The backup is another non-Conan Howard story he adapted to Conan. Once again it is a very entertaining story. It feels like something that Howard would write which of course he did. All his stories I am sure can translate very well into Conan stories. A fun and enjoyable read.


“Deaths in the Family”

Writer: Michael Higgins

Artists: Ron Lim and Dan Adkins

Conan confronts his friend Jorrma after he goes through fire unscathed. Jorrma doesn’t fight Conan but will submit to his judgement. Conan can’t kill his friend and they reconcile. They go to a bar and Conan hooks up with a woman. Jorrma finds out that Hyberboreans are going to raid Conan’s village. They go to fight them, but the Hyberboreans are captured and sacrificed by the evil sorceress. She uses their blood on her monster men to turn them into the Hyberboreans. Conan arrives in time to join the battle with the fake Hyberboreans. His father is killed by the evil sorceress that takes over one of the Hyperboreans. She then turns into a werewolf and leads an attack with other wolves on the village. She kills Conan’s mother. She plans to kill Conan but a magical amulet that Jorrma gave him prevents it.

The story has a bit of a convolution to it. Jorrma retrieved the box from his dead parents burning hut only to find it filled with jewels. Including an amulet with magical powers he gives to Conan. How did he know? Don’t know but maybe will be revealed in future issues. Not really sure why the evil sorceress needed to turn her beast men into Hyperboreans instead of just using beast men. Yet Conan loses both his parents in this issue so we get an origin on what happened to them. It was always hinted at even by Howard that his parents were dead when he left Cimmeria. I suppose this is as good an origin as any. A decent story that keeps you interested in finding out why this sorceress is out to get Conan.


“Conan in the City of Magicians Part III Drums and Death Out of Tombalku”

Writer: Roy Thomas

Artists: John Buscema and Ernie Chan

Conan and Imhotep are trying to escape from Meroe when Imhotep’s demon horde arrives. Hak-Heru has send them to bring back Imhotep. The demon horde drives off the Meroen soldiers and take Imhotep. Conan now has to escape which he does and continue on to Khesatta. He arrives at the city of Gazal which he knows from a past adventure. A comrade named Almuric told him of his adventures in this old city founded by Kothian exiles. He finds the people completely passive to life. He gets some water and fruit for his journey.

The next day a troop from Tombalku arrives at the old city. They find Conan who is now also passive from eating the food and drinking the water. The commander has a score to settle with Conan for taking a command position from him. He locks up Conan and his men start to loot and pillage from the meek people of Gazal. A guard assigned to Conan takes pity on him and gives him food from his rations. After the commander gets done raping and killing, he decides to get Conan. Only Conan is now himself and they face a lion. Still numbers will win out but an old scholar they burned alive comes back and kills the commander. The magic he unleashed causes an explosion that destroys the invading Tombalku troops. The meek citizens take up arms for vengeance and Conan continues on to Khesetta.

“Murderer’s Grog”

Writer: Roy Thomas adapted from short story by Robert E. Howard

Artist: Ovi Hondru

In a small city state in Vendhya, Conan needs a seal of safe conduct from a hill chieftain to travel safely. A Nemedian woman betrays him, and Conan goes off to drink. The woman has some Silver Lotus put in his wine. This powder makes the drinker want to kill those he has old grudges against. The woman thought that Conan would go and kill the leader of the city. Only Conan has a bigger grudge against her. He kills her lover but the potion wears off. He gets his safe conduct among the hillmen.

Roy decided to explore an old Howard story that was partially written, and he adapted on his first run of Savage Sword. Conan never visited Gazal but gets to in this story. He also has a run in with a character from his adventure in Tombalku. This was an interesting story with Conan being under the drug that saps the will. It had some evil opponents and weird supernatural events. This also separated him from Imhotep and he has to continue his journey alone. Should arrive in Khesatta next issue which should be really exciting.

The backup was another Howard non-Conan story adapted to Conan. Roy was a master at this and I really enjoyed it. It feels like something that Howard would write. Another fun and exciting issue.



Writer: Michael Higgins

Artists: Ron Lim and Dan Adkins

It is time for the ritual that all babies of the tribe must endure. Baby Conan is to be left out in the cold for the night. If he survives then he is worthy of life. The men leave him in the woods and have to kill a wolf prowling around. Baby Conan gets this wolf’s blood on him and slides down a hill to the wolf’s cubs. The blood lets the cubs accept Conan and he survives the cold. He grows to a boy and meets an Aesir boy his age while hunting. The Aesir named Jormma and Conan become blood brothers. They go to a city and steal from a tower. They overhear that a group is raiding the Aesir and to protect Jomma’s family the two join the group. Conan manages to spread a rumor that Hyperboreans are raiding and gets the party to abandon attacking Jormma’s family. Only when the two get to Jormma’s hut, the evil sorceress sets the hut on fire. Jormma runs in and rescues a box. Conan thinks that Jormma is a monster for surviving the flames.

I like the idea of exploring Conan’s childhood. We get to see his parents and his life growing up. Cimmerians have a brutal ritual to go through. Amazing that they manage to survive. Conan gets his first friend and the evil sorceress out to get Conan intrigues me. Higgins has done a good job of reinvigorating the series.


“Conan in the City of Magicians Part II Marauders in Meroe”

Writer: Roy Thomas

Artists: John Buscema and Ernie Chan

Conan and Imhotep continue on in the stolen chariot. They are attacked by winged apes sent by Hak-Heru. They manage to defeat them but lost the chariot. Imhotep uses his magic to get zebras for them to ride. They make it to the capital of Kush. It has been ten years since Conan was in the city of Meroe. Yet his old former lieutenant of the guard is now the captain and remembers Conan. He takes Conan and Imhotep to see the new king. Ageera the Witch Smeller is the new king and with his powers, exposes the true demon nature of Imhotep. They manage to capture Imhotep and Conan escapes. He goes to a former girlfriend and finds that Mongo the captain is now living with her. He defeats Mongo and gets the girlfriend to help disguise himself as the captain. He goes blackface and manages to get into the dungeon and break out Imhotep. They are discovered by Mongo who was set free by the girlfriend, but they have a more pressing issue. Imhotep’s winged demons now under the control of Hak-Heru have arrived.

“Old Gerrad’s Heart”

Writer: Roy Thomas adapted from “Old Garfield’s Heart” by Robert E. Howard

Artist: Sandu Florea

Conan is a fourteen and has make a friend of old Garrad. Another villager tells him the story of how Garrad became immortal. Years ago, while fighting Picts, an old Pict shaman put the heart of a god into Garrod to save him. Garrad confirms this and gets Conan to swear he will cut out his heart if he becomes too injured. This happens the next day when a bully tries to spear Conan. The spear hits Garrod in the head. Conan kills the bully and cuts out the heart of Garrod. The old shaman comes back and gives the heart to a giant bat to carry back to the god that owns the heart.

I really love this new storyline. We get back to Meroe which Conan had adventures back in the old color comic. I love how Roy explores these places years later. Conan meets up with some old characters. We get a more detailed explanation of how Imhotep’s demon horde and powers were stolen. Conan and Imhotep’s interactions are enjoyable.

The backup was an adaptation of a non-Conan Howard story. Roy did this for many stories and nice to see him go back to the practice. This was a fascinating story with a supernatural twist that is very Howardesque. Savage Sword was really firing on all cylinders with Roy back in the writers seat.


“Birth on the Battlefield”

Writer: Michael Higgins

Artists: Ron Lim and Dan Adkins

A Cimmerian fights his enemy Baelin. A mysterious sorceress sends winged demons to destroy them. The two have to join forces to defeat the demons. A truce is called but the sorceress tries to mesmerize the Cimmerian. The Cimmerian is attacked by a wolf, and this breaks the spell. The sorceress has to send a demon disguised as the Cimmerian to kill Baelin’s wife and children. Baelin vows revenge.

The Cimmerian travels and comes on a fellow Cimmerian being attacked by Vanir. He helps defeat the Vanir and they become friends. The Cimmerian is introduced to a woman who is living with the guy he rescued and they fall in love. They have a son and he grows up and takes a wife. The Cimmerian then has to fight a vengeful Baelin, and both are killed. The son has a son of his own that he names Conan.

The new series has finally arrived. We get a new logo or actually the return of the original one for the first ten issues. The story starts with a King Conan telling a story to his son. I love the idea of at first the reader thinks this is about Conan. Only at the end do we find out it is about his grandfather. Introduces some sorceress that is threatened by Conan’s birth so she tries to kill the grandfather. Of course, she fails but a really cool idea to frame a story about this mysterious sorceress and Conan’s origin. I like the new direction and this series did need a new direction.


“Conan in the City of Magicians Part I The Sword and the Scythe”

Writer: Roy Thomas

Artists: John Buscema and Ernie Chan

Conan has signed on to a new pirate ship. During a storm a rebellious crewmate decides to kill the captain. Conan tosses this guy overboard and becomes the new captain. After dropping off Morganis in Zingara, the ship is stalked by Captain Zarono and two of his privateers. The chase leads south of Stygia where they finally give up the chase. Conan is forced to put in to the only port in Kush. He finds out that the blacks of the kingdom have overthrown their Stygian rulers. They are also very xenophobic about foreigners. They attack and take Conan and his crew prisoner. The king wants them to teach sailing so they can become a naval power.

In the stockade, Conan is surprised to find Imhotep the Ravager of Worlds also a prisoner. He has lost his powers to the magician Hak-Heru. He has become the lover to the queen and convinces her to also take Conan. The two escape from the city with Conan agreeing to help him regain his amulet and powers in exchange for coming back and freeing his men. They steal the king’s chariot and make their way to Khesatta in Stygia.

“Exile of Atlantis”

Writer: Roy Thomas based on story by Robert E. Howard.

Artist: E.R. Cruz

Kull comes back with his friends from a hunting trip to find his old childhood playmate Sareeta has been captured. Because she married a Lemurian pirate they are going to burn her at the stake. Kull throws his knife into her to spare her the agony. For this crime his tribe will burn him. He jumps off a cliff and swims out to sea.

The story picks up with the Barachan pirate chronology after the two excellent storys for the 200th and 201st issues. Needless to say this was the beginning of a really great story. He brings back Imhotep which shows that he is familiar with stuff that was written while he was gone. It also brings us back to Kush after the rebellion. Lots of memberberries in this story. Another start to an epic storyline.

The Kull backup deals with his exile from his tribe. This has been covered in past Kull issues but still an enjoyable story. It also marks the start of Kull’s adventures outside Atlantis. A really enjoyable issue.


“The Burning Tower”

Writer: Gerry Conway

Artists: Frank Springer and Don Perlin

Conan and the leader of a resistance against the Lotus dealers attempt to sneak into the compound of Karmanthes. They fail but later Conan manages to sneak into the compound and confront Karmanthes. Karmanthes is a drugged out Lotus addict and Conan just beats him around a little. Karmanthe’s brother assaults the tower to confront his brother. The two brothers argue that each was stealing from them. A fire starts and burns the tower down as Conan escapes. He confronts the man helping him as the instigator of the feud between the two brothers. Conan decides to not partner with him in the Lotus trade and heads off.

The final issue of Conway’s Conan was a very mediocre one. I like Conway but he really wasn’t a good fit for Conan. He seemed to be phoning it in as a placeholder until the new Conan could start. I have to admit that a radical change of pace was needed for this title. I look forward to seeing what the new team did.