AGE OF CONAN VALERIA #5

“Chapter Five Heart of Vengeance”
Writer: Meredith Finch
Artist: Aneke

Valeria has snuck into Antonius’s room to kill him. Yet she can’t and is confronted by Antonius. He tells her the real story of her brother. That when he took her in he was spending well beyond his means. So he worked with Lord Blasius and was the one responsible for killing the Zamoran ambassador. When confronted by Antonius her brother Cassius drew Antonius’s sword and killed himself. So she goes out and kills Blasius and decides to devote her life to helping others.

“The Fall of Thoth-Amon Part 5”
By Matt Forbeck

Thoth-Amon is now slave to the merchant that smuggled him out of Stygia. One night raiders attack the camp and Thoth-Amon does not sound the alarm. His captor is killed along with the others. The man leading the raid Ascalante of Aquilonia decides to spare Thoth-Amon. He will use him in overthrowing Conan in Aquilonia and guarantees Thoth-Amon’s loyalty by leaving a letter with a hermit. If he dies an unnatural death than the hermit will tell King Ctesphon where he is. So Thoth-Amon has no choice but to serve Ascalante.

So the final issue ties up the mystery of what happened to Valeria’s brother. A bit underwhelming but I still liked this series. It was better that the Belit series. I thought it stayed true to the character and world that Howard created. Also the artwork was just beautiful. I hope they continue to improve with the next Age of Conan.

As for the prose story it was very interesting from beginning to end. The author captured the personality of Thoth-Amon perfectly. The scenario fits into the story that would eventually become “The Phoenix on the Sword” which was the very first Conan story. The plot gives a logical reason for why Thoth-Amon became an exile and slave to Ascalante. I’d like the author to do another about Thoth-Amon’s triumphant return after he gets back his serpent ring.

AGE OF CONAN VALERIA #4

“Chapter Four Lord of Lies”
Writer: Meredith Finch
Artist: Aneke

Valeria meets the man that she thinks killed her brother. Antonius is quite friendly with her and talks about how Valeria has grown into a young woman. Valeria decides to not kill him just yet. She wants to find out the reason for her brother being murdered. So later she sneaks out of the monastery and goes to see Blasius. Blasius tells Valeria that her brother was undercover with the Mitran knights. The knights were the real power behind the thrown and Cassius was working to break that power. He found out they were responsible for assassinating a Zamoran ambassador. This information destroyed the knights but Cassius was killed for it. Blasius tells Valeria that Antonius was the one. So later that night she sneaks into Antonius’s room to kill him.

“The Fall of Thoth-Amon Part 4”
By Matt Forbeck

Thoth-Amon is in the catacombs of the Temple of Set. It is easy to avoid the guards in the catacombs but very difficult for him to get past the walls of Luxor. He has to find a foreigner that doesn’t know who he is. Thoth-Amon hates that he has to rely on a stranger and even more be polite to this stranger. He finds a Kothian merchant and gives a story that the guardsmen robbed him and he needs the merchant to smuggle him out. The merchant is more that glad to help for he sees in Thoth-Amon a slave that he can sell in this native Koth.

So we get the reason for why Valeria’s brother was killed. Valeria is shown to be a very determined woman. She climbs the walls and sneaks in to Blasius’s quarters. She also struggles with killing Antonius in the monastery for she is grateful for the priests that helped her. Yet she made a vow. I am interested in how this story ends.

The prose story has just been excellent. The writer really captures Thoth-Amon’s personality. How he has such disdain for people and how it grates on him to have to be nice to someone. Of course the guy he looks to for help is selling him into slavery. Couldn’t of happened to a more deserving guy.

AGE OF CONAN VALERIA #3

“Chapter Three Ghost of the Past”
Writer: Meredith Finch
Artist: Aneke

Valeria is being nursed back to health by the priests of Mitra. She refuses to just rest which interferes in her healing. Soon after the monastery is attacked and Valeria volunteers to help. She first tries to help with the wounded but they bring back memories of the time Zingaran pirates attacked her village. She goes up to the wall and sees the army lead by a Lord Blasius. He is after a traitor that is being sheltered by the monastery. A traitor that turns out to be her brother’s friend Antonius. Valeria believes Antonius is responsible for the death of her brother and goes to confront him in his room.

“The Fall of Thoth-Amon Part 3”
By Matt Forbeck

Thoth-Amon tries to bluff his way after Malach calls for his arrest. Unfortunately the guards side with Malach and Thoth-Amon is forced to flee. He realizes that he has no friends with him being a total dick to everybody. He manages to jump through his secret trap door into the snake pit. The snakes don’t have venom because of the last victim so he doesn’t suffer any ill effects from the bites.

So this issue has Valeria recuperating after her attack. The monastery she is in is attacked by someone she knows from her past with her brother. She also finds his best friend Antonius who she believes is responsible for killing her brother. I admit a slow moving story but I find it interesting and really love the artwork. Also the prose story is really good.

AGE OF CONAN VALERIA #2

“Chapter Two Warrior of Aquilonia”
Writer: Meredith Finch
Artist: Aneke

Valeria manages to disarm the assailant in her room. We get a flashback to her as a girl training with Antonius. He manages to teach her how to use her opponents strength against him. Back in the present she finds the man that attacked her is the blacksmith. He says that Mitran Knights are being killed and he thought Valeria was one of those responsible. She convinces him otherwise and finds out that she has to go to a nearby Mitran monastery. There they have records of who owned the sword that killed her brother. Along the way she is ambushed by three brigands but manages to kill them. She makes it to the monastery and collapses after ringing the doorbell.

“The Fall of Thoth-Amon Part 2”
By Matt Forbeck

Thoth-Amon now worries about losing his power. While discussing this with his slave girl Kimshalla he comes to realize that she stole his ring. Kimshalla then tries to stab Thoth-Amon with a broken goblet. Thoth-Amon without his powers has to resort to good old beating her up to subdue her. The guards come because of the disturbance and the captain Malach notices that Thoth-Amon has been injured. He realizes that Thoth-Amon is now powerless and orders him to be arrested.

The second book continues to delve into the mystery of who killed Valeria’s brother. We get some insight into her life as a young girl. We also see Valeria fight as a young woman. Not a bad story. I am interested so far. As for the novella it is awesome. Very concise and interesting. I am very interested on how this ends.

AGE OF CONAN VALERIA #1

“Chapter One Child of War”
Writer: Meredith Finch
Artist: Aneke

Valeria was born on a battlefield in Aquilonia. Later as a young child her parents were killed by Zingaran pirates that raider her village. So she than goes to live with her brother Cassian a knight of Mitra. Her brother is killed so young Valeria grows up training to be the best swordwoman in all of Aquilonia. She still seeks her brother’s killer and the search leads her to a blacksmith. At night as she sleeps she wakes to find a knife at her throat. The man demands to know how she has a sword of a knight of Mitra.

“The Fall of Thoth-Amon Part 1”
By Matt Forbeck

Thoth-Amon is pissed as a servant has managed to steal his Crown of Set and staff. He takes it out on the guy who was training the thief and left him alone so he could steal. His punishment is to be thrown into a pit of snakes. As Thoth-Amon goes to his chambers to relax he notices that his Ring of Set is phony. The real one is also stolen and with it the power that he welds.

So the next Age of Conan is the origin of Valeria. She is one of my favorites that Howard created and I always loved her appearances in the Conan titles. Finally she gets her origin told and so far I like what I am reading. This is much better than the Belit origin. The artist is also quite talented as Valeria has never looked more beautiful.

The backup story is how Thoth-Amon fell from power. Thoth-Amon appeared in the very first Conan story ever written as a wizard who lost his ring and forced to be a slave to an Aquilonian nobleman. Now we get the origin to his story. Surprised they didn’t choose a Valeria story as they did in Belit’s series. Not that I have any complaints as the Thoth-Amon story is quite good and interesting so far. I have good feeling for this series.