CONAN BATTLE FOR THE SERPENT CROWN #5

“Untitled”
Writer: Saladin Ahmed
Artist: Luke Ross

Conan and Nyla are now prisoners of Imus Champion. They are hanging from chains when Champion comes with the Serpent Crown and scepter. He makes the chains disappear because with his new powers he can now control the minds of Conan and Nyla. He was supposed to have them sacrificed so Mephisto could be free. Only Champion feels he doesn’t need Mephisto anymore and can control the crown and scepter. He soon finds out that he can’t control it yet and losses his grip on the two. Conan is quick and knocks the crown off his head. A big fight ensues when Mephisto comes and takes Conan away. In a private conversation he feels that Conan is the only one who truly can control the power and in exchange for helping him, Mephisto wants Conan to free him. Conan naturally doesn’t trust the demon and refuses. So Mephisto returns him and decides to give up on Champion. Conan actually forces Champion to wear the crown and it’s power destroys him. Conan and Nyla go to a VIP surf and turf at a local casino to celebrate their victory.

The ending comes to a satisfying conclusion. Conan manages to overcome the power of the artifacts. Champion’s greed gets the better of him. Mephisto can’t convince Conan to side with him. I thought the series was well written. It had a fun plot that visits different places and Marvel characters. Nyla was a good sidekick. She showed a realistic humility at the end instead of a super Mary Sue. Yet she could hold her own and helped Conan in this wild quest. Luke Ross has very beautiful art which really made this series worthwhile. Nice to see some Marvel comics get it right.

CONAN BATTLE FOR THE SERPENT CROWN #4

“Untitled”
Writer: Saladin Ahmed
Artist: Luke Ross

Champion has just stole the Serpent Scepter from Wakanda. He wants to know Mephisto’s plan. So Mephisto tells him the history of the scepter and crown. That a rebellious sect of Set called the Sect of the Red Serpent were given the scepter by the rival god Wyrm. The scepter allows the holder to not be under the influence of Set while wearing the crown. The two things will make anyone powerful. Of course Mephisto is the only one that can teach Champion how to use it. So he sends Champion off to Atlantis to get the crown.

Conan and Nyla are being transported to Atlantis by Shuri. They are given a potion that will allow them to breath underwater. So they jump out and swim to the temple. There they find that Champion has already got the crown. Also just then Namor enters the conversation. Champion with the crown takes over the minds of Conan and Namor. He pits them against each other. Nyla manages to knock the crown off his head. Only he also has the scepter and uses it to subdue the three. He sends Namor to the desert and will take Conan and Nyla back to Vegas to be used in a sacrifice.

This issue we start to get the whole story of what’s going on. That Mephisto needed Conan because only someone drenched in the blood of Set’s priests can retrieve the scepter. Conan of course has killed many priests of Set. We find out about the crown and scepter. Why Conan is involved and the plan of Mephisto. Although as Champion points out he has a hundred schemes within schemes we don’t know about. This has been a well written story. It has a clear protagonist and opponent. Some enjoyable action scenes. Yes the whole potion to breath underwater is a bit goofy but this is a comic. Now we will get the final act.

CONAN BATTLE FOR THE SERPENT CROWN #3

“Untitled”
Writer: Saladin Ahmed
Artist: Luke Ross

Conan and Nyla find themselves in Wakandia. Imus Champion and Mephisto planned this all along and watch. The ring that transported them starts to glow and Conan tries to discard it. Only it flies onto his finger and takes his mind over. It guides him to a cave before Conan manages to reassert his free will and destroy the ring. Conan still has where the ring was guiding him in his head. So with Nyla, he enters the cave. They find a secret chamber and inside is an alter of Set. On it is the Serpent scepter. The Black Panther shows up and Conan starts a fight with him. They give and take in the fight. While this is going on Imus Champion is teleported to the cave and snatches up the scepter. Conan and Black Panther decide to work together to get back the scepter. Champion and Mephisto then plot to use the scepter to steal the Serpent Crown in Atlantis.

The quest gets more interesting. The big development is Conan is no longer a sidekick. He is fully in charge in this issue and I love it. We get to see him exert his will to break the mind control. He has a good fight with Black Panther and holds his own. In fact Nyla is now the sidekick. Lets face it, if you have a powerful character like Conan it makes no sense to not fully use him. Plus the art of Ross is absolutely stunning. An interesting series that gets better with each issue.

CONAN BATTLE FOR THE SERPENT CROWN #2

“Untitled”
Writer: Saladin Ahmed
Artist: Luke Ross

Conan and Nyla are at the Inferno hotel to steal the gems but find out the Black Cat has beat them to it. She grabs on to a cable and escapes by helicopter. Nyla manages to shoot a tracker on the helicopter. So the two fight off some security guards and steal a car. A chase through the streets results in Conan jumping on the pursuit car and causing it to crash. No sooner then that the Scarlet Spider tries to stop them. Conan manages to grab the Scarlet Spider and toss him into a neon sign. This knocks him out and the two continue after the Black Cat. They trace her to an auto body shop. Only the Black Cat has set a trap for them. Her henchman uses a taser to knock out Nyla. Conan has such strength he manages to continue fighting. The Black Cat gets on her helicopter and takes off. Conan grabs for the door but is knocked off. He did manage to knock off a chest with a ring inside. The ring teleports Conan and Nyla to Wakandia.

The second book continues to be an enjoyable read. Conan gets some action and we get an exciting chase. I like that Conan is in character and bewildered by all the goofy costumed characters. He thinks the cars and weapons are of sorcery and unmanly. He also shows the Howard like ability to just plow right through in spite of any pain or obstacle. There were some humorous moments like Nyla asking him after he punches out the driver, “Do you know how cars work?” Also the artwork is just a thing of beauty. The only complaint is that Conan still seems to be a sidekick and not in charge of the action.

CONAN BATTLE FOR THE SERPENT CROWN #1

“Battle for the Serpent Crown”
Writer: Saladin Ahmed
Artist: Luke Ross

Conan has come to Las Vegas on his quest to destroy Kulan Gath. First he has to steal some money and decides to rob an armored car. Only the guards manage to taser him. Luckily a woman was also there to rob the car. She has electronic jammers that disable the guards weapons and communications. Conan is able to knock them out. Nyla offers to split the money and offers Conan a job. He accepts and finds out she plans to rob a rich evil man named Imus Champion. He has a fortune in emeralds and has this hotel that looks like a giant tree with a flame on top. They climb it and Conan knocks out the guards. Only the safe has already been robbed by the Black Cat. As this goes on Champion is talking about how their plan is so far going well. The person he works with is revealed to be Mephisto.

Another Conan series this time set in our present. Conan is still Conan in our time. He has no problem resorting to being a thief to get by. He conveniently teams up with a woman who has skills to break into more high tech safes and places. A good solid story but it has Conan reduced to being a sidekick which just is something that I don’t think should be in a Conan story. Otherwise the story was interesting. The art is beautiful. It is a series that has potential.