CONAN THE BARBARIAN #218

“Island Life”

Writers: Charles Santino and Val Semeiks

Artists: Val Semeiks and Alfredo Alcala

Conan in his last adventure found himself washed out into the Vilayet Sea. Now there is a storm and Conan clings to a piece of flotsam fighting off giant fish. He washes ashore on a small island. This island is being used by the fierce Kro, a tribe of bloodthirsty savages. Conan has to fight this group of savages and steal their boat.

Another fun action filled issue. It has some cool images. The island is a giant cliff with a small beach. There are ruins in the lagoon, and it is populated by fierce fish that will eat you alive. Conan is constantly in action and kills about twenty savages to get the boat. Once again, a story heavy on non-stop action and little characterization.

CONAN THE BARBARIAN #217

“Beneath the City of Shadows”

Writers: Charles Santino and Val Semeiks

Artist: Val Semeiks and Alfredo Alcala

Conan has come to the ruins of the City of Shadows looking for the Jewels of Abu Dhaak. He fights some giant birds before a giant robot type creature comes. This creature can shoot lasers from its eyes. Conan manages to damage it and the creature opens a hole in the ground. Conan falls into the subterranean part of the city and has to kill a giant spider. He continues on and gets attacked by a giant lizard. The robot comes and gets into a fight with the giant lizard. Conan uses the distraction to cause a cave in. He continues on and finds the jewels only they are the size of buildings. The robot comes and uses the jewels to recharge. It gets into a fight with the giant lizard again. Conan pushes the robot between the jewels, and it gets too much power and blows up. The big jewels shatter and the city slides into the Vilayet Sea. Conan finds himself trying to stay afloat.

OK another story that just takes Conan on one long and wild ride. He has come to this deserted city for some jewels and ends up fighting all sorts of creatures. The jewels turn out to be too huge to carry. Ends up destroying the city and floating around pissed and without any treasure. Another long action filled story that doesn’t give the reader any breaks to think. A fun story.

CONAN THE BARBARIAN #216

“The Blade of Zed”

Writers: Charles Santino and Val Semeiks

Artists: Val Semeiks and Alfredo Alcala

Conan arrives at a Turanian city and decides to steal from the Zeddite Cult. He finds their sacrificial blade and figures the gold is worth his time. The Zeddites sic their hound after Conan. What follows is a non-stop chase through the city. Conan kills many Zeddites and their hound. He arrives back at the temple and sets it on fire. He also kills the leader.

So, it seems the new writing team are big on non-stop action. I like the idea. Conan is just from beginning to end in a constant state of movement. He is fighting against impossible odds and winning. True there is little character development or a deep plot. Sometimes the non-stop action is enough. It’s a fun read and a welcome distraction after a hard day’s work.

CONAN THE BARBARIAN #215

“Death Pit”

Writers: Charles Santino and Val Semeiks

Artists: Val Semeiks and Alfredo Alcala

Conan arrives at the oasis of Aqaba and finds it is now under the control of Turan. The Turanian soldiers capture him to work on the big wheel underground that controls the flow of water. Naturally Conan refuses to be a slave and fights the soldiers tooth and nail. He eventually gets knocked in the water and they think him dead. He pops out and continues the fight. He gets the keys and frees the slaves. Eventually Conan climbs up and kills the captain of the oasis. The falling body gets caught in the gears and the whole big machine falls apart. The waters come gushing out and destroying the fortress the Turanians built. Conan grabs a horse and continues his travels.

This was just one big kick ass non-stop brawl. From beginning to end it was all action with no pause. Sometimes you just need a story like this. Conan was the defiant man who refuses to be a slave. This is the essence of the character, and he really shines in this issue. A really fun read and had some cool artwork with the massive machine the Turanians use.

CONAN THE BARBARIAN #214

“City of Light”

Writers: Charles Santino & Val Semeiks

Artists: Val Semeiks & Alfredo Alcala

Conan’s horse dies in the desert. He continues on foot and collapses from the heat and lack of water. Just then a beautiful blonde woman comes and gives him some water. Conan finds a city in the middle of the desert. He enters and finds it inhabited by a race of blonde people. They seem to only exist to party. The blonde woman finds him and tells Conan he is now going to be part of this city forever. Conan tries to leave and finds himself trapped in an endless corridor. It leads back to the main square. He gets angry and stone animals attack him. Conan smashes them and then has to fight a giant stone satyr. He defeats it by pushing it off a high tower. The satyr busts a hole through the wall which Conan uses to escape. The woman and the city disappear at night.

This was an offbeat issue. Like a Twilight Zone type of story. Conan is lost in the desert and gets rescued by a mysterious city. Only now the city wants to keep him in pleasure forever. Conan obviously needs more in life and fights these stone creatures. The city disappears at night like it never existed. Conan continues on to Turan. I liked the story. A new writer to basically write a script for the now de facto writer of Semeiks who also pencils the issues. He has an interesting style that is a nice change of pace from the previous writer.

CONAN THE BARBARIAN #213

“The Gate”

Writers: Val Semeiks and James Owsley

Artists: Val Semeiks and Alfredo Alcala

Conan is in the desert looking for water. He decides to raid a Ghamud oasis. He kills the guards and manages to make it inside the structure. Only the Ghamud then trap him in a garden. They claim Conan must kill their death god to escape. The god will be disguised as something he would be reluctant to kill. Conan first gets attacked in the garden by a tiger. Then he is attacked by a raptor. Finally, he comes on a baby boy. Could this be the death god? Conan refuses to kill the baby and instead climbs his way out of the garden. He finds no Ghamud around and escapes back to his horse with water. At the end the death god was revealed to be a small turtle.

This was an interesting story. Had some nice artwork with this epic looking structure of two giants sitting on a throne. The adventure in the exotic garden battling exotic creatures. Another slow single-issue adventure to let the readers have a leisurely return to Conan’s wandering.

CONAN THE BARBARIAN #212

“The Warrior’s Way”

Writers: James Owsley and Val Semeiks

Artists: Val Semeiks and Alfredo Alcala

Conan enters the strange narrow house to track the escaped Ghamud tribesman. This is the same type of place he encountered in Vanaheim in his youth. He wonders if this place has the same treasure that he saw in the one in Vanaheim. His explorations lead him to the young Ghamud who is wounded and wants to be killed to die a warrior’s death. Conan cares little about the warrior and leaves him after not getting any information from him. He finds the treasure room but has to battle these giant insects. The battle causes the place to collapse. Conan escapes in time with enough treasure to keep him in wenches and wine for quite a while.

The second of this two-part story gives us a satisfactory ending. It is nice to get some fun standalone stories of Conan having a fun adventure. It has all the elements. A mysterious crypt. Giant monsters and treasure. A welcome change for the more intense plots that have recently dominated the series.

CONAN THE BARBARIAN #211

“Narrow House”

Writers: James Owsley and Val Semeiks

Artists: Val Semeiks and Alfredo Alcala

Conan is a young seventeen-year-old in Cimmeria. He has tracked a raiding party of Vanir that recently raided a village. Conan defeats them except for one that gets away. He tracks the Vanir to a strange stone house with weird runes. Going inside he finds the Vanir killed by some creature. He also sees a throne with gold and jewels on it. Only he is attacked by some creature in the dark and forced to flee. After exiting the house, an avalanche buries it. Years later in the present, Conan is crossing the Kothian desert on his way to Turan. A sandstorm forces him to seek shelter in some abandoned ruins. The Ghamud tribesmen find him during the storm and a fight ensues. Conan naturally wins but sees that one escaped. He tracks him and finds the same house that he found in Vanaheim.

This was a very interesting story. It starts out with Conan as a teen then transitions to the present when he is more grown up and trying to escape Koth. Has some great scenes of a sandstorm and fighting with these savage tribesmen. End with the same house that he encountered in his youth. Sets up a good mystery and I loved the idea of linking it with something from his past.

CONAN THE BARBARIAN #210

“Storm”

Writers: James Owsley and Val Semeiks

Artists: Val Semeiks and Alfredo Alcala

Conan is enjoying his time finally free of civilization. In the wilderness of Koth he is free. Only Savante the harem girl who fell in love with him continues to follow him. She refuses to quit even after Conan tells her he has no interest. He ends up having to save her from a pack of two-horn rhinoceros. He makes it to the Kothian Escarpment, a giant wall. He knows a tribe that inhabits the area, and they show him a secret way across. A rope bridge connects with a pillar that leads down. During a storm he crosses but Savante breaks free of the tribesmen and follows. A lightning bolt hits the bridge and Conan has to climb down to rescue Savante. She is angry at Conan’s lecturing, and this turns Conan on. They have a passionate night together, but Savante wakes up and Conan is gone.

This was a fun story. Sort of a travelogue more than anything else. It did a great job of setting the mood of Conan finally leaving the intrigue and drama of civilization. Had some really beautiful artwork of the countryside and huge wall. The plot with Savante was cute. I love Conan who says that he picks his woman, and they don’t pick him. What an alpha male. Savante finally shows some spirit and gets rewarded. Conan does love his strong women. A very refreshing issue that sets a new direction for the series.

CONAN THE BARBARIAN #209

“Dark Horse”

Writers: James Owsley and Val Semeiks

Artists: Val Semeiks and Alfredo Alcala

Conan with Anneka, Kobe and Sevante manage to make it to the city-state of Syreb. The rebel prince owes him money and Conan means to collect. Only the city is half in ruins and the prince has no money. His stables are also empty of horses. The devil horse that the Devourer of Souls rode is lose and apparently the protector of all horses. Conan goes out to get a horse and has to fight the devil horse. He manages to fight so hard it impresses the devil horse and he accepts Conan as his master. Unfortunately, when he brings back the horse, the prince’s men kill it with arrows. Conan decides to leave behind Anneka and Kobe and ride out alone for new adventures.

Well, this was a mediocre story. Had some nice art and I was somewhat interested in the story. Unfortunately, it was light on plot. The best thing I did like about this issue was Conan is finally starting out as a lone wanderer. Just like he was meant to be. Fun to have him in one place with an ongoing story but it was getting old. He dumps his entourage and heads out for fun adventures in new lands. Definitely the start of something good.