From the Hyborian age comes a tale of a meeting of two icons, that at first glance seems at odds with each other.
Conan, whilst travelling his world, saves a welcher of debts with the lure of coins. Of course, if it was that simple the con man would have just paid said debts. Instead he leads Conan to a city where there is a “sure thing”. It seems that waif has bet against the house champion of gladiatorial battles because she is a woman. Of course, he fails to realise that she is the champion of the house for a reason. Still, Conan watches with fascination as the woman in question brings a spark of recognition in him and in her, stirs the beginning of recollection before he leaps from proverbial pan and into the fire.
Gail Simone is no stranger to Conan, having spent time in his world on Dynamite’s Red Sonja book and of course having scripted Wonder Woman some time back. Here, the tale is some what simple affair but serves well to introduce Conan and this books version of Diana. It’s important to note that this isn’t the Diana of DC Comics, at least not yet. As an icon, Diana has changed over time, reflecting a social place of sorts. This Diana is not the swimsuit superheroine nor is she the “thanking Hera” tool /rebel of the gods. Instead Simone gives us a Diana that we rarely see – a warrior princess to coin a phrase. The lack of memories she suffers actually helps create acceptance in the reader, so it will be interesting to see how this aspect develops. As for Conan, well he is Conan – a reaver, a thief a slayer, a wanderer travelling the world with his own particular brand of honour. Simone’s craft is obvious; as obvious as DC’s need to have her back on a regular book.
At little while ago, I took a little bit of “feedback” on twitter for saying that artist Aaron Lopresti wasn’t a top-tier artist when reviewing The Death of Hawkman. I am more than happy to say that the art that Lopresti provides in this book is stunning. Panel structure is perfect with the larger panels featuring splash images working well with the smaller panels as the pace of the story ebbs and flows. Every character gets the same level of detail, even in crowd scenes. The action scenes have a cinematic feel and I have to say, Lopresti’s Wonder Woman is a damn sight better than her current Rebirth counterpart. The only fly in the ointment is the final panel, which seems a little out of perspective to me. Lopresti work benefits from the stellar ink work of Matt Ryan who flashes the inks in subtle ways that helps the figure work really stand out form the backgrounds. Also on hand, delivering an excellent scheme, is colourist Wendy Broome. A quick and rare nod to letterer Saida Temofonte who gives the book the appropriate texture of a Conan book.
I am sure that there will be many who may well turn their nose up at this book. That would be a shame for all those involved who have produced a book that screams quality from cover to cover. This may not be the Wonder Woman you expect to see and that, I think, is the books strength. Depending on how the rest of the series goes, this has the potential to become an excellent Elseworld type of affair.
Writing – 5 Stars
Art – 4.5 Stars
Colors – 5 Stars
Written by; Gail Simone
Art by; Aaron Lopresti with Matt Ryan
Colors by; Wendy Broome
Letters by: Saida Temofonte
Published by; DC Comics & Dark Horse Comics