A Collection of Obligatory Action Tales Makes THE DAUGHTERS OF MIDORA Worth A Single Glance
Jan 3, 2013
In today’s world, it’s hard to find a hero who’s consistently entertaining.
Some of that is merely the fact that, as artists and storytellers come and go, so does the quality of the narratives. With a property as established as Conan, Dark Horse has done an exceptional job keeping the value high, the adventures thrilling, and the art compelling. While some may find a few misfires in this latest collection of shorter works, I’ll happily let it stand on my shelves alongside some longer works. It’s a tidy little set of some nifty swordplay, backed up by a hint of the supernatural. Not all of it gets full explanation – these are one or two-part scripts – and, while I would’ve liked to have been given more, I found most of it all well and good for a single read.
(NOTE: the following review will contain minor spoilers necessary solely for the discussion of characters and plot. If you’re the kind of reader who prefers a review entirely spoiler-free, then I’d encourage you to skip down to the final two paragraphs for my ultimate assessment. If, however, you’re accepting of modest hints at ‘things to come,’ then read on …)
As I’ve tried to be clear in all of my reviews involving Robert E. Howard’s strongman, I tend to prefer the tales that show his strength and prowess at dispatching evil. Conan has always been a strong warrior – albeit a crafty thief when circumstances have required it – and, first and foremost, I love to see him grab a sword or a spear or a club and go to work. DAUGHTERS is essentially a brief anthology that explores several short tales all bound together under one roof. The varying artwork styles are all strong. Some of the tales are short – ten to fifteen pages – but they’re all worth a one-time glance. I doubt I’ll pick up this book any time again in the future, but that doesn’t negate my enjoyment of it in the slightest.
“Trophy”: It’s an all-too-brief tale in which the legendary Cimmerian recounts to the members of an elite tavern how he came by so many trophies … and how he’ll leave this place with many more. The story is by Tim Truman and Ben Truman; artwork is by Marian Churchland; and lettering is by Brian Graham.
“The Daughters of Midora”: An evening of drinking and bragging puts a boastful Conan in the king’s dungeon, but could that be that exactly what he hoped for? The king has other plans for the barbarian that involves a bevy of beautiful women, including the future queen of the land. This is the Conan of old – a barbarian who fights without cease. A bruised and bloody epic. The story is by Jimmy Palmiotti; pencils are by Mark Texeira; inks are by Jimmy Palmiotti; colors are by Michelle Madsen; and letters are by Richard Starkings and Comicraft.
“Kiss of the Undead”: A beautiful woman hires Conan to serve as her bodyguard for an evening’s journey, but, before her night is over, she’ll regret her journey but not its destination. It’s a great moody and atmospheric piece that hints at vampires in the age of the barbarian. The story is by Ron Marz; pencils are by Bart Sears; inks are by Randy Elliott; colors are by Mark Roberts; and the letters are by Troy Peteri.
“Island of No Return”: When a pair of lovely sisters spy a fleeing Conan for a job, they rescue him from the palace guards because they need a man of his nefarious skills to plunder a haunted stronghold. However, the dangers awaiting them are far more mortal than they expected. Excellent artwork and a strong story make this island worth the trip. “There are times when a sharp mind accomplishes more than a sharp sword.” The story is by Ron Marz; pencils are by Bart Sears; inks are by Randy Elliott; colors are by Mark Roberts; and letters are by Troy Peteri.
“Children of the Sun”: An older, wiser Conan recounts a tale of the time he aided a young boy seeking vengeance over the death of his father. It’s another quick tale, but the warrior’s wrath is certainly a sight to behold. The story and art are by Michael Avon Oeming; colors are by Nick Filardi; and letters are by Richard Starkings and Comicraft.
CONAN: THE DAUGHTERS OF MIDORA AND OTHER STORIES is published by Dark Horse Comics. Conan is the creation of Robert E. Howard. The collection bears a cover price of $14.99, a modest investment for some quality graphic storytelling.
RECOMMENDED. Conan. Women. Swords. Vampires. Ghosts. Villains. And royal jewels. What more could any Cimmerian want? It’s a given with any collection that some ‘shorts’ are better than others. THE DAUGHTERS OF MIDORA is no exception. For a one-time read? There’s plenty here to get excited (and bloody) about.
In the interests of fairness, I’m pleased to disclose that the fine folks at Dark Horse Comics provided me with a digital copy of CONAN: THE DAUGHTERS OF MIDORA AND OTHER STORIES for the expressed purposes of completing this review.
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