Robert E. Howard’s Savage Sword #6

Robert E. Howard’s Savage Sword #6

Writers: John Jackson Miller, Paul Tobin, Ian Edginton and Roy Thomas
Penciller: Philip Tan
Artist: Aaron McConnell
Line Artists: Richard Price, Tony DeZuniga and Ernie Chan
Inker: Jason Paz
Colorists: Moose Baumann and Jim Campbell
Letterers: Richard Starkings and Comicraft
Cover Artist: Francesco Francavilla

Robert E. Howard’s Savage Sword #6 is a Conan anthology featuring five stories, a half page comic strip, and a gallery of Tony DeZuniga art. At 80 pages, it’s longer than a normal comic, but the individual stories are also shorter than full length comics. It’s basically the comic version of a short story collection. As with any short story collection, there is a mix in quality. Some of the stories are really good, and some are forgettable. At $7.99, it all depends on how big of a Conan fan you are. To kick things off, let’s take a look at each story.

Conan: Sargasso of Sand

Writer: John Jackson Miller
Penciller: Philip Tan
Inker: Jason Paz
Colorist: Moose Baumann
Letterer: Richard Starkings and Comicraft

This first, and in my opinion, the best story in this issue. The sole reason I bought his issue was because John Jackson Miller wrote a story for it, and thankfully John did not disappoint. In a mere eight pages, “Sargasso of Sand” tells a complete story involving Conan and a stranded sailor in the desert. On the run from the Sultan’s guards, Conan comes across a mad man with a boat out in the middle of a desert. It’s a good story with a nice plot, fun characters and great artwork. Certainly the highlight of the issue, and perhaps a good reason to give John and Philip Tan another go at Conan.

Dark Agnes: Sword Woman (Part 2 of 3)

Writer: Paul Tobin
Artist: Aaron McConnell
Letterer: Richard Starkings and Comicraft

In “Sword Woman Part 2”, Paul Tobin spins a violent tale that stars a female running from trouble. This is the only non-Conan story in the issue (aside from the half page mini-comic at the end). It’s also a weird story. The main character is suppose to be disguised as a man, yet for some reason the artist didn’t bother to disguise her very well. In fact, it looks like the only trouble they went through was to give her pants. She’s hanging out with someone who she hopes will help her and they run into trouble at an inn. Things get surprisingly violent at the end. However, the story suffers from some weak storytelling and artwork.

Very thick lined art style.

Bran Mak Morn: Men of the Shadows (Part 2 of 3)

Writer: Ian Edginton
Line Artist: Richard Price
Colorist: Moose Baumann
Letterer: Richard Starkings and Comicraft

Of all the stories, this one is probably the worst. The story is part two of three and the tiny chunk it tells is by no means complete or satisfying on its own. It shows a brief skirmish between a Pict chieftain and a Pict shaman witnessed by a Roman-Norse prisoner. The chief wants to lead the way with new ideas while the shaman wants to cling to the old ways. They have a magic fight and the victor has his way. The Norse prisoner just watches. That’s pretty much it. The art would be good, but there’s one flaw I just can’t get around: they drew the Picts as Native Americans. The Picts are the old inhabitants of Scotland. Roman descriptions of the Picts describe them as red haired people. For some reason, the artist drew them as dark skinned, black haired indians. Thus the story and the artwork fell flat for me.

Good artwork, but not very historically accurate.

Conan: Demons of the Summit

Writer: Roy Thomas
Line Artist: Tony DeZuniga
Colorist: Jim Campbell

Sometimes bad things come in three’s and “Demons of the Summit” regrettably made that true. The art isn’t too bad in this story, but the writing gets pretty bad. It feels very dated. Toward the end, it’s downright dreadful. On top of it all, it’s the pinnacle of stereotypical bad male oriented fantasy with the female antagonist deciding to reward Conan with sex at the end of the story. It’s not so much what she does, as how poorly the situation was handled and presented. You’d think a story about Conan fighting some monstrous goblin apes in the mountains, an evil group of priests and a giant spider monster would be good, but the dialog and narration is awful.

Conan: Child of Sorcery

Writer: Roy Thomas
Line Artist: Ernie Chan
Colorist: Jim Campbell

Thankfully the last story was a lot better. Conan kills a ton of monsters, battles a wizard and saves a princess who recounts the entire story to her daughter as a life lesson. The artwork is good and the story is enjoyable.

So out of the five stories, two were good and three were duds. It’s hard to recommend an anthology like this when it only has two good stories. I myself am not a huge Conan fan. I typically don’t read Conan comics or books. However, I do enjoy the old Conan movie and I loved the recent Conan novelization by Michael A. Stackpole. Thus I’m certainly not averse to the character. Done right, Conan can be very entertaining. I’m also a huge John Jackson Miller fan, so regardless of the other stories, I had to have this one. If you’re a JJM fan, I definitely recommend checking out this issue as his story is really good and it’s worth reading. I’d love to see John do some more Conan, and if a better selection of stories can be lined up, I’d even go for another anthology like this one.

While I’d give “Sargasso of Sand” a five out of five and “Child of Sorcery” a four out of five, “Sword Woman” was a two and “Men of Shadows” and “Demon of the Summit” were both ones. That averages out to two and a half bikinis out of five for the whole issue.

Reviewed By: Skuldren for Roqoo Depot.

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