Conan the Cimmerian is making his way to the country of the Aquilonians when he is sidetracked by a group of Aesir who intend to kill an Aquilonian. When he is convinced to help, he discovers that the Aquilonian, who bribed Conan to save him, does not have the gold — but will after a pit fight in the Aquilonian city of Shamar.
Upon arriving at the gladiatorial event, Conan believes he recognizes the woman in the fighting pit. Unbeknownst to he and the people of Shamar, it is Wonder Woman, the Princess of the Amazons!
Gail Simone, with her history in DC Comics, Wonder Woman in particular, and sword-and-sandals books like Red Sonja is beyond a perfect choice for a crossover such as this. With books like Batgirl, Birds of Prey, and Secret Six under her belt, to say that I’m a fan of Ms. Simone is an understatement. She is among the best writers in the business.
Both Conan and Diana are depicted as still being in their youth in this story, so those interested in a more brutal and careless Conan will be satisfied. He is not interested in heroism. He saved the Aquilonian for money, and he is interested in Diana because he believes she is a childhood flame he once loved named Yanna.
This issue mainly focuses on Conan, and Diana herself does not come in until the latter half. There, we get to see her beat the tar out of pit fighters, which is pretty freaking awesome.
Despite that and Conan butchering the Aesir highwaymen, this is actually a pretty action-light comic for its length. There is a lot of characterization that happens, but there is also a lot of pensive explanation, which bogs down the pace a good bit. There are a fair number of text blocks in this comic.
Aaron Lopresti’s artwork does help make up for this a great deal, though. Every muscle, sword, punch, and setting is penciled out with great love and detail. This is a gorgeous comic deserving of these two comic book superstars. Mix that with Wendy Broome’s grim-yet-smooth coloring style, and you have a gorgeous book.
Despite its pacing issues, the first book of the Wonder Woman/Conan crossover is enticing and engaging. Conan is a good lead, and Diana’s presence helps keep the back half interesting. That, along with the amazing art, make the comic one I can easily recommend. Check it out.
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