Marvel Comics 2019
Written by Jim Zub
Illustrated by Stephen Segovia
Coloured by Frank D'Armata
James Allison Illustrated by Vanesa R. Del Rey
James Allison Coloured by Jean-François Beaulieu
Lettered by VC's Travis Lanham
In an unprecedented comics event, Robert E. Howard’s characters join forces along with Marvel’s Moon Knight, in an all-new saga built on REH and Marvel lore from across the ages! The serpent god SET plans to usher in an eternity of darkness, and only the chosen warriors across time and space have a hope of stopping him: CONAN THE BARBARIAN, SOLOMON KANE, DARK AGNES, and the man known as MOON KNIGHT!
First of all I love Jim and his mind and ability to craft a story. Then add Stephen & Frank into the mix and by all the gods above this is utterly sensational. While some of my favourite writing from Jim comes from his Dungeons & Dragons work and this is right up that alley so for me this is something he was meant to do. It is also the kind of storytelling that I miss from Marvel so it's great to see this from them showing me there is hope that good, strong and interesting, see unexpected also, books will make it to stands.
The opening here is everything one could hope for and so much more. This Priestess is devout and helps heal and the setting is just perfect. Then the moment Set reveals himself to her I almost cried, dropped the book and sat just staring at his magnificence and I have to say, sigh, that was a moment one doesn't forget in their lifetime. When we see John talk to the four of them while they are in groups of two is interesting. Mainly because I wonder at the significance of two groups instead of one that splits up. Not being aware of the others seems deceitful, misleading and sows doubt in the reader to his true purpose. Of course by it doing this Jim has engaged the readers' mind so they are sucked into this for the long haul. Oh how the imagination works and how the reader thinks is something Jim's incredibly adept at bringing out in the reader.
You know how I felt seeing Set this issue and the entire book is illustrated in such a powerful way. John's segments as well with their variations and what we see has this whole mystical quality to it that perfectly suits what the characters represent. The linework here is stellar as it's strong and how the varying weights are utilised to showcase the attention to detail is stunning. Also faces, facial expressions, body language and the overall look of each character we see is so perfectly rendered and Stephen & Frank's Moon Knight makes me drool. The composition inside the panels with the utilisation of the backgrounds bring us a very good look at depth perception, scale and bring a sense of size and scope of the book. The utilisation of the page layouts and how we see the angles and perspective in the panels show such masterful eyes for storytelling. The colour work we see here and how Frank utilises these flesh tones and the various hues and tones to create shading and enhance the musculature and facial features is so utterly dynamic. How we see the shading, highlights and shadow work through the colours and their hues and tones is done so spectacularly.
I am loving the way that this book is structured. The choice of who is teamed with who is interesting as well. While Conan and Agnes share that love of the fight and have these strong wilful personalities make them similar and as the story moves forward we see just how much. The same with Moon Knight and Soloman Kane, two men whose faith in their gods drives them to purge evil from the earth make them uneasy allies. So to see how Jim is able to showcase their similarities and their differences as well as how they work together is so great to see play out.
This is the kind of storytelling that is universally beloved. The writing is strong and crafted superbly while the interiors are stunning in their detail and the impact the imagery has is beyond compare.