Writer: Gerry Duggan
Artist: Rogê Antônio
Colorist: Erick Arciniega
Letterer: VC’s Travis Lanham
Cover Artists: Geoff Shaw, Edgar Delgado
Publisher: Marvel Comics
It’s Conan with a lasersword. What more do you need?
Okay, perhaps I should clarify my points on Conan The Barbarian 2099 #1 ever so slightly, if not for other reasons than to provide at least a semblance of impartiality. I’ve been a fan of Robert E. Howard’s wandering swashbuckler for about as long as I can remember, from the original prose stories to contemporary adventures in other media, but most especially the comics. From Roy Thomas to Tim Truman, Barry Windsor-Smith to Tomas Giorello, Conan’s comics resume is a who’s who of impressive talent. Add to that my love of the of Marvel 2099 Universe, and when I heard that the Cimmerian himself was going to have a one-shot set in the dystopian cyberpunk world of Marvel’s tomorrow, I was all-in … at least until I read Fantastic Four 2099 #1. Given that that book was not at all what I wanted, I entered into this read with more than a little hesitation.
In the year 2099, Conan has become king by his own hand. As the story unfolds, we see there are enemies that even Conan’s skill with a blade can’t defeat, such as a world dying from the extreme damage of climate change. Add to this a curse bestowed upon him by Morgana Le Fay herself, and our hero may have finally met his end.
Conan The Barbarian 2099 #1 is a fun little book. On the surface, it does exactly what the cover would imply: give us a rollicking story about Conan busting heads and slicing that lasersword left and right (did I mention he has a lasersword? It’s really quite, quite great). But beneath the surface, there’s a tale about a man who slowly realizes there is nothing left to see, no more jeweled thrones of the earth to trod beneath his sandled feet. It’s a tale that has action, but also some real melancholy and pathos.
Gerry Duggan clearly knows the source material, and it shows in how Conan feels like a piece of Howard’s prose stories. Rogê Antônio‘s art has a smooth adaptability to it that allows it convey the savagery and barbarism of Conan’s world and views on the one hand, and the cyber-dystopia of 2099 on the other. The colors by Erick Arciniega pop, and VC’s Travis Lanhman’s lettering makes for a smooth read with clear voices for each character.
Conan The Barbarian 2099 #1 is definitely an upswing for this latest incarnation of the 2099 Universe. Here’s hoping there’s a follow-up featuring a clash of kings between the Cimmerian hero and a certain armor-wearing Latverian despot. Recommended.