Savage Sword of Conan: Conan the Gambler – Meredith Finch, Jim Zub, Roy Thomas, Luke Ross, Patch Zircher, Alan Davis, Cam Smith, Nolan Woodard & Java Tartaglia (Marvel)

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Know then O Prince, that since Conan hath returned to the Hallowed Halls of Marvel, his adventures have been many, his excesses the source of legend and that while many women have succumbed to his sullen, brooding charms, even more men and sorcerous abominations have fallen to his blade.  Yet his appetites, his lust for life and its many pleasures has not be satiated, and in Conan the Gambler, the chronicles of the Barbarian who would become a King by his own hand are given further form, allowing the myth of the Northern freebooter to grow far beyond the dreams of mere mortals.

Thing is, if you’re a fan of Conan, Robert E. Howard or any form of fantasy set in strange, ancient fifedoms and magical lands, Conan the Gambler is almost certainly on your wish list already. In fact, there’s a good chance that you’ve already poured over, and read, it countless times. Which is perfectly understandable, as the minute it arrived here, I literally dropped everything else that I was doing (took me a while to clean that broken coffee pot up afterwards), locked the door and just lost myself in its breathtaking pages that are filled with the gruesome, gory and gorgeously detailed art that brings the Cimmerians world into vivid being.

Then there’s the stories told by Meredith Finch, Jim Zub and Roy Thomas in which our hero is press ganged into battling for the hand of a war hardened maiden in a revenge scheme that goes horribly wrong, becomes the unsuspecting pawn of a higher power in a life or death game of cards and slaughter and falls under the sway of dark magic and cowards in a quest to locate a fabulous and vast treasure. Each of the stories could have been written by Two Gun Bob himself and not only pay deference to the Barbarians creator but also lovingly expands Conan’s Universe, history and legacy. This is Conan as Howard imagined him. And it is glorious… Tim Cundle



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