Writer: Brian Wood
Artists: Becky Cloonan, Declan Shalvey, Vasilis Lolos
Who would've thought that a Conan title would land on a “Best Of” list? Well, at least not before Dark Horse gave the reins over to Northlanders scribe Brian Wood. Thanks to him, the barbarian’s world is perfectly suited for modern audiences. Slimmed down and more emotionally vulnerable than ever before, the younger Conan is quite the likeable protagonist.
Wood started his run back in February, and, along with artist Becky Cloonan, gave readers one of the best introductory arcs on a book in 2012. Adapting a classic Robert E. Howard story for the comic, Wood introduced the new version of Conan and Bêlit, a pirate who he would take on as a lover. Each storyline that followed continued to explore their relationship, with the highpoint being the “Border Fury” arc that saw Conan and Bêlit attempt to stop a Conan impostor from ruining his good name.
Kudos for Conan the Barbarian's art, too. Cloonan's drawing are a bit more animated, while Shalvey adds mood and grit to the book. Both aid Wood’s scripts immensely and bring life to the world of Cimmeria and beyond. Mythic fantasy is a genre that seems to be leaving the comic book page over the past few years, but if Wood can continue this level of success with Conan, then one title is all we’ll need for our fix.