Comic Reviews: Conan: Serpent War and Annihilation Scourge: Fantastic Four!


237672_1368359_1003Conan: Serpent War #1 (Marvel Comics)

Marvel has been getting their worth out of the Conan The Barbarian license, but they’re been pretty hesitant to use any of Robert E Howard’s other creations. Until now. Serpent War brings Conan, puritan monster hunter Solomon Kane, the fighter Dark Agnes, and….Moon Knight together in a new story that’s being pitched as a big Conan event. However, there’s a lot of set up in Jim Zub and Scot Eaton’s first issue, and not all of it has to do with the character backstories either.

James Allison has lived many lives under many names, but is now at the end of his time on Earth. Believing that the forces of the snake god Set are planning another attack on humanity, he reaches out across time and space to find heroes and warriors that will help fight back against Set’s followers. As Conan, Solomon, Agnes, and Moon Knight battle Set’s followers across time, they’re then brought together to help fight Set and his minions together. But with no knowledge of one another, how are they ever supposed to truly work together?

That’s an issue that will probably be addressed in future issues of the event, but for now, Jim Zub’s script seems fully content to just introduce these various Howard creations and then get to the plot later. That’s all well and good, but there’s very little here to really get us to understand Set’s motivations and why he’s an important enemy. There’s also no real reason for Moon Knight to be here, other than the fact that he doesn’t have an ongoing series at the moment.

Scott Eaton’s art is pretty much in line with the art we’ve seen in Marvel’s other Conan titles, but it’s definitely not going to make you rethink who should be drawing the main Conan books anytime soon. Eaton’s able to handle the different characters and their realms well, but again, this is very reliable artwork that’s not trying to do anything too crazy with the characters and themes in the book.

Conan: Serpent War is a very strange Marvel mini-event, but I wanted to give it a fair shake. But now that I’ve read it, I’m still not sure what to think of it. As an excuse to put a bunch of Robert E Howard’s creations together, it’s fine. As an introduction to Solomon Kane and Dark Agnes, it’s too limited. And as a way to get Moon Knight back into his own series, it’s baffling. Time will tell how Serpent War shakes out, but as of right now it’s a weird start to an even weirder event.

Annihilation Scourge: Fantastic Four #1 (Marvel Comics) clean

Marvel’s latest Annihilation event, Scourge, isn’t doing the typical miniseries event roll out. Instead, the story of the new threat from the Negative Zone is unfolding through a series of one-shots, the first being Annihilation Scourge: Fantastic Four, from Christos Gage and Diego Olortegui.

Picking up after the events of Annihilation Scourge: Alpha, the latest one shot finds Marvel’s first family answering a distress call from the Negative Zone. After entering the new dimension, Reed Richards and his fellow teammates come across the evil “Cancerverse” versions of themselves. The fight is already going to be a challenge, but with Johnny Storm also struggling against his trauma from being in the Negative Zone for two years, it’s going to get a whole lot more difficult.

The biggest strength this issue has going for it is Christos Gage’s focus on Johnny Storm’s PTSD from his time in the Negative Zone. For happening years ago in our time, it really probably wasn’t that long ago for Johnny, and it seemed like a lot of creative teams completely forgot about it after Jonathan Hickman’s run ended years ago. But it adds an interesting hook to Gage’s script, and even though it’s kind of put on the back burner for the middle part of the issue, there’s still some pretty great character work being done with him in this issue.

Diego Olortegui’s art is very impressive in this issue, and while I’ve never seen his work before on a Marvel title, I expect this to be a big step up for him at the publisher. From the solid character design work to the out there visuals of the Negative Zone, Olortegui is more than up for the task of this issue’s script needs, an left a pretty good first impression on me.

Both a solid stand alone story and a good next chapter of the overarching story, Annihilation Scourge: Fantastic Four is a solid comic that will satisfy both fans of the family and those looking to get the entire Scourge storyline. While it would have been neat to fully hone in on Johnny Storm’s PTSD in regards to the Negative Zone, this is still a good issue that will please all types of fans.

Posted on December 4, 2019, in Comic reviews and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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