Conan 2099 #1 Review

by Jay Hill on November 27, 2019

Written by: Gerry Duggan
Art by: Rogê Antônio
Colors by: Erick Arciniega
Lettered by: Travis Lanham
Published by: Marvel Comics

Conan the Barbarian attempts to conquer this futuristic age of foreign threats. But when all his foes fall at his feet, he finds the fight within himself to be his toughest yet.

The 2019 series of 2099 comics has been off to a solid start. They have been creating self-contained but somewhat connected stories of classic Marvel characters. This one takes Conan and explores how he’d fare in the bleak future. Already an outsider in modern-day, Conan is placed in an even more far-out environment. With many people already under the rule of the totalitarian police force, the Public Eye, this born conqueror must find his place to rule. And he does that, creating a kingdom in this futuristic landscape. But with power comes threats and, on the day of his coronation, he is faced with a mysterious crone who promises to assist him. When he unmasks her for the enemy she really is and strikes her down, she places a curse on him. The witch curses him and infects his mind “until the sun burns the earth under his feet”. This makes the story a quest to destroy one’s inner demons. This isn’t just an action-filled romp, although there is action to spare including Conan taking down would-be usurpers and fighting off rabid man-sized wolves, it is a more cerebral narrative. And it is done so that it stays engrossing and entertaining throughout. Conan doesn’t fall in combat, but slowly he sees his kingdom turn to ruins, his subjects turn their backs on him, and his mind become fractured and clouded. Thus, his battle throughout is to restore himself to the right mindset so that he can return to his previous glory. Writer Gerry Duggan navigates us through the plot smartly and with excellent control, and when the climax comes it shows Conan isn’t just all brawn and no brain. By the end of the story, I was on board to see more adventures from this Conan.

The art is very crisp. The characters have a heft to them that is very much at home in a Conan the Barbarian story and the use of lines to create shadows is great. The best part of the art is the framing and perspective chosen for shots. Rogê Antônio has a nice sense of cinematography to his drawing to give the imagery beautiful execution. Erick Arciniega uses a great palette of colors in this comic. The colors have an overcast quality that doesn’t feel bleak exactly but gives the vibe that this future isn’t as bright as you’d think. There are also diversions from that palette used for effect, like to show how lush Conan’s kingdom once was or to show the contrast of the big city. There is also a great scene that takes place at sunset that is filled with a golden glow.

Conan finds the future foreign, dangerous, and lonely. The comic is a great exploration of a battle within. It’s self-contained and an engrossing read. It has action and adventure. But what surprised me was the cerebral focus. I highly recommend it. Not one page of this comic wasn’t fun to read.

Our Score:


A Look Inside