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Savage Sword of Conan #1 (2024) review

This is not a black lotus induced dream. What you're seeing on the spinner rack is real! It's a brand new bimonthly Conan black-and-white magazine! 

Yup! 80 spectacular pages of barbaric savagery printed on newsprint! 

Inside this anthology you'll find plenty of treasures:

A Personal Introduction by Roy Thomas
Map of the Hyborian Age by Francesca Baerald
A fresh new Pin-Up of Conan by Rob De La Torre
A fresh new Pin-Up of Bêlit by Rebeca SubversiveGirl Puebla
A fresh new Pin-Up of Solomon Kane by Howard Chaykin
Pin-Up of the variant cover by Gerardo Zaffino with Robert E. Howard's poem: The Road of Kings 
Pin-Up of the cover by Joe Jusko
Solomon Kane, an essay by archaeologist Jeffrey Shanks

Conan & The Dragon Horde by John Arcudi & Max Von Fafner

Max is killing it on the art! Departing the Wahuan desert, now setting foot into the steppes of Hyrkania, General Conan is leading the 200 men - 1 woman army of exiled Prince Zaahid of Ul-Dalkhana, mostly gold lusting fools. 
Direction: The city of Ul-Dalkhana! Zaahid of the mighty forearms wants his brother Farhad's gold mine and to seized control of the throne.  
A reprehensible cavalryman loses his head (courtesy of brothers Sussein and Saham) for trying to grab engineer Ineah's derrière.
Two big cats follow Zaahid wherever he goes. In a cool Real Recognizes Real moment one of the lions looks back at Conan.
An amorous Conan brings Ineah an almost empty flagon of ale. LOL!
The siege engine builder shows Conan her new Ballista missile launcher. 
Sussein and Saham remind Conan that no one is to socialize with the g-string wearing engineer.
They arrive at a mysterious gate, the elephants break it down.
A dinosaur comes out, it kills the elephants, flattens some archers, Ineah kills it with her Ballista.
An angered Conan tries to kill Prince Zaahid for not warning anyone about the dino.
Conan kills Zaahid's pouncing lions. Now unarmed, Conan storms away. Killing Sussein and Saham will have to wait.
The siege lasts a couple of weeks. Conan is told that even more men have left the fight and that less than 60 remain.
Conan goes to Zaahid to tell him the news.
Conan tells his soldiers to leave the catapults for the night.
When night falls, Conan goes over Ul-Dalkhana's defensive wall and finds death all around. A plague has killed almost everyone inside.   
Conan tries to explain the situation to Sussein and Saham but they try to kill him. Ineah and Conan kill the brothers.
Zaahid's elephant goes mad and kills Conan's loyal soldiers.
Zaahid wants Conan to go back inside the city and open the gates for him.
Farhad confirms that there is no gold. Zaahid just wanted his brother's wife Shirin.
Zaahid lies about the gold once again and sends Conan and friends down into "the gold mine", that is actually a dino hatchery.
Ineah and Conan kill some dinos.
Zaahid leaves with Shirin in a palanquin. Unbeknownst to him she succumbs to the plague seconds later.
Ineah and Conan kill Zaahid with her Ballista.

Solomon Kane: Master of the Hunt, Part 1 of 3 by Patrick Zircher

This is a one man show? Yes, but no worries, we're in very good hands, The Z-Man has a doctorate in all things Kane. 
Vale of Glamorgan in the south-east of Wales. The Ox Knuckle inn. It's Halloween. Old blind Gruffudd of Llancarfan talks about Tylwyth Teg fairies, Coblyn gnomes, Y Ladi Wen (The White Lady), Gawr giants... Wilkin Davies is not a believer.
Bo, a herd dog, finds his flock being eviscerated by a Gawr, a monstrous thing of gloom from another dimension.
Solomon Kane and his steed Nicodemus arrive on the scene. Our favorite Puritan knight-errant is spoiling to right a few wrongs. He finds Bo butchered, the dead sheep and a giant foot print.
Gwen Maddocks, son Roland and hired hand Wilkin welcome Solomon.
Edmund Maddocks is out hunting the Gawr.
Solomon and Wilkin remove the wool from the dead sheep.
Solomon is offered a meal and a place to sleep. Roland is very attached to his shepherd's crook.
The Gawr kills an intoxicated Wilkin. The Gawr is not sated.
Solomon is praying in the now empty sheep pen. Gwen informs him that both her son and his packbasket have disappeared.
British chieftain Caratacus who fought the Romans is mentioned.
Roman emperor Claudius is mentioned.
The Gawr kidnaps Roland. 
Solomon finds Roland's stick, enters the Ox Knuckle inn and befriends Gruffudd.
Arawn and his ghost hounds appear in the distance. Gruffudd thinks that the hounds are to blame for the animal killings and mentions that his horn can identify him & Kane as hunters and not prey.
The Gawr brings Roland to his den, Château d'Orbec, the abandoned abode of mad recluse Bertin d'Orbec. Roland finds Wilkin and his father hanging upside down... dead. 

Sacrifice in the Sand, a Conan short story by Jim Zub

A nice pulpy story/cover collaboration between Jusko and Zub. Set in Stygia.
In a sandstorm, Conan kills four mounted soldiers of Set that are trying to reach Tala Althue.
Conan wants their Captain Nkosi, the Stygian swine to surrender his latest offering to Set, a brainwashed Khepri (the cover girl).
Nkosi will not dismount, he tries to trample Conan, Conan cripples Nkosi's stallion, Nkosi goes flying, Conan kills Nkosi. 
Conan apologizes to the horse (the cover horse) and euthanizes it.
Conan explains to Khepri that her family hired him to bring her back to them.
Khepri snaps out of her trance and her tears wash away her ceremonial galena mascara from her tawny skin.
Conan tells Khepri to save her water as they are still in the desert.

What I did like:

The legendary Roy Thomas has been invited to contribute tales to this new magazine.

The Conan: Newspaper Strips (recently re-released in France, Italy, Spain and Germany) by Roy Thomas get mentioned! 

The Joe Jusko cover is as usual freaking fantastic and it features a woman. Bizarrely, only two variant covers of The Savage Sword of Conan #1 feature women. Even more baffling is that no women will appear on the covers of Savage Sword #2.

The exclusive "Borderlands Comics and Games" Bob Larkin (Savage Sword of Conan #192) homage cover by Douglas Klauba is a must buy!

Zub's short story is inspired by the greatest Sword-and-Sandahl movie ever filmed: Conan the Barbarian (1982).

The letters page will return in issue #2. Will it be called "Swords and Scrolls"? 

What I did not like:

Savage Sword is only bimonthly!? It should be published monthly!

Ineah does not appear next to Conan on Max Von Fafner's cover.

Jeffrey forgets to mention in his essay that Solomon Kane's buckled capotain hat is an anachronism. 

Roland is not devastated by Bo's sudden passing.

A brawtuk bird? What is that?

It's Kheshatta not OKheshatta.

No essay by Fred Blosser! What!?

No advert for The Heroic Legends Short Fiction Program.

No advert to buy a General Conan action figure!

No advert for a Titan Comics translated collected edition of "L'Espion de César" by Max Von Fafner and Jean-Pierre Pécau. 

No Solomon Kane variant cover!

No variant cover by KyuYong Eom!

I don't care for the goofy logo and it's way too big.

Needed more pin-ups! MORE! Giving us pin-ups of the variant covers is awfully lazy.

Savage Sword needs more NEW writers! Please try to give us different voices from all over the world.

Francesca Baerald's Hyborian Age poster is still not available from Diamond Comic Distributors!

I give it a 9/10. This is truly a gift from Crom and he doesn't give many of those. Support the Cimmerian! Get your sandalled feet to your favorite comic book store and Buy! Buy! Buy! And if you do not Buy this mag, then to heck with you!

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