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Conan the Barbarian #11 (2023) review

Jim Zub's The Age Unconquered part 3: Call from the Depths continues.

We are still knee-deep in the Thurian Age aka the Pre-Cataclysmic Age. 

Brule has been burning to know, since issue 9, what was said during the secret meeting between Yag-Kosha and Conan.

Conan spills the beans via a flashback: The elephant man made the barbarian aware that he is indeed in the past, that spirits can roam free, but mortals are stuck in specific times, impeded by their own memories.

Yag-Kosha knows that Conan has been strategically sent back in time by unknown divine forces. Conan thinks that perhaps he's being used by these godlike forces.

Yag-Kosha, limited by his current physical form, cannot foretell Conan's future beyond his own death (at the hands of Conan in The Tower of the Elephant). 

Yag-Kosha can see Conan only because they previously encountered each other in the future. He actually sees the Cimmerian as a floating chest hole, a phantasm without physical limitations.

The friendly extraterrestrial suggests that Conan should follow Brissa and her ancestor, Brule wherever they may go, because they are all interlinked.

Kull & the gang venture deeper into the giant earth fissure, further down they find large pre-Atlantean hallways guarded by empty gigantic suits of armour holding spears.

Conan spots a stone carving of a winged Yaggite from Yag.

Conan recalls that Yag-Kosha warned that understanding too much about a displacement shatters the mind and prevents a spirit from returning to its own time. Yag-Kosha is positive that Conan can be more than just his killer or a thief... possibly even a King.

Conan's day dreaming is interrupted by The King of Valusia, Kull.  

They reach a peculiar occluded crypt featuring Cthulhu motifs that would make Swiss artist H.R. Giger giddy.

Kull wants answers, so they try to break down the crypt's barricaded door, but it will not yield.

The Red Slayers (royal guards) help themselves to the gigantic spears and pry open the bewildering door.

A horde of Neanderthals (the trolls of the underworld straight from the John Milius movie) spills out of the freshly opened chamber and attacks our heroes!   

Conan's Red Slayer archer girlfriend dies, the inbred cannibals meet their Maker, Gorecki  is the only Slayer to survive.

Kull takes the time to pray for his fallen comrades.

Conan, Brule and Gorecki follow the increasingly zealous Conqueror deeper into the Cthulhu catacombs.

Kull easily finds a sepulchre, a burial chamber with a shimmering sarcophagus... adorned with the Staring Sigil of the BLACK STONE. 

Brule advises caution, a now manic sovereign backhands the Spear-Slayer. King Kull uses his great tiger strength (the mystic aura of the Tiger-Totem, sole vestige of Kull's barbarian heritage) to lift the stone coffin's lid. 

Within the sarcophagus, the Atlantean King finds a wrapped cadaver and the Atlantean sword (also straight from the 1982 movie. Conan Father’s Sword appeared in issue 4).

James Earl Jones's voice fills the room. The skeleton of Thulsa Doom rises and seizes the Atlantean sword from a now completely hypnotized Kull.

Thulsa Doom utilizes the Ron Cobb designed sword to murder the mesmerized monarch of Valusia.

Thulsa gives us a twofer and kills Gorecki by summoning Force/Sith lightning (I'll allow it, James is Darth Vader after all).

Conan tries to join the fight but he's now a fading Force ghost... disappearing, just like if he was in the Back to the Future McFly family photograph.

Is Brule to die next? À suivre.   

What I did like:

The following nominations for the 2024 Eisner Awards: Best Coloring: Dean White (Conan the Barbarian #2-4) and Best Lettering: Richard Starkings (Conan the Barbarian #1-4 and more).

The Schwarzenegger shadow looms large. It must be the lats.

Weird Science-Fantasy #29 Frank Frazetta homage.

Renato Casaro Conan the Barbarian 1982 movie poster homage.

"N'gha nog!" means "Death come!" in Cthuvian/R'lyehian.

Alex Horley's Mike Ploog homage cover is a must buy!

One of the variant covers features a woman!

We get to see more of Yogah of Yag aka Yag-Kosha. Always appreciated.

Riddle of Steel mentioned.

Arenjun, city in Zamora mentioned.

Valka god of gods mentioned.

Deity Hotath mentioned.

Borna former king of Valusia overthrown by Kull mentioned.

Serpent-Men mentioned.

Conan's hilarious reaction when Kull is killed.

A nice variant cover by Richard Pace. You'll find more of Richard's art in The Savage Sword of Conan #2 (2024) and in the upcoming Conan: City of the Dead novel by John C. Hocking. 

Archaeologist Jeffrey Shanks mentions Skeletor from Masters of the Universe, The lich from the Dungeons & Dragons (D&D) role-playing game, The Lich from Adventure Time and the Fu Manchu-esque Kathulos of Atlantis from Skull-Face. He also puts the "Know, oh prince" controversy to bed. 

What I did not like:

It took eleven issues to finally get to Thulsa Doom.

Jeffrey does not mention Jewel Thief (Remco Conan action figure). 

Art by John Buscema from Conan the Barbarian #179 not credited.

Strong female characters are never developed and are all eliminated, most die off panel. Pathetic!

The Red Slayer archers were never given names. That's sexist. 

Yag-Kosha never really died, the great jewel vanished in a rainbow burst of iridescent gleams. That is all we know.

Sean Galloway's variant cover. Alcoholism is not funny.

No advert for The Heroic Legends Short Fiction Program.

It's Thugra Khotan not ThugraN Khotan.

It's Gardner F. Fox not Gardener F. Fox.

It's Fritz Leiber not Fritz Lieber.

Where did the letters page go?

I give it an 8/10. Heroic Signatures, when are we getting a Krull (1983) vs Kull the Conqueror mini-series? Bring back The Glaive!

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