The title of this comic book maybe Conan The Cimmerian but this issue is really about Akivasha, the woman who never died. Right off the bat I have to tell you the plot of this issue is rather thin. In most cases that would be a big turn-off for me but it’s not a problem for this introspective character driven story. The setup is simple: Conan steals his way into an ancient Stygian temple to obtain “The Living Jewel.” While Conan’s mission may turn out to be important to future storylines, in this issue it really only serves as a mechanism to have Conan encounter Akivasha. Once they meet, Akivasha, who is instantly drawn to Conan, begins laying out her ages old story for the reader. We learn how her vanity and short sightedness has brought her to her current sorry state. Let me say, I don’t usually feel much sympathy for the bad guy no matter how hard luck their story maybe but this time was different. Tim Truman aided by Paul Lee’s artwork made me feel for Akivasha.
At this point I really want to take a moment to plug Paul Lee’s artwork. Sure, he can draw a hot looking woman but so can a hundred other artists. What Lee does that makes his work on this issue stand out is to give Akivasha’s face an expressiveness that helps drive the story along. In the space of just a couple pages we see her move convincingly from playful curiosity, to determined seductress, to raging beast and finally to a pitiable young woman. Through out the issue we must see a dozen or so different moods and feeling play out across her face. I wish we would see this kind of expressiveness more often in comic books.
Since Conan is not the focus of this story I cannot recommend this issue as a jumping on point. I do however think this is a fine stand-alone story well worth reading. In the final analysis I say put your money down, pick-up this issue and enjoy.