CONAN THE BARBARIAN No. 11: In Part Two of 'The Death,' Conan and Belit have docked in the waterfront town of Bakal as their crew suffers from a severe illness. It's an uneventful issue as Conan seeks a healer for his shipmates and lover, and Declan Shalvey's atrocious artwork doesn't help matters.
'The Death' story arc concludes in CONAN THE BARBARIAN no. 12, as Conan finally finds a healer to help his crew overcome the plague while the city's army attacks Conan and Belit's ship. The issue is a huge improvement over no. 11, but I'm hoping this is the last we see of Declan Shalvey's sloppy renderings. Part of what has made Dark Horse Comics' CONAN series so good has been the beautiful art, usually by the great Tomas Giorello, who is sorely missed.
The second issue of Dark Horse's EERIE relaunch features 3 tales of "science horror." The first, "Our Friend, The Ant," is a decent creepy-crawly romp, while "Signaling the End" is familiar but spooky. Closing tale "Experiment in Fear" is also familiar, but features good retro-looking artwork by Gene Colan. The stories (as in the CREEPY relaunch) all have a 60s/70s vibe, which in this day and age can get old quick. I'm still hoping the writing will break that mold.
I like how CREEPY keeps changing it's sub-heading, this time being "The Finest in Romantic Horror." Opening tale, "Two Faces Have I," written and drawn by Gilbert Hernandez, reads and looks like something I sketched in my notebook in the 2nd grade. It's god-awful. "The Widower and the Mermaid" features decent art but reminded me too much of a similar, classic Neal Adams story. "Curse of the Moon Maiden" has been told a hundred times before, but Chrissie Zullo's artwork is a pleasure to look at. "Eye of the Beholder" is yet another familiar tale we've seen in CREEPY and EERIE over the years (it even looks like something from one of WARREN's early issues), while closing tale "Someone to Watch" ended up being my favorite, about a single guy who purchases a house haunted by a possessive female ghost. Peter Bagge contributes three one-paged humorous strips the comic could do without.
At this point, I'm seriously considering discontinuing collecting Dark Horses' EERIE and CREEPY relaunches. While I love the covers and the idea of old-school horror comics coming back, I can't see these titles lasting much longer unless they really pick things up in the script department. There have been few original tales so far and the goofiness factor seems to rise with each new issue.
Brian Keene's THE LAST ZOMBIE saga continues in BEFORE THE AFTER no. 3, where our team is still waiting out a blizzard inside a bunker in Iowa. There's a gruesome flashback scene that takes place in a hospital, while the current situation is still dealing with the zombie virus antidote.
In BEFORE THE AFTER No. 4, the snowstorm has stopped and the team plans to move out as Ian continues to lose his health. We're also taken back to pre-apocalypse days when Sergeant Warner's son came out of the closet, but I'm not sure at this point if this will be relevant to the story or if it's just another way to kill some pages before anything exciting happens in this seemingly monotonous melodrama.