Any message board trolls who have ever doubted the talents of Darick Robertson should take a long hard look at this one-shot that came out from Dark Horse in January. Conan the Cimmerian: The Weight of the Crown is a 40-page self-contained tale both written and drawn by the Transmetropolitan and Boys artist, and his ability to depict brutality with the force, motion and mass of a Jackson Pollock canvas painted in ink and blood is impressive enough. What’s even more apparent about this release, though, is how well this story works as a Conan short.
The morality and typical fable attributes of a fantasy tale don’t apply to the Conan universe, and in a way it’s like a prehistoric noir tale in that after Conan slays a corrupt king and confronts the surviving prince after receiving the crown to the kingdom, he ponders over a period of time what the violence and leadership role actually mean. I don’t want to spoil the conclusion for anyone, but the book ends without any tidied-up soul-mending moments of resolution. No one makes any discoveries that alter their lives. The prince may, in the end, but that’s doubtful given his character. Rather, the purpose of the story is mostly to get inside what drives Conan and where he searches for fulfillment.
I appreciate it when a book doesn’t try to moralize, but presents a character dilemma in the terms of its culture, and this one places a lot of trust in the reader to make judgments and assessments about where a compass of right and wrong points between its covers.