The alliance between Conan’s Kozaki warriors and the pirates of the Vilayet Sea has proven successful in striking against the nation of Turan. This is of great concern to Jehungir Agha – the corrupt noble in charge of keeping order in that part of the nation. Still, one does not rise to power in Turan without some base cunning and Agha is more cunning than most.
Arranging an exchange of hostages on the isolated island of Xapur, Agha plots to exploit Conan’s love of women after receiving reports of the barbarian’s chivalric nature. The reports are confirmed when Conan strikes a blow against Agha’s head torturer in defense of Octavia – a Nemedian princess taken hostage and reduced to slavery in Jehungir Agha’s court.
After a night of relatively peaceful celebration, Agha spreads word that Octavia has become lost in the wilds of Xapur. It is his thought that Conan will go off alone to rescue the girl and that he and his men can hunt Conan at their leisure once he is separated from his followers.
What Agha does not foresee, however, is Octavia actually escaping from his clutches and fleeing into the wilderness of her own volition. Nor does he know the ancient evils that lie sleeping on the isle of Xapur…
The Devil In Iron is considered by many scholars of Robert E. Howard to be the weakest of the original Conan stories. Certainly it seems to have recycled elements from earlier Conan tales. A mysterious city of people adrift in magical slumber lay at the center of The Slithering Shadow. Conan’s rescue of a female slave on a deserted island formed the basis of Shadows In the Moonlight. Even the name of the damsel in distress in that story – Olivia – is striking close to the name of this story’s heroine, Octavia!
Given that, is it fair for me to penalize Cullen Bunn for adapting a poor story accurately? I think not. Thankfully, Bunn does manage to make this issue engaging, though the reader may find themselves rolling their eyes at the magical voice that conveniently gives Conan the information he needs to fight the menace before him. Still, Sergio Davila’s artwork remains as skillful and brilliant as ever, perfectly enhanced by Michael Atiyeh’s colors. Bunn, Davila and Atiyeh continue to be the dream team that Conan needs. This series is sword-and-sorcery done right!
Conan The Slayer #9 will be available for purchase on May 24, 2017.
Get it at your local comic shop or on-line at Comixology.com.