Conan: Battle for the Serpent Crown

Conan: Battle for the Serpent Crown
Conan Battle For The Serpent Crown review
  • North American Publisher / ISBN: Marvel - 978-1-3029-2446-1
  • Release date: 2020
  • UPC: 9781302924461
  • Contains adult content?: no
  • Does this pass the Bechdel test?: no
  • Positive minority portrayal?: yes
  • CATEGORIES: Action Thriller

The Serpent Crown is a malevolent mystical device that originated in Marvel’s fantasy titles before being co-opted for their superhero material, and Battle for the Serpent Crown manages to combine both. It’s set during the period where Conan has been brought forward in time to the present day Marvel universe (see Savage Avengers), and begins with him wandering out of the desert into Las Vegas. Continuity is important, as Las Vegas is the domain of Mephisto, the devil by any other name, but he’s confined there and wants out.

From that background Saladin Ahmed concocts a fast-moving caper where Conan is thwarted at every turn, by circumstance as well as ignorance of the modern world. He quickly picks up an ally in the thief Nyla, someone he can completely understand, but what starts in Nevada quickly moves elsewhere.

Everything is sumptuously drawn by Luke Ross, from the superhero cameos to lush jungles, and the underwater setting of Atlantis. Conan radiates power, and those he faces do the same, unless the intention is that grace or subterfuge is their defining characteristic. Plus he draws a great Mephisto in several forms.

Ultimately Ahmed’s plot is the means for Conan to take a tour of some interesting places and match might or wits with the local residents, so anyone hoping for savage sword and sorcery battling could be disappointed. Go with the flow, accept Conan in the 21st century, and there’s a lot of fun to be had seeing him come up against things he doesn’t fully understand. What he does understand is that there are few things that can’t be battered.