cover image Kull, Vol. 1: The Shadow Kingdom

Kull, Vol. 1: The Shadow Kingdom

Arvid Nelson, . . Dark Horse, $18.95 (168pp) ISBN 978-1-59582-385-4

Kull's unskilled with the refined manners of royalty; as a barbarian who usurped the throne, he lets his sword do the talking. In this reimagining of another barbarian hero from the creator of Conan, a shadowy cult of snake-men slithers out to kill Kull and put their own puppet imposter in place, as they have done with past kings. Kull's plan to defeat them mostly involves beating them up. Alas, except when creating chuckles over lines like “her virgin knot is untouched,” the story is lackluster. Silly and awkward dialogue and explanatory segments regarding the origins and motives of the snake-men leading up to repetitive fight scenes render the book a bit plodding. Although the art adds rich settings and is skillfully executed, it feels stiff at times. However, Kull is an endearing character as he struggles to prove himself a respectable king despite his ignoble background, throughout the more ridiculous trials of fighting snake-men. In the end, he learns to exercise his brain a bit along with his brawn, and proves he is a king to be reckoned with, even if he can't pronounce “jurisdiction” correctly. (Nov.)