This is an original Conan work, based upon ideas and letters to fans from Ron E Howard, that Busiek has masterfully crafted into a prequel of the Conan mythology. It feels and reads just like a Howard Conan book which is a great achievement. The book tells the story of Conan’s early life, from his birth on a Cimmerian battlefield to his coming-of-age as a warrior in the pivotal Battle of Venarium. His youthful adventures have a stark realism to them and Conan is portrayed as a vulnerable boy with the seed of something special rather than some sort of all conquering superhero.
“Born on the Battlefield” works so well because the settings and supporting characters are lavished with exceptional detail. Placing the young Conan in such a well crafted world allows his character to develop in a believable but no less impressive way. The book has a very historical feel to it and the drama is more intense than is the norm for the high fantasy genre. I found it to be a very enjoyable read.
This book has a different, more gritty, artistic style to the work of Cary Nord. It uses a somber color pallette and has a much darker feel to it. I prefer a crisper look to my comic book art but Ruth’s work it is appropriate to the story and his style captures movement and action very well. This TPB should appeal to any fans of Dark Horse’s Conan books and I believe it is a good as any I have read. [ISBN-13: 978-1593079819]. 8/10