A preview of the penultimate issue of Hawks of Outremer is over at the Outhousers.
Now, I was planning on getting my mits on HoO as soon as I could, but I couldn't get up to Glasgow, and nowhere else nearby seemed to be selling the comic. Luckily, I just recently got to rectify that, and purchased the first three issues.
So far, it's... pretty damn good. It's an adaptation, it sticks to the story and characters, the art's very nice. And yet... I can't help but be a pernickety nitpicker as I notice the myriad changes that neither improve or enrich the story, as well as a few artistic choices I disagree with. But then, "Hawks of Outremer" is one of my favourite Howard stories starring one of my favourite Howard characters, so perhaps it's only natural. It's probably on about the same level as the best Marvel and Dark Horse adaptations in terms of accuracy, all said and done: there aren't any superfluous characters or new plot points, and unlike the recent Dark Horses, Howard's dialogue is stuck to like glue.
So why do the changes bother me so? It's difficult to explain, as most of the problems are little more than nitpicks. Things that I pointed out on The Cimmerian, mostly: the fact that Cormac looks a little too much like Conan, a few alterations of scenes that seem irrelevant but are needlessly jarring. There is one scene in the second issue that really bothers me, because it needlessly foreshadows a scene in the third issue (which happens to be one of my favourite parts of the whole story), reducing its impact - for no reason I can think of! Infuriating.
Perhaps that's it: the comic has stuck so close to Howard that the few deviations they do make stick out like a sore thumb. Incredibly glaring in comparison to other adaptations. With Conan, you eventually get used to the Aquiromians, even if you have to groan and roll your eyes a bit. But here, they haven't made any of the pan-media artistic directions: this could be a comic adaptation without CPI-mandated production design.
Who knows. I still enjoyed it a lot: I just don't think it's the definitive "Hawks of Outremer." And then, I don't think any one comic adaptation could or should be definitive. I'll likely do reviews of the individual issues in the future. The point is, they're great, but could've been awesome. The one thing ringing in my head was "this is so cool, but what could have been..."
(By the way, there are no pictures on this post because blogger's acting up, and they won't add new pictures. What's more, something's locking me out of the Conan.com forums, and I'm very irritated at not being able to keep up to date. Oh well, at least I'm getting somewhere with my comics.)