Presented entirely without comment.
EDIT: I'm moved to comment. *MORATORIUM, DEACTIVATE*
Normally the devil's advocate in me would be inclined to go against the grain despite personal opinions. A tiny part of me actually wants to defend Lolos' art: if nothing else, it's certainly different.
However, I must draw the line at defending something simply because it isn't the very worst: something doesn't have to descend below Bennet's "God-Fall" to be subject to criticism. Yes, there have been bad issues in the past with Conan - after decades of top-quality material from Thomas, Smith, Buscema, Alcala, etc. I won't say Thomas was perfect, that he had no off-days, or that Smith's early work was inferior to his later work, or that they didn't have a bumpy start - but they were doing pretty solidly for many years before The Dark Times.
The current Conan run isn't even ten years old. This semi-reboot hasn't even gotten to the ten issue mark. We've just started one of the great Conan story arcs in "Queen of the Black Coast," which stretched the story to over 40 issues in the Marvel comics, and Conan's barely out of his teens. We should not be at the stage where this
is a panel of the main Conan comic series.
I'm going to break my moratorium to shock you all: I don't hate Lolos' art. I don't particularly care for it, and I think the constant off-model characters are distracting. But I'm not going to go so far as to say his art is bad, because he clearly has an eye for expression, his scenery is competent, and he has a definite style. That's something. But at the same time, this is the main Conan the Barbarian line, taking one of the most ambitious and important story arcs in the character's entire life. "Something" isn't enough, this has to knock it out of the park. Lolos isn't doing that: he isn't even playing baseball.
This would be fine for a one-off, a Daughters of Midora or Songs of the Dead. But what happens in these issues affects every Conan comic in the Dark Horse series that follows until the very end. This series acts as if exists in a vaccuum instead of being part of a long-running series with an established continuity, which means that everything Busiek and Truman did is essentially forgotten. Wood's Conan never commanded the armies of Khoraja against Thugra Khotan; he never captained the Saucy Wench; he never freed Yogah; he never became friends with Nestor. And when Wood's off the series, what then? Will another author continue with Wood's alternate-universe Conan, or will we get yet another reboot, only this time the massive potential of "Queen of the Black Coast" has passed by?
Yes, yes, Conan has survived the '90s, he'll survive this. That's not in question: what is in question is the potential of something truly special being wasted. And I do think the potential of "Queen of the Black Coast" is not being exploited by Dark Horse. With all due respect to Wood, the fact that he's explicitly working with such a limited pallet as the original story (possibly mandated by Dark Horse) means that we've had 8 issues of a series about the Black Coast, with three issues that are actually set on the Black Coast: three issues go back to Messantia, which has been covered in the previous arc, and two issues in Cimmeria, which was the setting of two major arcs in the past few years. We still have the current Cimmeria arc to finish before we get to the next arc, which finally takes us back to sea.