Warning: This article contains spoilers for Conan 2099 #1 by Gerry Duggan, Roge Antonio, Erick Arciniega and VC's Travis Lanham, on sale now.
While Conan the Barbarian might be one of the most famous fantasy characters ever created, he's spent the last few months finding his place in the Marvel Universe. In Savage Avengers, Conan has fought alongside present-day Marvel heroes like Elektra, Punisher and Wolverine. Now, Conan 2099 has shown that the Cimmerian might just outlive all of his newfound allies.
As part of Marvel's ongoing 2099 event, this one-shot has given Conan a brand new mission and some new abilities. Thanks to one of the most powerful groups in the Marvel Universe, Conan even sets his sights to cosmic new heights by the end of the issue.
The issue sees an older (but not very aged) King Conan ruling over his decimated people, their fate intertwined with his own. This is due to a curse placed on him by Morgan La Fey after he killed the witch and refused to act against Doctor Doom. In this far future, he finds the potential to escape his own doomed fate after he encounters a dying member of the Nova Corps. Taking the helmet, Conan eventually makes it to the Nova Citadel in California, where he repairs the Nova equipment and leaves Earth on a spaceship, unofficially recognized as a member of the Corps.
This upgrade stands out against the array of wisdom and weaponry that the brutish Cimmerian has used throughout the years. Formerly, he had learned such skills as reciting mantras to ward of hypnosis and magic spells, and he had even managed to perform simple rituals of his own by using archaic runes. Also in his acquired arsenal is a magical sentence that wards off even the most strong-willed Lizard Men.
Even before he found the Nova and his helmet, Conan had already replaced his usual weaponry with a futuristic laser sword. As formidable as these and his other skills are, however, his newfound access to Nova technology makes Conan more formidable and dangerous than ever to all who stand in his way.
Barbarians In Space
While this one-shot issue doesn't reveal what happened to Conan once he stepped into space, it makes Conan another in a long line of Barbarians turned space wanderers. From the kind of trippy cosmic adventures Thor had in Thor: Ragnarok to stories like Edgar Rice Burroughs' John Carter of Mars, these stories throw ancient or primal warriors into the far reaches of space.
Some strains of this "sword and planet" genre are even prevalent in Masters of the Universe, particularly the 1990s animated series, The New Adventures of He-Man, which moved the action of He-Man's adventures from Earth to space. This fusion of barbaric fantasy and hi-tech science fiction is also the basis for the Warhammer franchise.
While it's surprising that this issue marks Conan's first real extraterrestrial journey, he goes into space with a Nova helmet, one of the more powerful tools in the Marvel Universe. Although it's unclear where they might happen, this issue ends with the promise of Conan looking for a new crown as he explores space, and there's no telling where he might end up.