Becky Cloonan Draws New Jump-On Points For ‘Batman’ and ‘Conan The Barbarian’ [Previews]
Fans of Becky Cloonan (like us) are in for an uncommon treat this week, as the artist’s work can be seen in two new issues of two publishers’ most high profile releases. For Dark Horse Comics, Cloonan rejoins writer Brian Wood for a new issue of Conan The Barbarian, based on the classic character created by Robert E. Howard. For DC Comics, Cloonan joins writer Scott Snyder for the latest issue of his best-selling Batman, and in so doing becomes what is believed to be the first woman to draw the title in its 70-year history. We’ve got a few pages from each book, which are both designed as jumping-on points for new readers.
In Conan The Barbarian #7, Cloonan draws the titular warrior and his companion Bêlit returning to his homeland to dispatch an inposter doing unpleasant things in his name. The issue is meant to be a jumping-on point for new readers, perhaps some whose curiosity was piqued by David Brothers’ excellent essay on Conan’s high class sex and violence content, in which he wrote:
Cloonan’s Bêlit oozes passion. She engenders passion. She forces passion into being. Under Cloonan’s pen, Bêlit practically smolders. She’s nearly nude, but rather than being alluring, her nudity comes across as more of a danger than a tease. Her eyes are cold and menacing, the sort of eyes that peek out from behind Dr. Doom’s mask or narrow on a femme fatale’s face before she slips a stiletto between your ribs. She’s sexy, but she’s a danger. You know that you don’t need to interact with her at all, but you can’t help wanting to possess her.
Bêlit crawls into Conan’s imagination before invading his life. It’s easy to see why. Becky Cloonan’s Bêlit looks like the type of woman that heroes obsess over. She’s equal parts sex-bomb and snake pit. Just looking at her hints at the extremes of pleasure and pain. She’s the personification of the intersection between sex and death, a primal force that’s impossible to ignore. And that makes her a challenge, which in turn makes her irresistible. Conan doesn’t get a choice. Bêlit positively smolders, and her flame consumes him.
Cloonan’s issue of Batman also beings a new storyline. Issue #12 is the first proper introduction to Harper Row, a new character who was seen in Batman #1 and who Snyder has said will play a major role in the series going forward. Little is known about her except what we see in the preview pages below: she’s from the Narrows — the Gotham Ghetto, essentially — and she won a raffle to one of Bruce Wayne’s political banquets. It’s rumored that Harper was devised as a replacement to the Cassandra Cain/Black Bat character, whose status in DC Comics’ revised New 52 universe remains uncertain. Snyder’s Batman, of course, has been a highlight of the DC relaunch.