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  • Greg O'Driscoll

Conan and Belit score some herb!

Cover image of Conan the Barbarian #72 from Marvel Comics.

Written by Roy Thomas, drawn by John Buscema, and inked by Ernie Chan, this issue features one of those classic misleading covers from back in the day. Conan and Belit don't fight any "hordes of hell" in this issue. Instead, the pair disguise themselves as peasants and slip into Asgalun, Belit's kingdom by birthright and stolen from her by a treacherous uncle.

Conan and Belit pretend to be a "happily married" peasant couple. Interior art from CTB #72.

Instead of assassination, they are on a mission of mercy. The piratical pair seek to retrieve a hidden cache of mystical herbs in order to heal an ailing friend N'yaga, the shaman that raised Belit after she fled her stolen homeland. They run afoul of the Stygian sorcerer Ptor-Nubis and Belit tips her hand too soon with Nim-Karrak, the usurper on her father's throne.

Overcoming the odds and a hypnotic trick that had the two lovers battling each other, Conan and Belit obtain the needed herbs and more importantly learn that Belit's father many not be truly dead. Thomas gets a fair bit of mileage out of the plotline involving Belit trying to reclaim her birthright.

CTB #72 sports a great Gil Kane and Ernie Chan cover and some comedic scenes when Conan has to pass Belit off as his hot-tempered wife while sneaking into the city and later pretending to be performers, but my favorite moment is early on. Prior to seeking the magical herbs in Asgalun, Belit's ship attacks a Shemite merchant vessel. During the fighting on deck, Conan skewers one enemy and gang tackles another four, all in one panel.

Conan takes out five opponents at once. Interior art from CTB #72.

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