Conan the Barbarian #147
Date: June 1983
Publisher: Marvel Comics
Series: Conan the Barbarian

"Tower of Mitra"

Script: Bruce Jones
Pencils: John Buscema
Inks: Ernie Chan
Letters: Janice Chiang
Colors: George Roussos
Editor: Louise Jones
Editor-in-Chief: Jim Shooter

Review written by Mark Bussler

If Conan the Barbarian ever needed to write a personals ad for the newspaper it would read something like “Barbarian. Muscular. Into drinkin’, womanizing, and all types of ill shit. Seeking lady friend who wears little, drinks more than I do, and doesn’t mind being called a wench.”

Ahhh, Conan. A relic from another age. The 1930s!

Robert E. Howard's unlikely fantasy hero has been entertaining millions of fans for nearly a century, and after reading issue #147 of the long-running Marvel Comics series, it’s easy to see why. Conan is awesome, even if we’re read this same story a thousand times.

Conan discovers a town. There’s a strange tower. Stuff is weird. There’s a bikini-clad woman chained to something inside the tower. Monsters and things happen.

How many cities does Conan discover that have a mysterious tower? It’s like every small town between here and Cimmeria has a hard on for Conan, and who can blame them? Just check out his Prince Valiant-inspired haircut.

Masterfully penciled by John Buscema, one of my favorite comic book artists, issue #147 is titled “Tower of Mitra!” By Crom! This is fucking great!

The cover is typical Conan. A half-naked woman is being abducted by winged monster. Conan looks somewhat drunk and confused while wielding a sword. I like the bold, minimalist background with the deep blue sky and moon that ties the action scene together. It sets the mood… the mood for magic towers and stuff.

Issue #147 starts with Conan reminiscing about a lost love from issues past named Pelija Lon while staring into a campfire. Writer, Bruce Jones, takes readers on a quick flashback through Conan’s blurry memory and the time that Conan met Ms. Lon in issue #134. How about the romantic scene where they slay snake monsters together in issue #139? Sultry.

Sadly, he sheds a tear remembering that she rode off into the sunset away from him. He says “what a waste of good woman flesh.” You know…. Maybe that’s why she rode off?

Well, it was 1983.

Suddenly, the peyote kicks in, and Conan starts to see visions of a beautiful woman emerge from the fire, but not just any beautiful woman, he sees a vision of Pelija Lon calling for help. “Help me Conan, you’re my only hope!” In his peyote-induced stupor, the only words he can make out are “…I’m a prisoner!”

Soon after, Conan rides to a town called D’Eim, a town with a tower! He enters on horseback and discovers mysterious goings-ons. The tower is called “The Tower of Mitra” and disheveled crowds awaits the high priestess. Suddenly, a gorgeous woman emerges from it. No way, it’s Pelija Lon! She looks stunning in her bikini top, crown, some draperies, and a cape that would make Lando Calrissian proud.

Conan acts instinctively and stabs a few people as he rushes up to meet her, only to discover that she doesn’t remember him. Maybe Conan didn’t check her Facebook status. Yo, you’ve been dumped! Or she’s been magically hypnotized by the obvious witch named C’Harona standing next to her. One of the two. Conan quickly gives up and rides away.

Dear readers, don’t throw your issue into the fireplace just yet! You know that the crazy witch lady is up to no good. She keeps Pelija Lon trapped in a dungeon while under the influence of drugs that make her do evil biddings. Apparently, the townsfolk won’t listen to someone who looks like Hagar the Horrible, but the babe in the Lando cape knows exactly what she’s talking about.

Pelija is no helpless damsel in distress though, while chained to a chair inside the tower (wearing a bikini), she fights the drugs and calls out to Conan as he rides away. Conan, who is clearly not the brightest barbarian in all the land, finally takes the hint and rides back to save her.

Conan enters the town under the cover of night. The townsfolk toil away and The Tower of Mitra is nearly complete. Global domination is within sight. The enormous spire houses a giant drill with which C’Harona plans to drill to the center of the earth and release hideous monsters, a half-baked diabolical plan at best. Maybe she should have swindled crypto investors or something easier. Anyway…

C’Harona threatens Pelija and calls her a “heartless wench” because every issue of Conan needs at least one wench-drop.

Conveniently, she walks off and leaves Pelija alone in the dungeon, still chained to the chair, giving Conan just enough time to sneak in and free her. Together, they beat up the guards, drug them, and then Pelija addresses the crowd as herself and not a puppet of evil. “Stop building the evil tower, you morons!”

The crowd revolts and storms the tower which, by now, gushes bloodthirsty subterranean humanoid rat monsters from the depths of terror below. Conan fights bravely and cleaves many a rat monster in two, but not before C’Harona transforms into a terrible winged creature that swoops down from the sky and kidnaps the half-naked Pelija Lon!

If I had a quarter for every time a winged creature swooped down from the sky and kidnapped a scantily clad woman in a Conan book, I could retire on my own private space yacht.

Conan doesn’t break a sweat as he throws his sword through the monster’s wing, catches Pelija, and curb stomps the harpie into mush. Dear readers, it is up to you and your filthy imagination to conjure up what unspeakable scenes of passion take place after the rescue. Or maybe she punches him out and steals his wallet for calling her “woman flesh.”

Buscema’s artwork is detailed, well drawn, and thoroughly engaging. I love how he conveys humor with a simple stroke of the pencil, and the action scenes are superb. There is a lot of personality in Buscema’s characters. Also, the crowd scenes are really good, and the shots of Conan slashing people and/or monsters are just terrific. It’s like he’s having the time of his life, which he probably is.

Conan #147 is a must-own, even if you’re read this same story so many times before. Drinkin’, womanizing, and all types of ill shit. Also towers.