Although Chronicles of Conan, v. 21: Blood of the Titan and Other Stories had some redeeming qualities, Chronicles of Conan, v. 22: Reavers in the Borderland and Other Stories is mostly random hack-and-slash action, full of gaudily colored thugs, wizards, and bravos trying to cut Conan down. And I don't mean that in a good way.
Michael Fleisher, who wrapped up his two-year run here, writes largely forgettable pieces, studded with violence and lady flesh. Fleisher's stories show little wit and feature no memorable characters. The images parade in front of the eyes and then vanish, leaving as much of an impression upon Conan as they do the reader -- that is, none. He brings back forgettable characters from previous stories, and they make no more impression the second time around. His Conan is bland and mild, even going so far as giving his horse to an evil woman who tried to steal his magic sword.
Fleisher fails to deliver on the cliffhanger from the end of Blood of the Titan, making the bold choice of ignoring the dangling plot altogether. Reprint editor Chris Warner doesn't help matters by starting off the volume with two annuals. Not only does it delay the resolution of that cliffhanger, but it makes the narrative more forgettable by interrupting what little momentum Fleisher's stories had.
Jim Owsley starts his run on the final two issues. His work on those issues and an annual is promising, as his Conan is more blunt and plainspoken and the stories more violent. Owsley also seems to recognize Conan can't operate in a vacuum; he needs someone to react to and to react to him occasionally, and he includes a few characters we can become attached to. But it's only two issues of a longer storyline; it can't save the entire book.
John Buscema's in fine form in this book, although his art looks better with some inkers than others. The final two issues are especially superb and sharp, even if Conan's blue-sleeveless-tee-and-fur-underwear combo is long overdue to go. Ernie Chan draws an action-packed Annual #9, although he can't quite measure up to Buscema.
This book is a waste of time. Reavers has little to recommend it, other than Buscema's art, and Buscema's work is in so many better Chronicles. Only completionists should consider this book.