Conan the Barbarian has wielded many powerful swords in his day, but the Tooth of the Nightstar is the deadliest yet, containing a dark, hungry force.
Warning: spoilers for Conan the Barbarian #16 ahead!
Conan the Barbarian’s new sword, the Tooth of the Nightstar, is his deadliest yet, but it comes at a cost. The Cimmerian’s new blade debuts in Conan the Barbarian #16, by writer Jim Zub, artist Roge Antonio and colorist Israel Silva. Conan has wielded many fantastic weapons up to this point in his storied life, but none fiercer than this.
Recent issues have seen Conan captured and imprisoned in the Crucible, an underground, booby-trapped labyrinth designed in honor of Challi-Mai, the God of Many Deaths; people who die in the maze are considered sacrifices. Others were imprisoned with Conan, and he became friends with them, even having a fling with a woman prisoner Naru-Li, but all but Conan perished in the maze. When he reached its end, Conan smashed Mai’s statue, angering the god’s followers, who set upon the Barbarian.
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Now in prison, Conan is tortured by his captors but then freed by the ghost of Yohnic, one of Conan’s fellow prisoners in the Crucible. An angry, revenge-seeking Conan kidnaps a cleric and forces him to lead the way to the Chief Magistrate. Impressed with Conan’s performance, the Magistrate offers Conan a sword and the opportunity to rule the land. The sword in question is the Tooth of the Nightstar; the Magistrate does not explain the sword’s history in great detail, other than that it was forged in Khitai and that it is his favorite of his extensive collection. Conan takes the sword and promptly beheads the Magistrate; he then fights his way through the hordes before leaving the city and heading to his next adventure.
On the surface, the Tooth of the Nightstar may look like any other of Conan’s swords, but this one is different. It glows when used, has already cut down a thousand enemies, and the solicitation for the next issue reveals the sword eats souls… and is hungry, reading:
“THE CURSE OF THE NIGHTSTAR” CLAIMS CONAN! CONAN has escaped the Great Crucible, but his “March to Khitai” has just begun! Conan now possesses the TOOTH OF THE NIGHTSTAR, a mighty weapon liberated from the Uttara Kuru leadership. But if he’s not careful, the sword will possess him! A dark force is bound to the mystic blade, a spirit hungering for souls – including the Cimmerian’s! And It. Must. Feed!
Conan has never needed much of a reason to mow down his enemies, so the dark force within the Tooth of the Nightstar (perhaps the Nightstar itself) is likely to be able to do a huge amount of damage in his hands. While this issue ended with Conan claiming the sword as an act of victory, these hints at its darker purpose highlight the fact that it was actually a gift from an enemy, and will likely function as their revenge from beyond the grave. Never before has Conan wielded a sword that robs his opponents of not only their life, but their soul, and with the ghost of an ally having helped him this issue, it’s possible Conan will be facing some problems from beyond the veil, even if he doesn’t fall to the Tooth of the Nightstar himself.
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