Belit's death is indeed a must-read
A milestone issue!
This is indeed one of the best Conan issues ever and for me easily this volume's best story. From start to finish Thomas's script is tight leading to the inevitable conclusion of Belit dying and then helping Conan kill the winged monster. Not only that but he also manages to make the monster something more than your average cookie-cut threat. This remnant of an ancient civilization gains a good back story that is also a nice deviation from the action (and maybe helps explain why Conan was spared in the first time.
The art here is also tight. Ernie Chan's inks complement John Buscema's wonderful pencils perfectly catching the air of a great Conan adventure. The size of the book doesn't mean that this is a hasty job. Every facial expression is spot on and Belit hanging from her ship's mast is a chilling sight.
Over all, for me this is the ultimate Conan experience. A great adventure in a very atmospheric setting, against a terrible threat and the loss of life which ensues. Part of Robert E. Howard's vision, in the first time. Or in one word? Excelsior!