Red Sonja has been one of those on again, off again titles that we’ve been reading at the Major Spoilers HQ for the last couple of years. With the release of the latest issue from Dynamite Entertainment, it’s time once again to check out Red Sonja, She-Devil with a Sword.
Previously in Red Sonja: Adventure! Excitement! Sword play! A Girl in a metal bikini! Set during the same period as Conan, the She-Devil with a Sword, roams the land with her companions looking for their fortune.
HOW DOES ONE SWIM IN A METAL BIKINI?
If someone is looking to pick up the Red Sonja series, this issue is a really good jumping on point, as it not only captures the essence of the She-Devil with a Sword, but it is the start of a new story arc. And because of the nature of this particular chapter, Red Sonja #67 can also be looked at as a stand alone issue. As the prologue to the upcoming Swords of the Jade Kingdom, the story focuses on Sonja and her team setting sail across the seas only to come face to face with a Thunder Dragon that destroys their ship, forcing the survivors to a nearby island. There, Sonja fights a local tribe who give me the creeps for no other reason than they have sewn their mouths shut.
For readers wanting to see pages of fighting, Red Sonja #67 has it, as the heroine not only defeats the island warriors, but scares off the survivors when she kills their leader by dropping a giant stone hammer on his head. I half expected to see the Thunder Dragon make another appearance in the book, and wasn’t disappointed when the slithering serpent dropped from the sky to try and eat the title character. I think readers have an expectation when it comes to dragons, and though most are depicted as red or green fire breathers, I really like the use of a dragon that spits lightening to subdue its victims. I suppose in the water, this is a mighty foe, but Sonja figures out a way to defeat the creature in a rather dramatic way.
The supporting characters really don’t stand out that much in this issue. Save for a brief romantic moment with Red Sonja’s former boss, it seems the rest of the cast are simply there to fill out the needed numbers. Perhaps they become more important in the coming arc, but since I didn’t read the previous arc, I don’t know if these characters serve a greater purpose. This is an issue where Red Sonja takes the spotlight and it doesn’t turn away from her for a moment.
For a first time reader, Eric Trautmann does a great job in capturing Red Sonja’s character. Mr. Trautmann writes her as a natural leader, strong warrior, and someone not to be trifled with. Mr. Trautmann has been writing this series for a while now, and he continues to make the series seem fresh.
HOW DO YOU NOT GO CRAZY DRAWING ALL THOSE CIRCLES
The first thing that struck me about the art in this issue was how the opening page featured Red Sonja wearing leather armor more in line with something Xena or Wonder Woman would wear into battle. The black ensemble with gold highlights looks really great, and Sonja’s red hair is colored darker than we’ve seen before. As this page was used to tell the reader what had come before, I was really looking forward to this costume change, but right after the page was complete, readers are dumped into the story with the heroine on a boat wearing the same metal bikini we’ve seen since Marvel first gave her space in comics back in 1973. During a time period when publishers are shaking things up, I was hoping Dynamite was doing the same thing here. With the dynamic action and a story that has the ability to capture new readers, a costume change would have sealed the deal as an advancement for the character.
Grumblings over the costume aside, the art by Marcio Abreu is really good. Mr. Abreu keeps the T&A shots to a minimum, but don’t be too surprised to see a butt shot or two that stands out as that image has become a staple pose for this character. Other than that, Mr. Abreu captures the action and power of the warrior with grace. The moments when she is battling the leader of the island tribe are very well choreographed, and I like how Mr. Abreu drew the slithering dragon that constantly wraps around the panel (and its victims).
BOTTOM LINE: PICK IT UP
Though Red Sonja continues to be an occasional read, each time I do pick up an issue, I’m pleased with the results. Eric Trautmann gets the character and is doing some great things with Red Sonja. Couple Mr. Trautmann’s ability to create a character that isn’t about what is filling out the costume, Marcio Abreu gives the characters in the book a world to exist in. Red Sonja #67 is worth picking up and earns 4.5 out of 5 Stars.