Red Sonja seems to be pretty popular these days, and with a new mini-series kicking off from Dynamite Entertainment, I thought we should take a look see.
Previously in Red Sonja:
(sung to the theme song of Wonder Woman)
Red Sonja! Red Sonja!
She’s the she devil with a sword,
and she’ll kick your ass.
In your metal bikini,
Fighting for your right,
to do what you want
or something like that….
THE SERPENT GOD RISES! (again)
I don’t know how many times a serpent god has risen in the lands of the Hyborian Age, but it’s happening again.I kind of like the demonic gods trying to take over the world as opposed to a crazy king, or army trying to take over a country. What does make this story different is that it takes place long after the events in Queen Sonja, at a time when Sonja has essentially retired from her past lives, content to become a teacher at a school of arms she has established. This brings a different dynamic to the story, as Sonja now has kid sidekicks who help her defeat the wizard turned demon, and sets up an adventure that will show she still has the skills to take on all who defy her.
Nancy A. Collins’ take on a much older (she has gray in her hair) and wiser warrior is interesting, and I hope it doesn’t devolve into tropes filled with “I’m too old for this sh…” and a fighting montage of the old warrior getting back in shape. I do like the kid-sidekicks and the dynamic it could set up down the road as wisdom is passed on. From the writing standpoint, this is a good first issue that sets up a story that has a lot of potential going forward.
FEELS LIKE THE ’80s ALL OVER AGAIN
When I critique art, I’m keenly aware that my drawing abilities barely match those found on the walls in Lascaux, but I know what works for me and what doesn’t, and I know what I like. Sadly, the art is something I don’t like about this issue. The coloring is fine, though it seems to follow the Dynamite “let’s make the darks black and the light colors dark” method too often, but a lot of the character work in this issue feels like I’m looking at an indie comic book from the ’80s. That isn’t such a horrible thing, as I was a fan of Ron Lim, Dave Sims and the like, and look at how far they’ve come since then. There are some very ominous panels that are framed low to make the bad guys seem even more evil, and the meek that much more so. The layouts are fine, and I don’t have a problem with the way this book is put together.
I do have a problem with the way sex and violence are portrayed in this issue. I’m not clear why it is perfectly okay to show a woman’s throat being slashed in a graphic close up, then later on that same page, the naked virgin’s nipples are non-existant and the curve of the breast looks like a Wertham-era black marker has been taken to her body. I realize in this day of weird moral groups, showing any bit of nudity is going to get a million whoevers writing and protesting your work, I just wish a publisher would decide that if extreme violence is going to be shown, then a naked breast shouldn’t be that big of a deal – just put a mature reader rating on the cover. Dynamite currently has this book rated Teen+.
BOTTOM LINE: GOOD STORY, SO-SO ART
I didn’t see any vultures in this issue, so I’m hoping the title comes around and makes sense at some point. The story is good, and I like seeing a much older Sonja and a look at what happens “after”. I don’t care for the art at all. Except for the big time jump, this is a pretty typical Red Sonja story at this point. If you like Red Sonja, you know what you are getting into. If you are new to Red Sonja, there is a lot to like.