There is a world not quite like our own. A world run on steam and clockworks. It may feature legendary characters we all know, but these characters are far from it. They are Legenderry.
Previously in Legenderry Red Sonja: This is the first issue, but you should know that Legenderry: A Steampunk Adventure has been around for a while. It was created by legendary writer Bill Willingham and artist Sergio Fernandez Davila, and it tells the tale of literary figures meeting and having adventures set in a world powered by steam.
AND MY SPELLING WILL NEVER BE THE SAME… AGAIN!
I do like my steampunk adventures in small doses, so having a chance to read a Red Sonja tale set in the genre, and knowing that it isn’t an ongoing series, sits in just the right place with me. And knowing Marc Andreyko has a history with Legenderry world creator Bill Willingham, makes me feel even more at ease knowing that this will not a totally different take on what we’ve seen and read before. So why does this first issue feel out of place?
It could be that the MacGuffin in the tale is Woychek, and if you’ve seen the play or know Georg Bruchner’s intent when he wrote the manuscript(s), you know that things are often out of place or feel a bit insane. We know that Sonja is a woman who has a will of her own and doesn’t fall so easily in battle, yet the first time we meet the character in this book she’s only interested in one thing – sex. Not that sex is a bad thing, but how it is used to shape our first impression of character can be.
When Sonja’s quest has her crossing paths with Woychek, and trouble ensues at a bar she frequents, the story does kicks into high gear. Those eager for a Red Sonja tale where she takes out a horde of monsters will not be disappointed, and by the end of the issue, you’ll think you are reading a penny dreadful from 1847. The reveal on the last page had me hooked into wanting to read what happens next. Regardless of how Sonja was portrayed at the beginning, by issue’s end, Red Sonja is the kick-ass, take charge warrior we all know and love.
METAL BIKINI TOP RETURNS
The art by Aneke really shines in this issue. Not only does the artist bring the metal bikini (top) wearing heroine to a semi-modern steampunk world, but also makes the world a dark, rainy, brooding place we expect to see. Aneke does a fantastic job on all counts, even making bit-characters seem relevant in the panel. I’m particularly fond of the crowded bar where even the drunkard on the floor is unique. Colors jump out of the page, and there is a definite break from the high-contrast house style we’ve seen before. The fight and chase sequences are well composed on the page, and Sonja’s fight with a dismembered hand is particularly crazy.
BOTTOM LINE: GRAB IT
It is easy to dismiss a genre switch when it comes to pulp characters like Red Sonja, but with the success of Penny Dreadful, Once Upon a Time, and Grimm, seeing Andreyko and Aneke take Red Sonja and put her in this setting is an interesting one. She’s still a take charge warrior, who will end up fighting hordes of monsters controlled by a madman, but giving her a setting that is not Cimmeria is a nice change of pace. If you are a Red Sonja fan, you will want to pick up Legenderry Red Sonja #1.