You’ve seen Red Sonja… But are you ready for Purple Sonja? Your Major Spoilers review of Sonjaversal #8 from Dynamite Entertainment awaits!
Writer: Christopher Hastings
Artist: Pasquale Qualano
Colorist: Kike J. Diaz
Letterer: Hassan Otsmane-Elhaou
Editor: Nate Cosby
Publisher: Dynamite Entertainment
Cover Price: $3.99
Release Date: September 29, 2021
Previously in Sonjaversal: In the far-flung sci-fi future, Purple Sonja and her mech act as scouts for a space pilgrimage of the remaining members of humanity fleeing Earth. This scouting is made difficult by the return of Purple Sonja’s greatest enemy Kaiju descending upon her. Her demise is all but assured, until she receives help from… Hell Sonja!?
THE FINAL FRONTIER
Sonjaversal #8 picks up in space, where the last survivors of the human race are drifting, searching for a new world to call home, since radioactive kaiju took over planet Earth. They’re down to their last giga-warhead, but still have the protection of their greatest defender: Purple Sonja and her giant mech, S.O.N.J.A.! As the Ark encounters a floating space monster, Sonja and her robot pal make short work of it, then head home to the showers. (Literally.) After checking in on the hydroponic garden and flirting with the cute helmsman, Sonja retreats to her quarters. Later that night, Purple Sonja arrives on the bridge, nudging the same helmsman into a dangerous situation, only for the readers to discover that it’s not actually the hero at all, but Hell Sonja masquerading as her. S.O.N.J.A. is forced to go into combat, only to discover that the alien kaiju are hiding something very interesting on the world they’re encircling…
SOME UNIQUE ART
I have to say, I’m kind of into Purple Sonja. This issue sets up an interesting dynamic between the warrior and her robot, as well as a fun status quo of outer space monster fightin’ that is a fun twist on the usual Red Sonja swordery. There are very familiar moments to be had here, as the premise is basically a hybrid of Battlestar Galactica and Pacific Rim, but that doesn’t doom the story. It does make it a little predictable, but the art helps to overcome that. Qualano has a truly fun aesthetic that weirdly has elements of Darwyn Cook and Peter Chung at the same time, and the monsters are cleverly designed. The final panel reveal of a shape-shifting Hell Sonja breaking the fourth wall is startling, to say the least, and fun. There’s an elongation to Qualano’s bodies that sometimes bothers me, but he combines it with detailed and well-rendered robots and electronics that are perfectly suited for a story of this kind.
BOTTOM LINE: FUN BUT FAMILIAR
In short, Sonjaversal #8 does a good job of putting the familiar barbarian in a new setting and making it all work, with interesting, detailed art and a story that doesn’t surprise, but does entertain, making for a better-than-average 3.5 out of 5 stars overall. In some ways, it feels like a pilot as much as a chapter in an ongoing narrative, but it’s a pilot for a series I’d be willing to read and recommend to others.
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I'm starting to get a little multiversed-out, but this book successfully shows me an alternate Sonja that works, even if it wears its influence on its sleeve, and looks quite good doing it.