Dynamite Entertainment 2017
Written by Erik Burnham
Illustrated by Tom Mandrake
Coloured by Mohan
Lettered by Tom Napolitano
In all of recorded history, Hyrkania had never produced a warrior as fierce as RED SONJA, a she-devil whose skills are as sharp as her sword. More than once, Sonja has run afoul of the immortal sorcerer KULAN GATH - and defeated him at every turn, something Gath will neither forgive -nor forget. He has set a trap in the land of Meru, and all that remains is to lure his prey to her doom.
So here’s an odd question why is this issue so late? I mean that because we’ve already had a few issues of her current run on stands and this one well it pretty much leads directly into the beginning of that series. Sure it’s nice to see how it all got underway and became what it is i’m not going to deny that but it feels weird to have what four issues of her new series out before this hits stands.
So as far as this issue goes I have to say that Erik nails who Red Sonja is through and through. It feels like a classic story that could be inserted almost anywhere in her history and for that i’m grateful. It isn’t that often you can write a woman as you would a man in the same circumstances and get away with the way it’s done here. There’s nothing sexist about this, there’s no hint that she’s any kind of stereotype and all of is brought to us unapologetically and that’s divine stuff. There’s no reading into this further and there’s no need, she’s a deadly woman in a predominantly man’s world and is feared as much as she’s respected for what she’s capable of.
We don’t see enough of Tom and his work anymore which is a shame. He’s got such a great eye for storytelling with the way he utilises page layouts through their angles, perspective and use of backgrounds. His attention to detail and the linework are amazing to see here and evoke not only memories but also the feelings we should be at that moment. Plus there’s this way that Tom draws Sonja that is so different from the men around her and it works so very well that you get lost in what he does here.
Ah Kulan Gath is the man whose desire to see her ruined corpse that is going to be his ultimate downfall. It doesn’t matter what scheme he comes up with or how he implements it she’s going to find a way to defeat him and that’s just inevitable. Still that doesn’t mean seeing it play out again and again isn’t fun because it definitely is. The lengths he’ll go to and the creativity behind his thinking are probably some of the best parts of these stories.
While it’s a shame she and Conan don’t inhabit the same time and place these days. Still it’s no wonder when we get stories like this that she’s more popular.