The covers: A trio to tempt you to capture if you can. Jenny Frison has created another outstanding Main cover showcasing a close-up of the She-Devil, her hands holding her sword which covers the bottom half of her face as her crimson hair blows about from some breeze. This is a perfect picture of Sonja: beautiful, powerful, and deadly. The Variant cover is by Joyce Chin and it’s a gorgeously detailed image with a head shot of Sonja, a horse with her on it, and the head of a wolfman-like creature watching over her. Above is a gothic mountain and below a monstrous army of creatures surges. This is poster/print quality. Utterly amazing! The Subscription cover is by the sensational Stephanie Buscema with Sonja under some lime-green water, her hair twisting into a beehive, as a series of tentacles from some unseen creature seeks to strangle her. Another masterpiece. I believe this is the first Dynamite comic I’ve ever reviewed where all covers earn an A+. Overall grade: All A+
The story: This issue wraps up Sonja’s quest to gather the “six most transcendent artisans in all the known world” for a king. She found them so he would free the lives of the one thousands slaves who have been building his future tomb. The issue opens with a fantastically written Sonja in “a bit of a mood.” She storms into a tavern in spectacular fashion to claim Rukau, the Dancer. What she encounters is completely unexpected, her internal narration hilarious, and the reveal on Page 4 incredible. I can’t remember when I’ve smiled more in the first four pages of a book. Writer Gail Simone has created a flawless conclusion for her flawless Red Sonja adventure. Page 7 foreshadows what’s to come, and it’s not a surprise–I would be upset if “it” didn’t happen, but this is a joy to read as one follows Sonja’s journey through this tale. Highlights include Page 9, panels one and five; Page 11, panel five; and all of Pages 19, 21, and 22. This is how Sonja should always be written. Overall grade: A+
The art: The visuals on this book are great, and artist Walter Geovani has no easy task in illustrating this because there are no fantasy elements in this story. There are no monsters, spirits, spells, demons, undead, or oversized animals. Everything in this story could have existed, so Geovani has to be sure that all he does is grounded in reality. The first two pages are a beautiful introduction to Sonja: Page 1 has a fantastic distant shot of her riding her mount, a close-up of her “mood,” her arrival at the tavern, a super aerial shot of Sonja approaching a pair of guards, the kicking in of a door, which leads to a full page splash on Page 2 with a spectacular Sonja screaming her intentions. And Geovani never lets up. The artisans look great, the king wonderfully old and evil, the king’s party lavish, and the action great. Like Simone, Geovani is in his element and every page and panel is a love letter to the fans of the female fury. Overall grade: A+
The colors: Matching the art are the colors created by Adriano Lucas. My default version of Robert E. Howard’s world is dirt brown and wood brown. Lucas has plenty of browns, as would naturally be found, but he also uses highlights and shading from light sources to make the characters breathe. Page 2 is an outstanding example of this as the light from outside the tavern backlights the characters. The colors are superior. I also liked how Sonja’s narration received its own color to make it stand out from the other text in the book. Lucas is rockin’ this title. Overall grade: A+
The letters: Narration, dialogue, scene setting, and, the expected, yells and screams that follow in Sonja’s wake were crafted by Simon Bowland. As far as I’m concerned he more than earned his keep for Sonja’s perfect narration. Overall grade: A+
The final line: This can’t be topped. Sorry. This is the pinnacle. Every page is perfection from a perfect storm of contributors. How can this be surpassed? …There’s always next month. Overall grade: A+
Patrick Hayes was a contributor to the Comic Buyer’s Guide for several years with “It’s Bound to Happen!”, he reviewed comics for TrekWeb, and he currently reviews Trek comics at TrekCore. He’s taught 8th graders English for 20 years and has taught high school English for two years and counting. He reads everything as often as he can, when not grading papers or looking up Star Trek, Star Wars, or Indiana Jones items online.