In Review: Legenderry Red Sonja #3

Sonja arrives at the island and encounters several dangers, though the greatest threat has eyes on her ship.

The covers: All three covers to this third issue feature artwork by Joe Benitez with colors by Beth Sotelo on two of them. The A cover features Sonja standing haughtily with her left hand on her hip, while her right holds a massive sword. She looks at the reader daring them to proceed through the closed aperture she’s guarding. The character is gorgeous, with her hair fantastic and the details in her Steampunk garb beautiful. The colors for her hair are outstanding, the greens for her pants and headscarf striking, and the work done in the metal behind her superior. The B cover is the B&W Incentive cover that features the same artwork as the A cover, just without Sotelo’s contributions. If one likes Benitez, this is one to pick up. I do like this, but I do prefer it with the colors. The C “Virgin” Incentive cover is the same as the A cover, but now without any text. If one likes to see the artwork in its purest form, this is the cover to have. Overall grades: A A+, B A, and C A+

The story: In a nice throwback to the first issue, this story begins with Tobias Thorne, though not with him so agressive. He’s looking at a picture of his family from years ago. He apologizes to his dead wife for what’s happened to the family, suggesting that things might have been different if she had remained alive. He wonders if he’s being punished for all the terrible things he’s done. Regardless, he won’t give up his daughter Tesla. He throws the family picture aside, shattering the glass, and he proceeds from his room to the deck where a crewman says they should be at their destination in less than half a day, though he adds ominously “It doesn’t show up on any map so we’re not sure what awaits us.” Meanwhile, on Sonja’s ship, Adraiano tries to persuade her that he should be the one to accompany D’nar to the mysterious island, but Sonja shoots that down. Marc Andreyko has D’nar give Sonja some background as to how he came upon the mysterious radioactive island and soon he and the flame haired captain are on their way. Their journey on the island is reminiscent of classic novels such as Journey to the Center of the Earth with its odd and harsh landscapes. In addition to inhospitable settings, the pair are attacked by natives who are fiercely loyal to their master Kulan Gath, D’nar’s father. And where is the vile villain? He makes an impressive appearance attacking Sonja’s boat and crew. The final page is a good cliffhanger to get readers to return next week and I know I’ll be there. Overall grade: A

The art: Rodney Buchemi takes over as illustrator with this issue and the book is much more consistent for it. He does a lot of strong detail work with the surroundings, which is a hallmark of the Steampunk genre. It may seem like a little thing, but look at what he does to the picture frame and the mirror on the wall in Thorne’s quarters. With the metallic walls, Buchemi has combined the detailed with the modern very well. The remorse on Thorne’s face as he considers his past and present is also very well done. And though it only appears in one panel, Thorne’s ship on Page 2 looks great. Sonja looks terrific when she appears and looks good throughout the entire book. Sonja emotes well when she’s talking to Adriano, and look how good that supporting character is rendered on Page 3. As this pair talks take note of the background. Yes, it’s composed primarily of boxes, but they are drawn so well the setting comes off as extremely realistic. The outfits that D’nar and the Hyrkanian change into are futuristic looking, but not so much that they look out of place; again, a nice visual Steampunk design. D’nar’s story looks as if it is from a classic pirate adventure which is exactly what it demands of the artist. The full-page splash that reveals where Sonja and D’nar must go looks forbidding and captures the classical feel of a Verne novel. Sonja’s descent looks great and the individuals that she and D’nar encounter are outstanding; in fact, there’s a panel that has Sonja delivering a savage kick to a foe’s head that’s freaking awesome. And speaking of outstanding, Kulan Gath’s appearance has him looking frightful and strong as he uses his arcane knowledge to do something dark. The final page is also a full-paged splash that features some superior character work from an angle looking up and some really good work with smoke. Having Rodney Buchemi join this title was a good decision. Overall grade: A

The colors: Though there are dark characters and locations, colorist Adriano Augusto really brings his A game to this issue with wonderfully bright colors. The book begins with tans and somber yellows to age the photograph that Thorne looks upon. When the background is shown to the reader it’s got a perfect metallic color to show the reader that this story is not set as far back as one might imagine. The coloring of characters’ flesh is well done with Thorne having a good five o’clock shadow and the highlights in Sonja’s muscles excellent. The suits that she and D’nar change into are a cool blue, adding to their futuristic design and making them eye catchers in the settings they traverse. The story told by D’nar has the colors go yellow and orange to age them well. The peril that awaits Sonja as she makes a descent is wonderfully colored in terrific oranges and crimsons. Kulan Gath steals the issue in his sinister violets that taint his skin and his blasphemous works. There’s a lot of smoke in this issue and Augusto colors them in different hues to accentuate different tones in the story and art. Augusto is really knocking it out of the park. Overall grade: A+

The letters: Thomas Napolitano creates narration, sounds, dialogue, a whisper, and the tease for next issue. Every creation by Napolitano is solid, with two texts really standing out: the narration and sounds. The narration is fantastic, using lower case letters to show characters’ thoughts, rather than using italicized text as other letterers do. There are many sounds that are perfect matches for the actions occurring on the page, with FWACK and FWISSH being my favorites. Plus, look at the outstanding tease for next issue, resembling the classical font of swashbuckling comics. Simply outstanding. Overall grade: A

The final line: Sonja arrives at the island and encounters several dangers, though the greatest threat has eyes on her ship. The story captures the time period well and the visuals are perfect. I’m really enjoying this story and look forward to wherever it’s taking me. Overall grade: A 

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Patrick Hayes was a contributor to the Comic Buyer's Guide for several years with "It's Bound to Happen!" and he's reviewed comics for TrekWeb and TrekCore. He's taught 8th graders English for 20 years and has taught high school English for five 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.
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