In Review: Legenderry Red Sonja #4

Will thrill those craving adventure and delight those looking for beautiful visuals.

The covers: This penultimate issue has three covers to pick up if one is fan of the She-Devil with a sword. The A cover is by Joe Benitez with Beth Sotelo. Sonja has a longsword over her right shoulder as she looks to left, her foot atop one of the crazy curly metallic structures that is a Benitez hallmark. She’s dressed in her pirate gear: green bandanna, goggles, metal bikini, green striped pants, pirate boots, and gloves. She’s looks spectacular and Sotelo’s colors are outstanding, with her snow white skin and red hair winners. The B cover is the Black and White Incentive by Benitez. This is the exact same image as the A, just without Sotelo’s contributions. I like this, but I prefer it colored. The C cover is the “Virgin” Incentive by Benitez and Sotelo and is the same as the A, though without any text on it. If one likes the A, one will love the C. Overall grades: A A, B A-, and C A+

The story: Picking up from last issue, aboard Kulan Gath’s ship, the wizard has a knife at Tesla’s throat to get his son D’nar’s anger up. Behind him is Sonja, who realizes that he’s too hot headed to kill the wizard and save the girl, so it’s up to her again. ‘…so this is all on me. As always. And I am…without my damn sword.’ Realizing to get a shot at the villain, she’ll have to distract him to get close, Sonja tells a guard to get his hands off of her. This prompts Gath to say, “Oh, what a concubine you would make.” Sonja responds, “I was thinking the same about you. Only my word was ‘castrati’.” The Hyrkanian challenges Gath and takes off her jacket, revealing her trademark metal bikini top. Naturally things don’t get well for Sonja, since this is the first time she’s encountered Kulan Gath. Writer Marc Andreyko has the title character escape death in an outstanding way, which is then followed by something surprising on 8. There’s a quick action sequence on 9 that demonstrates how powerful Sonja can be. The reunion on 10 is great, the surprise on 11 excellent, and the bigger surprise 13 will have the reader speaking Sonja’s line in the second panel in tandem with her. I cheered the action on 15, which is absolutely the perfect hero moment. I was glad for the reminder on 17 that there’s something that still keeps the villains a threat. The reveal on the final page introduces a world famous person into this saga and I’m really looking forward to seeing what this individual will bring to this song of Sonja. This was a lot of fun. Overall grade: A

The art: I really liked the visuals on this book by Rodney Buchemi. The book opens dramatically with a full-paged splash of Tesla with tears streaming down her face as she is held by the clawed hand of Kulan Gath while a knife’s tip pierces her neck creating a small trail of crimson. This image concretely tells the reader what the stakes are beginning on Page 1. The next two pages are a double-paged splash that shows, from a tilted angle, where Sonja, D’nar, Tesla, Gath, and assorted friends and minions are located. This is a great image. Kulan’s laugh in the first panel on the fourth page is awesome: this is the go-to pose for maniacal laughter from an uber-villain. Sonja’s removal of her jacket on 5 is designed to titillate and distract Garth and it’s success is shown on 6. There’s quiet a bit of close action between both characters and it’s done very fluidly. That’s done throughout the book and the next example of well drawn actions occurs on 7 with the second and third panels outstanding. The reactions by the characters in that second panel are awesome. The reveal in the second panel on the following page is where heroic music would begin to sound. Also impressive is the fourth panel that has the action occur off panel, but is revealed in the fifth panel. The emotion on the character’s face is great. The three panel action sequence on 8 is really cool, showing Sonja isn’t as weak as she’s been so far in this issue. The next full-paged splash is on 11 and it’s epic with the action occurring, the posing of the characters, and a sensational background composed of some awesome smoke. The action at the top of 12 is incredibly awesome due to a great trail of something. The action on 14 is great and the point of view excellent. The illustration in the book’s final panel had me identifying the character before I read the dialogue, as this is how I picture this person. An excellent job by Buchemi on this book. Overall grade: A

The colors: Kulan Gath is given an eerie supernatural violet throughout by Adriano Augusto, increasing the menace of the artwork. Tesla is clothed in a darker shade of this color, which makes her character seem as though she’s enveloped by the antagonist whenever they are close to one another. The powder blue backgrounds remind the reader of the temperature and provide a good color for Sonja’s red hair to draw the reader’s attention. Sonja’s narration, which happens often, is given an orange coloring to show the reader that he or she is in Sonja’s thoughts. For the quick sequence underwater the colors are a beautiful pale blue. When Gath uses his magical abilities they are given a hot pink and it looks fantastic; it’s not a color I would ever associate with an evil wizard, let alone Gath, but it looks fantastic. A bright gold is used to show the reader the strength of something on 17 and the neon greens on 18 are an excellent way to show the technology used. Overall grade: A+

The letters: Strained dialogue, dialogue, narration, sounds, and the tease for next issue are created by Thomas Napolitano. The strained dialogue is small, but easy to read, and the Sonja’s narration is outstanding for not only being a unique looking font but using lower case letters, increasing the intimacy of the character with the reader. The sounds are terrific, punctuating the action and just being flat out fun. How could one not enjoy RATATATATATATA, SHLUKK, and FWA-BOOM? Overall grade: A

The final line: Will thrill those craving adventure and delight those looking for beautiful visuals. Excellent escapism that captures the spirit of the familiar characters and gives them just enough changes to make them new. A great read. 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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