In Review: Red Sonja #3

Please reboot this reboot, Dynamite. This is not how to produce a Red Sonja book.

The covers: A trio to collect if you are a fan of the Hyrkanian. The A cover is by Marguerite Sauvage and it’s a sweet collection of three different Sonjas. To the right sits the She-Devil, looking to her right indifferently. Behind her is a gigantic hawk, whose gaze is fixed in the opposite direction. To this pair’s right is a smaller Sonja holding a spear and sword, charging forward. The bottom half of the image, slashed from the upper left corner down to the lower right, is Sonja in profile. This monstrous image of the heroine has her looking broken, as if something has caused her tremendous heartache. Beautiful artwork with beautiful colors. The B cover is the Black & White Incentive cover. It features the same image as the A cover, though without the coloring. If you’re a fan of Sauvage, this is the cover for you. But wait—there’s more! The C cover is the “Rare ‘Virgin Art’” cover that is the same as the A, just minus all the text. This is a poster quality image and, again, if one’s a fan of Sauvage, it’s a must have. Overall grades: A A, B A-, and C A+

The story: When last we saw Sonja, she was been kissed by former love—now king of Hyrkania—Savas. Not happy to have a man force himself upon her, she responds as one would expect, with a hard right, knocking the king into his throne. She demands to know why he has made soldiers turn on the poor, made the taverns dens of poison, and turned against their allies. King Savas smoothly responds that Sonja is being dramatic, which is unsurprising given that she is to travelling with an actress, Midyan. He tells what he has done since she has left him and then reveals his ultimate plans for their nation, and they do not please Sonja. This was a step up in the story from Marguerite Bennett, now that Savas has revealed himself to be the cause of all of Hyrkania’s woes. Sonja has someone to rally against; unfortunately that man has a massive army under his control. As the issue progresses, Sonja gets another ally and three new foes are revealed. I’m incredibly interested to see how this trio does against the redhead and I’m hoping to see that next issue. Okay, Bennett, you’ve got me interested. Where are you going? Overall grade: B+

The art: The artwork by Aneke is continuing to let me down. The large image on Page 1 has Savas drawn awkwardly, with not enough of his throne shown to make it evident he’s being punched into it: I really had to give it the once over to figure that out. Sonja has no neck in the third panel on 2; granted, she’s hunched over as she speaks with Savas, but she wasn’t that hunched over in the second panel. The double-paged spread of 6 and 7 is very simplistic, with the army and setting generic looking. More soldiers are needed and there needs to be more detail in them. Savas has a too short neck in this image and his arm and hand do not look good. Sonja looks fantastic, but she’s the final thing a reader’s eye comes upon. Pages 12 and 13 suffer from the odd layout that was occurring in the previous issue. It’s difficult to know where to go next, as the dialogue balloon’s tail that is to have the reader move to 13 is lost in the gutter of the book. There aren’t enough visuals clues to allow a reader to navigate these pages. The entrance of the character in the final panel is lackluster. In fact, this character is sloppy looking on the next two pages. 16 and 17 are easier to follow, but are absolutely boring as it’s a straight progression from left to right. Things improve on the final two pages with the introduction of the evil trio, but the backgrounds disappear on the final page, mirroring what’s occurred often in this book. I expect better visuals from a Red Sonja comic and a Dynamite book. Overall grade: D

The colors: Two colorists are credited in this issue: Jorge Sutil and Morgan Hickman. The book seems in a constant state of being in overcast weather. The first three pages deal are set in the interiors of a castle, so it should appear dim, but even in action sequences, such as Sonja’s punch on the first page, there’s not much energy from the artwork and the colors could have helped. The final panel on Page 3 is good, but it, too, is dim. The dimming of colors during Savas’s flashback are fine and having him be the only normally colored character places the appropriate focus on him. The reveal of Savas’s army has no power because it’s so muted. The action sequence on 14 and 15 is too faded with oranges and reds too similar to find a focus. Brighter colors would have helped this book considerably. Overall grade: C

The letters: Scene settings, dialogue, and yells are created by Erica Schultz. This is passable, but a thicker font for the dialogue would have it stand out more; it’s so thin that a reader’s eyes with glaze over its frailty. Overall grade: C

The final line: Please reboot this reboot, Dynamite. This is not how to produce a Red Sonja book. Overall grade: C-

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.
    2 Comments on this post.
    21 March 2016 at 1:57 am -

    Totally totally with you. I don´t like Aneke, he seems too lost and knowless about Sonja. Thanks for the sincerly review, Everybody can´t say nothing about pencils ´cause it looks like you are against Sonja new dress. And is not about the dress, is about the pencils.

    Bennett and the cover artist Sauvage are working now in Bomshells (DC) and looks so so soooo much better.

    So please Dynamite, reboot the reboot or at least change the penciller.

    • MARTIN
      22 March 2016 at 10:18 pm -

      Yep, another vote to it. I said it before. I saw Aneke on other titles and I didn´t like her (Yes, Aneke is not a surname) and she writes in forums (Bleeding Cool) and makes feel even worse about her…. so…. #Reboot the reboot.