Monday, November 4, 2013

Review - Legends of Red Sonja #1


"You think it will be so easy do you> Most of you have never met her."

Red Sonja is a brutal warrior. She can fight her way out of any situation and in those situations where fighting doesn't work she can talk or sneak her way out of it. Those traits and more are on display in Legends of Red Sonja #1 from Dynamite Entertainment.

The first issue is broken into three stories (legends if you will). "Legends of Red Sonja" is written by Gail Simone and illustrated by Jack Jadson, "Eyes of the Howling God" is written by Nancy A. Collins and illustrated by Noah Salonga and "La Sonja Rossa" is written by Devin Kalile Grayson and illustrated by Carla Speed McNeil. All stories are colored by Salvatore Aiala Studios and lettered by Simon Bowland.

Red Sonja is a warrior who needs little to no introduction. Regardless, there are some who do not know of her talents and abilities. The first of the three short stories frames the entire issue, as it presents a group of warriors seeking Red Sonja to claim her life as a prize. Both "Eyes of the Howling God" and "La Sonja Rosa" continue that theme, offering two separate occasions that speak to her ability as a warrior and her actions as legend. Both of them are quire intense and do the character very proud.

Despite the three different authors, all three stories really get what (who) Red Sonja is all about. She's a ferocious warrior, able to rely on cunning when necessary. She invokes fear in the heart of all opponents, regardless of how stories they are as warriors themselves. It's a great testament to the ability of Simone, Collins and Kalile that they can still offer new takes on a familiar character. Red Sonja has been featured in so many stories that everyone knows who she is, but the three writers here still manage to freshen her up and make her feared as if she's brand new. The writers are all very talented and it shows in how they effortlessly weave an overarching tale comprised of different quests.

While the different writers work very well together, the three artists don't quite blend together as well. Jadson's art probably feels the most like the Red Sonja/Conan style, with the characters illustrated with a great sense of brute strength. The characters are illustrated very well, immersed in a campfire setting that really draws the reader in as well. Salonga's work isn't bad in the second story, as it deals with some of the supernatural in a religious sect fighting to protect their idols. The characters are illustrated in a way that effectively conveys the action, yet the facial expressions feel a little simplistic. McNeil's work in the third story feels the most cartoonish of all three artists, as her illustration style relies less on realism and more on portraying the action as a caricature of itself.

Legends of Red Sonja #1 is a great compilation of short stories that both reminds the reader of who Red Sonja is, as well as reintroducing her to those who may have forgotten. She's a warrior feared across the world for a variety of reasons and the writers really hammer that point home very well. The three different artists keep the look consistent across stories for the most part, with only a few instances where the difference is very noticeable. Overall though, the work is a great look at the character and her various quests..

Legends of Red Sonja #1 is available in stores October 6 with interiors below.





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