Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Review - Red Sonja/Conan #1 (@Dynamite @DarkHorseComics)

"What's going on here? I was told there would be some sort of display."

Red Sonja needs very little help to survive. Conan needs very little help to survive. The two of them together need very little help to survive. The two of them together does make for an interesting read though, which is why Dynamite Entertainment and Dark Horse Comics are doing just that in Red Sonja/Conan #1. The issue is written by Victor Gischler, illustrated by Roberto Castro, colored by Alex GuimarĂ£es and lettered by Simon Bowland.

Red Sonja and Conan are reunited as captains of mercenary companies who team to fight the forces of an evil sorcerer. Little do they realize that a shadow of the past has returned, something of dire peril from their previous adventures together. It's the Cimmerian and Sonja reunited for more bloody swordplay!

The first go-round featuring the two title characters was pretty exciting and Gischler doesn't waste any time in continuing that excitement. Red Sonja and Conan have teamed up multiple times in the past, but Gischler still manages to write an issue that makes their relationship feel established and not overdone. Conan and Red Sonja clearly care for and respect one another--it's pretty refreshing to see the two display that affection in their own ways. The story itself picks up from their team-up earlier in the year, pitting them against an evil sorcerer who's rapidly consolidating power. The dialogue feels appropriate and gives both characters plenty of opportunities to intimidate opponents before ripping them to shreds.

The approach taken by Castro to render the main characters is successful, as it manages to present the great size disparity between the two while at the same time offering both characters as capable of holding their own. Conan towers over anyone in his path, while Red Sonja's more diminutive stature doesn't stop her from slaying enemies twice her size. Having said that both are oversexualized to some extent, but the physiques of the two characters is something that they've become known for. Castro succeeds in presenting settings that feel traveled, such as camps rife with warriors anxious to prove themselves and bars full of merriment and mirth. Much of the coloring by GuimarĂ£es is darker, yet feels appropriate considering the fantasy setting of the work.

Red Sonja/Conan #1 doesn't really tread new ground per se, but it does offer a new adventure for two very familiar characters. Red Sonja and Conan are up to just about any task and they get plenty of chances to demonstrate their combat prowess. Gischler's script--although pretty straightforward--still manages to feel adventurous and gives readers plenty of what they want and expect from a Red Sonja/Conan story. Castro's illustrations are gritty and effectively capture the survival of the fittest mentality of the world inhabited by the two main characters. Red Sonja/Conan #1 is a solid start to yet another foray into the adventures of two of literature's most famous adventurers.

Red Sonja/Conan #1 is in stores August 5.


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