Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Review - Red Sonja: The Long Walk to Oblivion (@DynamiteComics)


"...and our only salvation is a devil."

Red Sonja is someone who gets things done. And generally speaking, she offers her services at a very fair price depending on the magnitude of the opponent she's being asked to square off against. In Red Sonja: The Long Walk to Oblivion from Dynamite Entertainment, her reward for fighting a massive demon isn't what you'd expect. The issue is written by Erik Burnham, illustrated by Tom Mandrake, colored by Mohan and lettered by Tom Napolitano.

The people of Meru are in terrible danger from an ancient evil, and there is only one person who can save them - the Hyrkanian warrior woman, Red Sonja! A lone Meruvian is sent to find Sonja and bring her back east - a treacherous trip that ends in a trap laid by Sonja's old enemy, the evil wizard Kulan Gath.

Red Sonja is known for quite a few things, the most known being her love of ale, violence and never backing down. These are traits that Burnham infuses Red Sonja with in Red Sonja: The Long Walk to Oblivion as he takes her from a pub to a face-to-face fight with a demon. Along the way, Burnham works in some pretty standard Red Sonja encounters, all of which still work well to remind the reader that she's a force to be reckoned with. The story itself is narrated from the view of Ram of Shondakor, a messenger tasked with seeking out Red Sonja to save his kingdom from the aforementioned demon and the narration approach is interesting. In funneling the story through Ram, Burnham can effectively recount what the reader might be thinking in watching a character like Red Sonja in action.

Mandrake's artwork demonstrates a focused approach in terms of rendering the characters. Red Sonja maintains her trademark appearance of blazing red hair and chainmail armor while other characters sport more barbarian-like appearances. In fact, Mandrake illustrates just about every male character in the book with an attention to a deep-seeded anger within them which makes Red Sonja's general ease in dealing with them that much more apparent. There's an extended fight sequence in the middle of the issue that Mandrakes handles well by mixing up the panel layouts and sizes to reinforce the somewhat frenetic atmosphere that typically accompanies a Red Sonja fight. Mohan's colors are bold--Red Sonja's fiery red hair stands out in just about every panel she's featured in.

Red Sonja: The Long Walk to Oblivion isn't exactly new when it comes to a Red Sonja book, but it's still enjoyable. It's clear there's nothing Red Sonja will back down from, although the ending of the issue puts her in a position that she probably didn't expect going in. Burnham knows what works in a Red Sonja book and doesn't stray too far from that formula in Red Sonja: The Long Walk to Oblivion. Mandrake's artwork is effective at keeping up with what Red Sonja does best, which typically involves a lot of beheadings. Red Sonja: The Long Walk to Oblivion isn't revolutionary as far as Red Sonja stories go, but it is another solid entry in the character's storied history.

Red Sonja: The Long Walk to Oblivion is in stores now.

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