Review - Red Sonja Volume 3 #1 (@DynamiteComics)

"Sonja will not let you perish, not with the wolves of Khitai and Turan at the door."

Red Sonja is a magnificent warrior. There's no denying that point. The thing about being a warrior though is that you have to be fighting something to earn the warrior moniker. Dynamite Entertainment gives Red Sonja the day off so to speak in Red Sonja Volume 3 #1. The issue is written by Marguerite Bennett, illustrated by Aneke, colored by Jorge Sutil and lettered by Erica Schultz.

Through the plains of Hyrkania, a message sweeps through the scattered peoples of the nation. Bells ring, horns blow, voices shout – the King is dying! Red Sonja rides to save the King from his doom as the powers of Hyboria crowd around to strike when the kingdom is weakest. But a dread new power rises from within Hyrkania’s own borders, bent on defending its homeland – no matter the cost, no matter what its people become. A defining chapter of the Red Sonja saga – dark, clever, vicious, and funny – as the She-Devil with a Sword must stop the rise of a brutal new regime…her own people!

For much of Red Sonja Volume 3 #1, the She-Devil with a Sword is bored. Bennett's approach in presenting her with a peaceful kingdom is pretty innovative and offers a different side of Red Sonja. She doesn't really get complacent per se as she scours the countryside looking for those in need of assistance. The problem with a peaceful kingdom is a warrior has trouble finding work, yet Bennett does tease there's something grander at play by the end of the issue. Her pacing in this regard is pretty solid, as the reader follows along with Red Sonja as she hops from one non-event to the next.

The illustrative style by Aneke is one where Red Sonja's features are very feminine in a way that glamorize Red Sonja somewhat. Despite this, Aneke still manages to make her appear fierce and prepared for combat, not undercutting the core essence of what makes Red Sonja tick. There's a particularly gnarly creature that Red Sonja squares off against in a two-page spread that really gives Aneke a chance to further explore Red Sonja's savagery. Each page sports an abundance of varied panel layouts, with standard panels, overlays and insets all among the style used by Aneke. Sutil's colors are pretty bold all things considered, especially when Red Sonja's bold red hair cuts across the idyllic, green meadows.

Red Sonja Volume 3 #1 is nothing too far our of the ordinary for Red Sonja or those she encounters in her travels. The ending of the issue does offer some of the adventure and excitement she's come to crave out of her life, as well as presenting a direction for the previously quiet tale to go in. Bennett's handle on the character is sound as she taps into everything about her that makes her tick. Aneke's illustrations are clean and do a great job of capturing all the action that's part of a day for Red Sonja. Red Sonja Volume 3 #1 is a great issue that fans of the character will definitely want to check out, as it puts her in a slightly unfamiliar position.

Red Sonja Volume 3 #1 is in stores January 13.