Review - Red Sonja: Birth of the She-Devil #1 (@DynamiteComics)

"If anything, words fail me, for hse is indescribable."

Red Sonja is supremely confident and dangerous. How she became who she is today is something worth exploring and Red Sonja: Birth of the She-Devil #1 from Dynamite Comics starts to do just that. The issue is written by Luke Lieberman, illustrated by Sergio Davila, colored by Ulises Arreola and lettered by Taylor Esposito.

Explore the early years of the wild and untamed Sonja the Red, before she because the scourge of Hyboria - Red Sonja! And introducing the demon conqueror Raka and his devil's brew, which turns men against their fellow men (and everyone in their way!). Also featuring the return of Sonja's early mentor, Ozzyus!

At this point, the character of Red Sonja is very well-established which gives Lieberman some leeway in terms of exploring her past. Red Sonja has always been a carousing sort of warrior and Lieberman leans into that characterization hard, pretty much writing her in full-on Red Sonja mode for most of the issue. Her destructive personality plays very well as a means of setting up Raka as a villain in that both characters share similarly reckless personas. The overall narrative also fits the character well as Lieberman parlays Red Sonja's quest into finding Raka as a means of establishing one of the driving forces of her life and bringing her mentor Ozzyus back into the fold. There's even a slightly supernatural take towards the end that gives the book a bit more of a mystique.

Red Sonja in particular is drawn with tremendous swagger--courtesy of Davila's approach that embraces her physique--although there are inconsistencies with her facial appearance. Davila illustrates all the characters with thicker, black lines that give them more definition against the detailed backdrops so that they stand out just a bit, but Red Sonja's face in particular seems to move from one age to another between pages. The combat scenes are somewhat violent and bloody, but Davila doesn't drown the book in blood so that it's too off-putting. Davila's haphazard panel layout is also pretty effective at keeping up with the chaos of the time Red Sonja lives in, one where combat and strife are seemingly around every corner. Arreola's colors are rich and bold, giving the characters depth.

Red Sonja: Birth of the She-Devil #1 is another entry in the voluminous tales of the character that doesn't seek to redefine her; rather, it seeks to provide reason for her being who she is. Red Sonja has never shied away from conflict of any kind and that's definitely not changing here. Lieberman has a firm grasp of the character and ensures that all of her more carnal instincts are on full display. Davila's artwork is overall pretty solid and effective at capturing the chaos that tends to follow Red Sonja wherever she goes. Red Sonja: Birth of the She-Devil #1 is a refreshing new entry into the franchise that doesn't exactly redefine the character, but it does offer some insights into her bloody past.

Red Sonja: Birth of the She-Devil #1 is available now.