Story: Gail Simone and Jim Zub
Art: Randy Green
Ink: Rick Ketcham
Color: Dave Stewart
What They Say:
Conan and Red Sonja are faced with the end of the world as Thoth-Amon’s plan is unleashed! Can our heroes overcome the impossible odds against them to save the world and their lives?
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers):
When last we left Conan and Red Sonja, the Devil with a Sword had it pressed against his throat, ready to end his life to save her home, Hyrkania. The Stygian wizard, Thoth-Amon, had pitted the two against each other, placing their respective homelands at stake. Conan, heartsick from the loss of Bêlit, and weakened from the Bloodroot, fought well, but was no match for Sonja.
Of course, Thoth-Amon can’t be trusted, and Sonja knows this. She and Conan manage to find a way to defeat the wizard and the Lovecraftian masters he serves, saving the world, and cementing their roles as legends: “Lower than peasants, they were worth more than emperors.”
In some ways this issue (and, indeed, the series) is a bit old-fashioned in its narrative choices. In this age of decompression and making the art do the heavy lifting, the use of an omniscient, third person narrator describing the actions and defining their significance stands as a harkening back to older styles of comic storytelling. It’s an interesting choice that I enjoyed quite a bit. For me, it adds a certain sense of history and weight to the narrative, helping highlight the theme that Conan and Sonja are legends.
While I did enjoy that element, what really made this issue work for me was the interaction between Sonja and Conan. The writing and art depict two people who are supremely comfortable with one another. You get the idea that nobody understands these two as they do. This kindred, singular nature spurs their obvious desire for one another, but the ultimate bond they feel is platonic. This isn’t the relationship of lovers or friends or siblings—this is the bond between two forces of nature.
However, as much as I enjoyed this story and series, it didn’t quite capture me the way that Red Sonja and Conan the Avenger have lately. The pacing has been a bit herky-jerky and the art inconsistent. With the exception of the second issue, the art doesn’t capture the legendary nature of the characters and story, creating a dissonance between what we see and what we’re being told. In some ways I think this might have been more interesting if it had eschewed the whole Bloodroot plotline and instead just focused on Sonja and Conan—presenting the two meeting at different times in their lives and providing us an overview of their epic stories.
Although the art doesn’t quite convey the epic nature of the story as well as I’d like, Conan Red Sonja 4 concludes the story well, providing solid action and excellent interaction and growth between the two protagonists. While the overall story has been a bit back and forth, I’ve enjoyed reading it nonetheless. Josh says check it out.
Age Rating: N/A
Released By: Dark Horse
Release Date: 22 April 2015