Story: Mark Russell
Art: Mirko Colak
Colors: Dearbhla Kelly
Letterer: Hassan Otsmane-Elhaou
What They Say:
TREMBLE BEFORE THE VICTORIOUS QUEEN SONJA OF HYRKANIA! …for now. Yea, she outwitted Dragan The Magnificent, but it is a fleeting triumph. Spies and vipers surround, awaiting the perfect time to strike. A tale of tact, trust, and trepidation, by MARK RUSSELL (The Flintstones, The Wonder Twins) and MIRKO COLAK (Conan).
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers):
It continues to delight me just how much Mark Russell puts into a single issue of Red Sonja. When taken with the three issues so far it’s pretty full of great material. This installment builds on what’s come before but also reaches back further to help show how Sonja has become who she is now, an instrumental part of her being able to handle being Queen. It’s also another great looking issue as Mirko Collak does some great stuff in giving us a feel for this harsh landscape and its people, delivering a range of intriguing characters to engage with and wonder what their true motives may be as we get to know them more. Collak continues to be an ideal artist for this property as the world really feels like you could reach out and touch it.
The victory over Dragan was almost comical in how it unfolded but now with the supply train in their possession, there’s the opportunity for many to enrich themselves. It’s an area where you can see everyone kind of doing their own thing and looking out for themselves, which Sonja sees in some recommending that it’s time to just bolt with the goods and get out of here entirely. The wagon train provided more riches than Hyrkania has ever had before, possibly said in jest but with that sense of truth about it. Sonja does marshall her forces well to handle everything and it feels like she still has some real control over everyone even though she was forced into this position since nobody else wanted it. It’s an amusing contrast from Dragan, who now sits fuming that he has to wait two weeks for resupply and has to beg his wife for the funds in order to do it.
What I do like is the subplot involving Vogon, the newly arrived “cousin” from the woodlands that has come to help out and support the eastern flank – even though Dragan is coming from the west. Sonja has little interest in dealing with him because he’s basically a mercenary and we see her experience with some of that in a well-executed flashback sequence. Watching her handle him here is simple due to her experience as well as her reliance on those that she knows she can trust, a group of women known as the Barrens. These women are past childbearing years and volunteer for service like this and have some interesting pasts to them, which of course Vogon mocks, much to his dismay when he has to face them later. It’s admittedly predictable from the moment both sides are introduced but there’s a deliciousness to seeing the arrogance – unearned – knocked down a few pegs.
I’ve always loved Red Sonja but haven’t always been able to keep up with her or find the right access point with whatever creative team is working on it. Getting in on the ground floor here with this strong team and having Sonja dealing with some larger problems by being forced into being Queen as an army invades offers up some really excellent material. Russell is giving us some great character material while playing to the larger story while Colak gives us some great visuals and layouts, both of which are done with a really great density to it that it feels like I’m really getting my value out of the book and not just a quick read of simple action and adventure. I’m excited for what’s next once again.
Age Rating: 15+
Released By: Dynamite Entertainment
Release Date: April 3rd, 2019