Story: Mark Russell
Art: Bob Q
Colors: Dearbhla Kelly
Letterer: Hassan Otsmane-Elhaou
What They Say:
“The Woodlands” Hyrkania burns, from flames allowed by its ruler, Sonja The Red. In The Clearing, Lord Oak will hear her call for alliance with the woodland tribes. But trust does not come easily to either folk. From Eisner nominee MARK RUSSELL (Wonder Twins, The Lone Ranger) and BOB Q (James Bond Origin, The Lone Ranger).
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers):
I’ve definitely been digging what Mark Russell has been doing with this series in providing a larger storyline for Sonja to deal with and all the complications that come. Sonja’s had a lot of adventures over the years and has been in charge at times but this is something that’s definitely different and seeing it weigh on her is engaging. At the same time, Bob Q. has been putting together some great looking pages that makes it feel lived in and interesting beyond the battlefield itself. It’s actually a bit light on that part for this issue and is more focused on intrigue and shows just how bad of a position Sonja is.
The journey to the woods in order to meet Lord Oak and try and sway him to join them in battle makes a lot of sense. Having more numbers and hands fighting is a critical part to surviving even if they’re going to meet him after Sonja killed his nephew, Vorgon. The time between the two leaders definitely plays out well as trust is a huge part of the debate bandied about and neither has much reason to do so outside of self-interest. Lord Oak spends time away from her mulling it and I like that he does realize that they need to work together to face the Zamorans as they’re simply overwhelming and will come for Lord Oak and his people eventually. The dialogue between him and Sonja initially is well-done but I also like how his eventual capture by the empire is handled and his understanding of the larger implications.
Sonja and her immediate group are amusing to watch pre and post-meeting as they remind her to not talk about Vorgon but she used that as a way to connect with Lord Oak about how they do need to work together. Sonja’s camp is keeping things simple, burning behind them and looking for allies, but both things are drying up quickly. The Zamoran leader continues to be how he has before but he’s out enjoying the hunt and being a part of it while also coping with problems facing his war caravan. Dwindling supplies and morale are taking its toll but he’s also working from a position of strenght as he cannot show weakness in the face of others during conquest. Everything is getting more complicated, however, and with Sonja trying to raise more forces in a natural sense, it’s exciting to watch it all come together as there are ups and downs for everyone.
There are a lot of moving parts with this war that’s underway and I do like that the “curse” gets mentioned along the way to remind us that he’s operating all of this because of that – for the most part. The battle has not gone well as Sonja and her people are engaged in scorched earth techniques while trying to keep ahead. Both sides are suffering in similar and different ways and the way Russell has it unfolding definitely keeps your attention throughout it. It’s a great looking book once again and this serves to get more things setup for what’s to come still.
Age Rating: 15+
Released By: Dynamite Entertainment
Release Date: September 11th, 2019