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Killing Red Sonja #1 Review

4 min read
I’m definitely intrigued by the plan here.

The quest for vengeance, boy-emperor style!

Creative Staff:
Story: Mark Russell, Bryce Ingman
Art: Craig Rousseau
Colors: Dearbhla Kelly
Letterer: Hassan Otsmane-Elhaou

What They Say:
An all-new series, spinning out of the smash hit RED SONJA title written by MARK RUSSELL! In order to become queen, Sonja The Red had to defeat an evil emperor. But that emperor had a son. And that son will do ANYTHING to exact his revenge…even if it means embracing horrible magics he does not understand. Don’t miss out on this series that will affect the Sonja series for years to come! By MARK RUSSELL (Red Sonja, Year Of The Villain), BRYCE INGMAN (Edgar Allen Poe’s Snifter Of Terror) and CRAIG ROUSSEAU (The Flash).

Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers):
Mark Russell has been doing a very good job on the main Red Sonja book and we’ve had a couple of other small things come out that let him expand on the larger picture quite well. With this series, it gets to focus on one of the characters introduced in the main book and to tell his tale, which I’m glad is being done separately instead of as a subplot in the main book. This time, he’s paired with the wonderful Craig Rousseau who delivers a really strong natural and fantasy-style setting design for the world that captures the look of the main book but with his own imprint. It looks wonderful and Derbhla Kelly’s color work brings it to life beautifully.

Taking place after the twelfth issue of the main series, the focus here is on Cyril, the bastard son of Dragan the now dead Emperor of Zamora. Cyril had sworn an oath to his father, whom he only recently learned wasn’t his actual father, that he would seek vengeance on those that betrayed and killed him. While he’s still a kid overall, just a tween I’d say, he’s intent on following through by going after the retainer that had betrayed his father while also looking to kill Sonja for her role in events. With some information coming in from a peasant who tried to sell it, Cyril brings on the best fighter he knows in the area with Josef and sets up to go after those that wrong them. This is after he tries to race off himself first only to not do anything right and had to limp back home. A plan, supplies, and men to order around make vengeance much easier.

The book is interesting in how it plays out because there’s a kind of fable element about it what with Kuma the talking boar that Cyril has befriended. There’s some good camaraderie with Josef and how the group operates to protect the boy and even his most trusted advisor doing his best to educate him after he reveals his lineage. The journey that gets underway doesn’t go too far here as it mostly deals with a group of inexperienced bandits that are easily dispatched but it also leads us into dealing with some giants that ought to be interesting. But the real focus is watching how Cyril handles all of this as he tries to appear older than he is, more confident and mature than he is, and with the view of doing what an emperor should do from his perspective.

In Summary:
While I’m somewhat surprised that this could warrant a series of its own, I’m glad that it’s getting a chance to do something and explore story material that would drag down the main book. It works well on its own and it establishes its characters well here. Cyril had time in the main book that helped but we get a good handle on Josef here quickly and Kuma is definitely an amusing creature. I love the look of it and can’t wait to see what kinds of situations Rousseau gets to work with and stretch on as I suspect Russell has a good idea of his strengths to take advantage of and run with. I’m definitely intrigued by the plan here.

Grade: B+

Age Rating: 15+
Released By: Dynamite Entertainment
Release Date: March 25th, 2020
MSRP: $3.99

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