Story: Erik Burnham
Art: Jonathan Lau
Colors: Celeste Woods
Letterer: Carlos S. Mangual
What They Say:
In the Great Desert of the east stands an abandoned temple of dark magic… the one place where Sonja and Chastity can set things right without the loss of innocent life. But by the time they get there the sun has set, and the creatures of the night have come out to play. Jade and her thralls and a newly powered Purgatori arrive, and before this night is done, the amulet’s power will at last be claimed. Join us for the penultimate chapter of the Age of Chaos!
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers):
As we hit the penultimate installment of this miniseries, I continue to have a lot of fun with it even if the whole Chaos range of characters are still pretty superficial to me. Erik Burnham has made them accessible and understandable, though I do wish there were a few more mentions of names throughout, especially after the pandemic delayed a chunk of this. Jonathan Lau continues to be one of the most talented artists out there that I follow when I can. He’s done so much great work with the pulp characters before but he also shines here with this issue being almost entirely about the action and going as big as it can. The choreography is great for it and it just flows beautifully throughout, especially with the more muted colors that Celeste Wood uses.
With Sonja and Chastity on the move and knowing where to go, it’s the kind of situation that’s going to hit a wall quickly, one named Jade. It’s a sequence that sets the tone well here in sacrifice and the amount of action as she’s got more thralls than expected and it’s a bloody battle that even has Chastity sending Sonja off to finish the mission and bring back the wizard even if it costs Chastity’s life. It’s got all the right notes to it as it unfolds, including the comical moment where Sonja discovers that the blood offering isn’t enough to bring back any more than the spirit of him at this point. And that this newfound delay is going to cost her as it’s when Purgatori shows up, knowing full well that Sonja won’t make the final sacrifice needed by giving over her life and body to such a spirit.
Purgatori’s arrival is definitely a game-changer as we end up with beheaded Chastity and Jade along the way and the stakes are all the more real. Her getting the power of Kulan Gath isn’t exactly the best thing in the world and seeing how it sets up in her favor definitely delivers some chilling moments. But this is also where Burnham gets to bring in the twists, which were admittedly expected based on past encounters, and seeing Evil Ernie resurface in the way he does here – or rather Smiley – definitely makes for a great sequence of events. There’s a lot more uncertainty to how things will go forward, though the ending is kind of a given, but the way it’s coming together is wonderful as we see real sacrifices put into motion and a fight to ensure that Kulan Gath doesn’t come back.
The Age of Chaos series continues to be fun here even if I’m not getting as much out of it as someone who is totally into the Chaos characters. Sonja’s still my focal point and watching her cope with such a strange group of opponents and having a friend along the way in Chastity has been an enjoyable way of viewing it. Burnham’s kept things moving well and has made it feel like it warranted being a six-issue series without being stretched out when it shouldn’t be. And Jonathan Lau really delivers some gorgeous pages here with all the fight choreography and other elements at play, such as Evil Ernie. It won’t be the best of the Red Sonja miniseries for me but it’s a strong contender in the race overall.
Age Rating: 15+
Released By: Dynamite Entertainment
Release Date: July 15th, 2020