Story: Bill Willingham
Art: Giuseppe Cafaro
Colors: Andrew Dalhouse
Letterer: Taylor Esposito
What They Say:
Celebrate a brutal Valentine’s Day with Dynamite’s greatest heroines! Get Joseph Michael Linsner’s bombshell cover for the RED SONJA VALENTINE’S SPECIAL free of trade dress with this Limited, “Virgin” Edition!
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers):
I do admit that I enjoy the various holiday and seasonal specials that Dynamite puts out throughout the year. They’re a chance to do something fun with a cast of characters that doesn’t interfere with any ongoing series and they often get some different than usual talents stepping in to work on it. This issue brings an old favorite of mine with Bill Willingham writing the expanded-size book and working with artist Giuseppe Cafaro on it. The pair work well together and we get a fun story that hits the Valentine’s theme nicely without overdoing it in a big way. It’s a fun little mess with the cast and the characters will still be in-world enough that you can believe it happened.
The story introduces us to Sonja seeking out a witching woman who told a man named Junan that he would have a kingdom of his own someday when he paid her to tell him his fortune. Unfortunately, that didn’t happen as he died in a bar with no money so his family has sent Sonja to find the witch and kill her for the deception. It’s easy money for Sonja and rids the world of a witch or someone deceptive. Unfortunately, the witch is on her game and is able to subdue Sonja while making it clear that those seeking their fortunes are the ones responsible. It’s actually a good lesson to take here even if the woman is just trying to save her life. But the reality is that she’s hounded for such things and can’t provide them, so she might as well make some money on the other person’s greed.
I do like that Sonja and the witch come to an agreement, Sonja knows to not push her luck with magic too much and the witch offers her a good out. But the witch herself is really the main focus here as once she ditches the area and heads off for a new location to camp in, it doesn’t take long before Kulan Gath of all people stumbles across her. It’s a comical situation in how she navigates staying alive in the face of such a powerful wizard while also giving him exactly what he wants in being able to find Sonja as he’s still intent on dealing with her. There’s some real fun with how the magic works in all of this so that the witch survives but that we get a Gath/Sonja romance is probably a mix of the best thing ever and the most horrifying thing ever unfolding before you.
Bill Willingham brings a good bit of humor into all of this and it works well as we’ve had a lot of serious Sonja stories recently elsewhere. The lighter side of things, even with all the death and people being turned into chickens, is a delight to watch play out. There’s a good story working through this with what Sonja is up to and how it all comes back to bite her in the ass in a really bad way but the main focus is on the witch and her just trying to survive in a difficult world. Cafaro’s artwork is perfect for this release as it has a lot of great detail but captures the silliness of it as well in a way that doesn’t feel weird or overdone. Definitely a very enjoyable Valentine’s special.
Age Rating: 15+
Released By: Dynamite Entertainment
Release Date: February 10th, 2021