Story: Christopher Hastings
Art: Pasquale Qualano
Colors: Kike J. Diaz
Letterer: Hassan Otsmane-Elhaou
What They Say:
Sonja’s wage war on one another across the infinite and varied expanse of Hell. And the prize, for the war’s winner? THE CHANCE TO MURDER RED SONJA.
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers):
With a really rough start to the series that eased up just a little bit in the second issue, the third installment from Christopher Hastings feels a little more normalized but it’s still largely the same. Chaotic action with some light story beats to help tie it all together. It’s a good action series in a general sense but it really needed a stronger hook at the beginning so that we had a better idea of what was going on to feel invested in it. Thankfully, even if the story has been weak, Pasquale Qualano has put together such a fantastic-looking book that it’s very easy to just enjoy watching it unfold. The action between so many versions of Sonja really delivers some fantastic material and Kike Diaz’s color design just enhances it all across the board.
This installment is largely action upon action as the various Sonja’s fight, now in hell, with the understanding that they have to kill Red Sonja in order to live. It’s a limited setup, as expected, but it pits all the Sonja’s against each other well with our familiar Red Sonja able to handle herself very well, even managing to get a break in the middle where she befriends some ghosts and then others who are just looking for a way off this world that hell apparently is. The rest of the time we get some neat variety in seeing so many different types of Sonja’s that there are and I can imagine trying to gauge interest in what might make a fun spinoff to follow for a while.
The book does spend time with one Sonja, a high school or college-aged girl who is the devil of the lacrosse field. She’s protected by the devil here since she’s not a fighter in the traditional sense but you know to never trust the devil. It is interesting getting a little more of a look at things through their conversation, but I’ll admit that coming from a manga background that having a Sonja lacrosse series would be one of the biggest things in the world and an absolute blast to have. They handle her character well here and I like the little reveals we get from not just the devil Sonja but the other one pulling the bigger strings of this event as they listen to what the gods demand.
Sonjaversal still has the potential to pull off what it is that it’s attempting to do but I’m wary. I think there’s the potential for a great story here but the muddled start has severely hindered it and it feels like we’re still missing part of what the intent is overall. I really liked the Lacross Sonja this time around, though Western Sonja is likely to get a lot of attention, and the time with Red Sonja is always good. The real win here is the artwork from Qualano which further cements him as one of the premiere artists that Dynamite brings on for a great deal of work, and should be getting more work if not original projects of their own to start developing in order to take their work to the next level.
Age Rating: 15+
Released By: Dynamite Entertainment
Release Date: April 7th, 2021