Story: Mirka Andolfo, Luca Blengino
Art: Giuseppe Cafaro
Colors: Chiara di Francia
Letterer: Hassan Otsmane-Elhaou
What They Say:
It has been a long journey east to the kingdom of Vindhya. Here is the sanctuary of the Vestals of Xamul, a demigod who lives in the heart of a volcano. In this place, Sonja and the gifted child she protects, seek something very special.
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers):
Mirka Andolfo, as she writes alongside Luca Blengino, does a lot of good stuff here in dealing with sort of closing out part of the first arc and moving the journey forward with a slimmer cast while still not actually killing anyone off. I expect we’ll see them again, good and bad, and that adds a good uncertainty to things in the near future as events play out. Giuseppe Cafaro is handling the artwork with Chiara di Francia doing the color design and it’s really great. There’s a really great sense of color to this that gives it an almost film-like feeling at times. It’s richly detailed and immerses you in this engaging world in a really great way. I love the look of the cast and the expressiveness that we get as well.
This installment worked really well for me overall as it initially deals with Sonja trying to reach through to Sitha as she’s in full flame mode here and ready to not just kill them but burn the entire castle down. She actually does some damage when Samosh tries to reach out to her, causing him some severe burns, but Sonja is able to speak to the child in her that’s being controlled and ease her down with a shared connection. The two have a bond problem to repair to be sure, but we also start to learn what’s going on as the old man reveals that what’s possessing Sitha is a demigoddess known as Xamul. And only one place half a world away can help, which is where both he and Sitha come from. This means a road trip for the pair, leaving the men behind as Sonja is intent on helping her. Even if Sitha keeps calling her mom.
I do like that we get some time just watching them starting to make the long journey before they finally end up, quite some distance from where they started after a couple of weeks, coming across a village with a castle to check out. Sonja’s no fan of being around people for good reason, but clean water, food, a bed, rest for the horse, these are key things. But the place feels like a ghost town and when one of the women takes them in to help them out, we learn just how bad things are here. The place runs under The First Law, an unknown law that the daughter of the former king who now rules uses to deal with anything she doesn’t like. And it’s punishable by death, which means people get killed regularly for no known reason. And naturally, Sonja’s arrival is noticed and it doesn’t take long for the authorities to come after her…
I really love what this team has been doing and this issue just cements it even further. The script is great with what feels like the “right” amount of dialogue as it’s not too wordy or too sparse, while the artwork is just striking throughout with its detail, the layouts, and the expressiveness of the characters. Which through the color design is made to look even more amazing. I’m excited to see where it goes next as the story of Sonja and Sitha has a lot going for it and each issue just makes it all the more fascinating.
Age Rating: 15+
Released By: Dynamite Entertainment
Release Date: January 5th, 2022