Monday, March 24, 2014

Red Sonja, Vol. 1: Unchained


 After the disappointment of Gail Simone's much-hyped RED SONJA relaunch, this was just what I needed to reaffirm my faith in the she-devil with a sword.

 RED SONJA, VOL. 1: UNCHAINED collects the RED SONJA: BLUE one-shot and the four-issue RED SONJA: UNCHAINED mini-series. I have no idea why Dynamite chose to publish these five issues as a one-shot and a mini-series, since all five issues tell one complete story....Personally, I can't stand that, and I would think it'd prove needlessly confusing to both new readers and fans looking for back issues, but publishers keep doing it, so there must be some upside for them, right? Whatever. Cut it out.

 All five issues are written by Peter V. Brett, who does a phenomenal job of capturing the feel of the 1970's Marvel sword-and-sorcery books that I grew up reading. Sonja is hired by an innkeeper to rescue her missing son, who has been taken by the local evil wizard to be used as a human sacrifice. Sonja saves the kid, kills the wizard, and, after a fight that finds her metal bikini shattered (Hence the "Unchained" title...), slays and skins the blue-furred demon, using his pelt as a cloak until her armor can be repaired. Anyone who has ever read a Robert E. Howard story can tell you that wearing the skin of a demon as clothing never works out. This time is no exception.

 Brett's story is fast-moving, fun, and savagely violent, and the art, by Walter Geovani and Jack Jadson, compliments it perfectly. There's also a lot of cheesecake on display, which may offend the more politically-correct readers out there, but I felt it was in line with the Sonja comics that I grew up reading. Sonja is a strong, independent female character already...she doesn't need to be revamped by the PC Police.

 RED SONJA, VOL. 1: UNCHAINED collects the aforementioned five issues, complete with covers by Mel Rubi, and variant covers.

 Dynamite Comics provided a review copy.