Saturday, 24 March 2018

Red Sonja #2 - Dynamite Entertainment

RED SONJA No. 2, February 2017
Initially settling upon the She-Devil’s disconcertingly quick adaption “to her new surroundings”, Issue Two of “Red Sonja certainly seems to start out well enough with its portrayal of the woman warrior spearing a duck at the North end of Central park, Near Harlem, and then racking up an eight hundred dollar beer tab in a local bustling bar. Indeed, up until Kulan Gath catches sight of a series of viral ‘selfies’ of the Hyborian Age heroine on social media, it appears that “this world is not so different from” the titular character's beloved Hyrkania, especially as she appears perfectly capable of effortlessly besting any and all of the public house’s clientele at arm-wrestling; “This pretty lady beat ya fair n’ square.”

Unsurprisingly, this ‘blissful state of affairs’ doesn’t last overly long, as Agent Smith, alongside her supposed N.S.A. cronies, arrive in order to (once again) detain the soundly sleeping “illegal alien” for their “boss” and inadvertently start an ever-escalating barroom brawl where punches are thrown, chairs smashed and heads painfully cracked together all within the space of a handful of panels. However, whilst Max's decision to allow his former prisoner to spend the night at his flat following their flight from this pulse-pounding sequence is perhaps understandable, it does mark a point in the narrative where Amy Chu’s writing arguably leaves its ‘realistic’ rails and quite possibly made some of this comic’s 14,721 readers a little nervous as to the direction this book may be taking.

Admittedly, despite some brief nudity there’s no suggestion that the “New York City cop” and his red-headed friend become intimate, far from it in fact, but the revelation that the undocumented orphan of the 1977 blackout is capable of magically making items disappear if he spins them fast enough simply smacks of ‘super-powers’ at a time when the script was seemingly trying to promote an aura of ‘pragmatism’ to its proceedings. Certainly, the albeit brief scene debatably jars the reader straight out of the storytelling and disappointingly suggests that rather than ‘visiting’ our own world, Sonja has simply found herself ‘trapped’ within yet another comic book version of the Big Apple…

Despite such a disheartening plot-twist, there’s nothing wrong whatsoever with this twenty-page periodical’s artwork, even if the majority of the publication is rather sedentary in nature and dialogue-heavy. Carlos Gomez was clearly in top-form when he pencilled the book’s barroom sequence, as it’s absolutely packed with punters drinking, cheering and applauding the scantily-attired six-footer. Whilst the Spaniard also has the opportunity at the start of the comic to once again pencil the Hyborian Age as a demonic dragon-riding Gath momentarily lays waste to the Meruvians.

‘First published on the "Dawn of Comics" website.'
The regular cover art of "RED SONJA" No. 2 by Mike McKone

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