Review: Legends Of Red Sonja #1
Dynamite Entertainment presents a bold new experiment in graphic storytelling, as the biggest female stars in the worlds of prose, television, gaming and comics gather together to tell thrilling stories from the life of Red Sonja, which combine to make up her greatest adventure yet! This issue includes stories by Bram Stoker Award Winner Nancy A. Collins, and beloved Batman scribe, Devin Grayson, all braided together by an epic framing story told by Red Sonja scribe Gail Simone! This book is designed to appeal not just to fans of Sonja, but also the countless readers of these talented writers!
With the success of Gail Simone’s new Red Sonja series, Dynamite is launching a new five issue event called Legends of Red Sonja. The first issue hits comic book shops this week. The introductory issue features a framing story from Gail Simone with art by Jack Jadson. Nancy A. Collins writes Eyes of the Howling Gods with art by Noah Salonga, and Devin Grayson pens La Sonja Rossa with art from Carla Speed McNeil. Salvatore Aiala Studios handles colors with Simon Bowland lettering all the stories. So does Legends of Red Sonja live up to its title?
Simone’s framing story sees 12 “lords of death” coming down from the mountains to find and kill the She Devil with a sword. The band of murderers have come together to seek revenge and make Sonja suffer for murdering their beloved prince. The leader of the pack is Kahar, a Crimmerian. He is ruthless, but his compatriots are just as deadly and dangerous. Our narrator is a former monk who is called the Learned Assassin. He is writing their exploits down so he can make a book. The Learned Assassin tells a story over the campfire of how he first came in contact with Sonja. After his thrilling story involving the order’s strange leader, the band sets out to a sea port where they look for their prey. They meet a ship’s captain who tells them of his harrowing encounter with the deadly vixen. Our heroine’s legend continues to grow, but will the murderous group ever get to lay eyes on that which they seek? And if they do, could Sonja take on 12 deadly foes all at once?
Simone writes a great framing story. This ragtag band of assassins all have reason to go after Sonja, and their banding together as a group opens up a lot of story possibilities. Collins’ and Grayson’s stories fit perfectly into the larger narrative and integrate themselves well. You can tell when the new stories kick in, but everything blends together so well as different characters tell their Sonja encounter stories. Jadson, Salonga, and McNeil’s art all have a very distinctive style, but they’re able to present some consistent characters while giving their own flourishes on the story and setting. As we go from the present, to the Learned Assassin’s story, to the next morning at the sea port, all the art shifts make narrative sense. Things are kept in line with the colors. The pallet is the same throughout the various stories, which helps keep things connected in all senses of the word.
Bottom Line: Legends of Red Sonja presents a great story that allows different writers and artists to come in and add layers to the overall narrative. Everything blends together so well. Sonja’s legend grows as the various characters get a chance to tell their story and how they came in contact with the femme fatale. It will interesting to see how things shift and evolve as new writers come in and lend their talents to the experimental book. If you’re digging the ongoing Sonja series, picking this up is a no-brainer. 4/5