Review: Legends Of Red Sonja #4
The all-star celebration of Red Sonja’s 40th anniversary continues, as legendary fantasy novelist Mercedes (Valdemar) Lackey tells her first comics story of a child’s encounter with the She-Devil, and how it changed them both forever with artist Nei Ruffino! And fan-favorite Marvel Comics writer and novelist Marjorie M. Liu teams with the amazing Phil Noto for a sexy, scary tale of the forest at night! All wrapped in a story by Gail Simone and Jack Jadson!
The penultimate installment of the special Red Sonja miniseries hits this week with Legends of Red Sonja #4. This issue features a framing story from Gail Simone and artist Jack Jadson. Mercedes Lackey writes a special story with art by Nei Ruffino while writer Marjorie M. Liu and artist Phil Noto provide the second story segment. Salvatore Aiala Studios handles colors for the entire book with Simon Bowland providing lettering. Are the Grey Riders any closer to finding the She-Devil with a sword this month?
The Grey Riders are down a member after Sonja struck in the night, but they’re still hell-bent on finding the Red devil and stringing her up. Their journey takes them through a tiny village as they try to figure out how best to find Sonja’s trail again. Some of the company are having second thoughts, but the leader is having none of that. While in the tavern the Riders hear a story from a girl who met Sonja a few years ago. Truth and legend combine in the girl’s story as she describes how Sonja saved her life. From there it’s a trip to the wilderness where we get a glimpse at an incredibly strange adventure Sonja went on that involved a spirit of the forest. The Grey Riders think they are the hunters, but Sonja is about to prove she’s in no way the hunted. Will the She-Devil strike? Are the Grey Riders just falling into a trap?
Simone writes another great set of bookending sequences to progress the story and facilitate the narrative shifts to the other writers. Lackey’s story does a fantastic job of really selling the book’s title along with Ruffino’s art about how truth, myth, legend, and flat-out lies meld together to make up the stories of Red Sonja’s exploits. Ruffino’s art is split right down the page between story and the truth. It’s a fantastic short that really stands out. Liu’s story and Noto’s art work together well for the more out there adventure presented in the series so far. Sonja meeting a spirit of the forest is presented in a very grounded way considering this takes the sword and sorcery to the further limits. Noto’s art is always great, and he makes a particularly striking Sonja.
Bottom Line: Legends of Red Sonja continues to please. This issue really clicks together on all fronts and presents one of the strongest issues yet. The ending promises the ultimate showdown next month, and I can’t wait to see how Sonja deals with the remaining Grey Riders. 4/5