Review: Legends Of Red Sonja #5
FINAL ISSUE!!! The epic mini-series featuring all-star creators concludes! This prestigious series, celebrating the She-Devil’s 40th anniversary goes out with a bang, including stories written by Gail (Batgirl) Simone, Blair (Attack of the Show, Heart) Butler, and Kelly Sue (Pretty Deadly) DeConnick, with gorgeous art by Jack Jadson, Valentine, and Jim (Secret Six) Calafiore. Sonja makes her final showdown against the brutal and deadly Grey Riders!
The big finale for Legends of Red Sonja hits this week with the release of issue #5. Joining series writer Gail Simone and artist Jack Jadson this time around are writers Blair Butler and Kelly Sue DeConnick with artists Jim Calafiore and Valentine De Landro. Salvatore Aiala Studios handles colors with Simon Bowland providing lettering. The miniseries has been solid so far, but is it able to go out on a high note?
The remaining Grey Riders are closing in on Red Sonja’s trail. As they sit around the campfire at night, we see the backstory of the big, hulking man they call The Pazyryk. As a young man the Pazyryk saw his mother slaughtered before him. From then on his life was dedicated to seeking revenge and selling his sword, the one his mother fought with as she died, to the highest bidder. Pazyryk’s story begins with a woman, so it’s fitting that he is preparing himself to go up against the fiercest one known to man, Red Sonja. Before the final showdown, the Grey Riders run into a curious band of players in the forest who give them a little play about their prey. It all leads to the long-awaited showdown. What happens when the Grey Riders finally catch up with Red Sonja? Were the hunters hot on her trail or was the prey really the hunter all along?
Simone writes a fantastic bookend to the issue. She sets the two stories up nicely and helps to weave them into the overall narrative perfectly. Butler’s story is a quick section about Pazyryk’s backstory. It’s a strong story with a middle, beginning, and end that carries some real weight. This could have easily been turned into a full issue on its own, and it would have worked. DeConnick’s is a funny little ditty involving the curious band of actors out in the woods. They help, fittingly enough, set the stage for the grand finale. All three sections fit together seamlessly. This is probably the highlight of the series in terms of making all the various moving parts fit together as one complete entity. It’s helped out a lot by Jadson, Calafiore and De Landro’s art. Calafiroe is a particular standout with his bloodstained page margins. There isn’t a weak section in the bunch in terms of art. Consistency is maintained by the steady hand of the colorists too.
Bottom Line: Red Sonja pulls off a truly grand finale. A lot of times anthology stories like this have an ending that feels like a cop-out, but Simone and company give us a truly satisfying ending that is able to pull off a surprise. We learn what the true legend of Red Sonja is, and it’s something we don’t always think about when we’re talking about the She-Devil with a sword. 4.5/5
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