Review: Red Sonja: Berserker One-Shot
After a fight in a tavern results in Red Sonja being arrested and becoming a prisoner, she is sold to a promoter who stages gladiatorial games. There, in the blood-soaked sand of the arena, she finds herself pitted against an old friend — a huge snow bear that she once saved from hunters. But will they unite to wreak havoc on their enemies, or will they fight one another to the death?
Red Sonja takes on a new threat this month in a special one-shot entitled Red Sonja: Berserker. The story is written by Nancy A. Collins and features art by Fritz Casas. Mark Roberts handles colors with Rob Steen providing lettering. Red Sonja goes on many thrilling adventures, but is this one you should join her on?
Sonja is in trouble yet again. She has done something to enrage a Nobleman, so to save her head from being severed from her neck, she must take to the cold and wintery foothills of the Eiglophian Mountains of Asgard. In search of food Sonja comes across a bloody little bear cub. Two giant Vikings have killed the cub’s mother and now they’re looking to finish off the little one. Sonja is fine with them killing the cub, but she won’t stand for them tormenting the beast. You can probably guess what the She-Devil with a Sword’s next move is. Sonja and the cub stick together until the thaw comes. Sonja sets out to find a tavern, but she tells the now grown polar bear that this is where they depart. After getting in a fight at said tavern, Sonja finds herself a prisoner sold to a man who sets up gladiatorial games. Sonja will come face to face with the bear she left behind. Will they meet in the arena as friends or will the bear turn on our heroine?
Collins writes a sprawling adventure that shows a slightly softer side of Sonja. Things are slightly predictable, but it’s more about the character development and story than the ending. Sonja is still the take-no-crap fearsome warrior we know and fear, but we see a relationship form between her and the bear. They become friends and there’s something special about that considering Sonja is one that doesn’t really play nice with others, regardless of whether they’re man or beast. Casas’ art is absolutely spectacular. The opening in the cold wilderness is nothing short of stunning. The detail and character work on Sonja, the Vikings, and the little cub as well as the landscape make for some truly beautiful pages. The second part of the story in the city and arena are just as detailed and crisp. It’s just that the winter wonderland makes for some great visuals. Casas’ art is elevated by Roberts’ coloring as well. Things are very realistic and layered without losing any of the artist’s details.
Bottom Line: Red Sonja: Berserker is a quick and enjoyable one-shot. The story is paint by numbers in some respects, but the art really raises the rating and makes this one worth checking out if you see it at the comic shops. 3/5
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