Red Sonja #1 Is Fantastic Fun From Russell And Colak

by Olly MacNamee

With Conan being such a hit at Marvel, as well as The Savage Sword of Conan #1 out this week too, it would seem comicdom’s appetite for swords, sandals, and sorcery has been stoked. It’s no wonder that Dynamite have relaunched Red Sonja one again in this healthy climate, but if you were expecting a female knock-off of Conan, then you’d be very much mistake.

Granted, I doubt anyone would, especially as writer Mark Russell is an established enough of a writer that readers must surely know whet they’ll be getting from any book penned by him. A reverence for whatever genre he turns his hand too, but also a knowledge and understanding of any genre that allows him to satirise it so superbly. Having Mirko Colak on art duties simply adds the cherry onto the cake. Colak has proven, in such series as Aftershock’s Unholy Grail, that he is no slouch when it comes to depicting a dark, dirty and diseased fantasy world and it’s a much needed talent when it comes to this first issue and one greedy rulers attempts to enlarge his kingdom by invading the wasteland that is Hyrkania, the birthplace of Red Sonja, and her current destination too.

Dragan the (self-proclaimed) Magnificent is that tyrannical ruler with a line of argument that would baffle even Trump in its twisted, dark-humoured logic. Even when warned that Hyrkania has nothing to offer, Dagan won’t take no for an answer. And, in ‘welcoming’ Hyrkania into the Zamoran Empire, we have the familiar satirical tone Russell often imbues into proceedings. It’s a great bit of fun, bit also a reminder of the power of the written word to muddy the waters of truth.

Red Sonja – devoid of her usual male-approved clothing – is more in keeping with the modern world and stronger for it. Colak avoids making her a sexy savage but rather a worn-out warrior in rags who has certainly seen better days.

She’s also the bright spark too, unlike her more thuggish male counterpart over at Marvel. She’s great with a sword, but easily outsmarts Dagan, leaving with egg all over his face by the end of this first, promising issue. Well, I say ‘egg’. You’ll have to pick up this firsrt issue to see for yourself. But, it’s certainly a plan aimed at getting Dagan’s blood up and so sets the scene and tone for this series in one revealing splash page at the end. This is going to be both fantastical and fun with plenty of blood, methinks!

Red Sonja #1 is available now from Dynamite.

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