War Over Famine: ‘Red Sonja #15’ Reviewed

by Josh Davison

Mild Spoilers Ahead
King Jo’Khan of Khitai has just offered aid to Hyrkania on the condition that Red Sonja becomes his new master of war. Sonja is reluctant to serve the man who had her mentor killed, but this may be the only hope left for Hyrkania. She reflects on one of the battles she fought for Khitai, the heavy losses she took, and the lesson she learned from the Domo: betray the dead, not the living. Sonja agrees to become Jo’Khan’s new warmaster and she sends her attendants back to Hyrkania. Meanwhile, the situation there is becoming more dire.

Red Sonja #15 cover by Jae Lee and June Chung
Red Sonja #15 cover by Jae Lee and June Chung

Red Sonja #15 finds the she-devil facing an impossible decision. She could serve the man who killed the Domo or let her homeland starve. In reality, it’s no decision at all, but the fact that there is a choice to be made leaves Sonja the Red feeling disgusted with herself. Of course, serving the ambitious and sadistic Jo’Khan means that Sonja will likely still be causing death elsewhere.
The decision is made early in the issue, which leaves the rest of the comic feeling a little light on plot. We learn more of how Khitai works and the backstory of Jo’Khan’s lead advisor, the Tortoise. The Tortoise attempts to teach a lesson to Sonja, but it’s a brutal one that prizes the self above all others.
A character returns at the end of the comic, but it’s only one that we met in a flashback in this issue. As such, it doesn’t have the weight that the book seems to think it has.
The visuals are once again quite strong thanks to the talents of Bob Q. The action scenes are bloody and exciting, the detailing and texture work is vivid, and the characters are expressive and display plenty of visual personality. Dearbhla Kelly’s color work is bright and appealing too and it helps the book pop.
Red Sonja #15 is a slower yet still engaging issue for the title. Sonja makes her tough decision to stay in Khitai while it becomes clearer that Jo’Khan has his sights set on conquest. It’s an enjoyable read and it earns a recommendation. Pick it up.
Red Sonja #15 comes to us from writer Mark Russell, artist Bob Q, color artist Dearbhla Kelly, letterer Hassan Otsmane-Elhaou, cover artist Jai Lee with June Chung, and variant cover artists Joseph Michael Linsner; Bob Q; Marc Laming; Adam Gorham; Andrew Pepoy; and Jae Lee with June Chung.
Final Score: 7.5/10

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