Red Sonja #3

4

Poor

Red Sonja #3Covering an awful lot of ground within the space of a single twenty-page periodical, from the titular character’s costume swap to the Hyrkanian’s reunion “with her trusty sword”, Amy Chu’s over-reliance upon manufactured set-pieces to help “the She-Devil” more easily communicate with her supporting cast and quickly track down “her old foe” Kulan Gath, must have increasingly troubled this comic’s 15,382 readers. In fact, it’s hard to imagine a more contrived set of circumstances than that which befalls the ‘sword and sorcery’ heroine as she discovers that Spike’s “workout gear [from] behind the bar” fits her curvaceous frame perfectly, and that the mixologist’s girlfriend at Columbia University just so happens to be working on a Hyborian studies thesis, so readily speaks the red-headed warrior’s language; “I’ve studied it for the last five years. Pull up a chair. I need to hear your whole story…”

Incredibly however, even these coincidences fail to compare to the Boston-born writer’s misguided belief that a warrior woman from a mythical land can simply hop onto a modern-day motorbike, pull off a pretty impressive-looking Evel Knievel wheelie and then speed off onto the New York City freeway just because Robert E. Howard’s creation has watched Sir Max of Bushwick ride the machine once before. Admittedly, Sonja’s freshly found skill does provide this comic with a momentous opportunity to have the sword-wielding six-footer, complete with a biker’s black leather jacket, momentarily mow down her assailants and subsequently careen through the Big Apple’s intolerant traffic. But for many this Borg-like assimilation of a modern-day transportation mode is debatably taking a person’s willing suspension of disbelief a step too far…

Fortunately though, all these fortuitous affairs are sketched by Carlos Gomez, so even if their lack of gritty realism grates upon the nerves, each providential progression is at least illustrated with plenty of life-imbuing vigour. Indeed, this publication’s conclusion, which depicts Sonja and her friends crashing the Columbia Centre for Hyborian Studies Annual Dinner, provides an otherwise lack-lustre narrative with some much needed excitement as the professional penciller draws the leading lady disarming gun-toting agents with her thigh-knife and denting their heads with the hilt of her formidably-sized blade; “See. Sir Max? I kill no one.” Plus, the Spaniard also even manages to please the pulp fiction devotees with a fleeting glimpse of the Kingdom of Meru’s Grand Bazaar “before it was destroyed by the evil sorcerer Kulan Gath.”

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This article is the opinion of the author and does not represent the views of the site owner.
4

Poor

Reviewed by
For the past forty or so years I have been collecting American comics… To begin with they were predominantly black and white British reprints of “Marvel Comics Group” titles such as “Spider-Man Comics Weekly”, “The Mighty World of Marvel” and “Star Wars Weekly”; all six to ten pence editions I could store away under my bed in a large cardboard box. As a result though I was introduced to the teenage angst of Peter Parker, the discovery of a frozen Captain America by Earth's Mightiest Heroes, witnessed the dreadful rage of Doctor Bruce Banner, and even travelled to a galaxy far far away... Later I would be able to afford actual America colour comic books and supplemented my collection of “Marvel” titles such as “Conan the Barbarian”, “Howard the Duck” and “Captain America” with some “DC Comics” issues of “Batman”, “Green Lantern” and “Captain Carrot and his Amazing Zoo Crew”. There would even be time for Independent publications such as “Wildcats”, “Spawn” and “The Authority”. These days however I must admit to yearning back to the simpler times of Stan Lee and Jack Kirby, back to when both artwork and storylines were straightforward, easy to follow and super-heroes were just starting out on their adventures. A time when no-one had yet to be resurrected from the dead for the fourth time. I've written over seven hundred comic book reviews on my blog over the past few years, with them usually following my latest purchases, all wrapped up in a large brown paper bag, as well as occasional ‘flashbacks’ to some of the classic "Golden Age" issues I already own…

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