Red Sonja #5

1

Awful

RedSonja5-minConsidering that writer Amy Chu had previously gone on record as saying that she loved “Red Sonja because she’s badass, pure warrior… [so] she just slays”, it is probably a safe bet that even the staunchest of this “Dynamite Entertainment” series’ 11,692-strong followers in May 2017 weren’t particularly impressed with a narrative disquietingly devoid of any pulse-pounding action whatsoever and seemingly far more concerned with introducing an ever-expanding supporting cast simply “to pay homage to the different neighbourhoods of the city”, such as the grizzled Mister Azimov and instantly forgettable Churchill the pet bulldog. In fact, most of this publication’s perusers were probably rather unhappy with the creative quality of this title’s twenty-page periodical overall, especially when the comic’s cover proudly claimed that the interior artwork was supposedly single-handedly sketched by Carlos Gomez, when in reality half of it was disconcertingly drawn by the far less able Marcio Fiorito.

Much of this antipathy undoubtedly stems from the book’s dreadful opening, which rather worryingly was actually penned by the Boston-born author to act as a “recap” so as to ensure that new readers wouldn’t apparently find the book “a total turnoff” if they “picked this up and have no idea where this is going.” Such a considerate attitude towards a magazine’s audience is indisputably laudable, yet badly ‘backfires’ on this occasion due to the script simply insinuating that Mister Gault is somehow responsible for the “large creature… moving up Fifth Avenue” rather than providing any actual exposition as to just how either the towering “demon beast of Khauran” or “mysterious woman with a sword” have miraculously appeared in modern day New York City. Instead, any bibliophile is just expected to immediately grasp the incredibly contrived plot that one of the Big Apple’s finest is in reality a Hyborian Age magician who is trying to utilise Coney Island’s Wonder Wheel to create a portal “back to where we came from.”

In addition, the unexpected (and disappointingly unwelcome) artwork by Fiorito must have caused many readers a real shock to their system, with his rather wooden, two-dimensional drawing style unnervingly ignoring any pace to the proceedings which the story-line might have demanded. Chu made her gratitude towards the Brazilian professional “for pitching in on this issue” public at the time of its printing, as Gomez had clearly found being the regular artist on this title “physically taxing”. But such is the jarring contrast between the two contributors, something which is especially transparent when Carlos returns to his pencilling duties mid-way through the magazine, that one can’t help wonder whether it would have been better for Issue Five of “Red Sonja” to have simply ‘missed a month’ in order for its writer to tighten up her lack-lustre, overly-coincidental plot and allow the Spanish illustrator a moment to recharge his evidently waning batteries..?

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This article is the opinion of the author and does not represent the views of the site owner.
1

Awful

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…

4 Comments

  1. Delaying release by a few weeks would’ve been infinitely preferable. If I remember rightly, Dynamite made a boob again the following month by crediting Fiorito as co-artist when #6 is 100% Carlos’ work. Imagine what Carlos would’ve done with That splash of the Demon Beast rampaging in New York compared with Fiorito drawing a handful of people looking mildly panicked and limping in different directions. Happily, as inconsistent as this comic sometimes is, no issue to date has plumbed anywhere close to the depths of this one.

    Reply
    • Well that’s encouraging to know Nick. I still have a good run of this title to read in order to catch-up, so plenty more reviews to come, but hopefully they won’t prove as hard to read as this one; albeit the poorer the comic the easier I find writing their review 😉

      Reply
      • I think you’ll enjoy #6 more … #8 is probably the next worst issue of the run in my opinion but is still miles better than this one

        Reply
        • I have read #6, Nick, and it was a little better, though Gomez’s artwork appears still somewhat rushed imho. I’ll keep pushing along, although I don’t now plan on buying any new issues until I’ve caught up with my blindly-bought backlog.

          Reply

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