Considering 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..?