By Ashley Gibbs
I will preface this by saying this is my first time reading a Red Sonja comic and I was very eager to get a taste of the character outside of her mythos. I thought reading a one-shot would be a great way to have a short adventure with the red-headed she-devil without needing to invest in a long series, but I was wrong. Red Sonja: The Long Walk To Oblivion is a great read with a good mix of action, intriguing dialogue and wit; however it’s a prequel that leads directly into Red Sonja #0. It does a great job of leaving readers wanting more but also made the story being told not complete which is the opposite of what I was seeking.
I am not, however, insulting what was done here. I’m upset because I enjoyed it a lot. The story starts off with Sonja drinking in a bar when a loud man aggressively approaches her for taking his favorite table. She responds by slicing off his nose and continuing to drink her ale. We’re told right away she is not the type of person to be messed with and will prove to be an interesting main character. A traveler named Ram comes to seek her out to help slay a demon that is terrorizing his homeland, the bulk of the story is about them traveling back so that she may confront the demon. There are battles along the way, showcasing Sonja’s skills, as well as her final confrontation with the demon in question. However, it’s all a ruse by her long time enemy Kulan Gath. What frustrates is how the comic ends right as he confronts Sonja leaving the people she came to save and readers wondering what actually happened since both disappear. While Sonja does slay the demon, the battle is short and when she is finally made aware of Kulan Gath readers get nothing.
I noticed very quickly that Red Sonja is drawn and colored to stand out from everyone and everything around her. Aside from the obvious bright red hair and metal bikini armor, she has the palest skin of any other character in any short, it’s also pure and porcelain in nature which might seem weird since she’s a warrior with no scars but that’s not a huge issue. The artwork in the issue is dark and gritty which fits with the story being told but Sonja is always the brightest point of interest in any panel and while I did like this technique it was a little distracting. Her hair alone is brighter than any bit of blood shown which, to me, diluted the violence of the battles. I was alright with this since I’m not a fan of over the top gore and blood, however. Sonja is beautiful, when she fights it’s almost as if she’s dancing with blades. The other characters are also well done and I enjoyed the details put into facial expressions and even backgrounds.
If you’re already a fan of Red Sonja or are looking for a stepping stone into the current series then Red Sonja: The Long Walk To Oblivion is good for you. If you’re like me who wanted a nice one shot story you may be disappointed. I really enjoyed everything about this book until the end for the pure fact that I didn’t want to be left with the feeling that I needed to pick up more issues to continue the journey started in these pages. It’s a storytelling device I don’t agree with, however, from a marketing perspective it’s a good one. This is a good read, filled with action and adventure that left me wanting more.
Review: Red Sonja: The Long Walk To Oblivion (One-Shot)
Writer: Erik Burnham
Artist: Tom Mandrake
Letterer: Tom Napolitano
Publisher: Dynamite Entertainment