Dynamite’s run on Red Sonja has been absolutely fantastic on so many levels. But I think that it was with the summer of 2013 releases featuring the writing talents of Gail Simone, that has placed the world’s favorite She Devil on a tear taking care of business, making friends, and as always, making a few enemies along the way too. The brand has never been better that I can remember which has helped it to spawn some one-shots (see reviews), some discounted re-releases (see review), as well as an extended title that highlights of the legend that is Red Sonja displayed through small vignettes of her exploits. Very appropriately titled, Legends of Red Sonja, the stories are just that. Told from different perspectives about their own individualized experiences with Red Sonja, these vignettes offer the reader additional insight into the cult of personality of Red Sonja. Making this an added attraction is Dynamite’s use of some the best female writers in comics today to weave these tales. It has been win win for everyone and we are now at Issue #4 of a planned five issue set.
There are three stories within this issue that feature Sonja in very different lights. Jenny’s Story: Parrallax Is the tale of a young barmaid who had an encounter with Red Sonja after her village was attacked and she was taken hostage. It is a straightforward reminisces of the encounter and demonstrates Sonja’s power as seen through the eyes of a grateful soul who was delivered from her captors. She Lives Still is a story told by what could be called a magical forest entity relating his experiences with Sonja to his er… uh… daughter of sorts. The entity tells of his encounter with Sonja and his deliverance from the captivity of a witch who used his powers for her gain. The entity is grateful and desires to show his thankfulness. Let’s just say that he does and Sonja and he get to know each other a whole lot better after the rescue. Securing both tales like bookends is the current story of a band of men searching for Red Sonja with the hopes of avenging a murder. They are looking and gathering these tales as they venture along on the search. All stories fit well in the parameter of the issue and the writing of Gail Simone, Mercedes Lackey, and Marjorie M. Liu though short and sweet, pack an interesting punch that is readable and not too bad in their presentations.
Hands down, I got to give Marjorie M. Liu award for best story in this issue. In She Lives Still, Liu has just a perfect blend of action, violence, hot sexiness, and even heart felt sentimentality that is impressive for a story that covers only about nine pages or so. It hits all bases and entertains thoroughly.
The other two tales carry their own and flow well enough to make for an enjoyable read that should not be passed up for any Red Sonja fan. The legend continues and the issue more than holds up that legend.
In regard to art, I was impressed with all the stories. I have read a whole lot of Red Sonja in recent weeks even rereading the Queen of Plagues arc, and I got to say that Jack Jadson, Phil Noto, and Simon Bowland cover the lady quite well in their presentation.
I don’t know if Legends of Red Sonja is for everyone. If you are new to Red Sonja, I think I would hit the standard title first before this one. It will give you a better feel for who Red Sonja is and what she is about. For those of you well versed in the world however, Legends of Red Sonja is a must have and offers additional expansions in to the universe of this magnificent lady.
Writers: Gail Simone, Mercedes Lackey, Marjorie M. Liu Artists: Jack Jadson, Nei Ruffino, Phil Noto Publisher: Dynamite Entertainment Price: $3.99 Release Date: 2/26/14