Since the summer of 2013, Red Sonja has enjoyed a renaissance of sorts. Gail Simone and Walter Geovani have written seven very intense and very good issues for Dynamite, making the She Devil with a Sword quite relevant again. Riding that wave of success, Dynamite has added a companion piece to the main title called Legends of Red Sonja, and featuring more work from Simone, plus some of the best and brightest female writers out today. With this issue, the great Kelly Sue DeConnick and television host Blair Butler have stories that are sandwiched into Simone’s primary tale. What we get are three stories that develop and expand on the power of the woman that is Red Sonja. All previous issues of Legends have focused on a posse of ruffians out to hunt down and destroy our Lady of Bad Assiness for a murder of a prince by her hand. Along their journey, they have encountered others who tell stories of the legend that is. With these three stories, things jump to real time all the way through as the hunt finally reaches its conclusion with the two legend stories building on what is going on right then and there. It works fairly decently as the stories tie in much better than previous installments have.
When reading the stories, I would have thought that The Pazyryk was written by Kelly Sue DeConnick and The Play's the Thing was written by Blair Butler. But I was quite mistaken. TV host and stand-up comedian Butler writes a very serious piece in The Pazyryk that follows the last minutes of a career warrior mercenary's life. It is deep, and quite dramatic. The Play's the Thing on the other hand has much more humor as the remaining posse is entertained by the great (and very large) Frottage Fraise and his Garcons Perdus Players. They too tell a story of Red Sonja and all I can say is that you may never look at a metallic bikini in the same way again. These two tales culminate to Simone's wrap up where the party finally meets Red Sonja in battle. There is an outcome and it is bloody, but unlike the other issues, I think the continuum works much better here.
Art wise, everything hits on solid tones. But It is with Jim Calafiore's work on The Pazyryk that steals the show here, fresh with nice blood stained borders. It captures a moment and reminds us that Red Sonja's legend may be one of heroism and goodness in many stories. But she also has a brutal side of things too.
Legends succeed in what it is, which is a companion piece. As a stand-alone however, I don't think that it quite measures up to what the primary title is doing. Still, if you are a fan, I would go for it. Not so much if I wasn't a fan though.
Writers: Gail Simone, Blair Butler, Kelly Sue DeConnick Artists: Jack Jadson, Jim Calafiore, Vantine De Landro Publisher: Dynamite Entertainment Price: $3.99 Release Date: 3/26/14