Red Sonja and Cub is an obvious play on Lone Wolf and Cub and while they share a similarity in the fact that the main character is protecting a child, that’s where the similarities end. That’s not a bad thing since you don’t want this to be Barbarian Red Sonja entering the world of Samurai on a lengthy escort mission. Instead it’s an action packed one-shot that sees the powerful red-head take a quick jaunt through the land of the rising sun. The story beings with a mother escorting her daughter through the snowy woods with several protectors; they are of course ambushed by attackers until they happen to stumble upon Red Sonja’s camp. She begins cutting fools down because that’s what she do, but the mother receives a fatal blow. The daughter informs Red that she’s on her way to get married to a rival clan in order to prevent them from battling any further, the problem is that some members of the rival clan protest the marriage and are trying to kill the girl before she can arrive. With no protector Red tells her that she’ll help her back home, but the girl refuses and says she’ll proceed on her own in order to assure the alliance. Well anyone in this position that has a nasty disposition of helping people is of course going to protect the girl and get her to her wedding on time.
The story is straight forward and you basically know where it’s going the moment Red appears. There’s not really a twist to the ending, but there are some things that happen that will hold your interest and make you root for the characters. Jim Zub nails the dialogue; though Red and the girl speak the same language, Zub makes it so that they do talk differently due to them being from different cultures. It’s a nice touch and much better than bs’ing Red knowing the local language.
The art really steals the show. If you’ve never seen Jonathan Lau’s artwork then you’re in for a treat because he is amazing. That is the downside to this being a one-shot; we only get Lau’s art for this issue. Lau nails several key things with the artwork. The first is the setting and with that the weather. If there’s snow on the ground it better be snowing and it sure is with this issue. Lau makes it so that the snow fall is realistic, but doesn’t take over the page. The other thing he’s very successful with is the action. Any time there’s action it needs to be easy to follow and flow from one panel to the next. Lau nails that in spades and keeps it very detailed which is his style.
While this wasn’t the most imaginative story, it was still entertaining and with Lau on the artwork it’s hard to pass this issue up. Overall it accomplishes its task of telling a self-contained story that is entertaining and true the main character and that’s all you can really ask for from a good one-shot.
Writer: Jim Zub Artist: Jonathan Lau Publisher: Dynamite Entertainment Price: $4.99 Release Date: 4/2/14 Format: One-Shot