By Dustin Cabeal
Well, color me shocked. I gave this another chance but didn’t see myself reviewing another issue after the first issue of the new Red Sonja. I found this issue to be marginally better, but still lacking in a lot of ways. I want that to be clear, it’s better, but it’s not great.
What’s better is Sonja’s characterization. She’s much more defined and not running around like a wild animal. That bothered me because she wasn’t a cavewoman, there was a functioning society that she was a part of, be it a violent and sometimes cruel one. Her rational brain, no matter how confused, shouldn’t have regressed into an animal looking for a fight like she did. Instead, it should have been more like this issue. She’s figuring out how to survive, finding out the differences in climate and looking for beer. And drinking a lot of beer. They make a joke about it later, and it’s a dumb joke. Not only is it unrealistic, but any woman dressed as her and beating men’s asses at arm wrestling is going to be drinking for free. 800 dollars of beers would kill her is what I’m saying. She would be peeing more than drinking and die of alcohol poisoning.
The other really important step is the police officer that understands her. His origin is revealed, and essentially, he’s a time traveler as well, who was sent with his parents ahead of Sonja. We know that, but we don’t know why still. It’s also not very believable for him to remember the language that he’s never used or conversed with, but hey… I don’t have a euphemism for that so just hey.
What continues to not work for the story is the entire reason she’s in the modern era. There are a billion ways to tell a story, sure they can all be boiled down to six or whatever, but you can approach it differently. I hate to say it, but I wish that Amy Chu had approached this different. Instead of revealing the villain, have her stumble upon a villain she’s familiar with, but then the long con of the series is finding out that someone else was responsible for bringing her to the future. It’s a classic bait and switch, but you get more miles out of the story, and it’s an easy out if your first villain sucks.
That said, this first villain fucking sucks. Why the fuck does he care about capturing Sonja? He’s lived thousands of years, what possible reason could he have for caring about her now? He’s running the world the way you can now, through a corporation and that alone shows he’s adaptable and can get with the times, so why would he waste time and resources to capture Sonja? Especially since she has a history of stopping his ass… I assume. The story didn’t tell me that part a commenter did and I thank them for updating me. The villain and his goons suck. Sonja is a strong ass woman who can beat any man, and they send three dudes and a lady to get her. She beats the dudes up, and the lady disappears. She’s never shown again. What? Why wouldn’t they fight her too? She’s a goon, goons fight. That’s the basics of gooning. You fight. That’s pretty much it. Fight and lie to your loved ones about being a piece of shit goon.
The art is slightly better as well. There’s still some strange choices like just how damn top heavy Sonja is. Her bra is defying the laws of gravity, or it’s just the best fitting bra ever because she never complains about her breast popping out or being smack around on the back of a motorcycle. There’s also a “Marvel Moment” in the comic in which our male cop dude flashes his abs to let you know he’s ripped. Not that I cared because Sonja’s half naked 24/7, but it’s obvious that they wanted to get that in there when there was a better fitting spot for it later in the comic. Overall the art is a lot better and flows naturally with the story.
I was entertained by this issue which isn’t something I saw happening. I disliked the first issue of Red Sonja and almost skipped this issue. As it is, I’ll give it one more and see what can happen, but there are some bad missteps with this story. I hope Chu and Dynamite begin thinking a bit more long-term and less “we’ll reboot it again.”
Red Sonja v4 #2
Writer: Amy Chu
Artist: Carlos Gomez
Publisher: Dynamite Entertainment