By Dustin Cabeal
If you’ve been reading this series like I have then I’m going to give you the best advice possible, skip this issue. The fifth issue of the newest Red Sonja series from Dynamite Entertainment is by far the worst of the series for numerous reasons, but none worse than the fact that it does next to nothing to move the story forward.
This is illustrated best by the fact that it doesn’t pick up where it left off, which has been consistent with the series, but never in the middle of a fight. Typically, when you end in a battle, and your main character’s about to be crushed, you pick up there again. Instead, Giggles (don’t like or remember his name) is already back at his building talking about plans to change the city and shit. No one confirms that the main characters are killed, and we quickly find them zipping in a bubble of magic to the Brooklyn. The rest of the issue sets up the final battle in which Max is going to spin a Ferris wheel fast enough to open a time portal to send Geo Dude back to the past… not defeat him, just back to the past. God forbid that Sonja chop this motherfucker’s head smooth off. That’s it. There’s a lot of dialogue, Max, Sonja and they’re three female companions that also inexplicitly leave the scene and track them via a cell phone app arrive and explain their plan to two old cranky people. Why do they need to explain their plan to two old cranky people? One of them knows how to run the Ferris wheel; only he doesn’t so… what the fuck right. What the fuck.
There’s negative character development in this issue. Max’s magic is just forcibly revealed in the story and its facepalm inducing. Sonja, for the first time, doesn’t feel like the main character, hardly talks in the issue and comes across more interested in booze than being a hero. She continues to be nerfed over the course of this story to the point that it’s unbelievable for her to be able to defeat anyone. It’s the saddest fucking thing I’ve read in ages because of how Sonja is being mishandled. Also, an old white guy looks at a cop on the TV and says, “It’s our homies, ” and nothing else comes from this scene. It made zero fucking sense and pissed me off to read it.
What makes the issue even worse is that the art continues to decline in quality. The first issue looked great, the second saw a major dip, and it’s been consistently sloppy and bad since. The fifth issue has two artists, and it still lacks a ton of detail. For most of the issue, Sonja is just flesh coloring and boots. There are no details on her and it just awkward to look at all the time. There’s a harsh shift between the two styles between pages twelve and thirteen. You’ll be able to tell because the inking is thick and muddy and all of the boobs are bigger and the bras smaller. We’re talking invisible nipple small, as in her nipples must be fucking invisible because they wouldn’t be covered by that goddamn bra. Max and every other man in the issue look as if they’re bleeding tar from their cheeks due to the heavy inking that’s supposed to be detailing their cheeks. I could keep going because there’s a lot of inconsistencies to point out between both artists, but Carlos Gomez is still the better artist.
Unless something happens that’s worth talking about in the next issue; I’m likely to be done with reviewing this series. It’s had my curiosity, and I’ve given it a fair chance, but this issue has destroyed any faith I had in it continuing to be interesting and finishing decently. I’ll still read the next issue, but from a review perspective, I’ve said all I have to say and will move on to something that deserves a review. This will likely sell because Sonja has a dedicated fanbase. They’ll either leave here in the modern era or ship her back to her time, and either one will be shitty because the story isn’t strong enough to make either good or worth reading. If you’re getting some kind of enjoyment out of this series, please let me a comment and tell me what I’m missing because I don’t see it.
Writer: Amy Chu
Artists: Marcio Fiorito and Carlos Gomez
Letterer: Tom Napolitano
Publisher: Dynamite Entertainment