Review: Red Sonja: Vulture’s Circle #3

We have come to enter and pass the halfway point of this miniseries event featuring an older and more mature Red Sonja and her battle to save the world. Sutekh, the Son of Set has been born and released upon the world, wreaking a bloody swath of destruction and doom upon a hapless populace.  No one is safe.  This includes Sonja and her combat training school for maidens.  After a heavily heated (and entertaining) battle, Sonja and her surviving students had to abandon her bastion to the dark forces.  Quite a sad and tragic event to be sure. Now, without the protection of the school, Sonja and those remaining students must travel the remaining corners of the world to unite the remaining kingdoms not under the death grip of Sutekh before it is too late.  Will Sonja and her ladies be able to save the day?  Will any of the places listen to her?  Is Sutekh even able to be beaten?  Most of these answers will be answered within the pages of this issue, along with some Sonja back story and her connection with the Goddess Scathach.

Like the previous issues of Red Sonja: Vulture’s Circle, this one enters into some new territory, portraying a Sonja who has lived her life and maybe, just maybe, changed the way that she views the world.  At some time in this story’s time continuum, Sonja was nearly mortally wounded on the fields of battle.  She went from Red Sonja to very nearly Dead Sonja if not for the love and care of a companion who brought her back to health.  Needless to say, the wound had a profound impact on her life and she has (mostly) left her warrior ways to pursue a life of instructing and training the next generation to become bad assed lady warrior elites.

Red Sonja - Vulture's Circle #3At least that was what was happening until slimy old Sutekh slithered his way to her school.  Now on the run, there are very few chances for victory (or even hope), unless some sort of divine intervention occurs. It looks like Sonja will be responsible for completing the quest.

This issue has a very strong beginning and an even stronger ending.  But somewhere between those two points, we get bogged down in the tale of one young lady Xoana and the return to her home kingdom of Zingara.  There are some political intrigue between the Queen and our Xoana who was a bastard child from the King’s favorite concubine.  To protect Xoana from the Queen’s wraith (and possibly a mysterious death), young Xoana was sent to Sonja for safekeeping and training.

Perhaps in a different capacity, this little side story might have been good.  But it feels out of place here as Sutekh is pretty much on his way to destroy everything.  There is no real time for this political unpleasantness.  The King does give Sonja the information that she needs to assist her in that divine intervention idea. But really, the whole middle part could have been cut and we would have been none the wiser.

Cowriters Nancy A. Collins and Luke Lieberman have been doing a fine job with their interaction dialogues as this mini has been one worthy of the Red Sonja name.  But, with the middle part, I have to put this one as the worst of the group to date.  Now that is not saying too much bad, as the mini as a whole has been good and this one is mostly good too.  But, I could have seen a little less Xoana drama and a little more Sonja struggle of which she does pretty mightily toward the ending of this one.  Some really interesting questions are forming regarding sacrifice and what would you give to win. I am looking forward to see where things are going.

As for the art drawn by Fritz Casas, the metallic bikini has been replaced by a more mature and modern top with Sonja likewise drawn with more battle hardness.  She has looked weary for the entire miniseries and it really works to hammer the point of this more mature Sonja.  It is well done and I am digging the look.

There is some serious bloodshed toward the end of this one and things are in place that appear to be setting up what could be a spectacular finish.  I have already been hooked in with Collins and Lieberman’s writing that have been nicely enhanced with Casas’ art.  Issue #3 did not quite hit its mark, but if things go the way they are looking to go, we are shaping up to have a real treat for the wrap.

Score: 3/5

Red Sonja: Vulture's Circle #3 Writers: Nancy A. Collins and Luke Lieberman Artist: Fritz Casas Colorist: Adriano Augusto Publisher: Dynamite Entertainment Price: $3.99 Release Date: 3/18/15 Format: Mini-Series; Print/Digital