Writer: Mark Russell
Artist: Bob Q
Publisher: Dynamite Comics
They’re back. Comicbook fans can finally return to their favorite pastime after a pandemic-related drought. And one comicbook shipping from Dynamite on May 20, Red Sonja #15, is a reminder of what we’ve all been missing. Writer Mark Russell (Flintstones) returns to a pleasurable story of responsibility, sacrifice, and empire. The valiant noblewoman from Hyrkrania faces an eternal question posed to all of those who must wield power: what exactly is the greater good and who among us must die for it?
Sonja the Red’s dilemma is simple. She must abdicate her throne or her people will die. But the solution is far from easy. The fight to liberate her homeland from Dragan the Magnificent has left Hyrkrania in ruins. So, Sonja goes in search of an alliance with her sworn enemy, King Jo’han of Kithai. But Jo’han makes her an impossible offer: he’ll feed her people only if she fights for him, murdering innocents in the process. What choice does she make? What are the consequences?
Strong artwork leads us toward the answers to these questions. Bob Q (Captain America) does a fine job keeping the story moving with creative paneling, perspective shifts, and splash pages. Changes in texture and tone frame a flashback and make the fight scenes interesting. Coloring and lettering come on a bit strong, and the sound effects muddle the art a bit. But that’s the Dynamite way, nowadays. A busy, bold, and over-the-top comic book that evokes the straightforward fun of sword and sorcery pulp.
Red Sonja #15 does what a comic should. It provides us with an entertaining story about what it means to be human in a world of violence and bad choices. Queen Sonja’s story is not especially provocative or subversive. And I doubt this issue of the comic will catch the eye of hungry speculators on eBay. But maybe that’s what we need after several months without comicbooks. I’m just happy they’re back.