Red Sonja has been one of Dynamite’s most reliable properties, with the title character appearing in various mini-series, crossover events, and her own eponymous series, which has been relaunched with a new volume with a new creative team nearly every time. At this point, she’s probably had more #1 issues than Deadpool and Wolverine combined (don’t fact-check that).
While Sonja is never one to shy away from conflict, her latest ongoing finds the She-Devil with a Sword thrown into a new role for which she may be less than prepared: motherhood. Following a skirmish with members of the dreaded Three-Eyed Shezem, a cult with a penchant for burning down villages, Sonja discovers the village’s sole survivor to be a young girl with mysterious white tattoos. Latching onto her savior and insistently calling her “mother,” the child becomes Sonja’s companion. Together, they traverse the harsh, frozen landscape, only to come face-to-face with a power that may be more than even the legendary warrior can handle.
Written by Italian superstar Mirka Andolfo, the latest volume of Red Sonja serves as a solid jumping-on point with a story that’s as accessible as it is intriguing. Andolfo delivers an excellent take on the fierce warrior, revealing a few chinks in her sparse armor and allowing the slightest glimpse of vulnerability in between stabbings and beheadings. This is a Sonja who is feared and nigh-unstoppable but also very human. Along with co-writer Luca Blengino, Andolfo has crafted a story that may push the red-haired warrior to depths never before explored. While this issue doesn’t outright acknowledge prior continuity, the writers show a great deal of respect for the character and the stories that have come before.
Handling the art is Giuseppe Cafaro, whose style and character designs are similar to Andolfo’s own without ever seeming like an imitation. The outbursts of violence are bloody and graphic but handled masterfully and made all the better with excellent coloring by Chiara Di Francia. Every decapitation and dismemberment is a thing of beauty. Cafaro’s depiction of Red Sonja is just as fantastic; he keeps the traditional look of the buxom red-head in a chainmail bikini but avoids any gratuitous imagery or cheesecake poses. His Sonja is beautiful, as always, but meant to be feared, not ogled. It’s a refreshing change of pace that once again never disrespects the traditional aspects of the character.
Red Sonja #1
- Writers: Mirka Andolfo, Luca Blengino
- Artist: Giuseppe Cafaro
- Colorist: Chiara Di Francia
- Letterer: Hassan Otsmane-Elhaou
- Editor: Nate Crosby
- Main Cover Artist: Mirka Andolfo
- Variant Cover Artists: Jay Anacleto, Joseph Michael Linsner, Erica D’Urso, Brett Booth
- Publisher: Dynamite Entertainment