I did the one Conan the Barbarian comic I own, so why not do Red Sonja?
Like a lot of you, I love Free Comic Book Day. Because it’s free comics. That’s pretty much it. Okay, I also love the sales that my LCS puts on around FCBD, which in the past netted me some deep discount trades and quarter back issues, but for the most part, I like the fact that I can grab 10 comics at a very low risk. In some cases, I’ve gotten some great stuff out of the day and went on to read a new book or started an event. In other cases, I’ve enjoyed myself and the comics have ended up in the donation pile or recycling bin.
The Red Sonja special is put out by Dynamite and features the Frank Thorne cover of Marvel Feature #4, which is the first appearance of Red Sonja, a story that’s reprinted here along with one of the more modern books. I personally don’t have a lot of experience with Dynamite. At one point, I bought some of their James Bond books, but for the most part they seem to be focused on licensed properties that I don’t have much interest in.
Red Sonja might the exception here, at least in the “I like Conan; I’ll give this a whirl.” The first story of the two is “The Eyes of the Gorgon”, which was her first Marvel tale and is pretty much Red Sonja wandering into a town, being attacked by the townsfolk for being a “demon” and almost bein executed until she gets free and then comes to realize that the town is being haunted by a gorgon. Action and double-crosses abound and by story’s end, she takes care of the villains and then heads off to parts elsewhere.
I enjoyed this even though the remastered coloring does nothing for the book and makes Frank Thorne’s art look sloppy. It’s another one-and-done story (like the Conan issue) and provided some solid entertainment. Bruce Jones gives us a good look at who this character is in just this one adventure, and he calls upon elements of both fantasy and western comics for a scenario and a villain that works.
In the second story, “Silent Running” by Cullen Bunn and Jonathan Lau, we have a silent tale of Sonja hacking her way through a bunch of uglies and then once they’re defeated, shedding a tear for the people they used to be. It’s much shorter and much more decompressed than the original story. And while the art is good, I didn’t find it that compelling. Sure, the hacking away at various monsters was cool to look at but in the literal seconds it took me to read this story, I didn’t get why she shed a tear for the people at the end.
Overall, for a free comic, Red Sonja was fun. Her original Marvel book might be worth checking out, especially if I see it on the very cheap. Otherwise, I don’t know if I’ll be reading the newer stuff.
Keep, Sell, Donate, or Trash?