Monday, October 18, 2021

Comics Review: RED SONJA Black White Red #4


STORY: Sanya Anwar; Phillip Kennedy Johnson; Chuck Brown
ART: Sanya Anwar; Steve Beach; Drew Moss
COLORS: Kike J. Diaz; Steve Beach; Drew Moss
LETTERS: Hassan Otsmane-Elhaou
EDITOR: Nate Cosby
COVER: Lucio Parrillo
VARIANT COVER ARTISTS: Cat Staggs; Jae Lee; Lucio Parrillo; Rachel Hollon (cosplay)
32pp, Color, $3.99 U.S. (October 2021)

Rated Teen+

Based on the characters and stories created by Roy Thomas, Barry Windsor-Smith, and Robert E. Howard

Conan the Barbarian #23 (cover dated: February 1973) saw the debut of a high fantasy, sword and sorcery heroine, Red Sonja.  Created by writer Roy Thomas and artist Barry Windsor-Smith, Red Sonja was loosely based on “Red Sonya of Rogatino,” a female character that appeared in the 1934 short story, “The Shadow of the Vulture,” written by Robert E. Howard (1906-1936), the creator of the character, Conan the Cimmerian.

In 2005, Dynamite Entertainment began publishing comic books featuring differing versions of the character.  One of those is Red Sonja Black White and Red, an anthology comic book featuring stories from well known comic book writers and artists, with the art presented in black, white, and red.

Red Sonja Black White and Red #4 is comprised of three stories.  The first is “The Iron Maiden,” and it is written and drawn by Sanya Anwar; colored by Kike J. Diaz; and lettered by Hassan Otsmane-Elahou.  The second story is “The Iron Queen,” and it is written by Phillip Kennedy Johnson; drawn by Steve Beach; and lettered by Hassan Otsmane-Elahou.  The third story is “Cold Monger,” and it is written by Chuck Brown; drawn by Drew Moss; and lettered by Hassan Otsmane-Elahou.   I'll review each story separately.

THE LOWDOWN:   Dynamite Entertainment's marketing department recently began providing me with PDF review copies of some of their titles.  One of them is Red Sonja Black White and Red #4, which is the third issue of the title that I have read.

“The Iron Maiden” by Sanya Anwar, Kike J. Diaz, and Hassan Otsmane-Elahou:
After being grievously injured, Sonja of Hyrkania passes out.  When she awakens, she is under the care of Oenila, and two more different women there couldn't be.  However, when Sonja later tries to save Oenila, she learns that a women can be a warrior on a different kind of battlefield.

“The Iron Maiden” is a nice story, but I think it doesn't show its power until the very end.  I do like that the story shows that every woman does not have to be a she-devil with a sword in order to be brave in a struggle that she must face.

“The Iron Queen” by Phillip Kennedy Johnson, Steve Beach, and Hassan Otsmane-Elahou:
This a tale of Red Sonja's past and present, one that finds her aged and waiting for the opportunity to be great again.  It takes a young woman who idolizes her to remind the She-Devil that she was and still is a she-devil.

The art for “The Iron Queen” by Steve Beach is beautiful, and has a quality that recalls the “ink-wash” art that could be found in Savage Sword of Conan, the old Marvel Conan comics magazine.  Johnson's story is nice, but I'm sure that I have read something just like it in the past.

“Cold Monger” by Chuck Brown, Drew Moss, and Hassan Otsmane-Elahou:
Red Sonja meets a stranger in a strange, cold land.  He tells her of King Ole VII, “the Cold Monger,” who uses magic to keep the land frozen and him in control of fire.  Can the hot-blooded She-Devil with a Sword melt down the Cold Monger's rule?

I like “Cold Monger.”  It's like a fairy tale with Red Sonja as the unnamed hero who passes through a land, staying only long enough to depose a despot.

It is not hard for me to pick a favorite story of the three offered in Red Sonja Black White and Red #4.  “Cold Monger” by Chuck Brown, Drew Moss, and Hassan Otsmane-Elahou really stands out in this issue, which I must admit that I find to be the weakest issue of this series that I have read, thus far.

I READS YOU RECOMMENDS:  Fans of Red Sonja will want to try Red Sonja Black White and Red.


Reviewed by Leroy Douresseaux a.k.a. "I Reads You"

The text is copyright © 2021 Leroy Douresseaux. All Rights Reserved. Contact this blog or site for reprint and syndication rights and fees.


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