Tuesday, January 18, 2022

Comics Review: RED SONJA Black White Red #6


STORY: David Avallone; Shannon Watters; Bob Q
ART: Jonathan Lau; Ro Stein; Bob Q
COLORS: Kike J. Diaz; Ted Brandt; Bob Q
LETTERS: Jeff Eckleberry; Hassan Otsmane-Elhaou
EDITOR: Nate Cosby
COVER: Jae Lee
VARIANT COVER ARTISTS: Lesley Leirix Li; Jonathan Lau; Jae Lee; Saphire Nova (cosplay)
32pp, Color, $3.99 U.S. (January 2022)

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 #6 is comprised of three stories.  The first is “The Daring Rescue of Prince Maximilian (Beloved of All the Peoples),” which is written by David Avallone; drawn by Jonathan Lau; colored by Kike J. Diaz; and lettered by Jeff Eckleberry.  The second is “Morgona the Crimson,” which is written by Shannon Watters; drawn by Ro Stein; colored by Ted Brandt; and lettered by Jeff Eckleberry.  The third is “The Giant,” which is written, drawn, and colored by Bob Q and lettered by Hassan Otsmane-Elhaou.

THE LOWDOWN:   In July 2021, Dynamite Entertainment's marketing department began providing me with PDF review copies of some of their titles.  One of them is Red Sonja Black White and Red #6, which is the fifth issue of the title that I have read.

“The Daring Rescue of Prince Maximilian (Beloved of All the Peoples)” by David Avallone, Jonathan Lau, Kike J. Diaz, and Jeff Eckleberry:
Envoys from the Kingdom of Levkoy have approached Red Sonja.  They offer gold if she can rescue their beloved Prince Maximilian from six brigands.  But things are not as they seem, and Red Sonja wonders if she should make a different, if not better deal.

Writer David Avallone offers a nice twist on the sword and sorcery mercenary tale with “The Daring Rescue of Prince Maximilian (Beloved of All the Peoples).”  The treat here, however, is Jonathan Lau's gorgeous art.  Not only does it recall classic Barry Windsor-Smith era and John Buscema era Conan the Barbarian, but Lau also offers inventive and eye-catching page design.

“Morgona the Crimson” by Shannon Watters, Ro Stein, Ted Brandt, and Jeff Eckleberry:
Red Sonja has recently discovered that when she rescues someone they thank her as … Morgona the Crimson!  And the people she helps are so grateful that they gift her food and livestock.  Who the hell is Morgona the Crimson?

Once upon a time, I would have ignored “Morgona the Crimson.”  Over the last three decades, however, I have heard so many horrible tales of identity theft (and also “unauthorized use of an access card) that this story resonates with me.  Shannon Watters' tale is timely and visceral, and Ro Stein's art captures both a sense of dark comedy and Sonja's frustration.  Plus, this tale has a gag cartoon quality that is hard to resist.

“The Giant” by Bob Q and Hassan Otsmane-Elhaou:
A fortune teller warns Red Sonja of her demise if she takes on “the Guardian,” a giant that guards a crossing.  After her initial confrontation with the Guardian, Sonja wonders.

“The Giant” has nice art and a clever resolution.  I would like this story to be longer because I want to know what happens afterwards...

It is hard for me to pick a favorite story from the offerings in Red Sonja Black White and Red #6.  I'll call it a tie between “The Daring Rescue of Prince Maximilian (Beloved of All the Peoples)” and “Morgona the Crimson.”

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"


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