Tuesday, January 11, 2022

Comics Review: HELL SONJA #1


STORY: Christopher Hastings
ART: Pasquale Qualano
COLORS: Kike J. Diaz
LETTERS: Jeff Eckleberry
EDITOR: Nate Cosby
COVER: Lucio Parrillo
VARIANT COVER ARTISTS: Joseph Michael Linsner; Jae Lee with June Chung; Junggeun Yoon; Ken Haeser; Pasquale Qualano; Lucio Parrillo; Gracie the Cosplay Lass (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.

Red Sonja remained a fixture in comic books from then until about 1986.  In 2005, Dynamite Entertainment began publishing comic books featuring differing versions of the character.  One of those is a spin-off title, Hell Sonja.  The series is written by Christopher Hastings; drawn by Pasquale Qualano; colored by Kike J. Diaz; and lettered by Jeff Eckleberry.  The series finds Hell Sonja and company filling Hell's belly with would-be conquerors.

Hell Sonja #1 finds that the god that ruled Hell is dead, but Hell still hungers.  Now, the champions of the dead god are filling the belly of Hell with those most deserving of punishment.  Hrodulf, Usher of Doom and his henchman, Firmen, Sorcerer of Perversion, are deserving.

Enter Red Sonja, Blue Sonja, Moon Sonja, Gold Sonja, and Purple Sonja.  They are bound together by Hell Sonja, the Queen of Damnation.  If someone so wicked is beset upon you, if you're desperate enough, if no one else can help, maybe your prayers will be heard by Hell Sonja!

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 Hell Sonja #1, which is one of several Red Sonja-related comic books that I have read

Hell Sonja is the follow-up to the Sonjaversal comic book series with the same creative team.  I think that this first issue is merely an introduction to the basic concept.  So far, Hell Sonja #1 seems like Sonjaversal with a new title, but I'm curious to see where this goes.  I don't have more to say about it at this point, but I'll see what happens next.

I READS YOU RECOMMENDS:  Fans of Red Sonja and of Sonjaversal will want to try Hell Sonja.

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


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