Monday, January 31, 2022

Comics Review: HELL SONJA #2


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; Jimmy Broxton; Lucio Parrillo; Gracie the Cosplay Lass (cosplay)
32pp, Color, $3.99 U.S. (February 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 focuses on a group of women who called out to a god.  Now, Hell Sonja and the former champions work together to fill Hell's belly with would-be conquerors and those most deserving of its punishment.

Hell Sonja #2 opens on an Earth (number IHC-0501-29X3052) ravaged by flood.  The Hell Sonja team comprised of Red Sonja, Gold Sonja, Moon Sonja, and Blue Sonja hear the summons of a desperate sailor.  Potentially on Hell's menu is a ghost pirate ship that drives witnesses mad on sight, but things are a bit more complicated that procuring a meal for Hell.  If the Sonjas fail, they may end up creating something quite terrible, “the Fungiverse!”

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

I really wasn't feeling the first issue of Hell Sonja.  I do realize that writer Christopher Hastings had to do a lot of explaining, and he wanted to offer the first mission to us, dear readers.  With introductions out of the way, Hell Sonja #2 gets to be straight to the point, and I have to admit that I have warmed to the idea of team Hell Sonja feeding evil creatures to Hell.  It is rather interesting when you think of the menu possibilities.

Artist Pasquale Qualano embraces the widescreen possibilities of this story, and Kike J. Diaz layers surreal colors all over it.  Hell Sonja #2 is visually and graphically splashy, topped off by Jeff Eckleberry's crackling lettering.  I am ready to recommend this to readers who followed Sonjaversal.

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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