Tuesday, March 1, 2022

Comics Review: "HELL SONJA #3" Takes the Fight ... to Heaven?!


STORY: Christopher Hastings
ART: Pasquale Qualano
COLORS: Ellie Wright
LETTERS: Jeff Eckleberry
EDITOR: Nate Cosby
COVER: Lucio Parrillo
VARIANT COVER ARTISTS: Joseph Michael Linsner; Jae Lee with June Chung; Junggeun Yoon; Joseph Michael Linsner; Jamie Biggs; Pasquale Qualano; Lucio Parrillo; Gracie the Cosplay Lass (cosplay)
32pp, Color, $3.99 U.S. (March 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 Ellie Wright; and lettered by Jeff Eckleberry.  The series focuses on Hell Sonja, who intercepts the prayers of the desperate and then, sends her team of champions to fill Hell's belly with would-be conquerors and those most deserving of its punishment.

Hell Sonja #2 opens in … Heaven?!  Why are the Hell Sonjas leading a raid on Heaven itself?  Is there a war between two opposite realms?

No, the Hell Sonja team of Red Sonja, Blue Sonja, Gold Sonja, and Moon Sonja have taken a mission in a virtual reality paradise for the dead, a planet-sized computer mainframe that keeps digital soul copies happy in perpetuity.  The Heaven Server, however, has been corrupted by “Root Rot,” a living, jacked-in hacker that wishes to rewrite the afterlife to his wishes.  Now, it's up to the Sonjas to wrangle his digital soul before they can pull the plug on his body, dragging both down to Hell!

Meanwhile, 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 #3, which is one of several Red Sonja-related comic books that I have read

Hell Sonja has turned out to be a bit more than I expected it to be.  Christopher Hastings' scripts are surreal and crazy.  The hereafter as data in a planet-sized computer mainframe is a bit much to simply ignore.  Hastings makes me pay attention; I can say that much about Hell Sonja.  I think this series is hitting its stride at the right time.

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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