Wednesday, October 5, 2022

Comics Review: "SAMURAI SONJA #4" Takes Flight


STORY: Jordan Clark
ART: Miriana Puglia
COLORS: Kike J. Diaz
LETTERS: Jeff Eckleberry
EDITOR: Nate Cosby
COVER: Clayton Henry
32pp, Color, $3.99 U.S. (September 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.

Dynamite Entertainment is now the publisher of Red Sonja comic books, and it publishes a number of titles featuring alternate versions of the character.  The latest is Samurai Sonja, Volume 1.  It is written by Jordan Clark; drawn by Pasquale Qualano and Miriana Puglia; colored by Kike J. Diaz; and lettered by Jeff Eckleberry.  This series is set in feudal Japan and introduces a brand new Sonja, a samurai serving a sea goddess in order to slay an oni shogun – with her life and family name on the line.

Samurai Sonja, Volume 1 #4 opens in the Sengoku period of Japan.  Sonja's journey to the fortress where she will confront the demon lord, Shuten Doji, brings her to a small sailing vessel.

Soon, Sonja finds herself in the midst of a war-torn battlefield, where beleaguered samurai, unable to flee, battle murderous tengu.  No matter how hard she fights, the onslaught of her enemies will not cease. Sonja must discover the only path to victory: to truly confront her enemy by accepting what the legacy of her past and her family really means.

THE LOWDOWN:   Since July 2021, the marketing department of Dynamite Entertainment has been providing me with PDF review copies of some of their titles.  One of them is Samurai Sonja, Volume 1 #4, one of many Red Sonja-related comic books that I have read.

As I have said before, Jordan Clark is writing an epic comic book that not only respects the publishing history of Red Sonja the comic book character, but also explores the possibilities of the character.  Samurai Sonja mission pits her against some of the most devious creatures of Japanese folklore, and while this series is meant to be short-lived, Clark's imaginative storytelling may indeed capture the imaginations of readers for some time to come.

Artist Miriana Puglia has seamlessly replaced original artist Pasquale Qualano with deftly paced and inventive storytelling.  Kike J. Diaz's colors make Puglia's art dance across the page with the quickness of a warrior's fleet feet and slashing sword.  Jeff Eckleberry's lettering dots the landscape of the storytelling like explosions on a battlefield.  Simply stated, Samurai Sonja is a blast to read.

I READS YOU RECOMMENDS:  Fans of Red Sonja will definitely want to read Samurai Sonja, Volume 1.


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

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