Queen Sonja #3


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Queen Sonja #3


  • Words: Joshua Ortega
  • Art: Mel Rubi
  • Colors: Vinicius Andrade
  • Publisher: Dynamite Entertainment
  • Price: $2.99
  • Release Date: Jan 6, 2010

Dynamite Entertainment has been receiving a steady amount of critical praise in the last few months.

Faithful, and entertaining, adaptations from writers John Reppion and Leah Moore on Dracula, Sherlock Holmes, and now Alice in Wonderland have helped, and the publisher's wise claims on properties as diverse as The Lone Ranger, Battlestar Galactica and Kevin Smith's upcoming Green Hornet mean that there's something for all those bored with superhero epics.

Red Sonja may have been an odd choice for Dynamite, seeing as how the character is not as famous as the names mentioned above, but the crimson haired heroine has been on the fringes of pop culture for some time. She first appeared in Marvel's Conan related comics in the 70s, but may be more familiar to today's audiences thanks to the 1985 Brigitte Nielsen film. The striking visual of a towering redhead in a chain mail bikini is hard to forget, and the possibility of Rose McGowan in the barely there armour in Robert Rodriguez's remake surely sparked renewed curiosity in the classic character.

Dynamite has been publishing Red Sonja stories for the last five years, and has now made the "she-devil with a sword" the most surprising queen since since Alice Krige's Borg female ruler in Star Trek: First Contact. Saying that though, there are no hints at what makes her a member of royalty, apart from her apparent status as a defender of the people, beloved by the oppressed masses, though she looks set be officially crowned very soon, judging by the cliffhanger presented here.

I'm new to this series, but it didn't take me long to be impressed. There's a bold vitality to these pages, with a curious mix of alluring visuals (mainly provided by the titular character) and dynamic action. It's never gratuitously bloody and Ortega and Rubi wisely show restraint in allowing Sonja to use her finesse in battle rather than simply making her She-Hulk with a different hair colour. However, in this issue, Sonja really doesn’t lift her sword until the last few pages, when she infiltrates a castle of one of the emperor’s cruel lackies with her freed “sisters.”

Queen Sonjais a curious mix of The Lord of the Rings magic coupled with the call to justice against tyranny as seen in Braveheart. It does work, even though at times the tale feels rushed. There’s no exposition laden speeches here, which makes me think Dynamite is targeting this towards trade waiters, and that’s not a bad thing, as the uninterrupted story will be able to focus on Sonja’s gathering together of freed slaves and rebels to bring down the unjust rulers of her land.

Rubi’s pencils are simple enough, with little details, but the variety of characters, costumes, and locations called for in Ortega’s script are all realised dutifully. The backgrounds must be noted, as they certainly help sell the rich fantasy setting, with high towers, glistening lakes, and such.

Though this is my first entry into this series, there’s enough here to make me feel like I’m missing out on something special. I have questions that require answers and perhaps the trade will be the best place to find them. I’m curious to discover the spiritual ties that Red Sonja possesses, with talk of a demi-god in the midst of being reborn. With unique progressions like that, Ortega is obviously inspired to present more than just a bland female barbarian, and from this glimpse, that strategy is definitely working.

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