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Savage Red Sonja: Queen of the Frozen Wastes #1

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Savage Red Sonja: Queen of the Frozen Wastes #1

Credits

  • Words: Frank Cho and Doug Murray
  • Art: Homs
  • Inks: Homs
  • Colors: Will Murai
  • Story Title: N/A
  • Publisher: Dynamite Entertainment
  • Price: $3.50
  • Release Date: Aug 30, 2006

The Red One journeys to the frozen north where dark deeds are afoot and weird creatures await.

Hired by the Gunderman people to locate the source of frequent enemy raids, Red Sonja is forced to venture into the frigid northern wastelands. There a fearsome battle is fought that leaves the Sword of Hyrkania all but dead beneath the corpse of a sizeable opponent. Revived in an underground world, she finds herself the slave of the Neanderthal-like "Near-Men," once unassuming creatures that have taken on a new sinister edge. Who controls the Near-Men and what other secrets do the frozen wastes conceal?

Frank Cho knows curvaceous warrior women and while he is the co-writer of this project as opposed to illustrator, I can think of no finer choice to tackle a Red Sonja miniseries. Savage Red Sonja: Queen of the Frozen Wastes boasts one of the coolest and most retro-pulp titles I’ve heard in some time but unfortunately, whatever potential it has will have to wait for future issues. This first installment reads as a very straightforward, somewhat pedestrian set-up even for a sword-and-sorcery book. The bulk of the story is the battle with only a hint of the overall direction given in the last few pages. Like Cho’s work on Marvel’s Shanna the She-Devil, his and Murray’s script is action-packed and pulpy but a bit disjointed and thus far, lacking in much meat.

Artistically, on the other hand, the issue is strong. Illustrator Homs has a sleek, stylized touch with a hint of animation influence. His Sonja possesses a look of impish mischief mixed with bloodlust that is vaguely unsettling (in a good way, of course). Colorist Will Murai sets the mood of each scene well and contributes some impressive fire, smoke, and snow-glare effects. Anyone disappointed by Cho’s absence from the penciling duties need not be too concerned for the book looks stunning. My only true complaint is with the decision not to alter Sonja’s traditional garb much for this outing. I’ve grudgingly accepted Michael Avon Oeming’s explanation for her rather…minimal attire…but it looks that much more ridiculous in a snow-covered wasteland. Sonja, m’lady, would it kill you to wear a parka?

There are the seeds of some good ideas in this issue so it is probably unfair to judge the book by its first chapter alone. Nonetheless, while my eyes feasted like a ravenous Vanir warrior, my mind was left a little unfulfilled. We shall have to see what Cho and Murray have in store.

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