Savage Red Sonja: Queen of the Frozen Wastes #3


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Savage Red Sonja: Queen of the Frozen Wastes #3


  • Words: Frank Cho and Doug Murray
  • Art: Homs
  • Inks: Homs
  • Colors: Will Murai
  • Story Title: N/A
  • Publisher: Dynamite Entertainment
  • Price: $2.99
  • Release Date: Oct 25, 2006

Sonja is held prisoner to a matriarchal society of Yetis, forced to fight in their arena to survive, which sounds a lot more fun than it unfortunately is to read.

The plot – Sonja vs. Yetis – is a surface-level inspired one, and makes for an action-packed book, though one that suffers for lack of any solid plot. Though perhaps "solid" is a misnomer; there’s a plot, and it is in evidence, and easily accessible, too – "solid," indeed. What’s missing, however, is an intricacy, a craftsmanship to the execution. There are fight scenes after fight scenes, though none of which advance the story in the least. The interludes in-between such action sequences do what they can in the sparse few pages allotted them, but what’s left is a far too rapidly paced arc, with Sonja rising to a position of fame within the arena, befriending the slaves, earning the ire of the ruling class, and finally planning an escape, all by way of a handful of panels that quite frankly can’t do it justice.

What’s worse, the action isn’t all that enthralling; the fight scenes aren’t poorly done, but equally they’re simply not crafted with nearly the exacting level of choreography and sense of rising drama they’d require in order to carry the series in lieu of character, story, and event (which are virtually missing from the series, each and every one). Quite frankly, nothing happened in this issue. At the end of issue #2, Sonja was held captive and tossed into the Yetis’ arena to fight. Taking my above comments into consideration, I’ll give readers one guess (and only one) as to where issue #3 ends up.

While I raved about the fantastic, three-tiered civilization of Yeti culture that scriveners Frank Cho and Doug Murray had concocted and unraveled in issue #2, looking back I now realize that the issue gave us little more than an illustrated character bio, a breakdown that a writer might give an editor when forming a series pitch. I never did get to read issue #1, though heard form other readers that the story was weak and generally a too-quick, overly prolonged chase sequence with little else to add. Now – having read issue #3 – I have to rescind my positive review of issue #2 (though the Yetis are still very, very cool) and ascribe this series to a much lower caste of ill-considered comic book fare.

The art by Homs is as good as it’s ever been, fluid and detailed, eccentric and classic in equal measures, and if nothing else then hopefully this book – what with its name recognition and industry-entrenched publisher – should land him continued work elsewhere. He has a natural penchant for character expression, body language, and his ability to orchestrate and illustrate an honest-to-God choreographed fight (though he only gets a pair of moments to show this in Queen of the Frozen Wastes #3) have won me over entirely. He’s a good comic book artist who could – if given the proper material in which to wean upon – grow into a great one, another Steve McNiven or Bryan Hitch, both of whose early work displayed just such a potential combined with an un-evolved, looser linework as those of Homs’ pages here.

I really wanted to like this series, especially considering that it would then have been the one and only Dynamite book that I enjoyed (and I’ve reviewed them all – exhaustively!). While I applaud Dynamite for bringing back into print the new adventures of some of the most favored and sorely missed characters in all of genre fiction history, their flavor of story and their opinion of what constitutes as quality handling of a licensed property beyond the mere appearance of the art and the basic plot concept as understood in a preview blurb, is emphatically not for me, and I would go further and argue that it isn’t good comics period. It’s akin to a prime rib being charred to a crisp, through and through – many may like it, some may even love it, but no thinking person would feel quite right about calling it "gourmet."

Without an ounce of plot or character to be found in this third issue, I have to say that the book will have all the impact on the reader’s imagination and mind as the comic itself might have against your face if you smacked yourself with it – you’d know it was there, but that’s about it. There’s better stuff going on over in the Red Sonja ongoing series, so you could check that out and maybe actually enjoy yourself. Pass on this one, though, and hopefully we won’t get another one like it.

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