Overview

Savage Tales #3

Review

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Savage Tales #3

Credits

  • Words: Christos Gage, Leah Moore & John Reppion, et al.
  • Art: Joyce Chin, Pablo Marcos, et al.
  • Inks: Joyce Chin, Pablo Marcos, et al.
  • Colors: Will Murai, Linda Luksic-Sejic, Inlight Studio
  • Story Title: “Red Sonja: Power”, “Battle for Atlantis”, et al.
  • Publisher: Dynamite Entertainment
  • Price: $4.99
  • Release Date: Aug 22, 2007

Four stories tell tales of not only Red Sonja but also the world and the times in which she adventures. Do you dare enter this savage era?

A long held complaint among comic book fans has been the demise of the anthology comic – as well as the demises of every attempt to breathe new life into the anthology style. Dynamite Entertainment has gone out on a limb and crafted a relatively new anthology series that has its roots in the character of Red Sonja. This comic, however, does seem to highlight some of the problems with a modern anthology style…

The lead-off story in this issue is a nice, self-contained tale that revolves around Sonja agreeing to avenge a young woman who has had her virtue brutally taken from her – something that Sonja understands all too well. This young woman, though, may have more to give Sonja than even Sonja can give to her. The other three stories in this issue, however, are continuations of stories begun in the previous two issues. In one tale are the denizens of Atlantis looking upon their final fate? In another story a warrior hero must call upon the strength of his gods to face the evil servants of another god and, finally, what happens when an Elder God comes to Earth? Two brothers find themselves on opposite sides of the fence when Cthulhu comes to call.

As stated above, Savage Tales highlights both the best and the worst of the anthology style. While the Red Sonja story is actually entertaining and pretty strong for a short, done-in-one story, the other three tales in the telling here are weaker and truly suffer if the reader is picking up this book for the first time. Many forget that the earliest anthology comics rarely had continuing stories – almost every story was complete within a few pages. Here there is no recap page for any of the stories and, considering the short length each is forced into, the writers have no room or time to bring readers up to speed. Consequently one might find oneself as out to sea as Atlantis. The third difficulty here is that not every story is a quality one. The aforementioned Red Sonja tale is solid and the Atlantis story has a really interesting and creepy horror vibe to it but the tale of the warrior is a flat, action piece in which you never really care about any of the characters. Heck, you’re never even really sure who is really the good guy and who is really the bad guy or even get a solid reason why they fight – beyond the fact that the gods that they serve are mortal enemies of one another. The final story, pulling as it does from Lovecraftian traditions, also goes for a horror feel but, again, it suffers from new readers not really knowing what is going on here. Worse, the ending is kind of weak.

As far as the art goes, the creators who are involved with Savage Tales are very strong – each and every one. Each story has a distinct artistic style that is a good match to the tale that is being told. Styles run the gamut from a soft, pastel-influenced look, to realism, to midnight shaded horror.

While Dynamite might be onto something with an anthology title that allows readers to explore a world of savage warriors and mystic wonders, this reviewer would certainly like to see a few more done-in-one stories and some sort of way to bring the reader up to speed on serialized stories. If they had to offer only three stories each issue instead of four in order to allow more space for the writers to complete their stories in one or two installments that would be more than acceptable as well. As it stands, while Savage Tales is a brave attempt to bring back the anthology it currently has more weaknesses than strengths.

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