Found myself rolling my eyes at some of the dialogue, especially when it involved being hungover and still harder than a masters degree in theoretical physics. Bit OTT and it took away a sense of danger. But I liked the story and the setting, artwork was amazing. I'm definitely getting Vol.2.
Red Sonja, the "She-Devil With A Sword", is a high fantasy sword and sorcery heroine who goes back to short stories from the 1930's and who appeared in 1973 in Marvel Comics' Conan the Barbarian series. Since then she has taken on a powerful life of her own and is probably, easily, one of the most popular of all fantasy heroines.
There are lots of Red Sonja books, comics and series, with over thirty collections, first from Marvel Comics and then later mostly from Dynamite Entertainment. Getting into a character with that kind of track record can be confusing and difficult, but this collection is actually a good place to start.
This Volume collects the first issues of Dynamite's relaunch of Red Sonja. It is a fresh standalone tale with enough flashbacks and references to give you some origin story grounding and Hyrkanian world grounding without overwhelming you or losing you. The relaunch has been written by Gail Simone, who is a well regarded and well respected pro in this field and who has a generally acknowledged great feel for the Red Sonja character. (Actually, Simone's preface to this collection is the most charming and personable and least self-indulgent author's preface that I've read in some time.)
So, with the assurance that you can read this and be up to speed on the character and the world almost immediately, do you want to read it? Well, I was happy. Red Sonja is tough as nails, has a hot temper, can toss out a one-liner with the best of them, but is still engaging and compelling. She's not just attitude and is just as interesting during down time as she is prepping for or engaging in battle. There is a little more depth and dimension here, and I attribute that to Simone's feel for the character.
There are lots of sample and alternate drawings in this Volume, (nice touch - by female comic artists), but the page by page drawing, (by Walter Geovani), lettering and coloring is of a high order. This isn't one of those novels where everybody looks like everybody else, or the scenes are either too dark or too cartoony. Red Sonja is known for her signature mail bikini, but she isn't presented as some vacant pneumatic freak. The drawing is expressive and Red Sonja has real character.
No plot spoilers here. It's good guys versus bad guys with battles and twists and turns and surprises and more battles, but it all fits together and it plays fair with fantasy conventions, so I'm not complaining. And, there is a lot more here than just battle after battle. There is compassion, and a struggle for honor and a weighing of duty.
The upshot is that if you already like Red Sonja you'll probably like this collection. If you're new, well this is a nice intro.
Please note that I received a free advance ecopy of this book in exchange
The story running through issues #1-6 of Dynamite Comics’ latest Red Sonja series is collected as Red Sonja Volume 1: Queen of the Plagues. It is a good ‘swords and sorcery’ story, telling the origin of Red Sonja against the background of a relatively epic adventure, with good artwork and scripting, but it did nothing for me. I felt little for the characters, some of whom were well developed, and some of whom, despite being well-illustrated and scripted, were, for want of a better term, ‘stock’ characters for a barbarian story. It is probably a very ‘authentic’ story in terms of showing the world described by Robert E. Howard, and fans of the character and her world will probably want to give it a higher star rating than I did, but it did nothing for me. DC Comics’ Demon Knights was a much more interesting ‘sword and sorcery’ title, for example; and the adventures of Dejah Thoris in this publishers Edgar Rice Burroughs franchise can at least be laughed at for its exploitativeness; but this story is just dull but worthy.