I’ve been reading Red Sonja by Dynamite for as long as they’ve owned the character. Like any comic, the title has had its ups and downs. Some have been pretty decent and others – not so much. The artwork has never been stellar and the story arc they are currently telling has been going on for a very long time. Especially when it now coincides with a spin-off title – Killing Red Sonja. I’m ready for the arc to finally end and another to begin.
With that being said, issue #19 was the best written single-issue comic I’ve read in months. It’s basically a setup to the upcoming chapter of the war with Shadizar, whom Hyrkania has been at war with for the majority of these 19 issues. So, this war has been going on for almost two years now. Mark Russell tells a very cyclical story that starts at point A and by the end, it takes you right back around to a conclusion of that same point A. It’s very well-crafted and deserves a read.
To catch everyone up, Hyrkania was at war with the warlord emperor of Shadizar and when Red Sonja comes to town, the king of Hyrkania literally hands her the crown and says you are queen now and boogies the hell out of there. Red Sonja soon learns why. Shadizar is continually draining Hyrkania of its resources and if they don’t comply, they are invaded. Of course, Red Sonja does not comply.
Using her military tactics and limited resources, she defeats the emperor after a dozen issues. The emperor left behind a son, who is all but ten or twelve years old and he desires nothing less than revenge for the death of his father. In Killing Red Sonja, the boy is scouring the countryside looking for a weapon to fight her. (As far as I’m concerned, this mini-series is completely superfluous. I really don’t need to delve any further into the little emperor’s life.)
Now, with the war ended, Red Sonja decides to try to heighten her kingdom’s morale by hiring a storyteller. Meanwhile, she wants to reach out and create a mutually beneficial peace treaty with Shadizar, including a trade agreement. She sends her emissary and her lover as a bodyguard. Everything is going well during their initial meeting with the emperor’s widow, that is until her bloodthirsty son shows up.
In Hyrkania the storyteller weaves a tale of the luckiest king on the planet that fuels the main story. Masterful storytelling. Check it out.