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Is anyone reading the current series of ‘Red Sonja’?

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Re: Is anyone reading the current series of ‘Red Sonja’?
« Reply #210 on: November 23, 2018, 06:04:43 AM »
Thanks for the link, man. I ‘ll give it a look, but, not really feeling it off the bat.

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Re: Is anyone reading the current series of ‘Red Sonja’?
« Reply #211 on: November 26, 2018, 05:08:58 AM »
Thanks for the link, man. I ‘ll give it a look, but, not really feeling it off the bat.

Hmmm, I'd have thought this would appeal to you more, as a Conan man ... but you liked the time-travel and sci-fi elements, right?

We've got 3 more issues of the regular series to go, anyway, plus the Xmas special.
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Re: Is anyone reading the current series of ‘Red Sonja’?
« Reply #212 on: November 26, 2018, 05:44:47 AM »
Yeah, its been a great ride, plus Sonja was my gateway comic, so, special place.

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Re: Is anyone reading the current series of ‘Red Sonja’?
« Reply #213 on: November 28, 2018, 10:17:50 AM »
My review of #23, copied and pasted from dA:

SPOILERS OBVS





We’re cruising into the final strait of this run now … since last issue, the relaunch has been confirmed with a new creative team and apparently a significantly different approach.  After a flurry of issues in September and October, it’s been a loooong wait for this one.

Amy and Erik are writing but contrary to the solicitations, Roberto Castro is handling pencils. At least Dynamite updated the cover and credits page this time. The solicits are a complete mess, though - I think I spotted solicits for three different stories on the preview pages at various sites.

Again, Amy’s bringing in influences from outside the Hyborian Era but whereas last issue was riffing on ‘The Three Billy Goats Gruff’, this one’s all Greek mythology. Sonja’s task has the Labours of Heracles written all over it, from the setting to the gods’ involvement right down to the whining king who hands out her assignment. Amy continually falling back on other influences may reveal that she’s still a little uncomfortable with Sonja’s own genre but when the results are like this, who really cares? We’ll get a sweeping epic with Russell and Colak but nods to existing fables are fine to see out the current volume.

As usual, Amy and Erik do a great job with Sonja’s characterisation. The She-Devil’s patience wears thin more than once in this tale and, as with Kulan Gath in the Halloween tale, her first instinct with Minasha is to fruitlessly try to drive a blade through her when she should really know better. Generally, though, she comes across incredibly well in this story … completely fearless and uncowed by anything she faces, whether it’s a goddess, a sphinx or finding herself hanging from a sheer cliff with a drop of untold magnitude beneath her. Her reaction when Minasha reveals her identity is dripping with scorn and her fury at the end of the tale, when threatened by the king and his men, forces them to back down in terror without her having to unsheathe her blade.  Against the sphinx, she shows great cunning  - I guessed the answer to Sonja’s riddle too but like the sphinx, I’d have been dead before I had a chance to make a move against her.

As a sidenote, it looks like Amy and Erik have completely thrown away any time displacement issues with the revelation that Sonja killed the king’s son, unless Minasha transported her through time. By rights, Sonja should’ve been over 100 years old by the time she met the king’s son!

Sonja comes across as somewhat melancholy in this story, clearly still bugged by Lera’s betrayal at the end of the Skath story. She was happy enough before she found out Lera had concealed the amulet, so Lera’s deceit has clearly hit her incredibly hard. Hopefully she’ll find some happiness by the time this run ends, perhaps with the musician in the final issue.

Above all, though, Sonja again shows that there’s nothing she hates more than being used and played, which is wonderfully consistent with her recent depictions elsewhere, be it her reaction to Lera making decisions on her behalf to Sandak or her anger towards the hag’s ghost at the end of the Halloween story. I have to credit Erik for pushing that particular character trait, it’s something that’s really come to the fore in recent stories.

Sonja is the only heroic figure in this story. Minasha proves to be completely untrustworthy to all concerned, and the king is a pathetic, cringing figure. It’s nice that Sonja’s the lone human in most of the story actually, makes a nice change.

It’s also nice that Sonja is pushed as a super-warrior throughout this story. Obviously the She-Devil was formidable in Amy’s lone writing arcs but because of the setting and the big supporting cast, she was seldom able to really cut loose and even when she did, there was often a suggestion that she was in over her head and would have been overwhelmed if not for somebody else running interference. Here, though, we have Sonja facing off with two different mythological monsters and coming out victorious, and Minasha also mentions what an incredible warrior Sonja is, certainly far beyond the king’s son at any rate. The king himself talks about Sonja’s strength and rhapsodises about the kind of son she’d be able to give him. The She-Devil recovers pretty quickly from being teleported to hanging from a cliff by the fingertips of one hand and later in the story, effortlessly hurls a battle axe at the gryphon hard enough to kill the beast with that single blow. That takes no small amount of power and it reminds me of Sonja impaling geese with stakes back in #2. The scene of her dangling with the flying gryphon reminded me of the sample Sonja scene with a pterosaur that so many aspiring comic artists have drawn. After so many stories leaning on other characters and fighting for space, these recent solo tales have been effective as showing what an amazing warrior Sonja is.

This isn’t Roberto Castro’s first Sonja story, he previously drew one of the Sonja/Conan crossovers. While one of the early reviews compared him to John Buscema, to me a closer reference point would be MC Wyman or Angel Medina or any number of other artists who worked in the big 2 in the mid 90s. Castro has quite a scratchy style and his art can be inconsistent. He does a wonderful job with Minasha,  drawing her about 8 feet tall and combining with the colourist to give her a real otherworldly vibe. His Sonja is lithe but muscular, not the powerhouse that Tom Garcia drew in the Halloween issue, but much closer to Carlos’ take in build; she looks strong but also quick, dextrous and agile. It’s good to see Sonja back in her more familiar outfit, although Castro designs her sword closer to Lau’s scimitar from #22.  The scenery is good throughout as well, lots of bleak rocky outcrops, mesas and dark caves.

Some of the panels really do look a little rushed though and the proportions are really off with the king’s guards … I wonder how much time Castro was given to draw this story. I really get the sense that Carlos left the book in a rush and without providing much notice. Overall, I don’t think the art here was as strong as Lau’s in #22, costume changes aside but it was fine for this particular story. I wouldn’t want to see an extended Sonja run by Castro but the odd story like this is fine and he did well with the action sequences, with the Sphinx meeting a particularly gory end.

All told, a really fun self-contained tale. As a fan of Greek myths and also a fan of Sonja’s martial ability, I preferred this issue to the last one, even if I don’t think the art was as strong. The message from the last issue about the necessity to follow your nature really seemed to divide critics but there shouldn’t be any of those problems here. Amy and Erik are finishing this run strong and these issues are fantastic for new readers to pick up. The Xmas special is up in two weeks and then we have the witch/road rage story in three, with one last comic to come in 2019 before we move onto Russell’s relaunch.
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Re: Is anyone reading the current series of ‘Red Sonja’?
« Reply #214 on: November 29, 2018, 05:55:45 AM »
That was a nice read, thank you!
I kind of figured the time discrepancy would fall by the wayside, so not trally surprised on that score.
I have my issue, but am somewhat loathe to read it, as its one step closer to the book ending. If i notice anything 2 cents worthy i’ll post it here, if not i’ll just enjoy your review & the book...

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Re: Is anyone reading the current series of ‘Red Sonja’?
« Reply #215 on: November 30, 2018, 12:27:42 PM »
That was a nice read, thank you!
I kind of figured the time discrepancy would fall by the wayside, so not trally surprised on that score.
I have my issue, but am somewhat loathe to read it, as its one step closer to the book ending. If i notice anything 2 cents worthy i’ll post it here, if not i’ll just enjoy your review & the book...

Hey, I'm always interested to hear what you think ... you get different stuff out of the book than me.

I just liked that this was the 'most standalone' adventure yet ... there's no reference to anything that's gone before and it's nice to read a story like this totally in isolation, with no mentions of Gath or New York or Cimmeria or anything. It was quite an old-school tale too, closer to the old 70s Marvel stories in feel. Just an interesting little comic, with two different tales going on ... the little power struggle and interplay between Sonja, the goddess and the king, and then the adventure itself, which was really, really well done and showed once again that the She-Devil's no ordinary warrior and is totally at home mixing it up with powerful mythological beasties. I love her confidence ... after she tricks the Sphinx and quickly dispatches it, Sonja almost smirks to herself 'That thing might've given me a run for my money if I'd let it'
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Re: Is anyone reading the current series of ‘Red Sonja’?
« Reply #216 on: December 01, 2018, 08:13:16 AM »
Quote
I love her confidence ... after she tricks the Sphinx and quickly dispatches it, Sonja almost smirks to herself 'That thing might've given me a run for my money if I'd let it'
Yeah, this was just a fun read, not too deep, just a day in the life, if the day is in a fantasy setting and the life is that of a kick ass red haired warrior that takes shit from no one, man beast or god!

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Re: Is anyone reading the current series of ‘Red Sonja’?
« Reply #217 on: December 12, 2018, 05:31:14 AM »
The Holiday Special's out, Riv. For me, this is a pass but I think you might actually enjoy it more than I did, since you liked the whole 'Sonja in New York' thing.

My review copied and pasted from dA:

I just finished the Holiday Special main story…

… eh…

SyFy posted a 7 page preview of the main story and I caught another 4 or 5 pages in advance from Google Books. Once I was done with those, there really wasn’t much left to the story.

I felt like it didn’t get going until really late on and when it did, the action was over in literally two pages. Most of the comic is Max explaining Christmas to Sonja while they travel around New York by bike and go and buy a sandwich. There’s a nice intro and outro to the story with Sonja meeting a poor woman in her own world, which allows her to demonstrate that Christmas taught her something, and I actually thought the art in the intro was better than elsewhere in the comic … Sonja looked more ‘sophisticated’ somehow, I’m not sure what the best adjective is to use. Less stylised and cartoony.  I really liked the art throughout but much preferred Ricardo’s scenery and vehicles to his characters – Frank Brunner’s probably the closest reference point but I don’t like Ricardo’s facials so much. Also, like Carlos, Ricardo had real problems making Max look consistently Asian.

I didn’t expect too much from the story but it was typical Amy, focussing on the differences between our world and Sonja’s and basically setting the savage on the path to righteousness. Of course it’s not right for a homeless guy getting a beating to pass for entertainment but that seemed a little extreme, even for Sonja … hasn’t Amy always talked up the She-Devil as the champion of the weak and oppressed? Laughing at a beggar getting a pasting doesn’t really jibe with that – maybe for the average citizen of Hyrkania but Sonja’s not the average Hyrkanian citizen.

Amy probably had the best of intentions with Max explaining Christmas to Sonja but in a way, it came across as preachy? I don’t know if that’s just me. And while there was mention of other religions and religious festivals, we didn’t see much evidence of them actually happening.

Max and Sonja didn’t find ‘Santa’ until halfway through the story and then we get 3 more pages setting up his backstory, leading to a smackdown with Gault’s thugs that lasts 2 panels before the heroes hightail it out of there. Nice punch from the She-Devil but the guy must be tough to get through that and a nasty boot to the ribs and still be OK to chase after the good guys with his buddies. And then the story’s brought to a rapid close with a riff on the old gag from ‘Raiders Of The Lost Ark’ with all the baskets. What a coincidence that Santacon was taking place there. I think it was just a way to get Sonja into a Santa hat but I’d have preferred to have seen the She-Devil leap down from a fire escape and take those guys apart with her bare hands.

There were some really funny moments, with Sonja taking offence at Santa laughing and I still think the idea of the Hyrkanian zooming and striding around NYC in her scalemail bikini during heavy snowfall is hilarious, as is the idea of 90% of bystanders not giving her a second glance because it’s New York. It’s not unheard of for Sonja to wear that garb in snow but usually she accessorises it with a cloak or at least a grumble or two about the cold. Here, she doesn’t even notice. The griping about Max driving too slowly brought back memories of Sonja grousing about having to ride behind Ram on ‘Long Walk To Oblivion’.

If I was going to make any effort to time the story, it’d be on the way back to Max’ after the fight at Spike’s bar but Max didn’t find Sonja until midnight, I don’t think, and even on NYC, there wouldn’t be this many people on the streets at 2 in the morning. Clearly, though, it’s intended to be very early during Sonja’s visit, as she can’t speak English, she can’t ride a motorbike and she doesn’t have her sword.

Overall, I don’t know, this was a bit thin IMO. The art was nice but once again it’s an Amy story that’s all about moralising and with very little action. It’s a Xmas story, though, so I didn’t expect too much and the good news is that the next issue of the regular series is out in a week’s time. I thought the Halloween story was much stronger overall, however.

No comment on the backup yet, I haven’t had a chance to read it. I’m sure I’ve read it before but I’m not so much of a fan of the old school Marvel Sonja stories as most are. The art looks really nice, though, better than most of the solo ‘Marvel Feature’ stories.
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Re: Is anyone reading the current series of ‘Red Sonja’?
« Reply #218 on: December 13, 2018, 07:31:20 AM »
You’re right in that i enjoyed seeing Sonja back (forward?) in the present (future?). Its a setting i’m a mark for, obviously.
The story was otherwise nothing special persay, but not especially bad either.
It was light on action, but Amy did seem to keep Sonja from excessive blood letting in the modern age (it would have attracted way too much attention, of which she had plenty anyway, and changed the tone of the story i think).
Like you said, Sonja walking around like she was was funny, for various reasons. And seeing her gnoshing on some modern edibles like a boss was worth the price of admission.

There definitely was a preachy tone to it, but i think that about most if not all Christmas stories; its the cynic in me.
Overall? Worth getting, and a nice callback to what i signed up for before the book ends.

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Re: Is anyone reading the current series of ‘Red Sonja’?
« Reply #219 on: December 13, 2018, 11:34:14 AM »
I'm really glad you enjoyed and it sounded like most reviewers did too.

I guess I was probably too hard on it ... this is a little curio, not a typical Sonja story. It's Amy expanding on the idea 'What if Sonja was introduced to Christmas during her time in NYC'

I still think that whole NYC storyline could've done with much more action but as you say, even in a metropolis like New York, violence is harder to just explain away or ignore than it is in Sonja's own time and that's even more the case with bloodshed. Amy was asked about use of gore in a Reddit AMA and she said she wasn't particularly opposed to it, it just hadn't really occurred to her to fill her stories with loads of blood. That lack of blood is really what set her run apart from other writers'. You'd be amazed how violent some of the older Sonja runs are, it's like comparing 'Conan The Destroyer' to 'Deathstalker'.
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Re: Is anyone reading the current series of ‘Red Sonja’?
« Reply #220 on: December 13, 2018, 11:13:38 PM »
Yeah, it took me a few issues after your reviews got me to pick up the book, to realize Sonja wasnt leaving any corpses in her wale, but once i did, i came to my conclusion pretty quickly.
I’m not opposed to gore either, but in the context of the original storyline, it would have been more of a hinderance than anything.
Either you’d have Sonja wanted for multiple murders, or the killings would have been nlatantly ignored, neither scenario would have been good, each for different reasons.
Best not to even deal w. it.

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Re: Is anyone reading the current series of ‘Red Sonja’?
« Reply #221 on: December 19, 2018, 10:55:53 AM »
Review of #24, lifted from dA. One more issue in this volume to go... !

SPOILERS




Well, this issue was … different…
 
Continuing Sonja’s solo adventures as Volume 4 rides off into the sunset, this story sees the She-Devil totally out of her comfort zone, being taught a lesson in civility by beings to whom she is no more than a plaything. In Gail Simone’s run, the She-Devil was reduced to a laughing stock more than once but throughout Amy’s run, she has been nothing but competent; even if she has been nudged out of the spotlight on occasion, she has been reliable and has played her part in bringing down the big bad each time and has been undeniably the supreme physical weapon in the good guys’ arsenal. Here, though, Sonja is utterly helpless against superior forces – the whole issue is almost an extension of the panels in the Halloween issue and #23 where Sonja swung her sword at gods and ghosts to absolutely no effect whatsoever. It’s interesting to see the Hyrkanian put in that position and, for all her courage and defiance, to eventually come to the realisation that this is a battle she can’t win.
 
I get the sense that as well as being on a literal journey back to her homeland since leaving Skath back in #21, Sonja’s also on a mental and spiritual journey of sorts. A fair few reviews have mentioned that she’s been in ill spirits since leaving Cimmeria;  that’s not really come across heavily within the commentary or text in the comics themselves but I can buy it. Not only was Sonja vaguely depressed at being displaced from her own time ten issues or so ago but the discovery of Lera’s duplicity in Skath’s castle also put her in a bad mood. The She-Devil starts this story not even able to catch herself some dinner; shooting a hare from a galloping horse with a bow and arrow is no mean feat for most archers but Sonja’s not ‘most archers’ and she herself seems aghast and exasperated that the bunny is able to evade her. This leads to an ill-tempered confrontation with a witch, forcing Sonja to confront her past so that she is able to progress to the future. Effectively, she hits rock bottom but Salome’s lesson leaves her in a better and wiser place at the end of the story.

Where Sonja was squarely the only heroic figure in the last issue amongst cowardly kings, prideful sphinxes and treacherous goddesses, here she’s practically the villain of the piece, going really OTT in her treatment of the crone at the beginning and forcing Salome’s hand into teaching her the error of her ways. We finally get an insight into Sonja’s past at the eleventh hour of this volume, albeit there’s nothing different from other writers’ depictions of the She-Devil’s origin … nothing about rape or the vow or Scathach, just the revelation that Sonja’s family was killed. Apparently she’s been fighting and adventuring to escape that memory since, which is a stark contrast to the usual state of affairs where Sonja fights in the name of vengeance. After Sonja’s jibes at Salome’s age, she’s harshly reminded that she’s not immortal herself, however many great deeds she’s accomplished.

Pasquale Qualano does a great job with his Walt Simonson-esque faces and his range of different physiques, from the wizened, doubled-over Salome to the rangy but strong She-Devil to the chubbier  Sonja as a very young girl. I was blown away by the panel where Sonja faces Salome in all her glory as a towering, raging fire demon in the sky … even Sonja is cowed a couple of panels later, and we haven’t seen the warrior woman showing that kind of fear and awe in this volume before now. Backgrounds can be sparse but the castle settings look good. In the panel where the disguised Salome talks about Sonja’s feats, I’d have liked to have seen a few of those feats actually shown – that’s the kind of thing Carlos did really well and which Garcia did in the Halloween special. There really weren’t many full-page splashes in this issue, though, the creative team shoved in as many panels as they possibly could and that’s not something they’ve always done in the past.

After hitting a nadir in this issue and being taught some humility, I think the series will end on a fairly light note in #25, with the She-Devil making friends with a musician according to the solicitation. Erik talked about some kind of surprise, so it’ll be fun finding out what that is. Hopefully we’ll get one last glance at Amy and Erik’s She-Devil in combat before we move onto more of a strategic field commander Sonja in the next volume.

Good issue overall … not mindbendingly awesome but props to Amy and Erik for doing something a bit different. If I was a Sonja fan and I bought this issue in isolation, I’d be disappointed at the lack of action but it’s nice to see Sonja cast in a less favourable light for once and to see her held to account for her behaviour.  The final trade of this volume will make for really interesting reading, with all the different types of adventure and artists on show.
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Re: Is anyone reading the current series of ‘Red Sonja’?
« Reply #222 on: December 20, 2018, 07:43:12 AM »
Nice review.
Havent read the issue yet, just flipped through quickly. That IS a great splash page in there where Sonja’s back is to us, facing off w. Salome i’m guessing from what you described.

I agree Sonja’s been on an emotional type journey. Her debate w. the bridge troll as they fought lends itself to that.


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Re: Is anyone reading the current series of ‘Red Sonja’?
« Reply #223 on: December 21, 2018, 06:07:33 AM »
Eh.
This was easily the weakest issue in this final batch. It just didnt do much for me. Except for the art, that was really nice.


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Re: Is anyone reading the current series of ‘Red Sonja’?
« Reply #224 on: December 21, 2018, 10:10:49 AM »
I kinda agree. The art was really good but the story, while interesting, just came out of nowhere. I've been talking to my buddy on dA about it and he was asking where all this angst came from. Nothing's been said whatsoever about Sonja's past now, beyond a couple of mentions of her goddess Scathach, but now we learn she's running away from her past and trying to escape it? That's actually the opposite of other Sonja versions who have EMBRACED their past by going on their Roaring Path Of Vengeance TM.

The future stuff as well ... is Sonja scared of growing old? We know she's worried about her legacy but again, it's only been mentioned now and again that she's in a different era where she's virtually forgotten. The writers haven't driven that home consistently enough. The glimpse at her childhood was cool but why do we only get it now, in the penultimate issue of the series?

Sonja's treatment of the witch was also the polar opposite of how she behaved towards the homeless lady at the beginning of the Xmas issue. OK, she was frustrated at not being able to snag that bunny but still.

My guess is that Amy wants Sonja to finish up the series happy. She can't return her to her own time, so she's going to do the next best thing and give her a sidekick in the shape of a bard; the solicit for #25 mentions that Sonja saves the bard from a gang of thieves and becomes friends with him/her (I think it's a guy but I'm not 100% sure and the solicits have been wrong before, anyway). The musician can then document Sonja's adventures in the medium of song and create a new legend for her and bada bing bada boom Sonja is happy again. End of series.
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