Death is the Great Leveler – KILLING RED SONJA #1 Review
Killing Red Sonja #1
Writers: Mark Russell and Bryce Ingman
Illustrator: Craig Rousseau
Colorist: Dearbhla Kelly
Published by Dynamite Entertainment
I’ve known about Red Sonja for years but I’ve never read any comics featuring the character. Knowing nothing about this series other than the title, I jumped at the chance to review Killing Red Sonja #1. Imagine my surprise when I realized that this series follows Prince Cyril, the heir to the Zamoran Empire. Before I continue the review, I should mention that this series spins out of the events of Red Sonja #12. So if you’re reading that series, but aren’t caught up to the twelfth issue, save Killing Red Sonja #1 and this review for later. For those who are up to date on the current Red Sonja run (or just don’t care about spoilers), please continue reading.
Now I’m not at all familiar with Bryce Ingman’s work, but I love Mark Russell. In my opinion, he’s one of the best satirists writing today, and I think its really cool that he’s using this talent to write comic books. He has a knack for taking a known topic or theme and giving it an air of wit and sophistication while keeping the subject matter relatable and entertaining. This story is a bit different. The narrative is light hearted and fast paced, but lacked the elegance I’ve come to expect from Russell. Even with that being the case, I still enjoyed The Vengeance Knot, the first chapter of this new series.
Killing Red Sonja follows Prince Cyril as he seeks to avenge his father, by killing Sonya the Red. Russell and Ingman do a great job of relaying the events that proceed this series, tying the necessary backstory into the story’s greater narrative. The first issue introduces Prince Cyril and his most loyal subjects before setting up the plot of the series. Then it ends with an exciting cliffhanger. One thing that was never explained, but was still by favorite part of the book, was the character of Kump, a talking boar. Now I have no idea how Kump gained the ability of speech, but I’m so glad he did. Kump was hilarious and the conversations Cyril has with him added some much needed levity to what is necessarily a dialogue heavy issue.
The art in Killing Red Sonja has an archaic look. Rousseau uses light pencils for his illustrations. This gives his drawings a medieval feel that perfectly fits the story’s setting. Kelly’s color choices add to this effect even further. There were a few panels drawn with a wider perspective in which it was hard to tell the characters a part from one another. Yet for the most part I was able to visually follow the story with ease. I really like that the layouts on each page featured different combinations of open and boxed panels. This helped to frame each piece of the first chapter and define which characters were speaking to one another.
We’ve all heard the proverb, “If a man starts a journey of revenge, he should first dig two graves.” When the target of your revenge is Red Sonja, you probably just need to dig a grave for yourself. Though who knows? Maybe young Prince Cyril will surprise us all? He’s young and it will be interesting to see his journey from crown prince to emperor to potential avenger. With Killing Red Sonja #1, Russell and Ingman begin a new chapter in the Red Sonja mythos. This strong first issue has a lot of potential to be a thrilling sword and sorcery tale.
Killing Red Sonja #1 is available March 25th
Russell and Ingman begin a new chapter in the Red Sonja mythos.