Friday, September 5, 2014

Red Sonja: The Black Tower #1 - A Review

Red Sonja: The Black Tower is a sword and sorcery tale of the old-school.  By this I mean that it is heavy on action and short on plot.  There's precious little story to be found here and the action of the issue can easily be summed up in one paragraph.

Our story begins as Sonja arrives in a town where an ominous black tower appeared and inspired the townspeople to start fighting one another.  Sonja steps in when a gang of mercenaries set about trying to rape a beautiful outlander.  The leader of said mercenaries tells Sonja to back off, poking Sonja in the boob as he does so.  An orgy of violence worthy of Sam Peckinpah ensues, as Sonja kicks a lot of ass and makes her opinion on would-be rapists known quite forcibly.

The script by Frank Tieri is not deep or nuanced.  This issue is basically one extensive action scene and taken on those terms it is a damn good action scene. Yet very little is said about the titular tower and those who have come to know Red Sonja through the recent Gail Simone title may be surprised by how pointed and unsubtle this story is.

The artwork by Cezar Razik is good, if a little gory even by the standards of Red Sonja.  Never before have I seen so many severed limbs in a single comic!  That said, the action sequences are all well rendered and the action flows clearly throughout, save for one scene where it is unclear just how Sonja was able to deliver the unkindest cut of all to the mercenary leader.  Razik can also be added to that rare group of artists who can depict Sonja as a clearly dangerous warrior and yet also make her appear sexy without being exploitative.

This first chapter has my attention.  It is not like any Red Sonja story I've seen in recent memory and that alone makes the second issue worth picking up.  Hopefully we will get a little more story next time to go with the excellent action we saw here.

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