Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Red Sonja: The Black Tower #4 - A Review

And so it was that Red Sonja was killed by Thraxis - God of The Black Tower!  And lo were the people of Hyboria enslaved. Even the random superheroine who was there for some reason.

Okay - maybe that's just futuristic clothing that Thraxis was kind enough to give the enslaved. We're honestly not that sure about the time scale between chapters here.

But there were those who would resist inspired by the legends of Red Sonja - The Spawn of The She-Devil! But they all got killed almost instantly and inspired Thraxis to become even more cruel. So screw them. And forget we mentioned them, because they aren't at all important to this story.

What is important is that Thraxis was awesome. And he had a harem of totally hot smoking babes who would do anything to make him not kill them or send them to the mines.

Is Hyboria doomed?  How will this story end when our heroine got killed in the last chapter? Does anybody actually care at this point?

How does the story of Red Sonja: The Black Tower - a tale that has thus far involved dragon-riding, robots, lightsabers, ray guns and flying saucers -  become even more convoluted in its final chapter?

By introducing time travel.

I'm not even kidding. It turns out that the attractive couple we saw get killed WAY back in the first chapter were time-travelers.

Mom hung on just long enough to deliver her son, who was raised by the robots in the tower and he was able to use the advanced technology to watch the outside world, developed a crush on Red Sonja and then became this monstrous warlord to get revenge on the people who killed his parents.  Oh, and he killed Sonja after realizing there was no way she'd ever surrender to him.

He explains all this to an attractive redhead who wishes to serve the living god more directly. And I don't need to say anything more because you already know how this is going to end.

Just one question remains - how is this possible?

You have to love it when the writer can't be buggered to choose just which hackneyed plot twist he should use and just decides to say A Wizard Did It. The irony being that this is one of the few genres where that would be a legitimate explanation...

Is a comic truly bad if you find yourself amused by it?  I'll leave such questions to other scholars. For me, it is enough to say that Red Sonja: The Black Tower seems incredibly conflicted as to just what kind of story it is trying to tell.

The worst part is not the introduction of science-fiction elements into the Hyborian world or the vague plot. It is the fact that the base plot is virtually identical to the much reviled Avengers #200, with the only difference being that our villain beheads the woman of his dreams rather than raping her and that she (or her clone/daughter/spirit/whatever) gets revenge by going back in time to kill an innocent woman ala The Terminator.

It's a distasteful comic. And I feel sorry that the genuinely skilled Cezar Razek will have this book on his resume. Hopefully he'll be able to draw a much better Red Sonja story in the future.  Better yet, let's get Amanda Conner (who did the cover for this issue) to write and draw a Red Sonja comic!

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