Sunday, August 9, 2015

Red Sonja/Conan #1 - A Review

Know O' Prince that some time has passed since Conan of Cimmeria and Sonja of Hyrkania last crossed paths, having united to stop the dreaded Thoth-Amon from unleashing the cursed plant called Blood Root upon the world.  Now the two have met again in the land of Kush, following rumors of war and a king in need of captains to defend against invasion. But little do they know that another wizard has a Blood Root seed and means to succeed where Toth-Amon failed!

Sadly, Red Sonja/Conan fails to live up to the promise of the mini-series it is meant to follow-up. And this is due almost entirely to artist Roberto Castro. I've noted before that I have little liking for Castro's sketchy style but some of his work here goes beyond being merely sketchy to seeming unfinished! A prime example of this is Castro's depiction of Sonja's armor, which frequently lacks support straps, leaving Sonja looking as if she is wearing chain-mail pasties for much of the book.

Another issue is Castro's unfortunate tendency towards posing characters awkwardly in relation to the dialogue. Consider the panels above, wheres Sonja is stroking Conan's chin and making dove-eyes at him as they are meant to be discussing combat tactics!

It's a shame because Victor Gischler's script does such a good job of capturing the flavor of the first Conan/Red Sonja mini-series. Gischler's take on Sonja is close to Gail Simone's lusty amazon, though I contend that Simone's Sonja would probably thank Conan for bringing her playmates for later in the above scene! Conan is similarly well treated, apart from some occasional incongruity in his speech speech patterns, which alternate between the crude eloquence of Robert E. Howard and the stereotypical speaking of himself in the third-person.

All in all, this isn't the worst Conan or Red Sonja comic ever. But it's nowhere near as good as the series it is following up.

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