Red Sonja #2 continues the new adventures of everyone’s favorite redhead barbarian warrior with great action, quality artwork, and even some understated comedy.
Now the queen of Hyrkania, Sonja finds herself staring down the barrel of an imminent invasion. The powerful Zamoran Empire is at her shores; however, Sonja unveils some creative ways to derail their campaign.
Red Sonja #2 delivers on the classic sword and sorcery goodness. All of the essential elements are in place as writer Mark Russell lays out his vision for the series. However, he also does a great job of hitting different dynamics with his storytelling, too.
We see Sonja as stoic, collected, and always in control as ruler. At the same time, her relationship her long-lost cousin, Kryon, forms the emotional basis of the story. She could have declined to take the throne, but chose to stay in order to protect him, adding additional layers to the narrative.
Despite the serious tone, there is plenty of sharp humor throughout. From the Hyrkanians’ cynical reactions to the impending invasion, to Emperor Dragan’s awkward family dynamics, there is plenty of great dark humor in Red Sonja #2. Without giving away spoilers, one of the book’s best moments comes when Sonja insists on repeatedly burning bridges with her enemy (literally).
Artist Mirko Kolak relies on a lot of closely-cropped panels, so character designs take center stage. The figures benefit from a realistic style, giving the book a feel of genuine historical drama. However, when the visuals pull-out to an establishing shot, you get a sense of the dedication to craft on display here.
Kolak’s illustrations are done with a fine attention to detail. The excellent artwork helps bring the world to life and makes everything feel much more real and grounded.
Given it’s a desert climate, the book is dominated by a palette of yellows and browns. As a result, colors pop nicely when they break the scheme. It’s a nice effect at key points, though it sometimes leads the eye to focus on unimportant details.
Red Sonja #2 offers great storytelling and humor, with very impressive artwork. It looks like the character is in good hands for this run.