Writer(s): Frank Tieri
Artist(s): Cezar Razek
Release Date: 3rd September 2014
Red Sonja seems to be a character that is very, very difficult to get right. Hit the target (see: Simone, Gail) and you wind up with a powerful, confident warrior with an intriguing backstory and a fantastically dry sense of humour. Get it wrong however, and you’re left with little more than an angry, belligerent blow-up doll hacking people to pieces with a big sword. Sadly, Red Sonja: The Dark Tower falls firmly into the latter category, providing a flat, superficial look at this iconic heroine.
While there’s nothing inherently wrong with Frank Tiernie’s writing, it just feels more than a little uninspired in terms of the Sonja mythos. While the four-part series promises to deal with the “death” of Sonja, this first issue is bogged down by the vaguely defined threat of the titular Tower, and a prolonged fight scene where our heroine dispatches a band of rapist mercenaries in a shower of crimson because their leader pokes her in the boob.
Yeah, you heard me.
Cezar Razek’s artwork, while solid in places, ultimately falls into the same trap that many Sonja artists do when it comes to portraying the character, eschewing realism and practicality as our hero leaps, twists and contorts into a variety of lurid poses, her ridiculously enhanced breasts barely staying contained in her tiny chainmail bikini. His facial expressions are also somewhat lacking, with pretty much every character either sporting a snarling grimace or a mouth wide open ‘blow-up doll’ expression.
I honestly hate giving wholly negative reviews, but on this occasion the comic lands so incredibly wide of the mark that it’s difficult to find anything to really praise here. Red Sonja is a character I’m desperate to see written and drawn well, if only to see her rise above the ‘pointless misogyny’ label that so many readers place on the character. Sadly, on this occasion, Red Sonja: The Dark Tower plays right into these critics’ hands, providing a superficial look at a multi-layered character, and whose only real high point – if you can call it that – is Sonja removing the mercenary leader’s ‘weapon’ with what I can only assume to be her bare hands.
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The writer of this piece was: Craig Neilson (aka Ceej)
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