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Review – Red Sonja: The Black Tower #1 (Of 4) (Dynamite)

RSTower01-Cov-Conner - CopyPublisher: Dynamite
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.

Yup.

Rating: 1/5.


PREVIEW ARTWORK.

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The writer of this piece was: 576682_510764502303144_947146289_nCraig Neilson (aka Ceej)
Article Archive: Ceej Says


1 Comment on Review – Red Sonja: The Black Tower #1 (Of 4) (Dynamite)

  1. Simone? Her first arc Sonja starts helpless in a dungeon, next gets beaten by the nutty one, spends much of the rest of the arc on her back sick, then the nutty one is killed by someone else as is the mustachio twirling bad guy from out of nowhere at the end who’s been behind the nutty one. Her second arc, book one captured-escapes by unexpected lizard men coming along, book two, captured-escapes by beast whisperer having to save her, book three, finally manages to get something done on her own, book four- poncy fop beats and humiliates her with a spanking and goes into angst, barely gets her act together to beat him up. Book five, afraid of church- Sonja? Really? Never been a problem facing gods and magic before Simone came along. Red Sonja 0, Stygia is a xenophobic theocracy devoted to Set. Foreigners wondering around are likely to find themselves slaves or on a sacrificial alter, very likely both. Its not a place for hanging out. Why anyone would believe the chump or anyone would take it seriously when Sonja does show up is inexplicable. Legends of Red Sonja, all over the place in art and theme, though the connecting thread had some use, we don’t get any cathartic end or fallout from the battle we just here how cunning Sonja is. Though with how many times she’s captured in the main book and has to be rescued by other people I am not seeing the cunning, strength or skill anyone is talking about.

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