Publisher: Dynamite Entertainment
Writer: Amy Chu
Artist: Carlos Gomez
Release Date: 14th December 2016
After Marguerite Bennett crafted such an intriguing, thought-provoking and entertaining story with her “Falcon Throne” arc in Volume 3, I found myself waiting with quiet excitement to see just what Amy Chu would have planned for the She-Devil in Volume 4 of Dynamite’s Red Sonja series. This “zero” issue lays the groundwork for the story to come, and… well… it’s not a great start, folks. To say the least.
Right from the very first page, which features Sonja’s ass practically on full display as she bounds up the stairs after some inconsequential monstrosity, it’s pretty clear what kind of approach artist Carlos Gomez is going for. This, for me, is the absolute worst kind of Sonja artwork – all gravity-defying cleavage and crass upskirt shots – and while there’s some unquestioned technical proficiency on display from Gomez, the crude execution only really serves to undermine both the character and Chu’s story.
Not that there’s necessarily much story here to undermine, sadly. This issue is effectively the comicbook equivalent of the scene that comes before the opening credits on your favourite TV show, in that it doesn’t really give anything away about what’s to come in a vain hope to pique your interest. Yes, it manages to set up the basic premise of the arc – essentially a reboot of classic(?) ‘fish out of water’ movie Hercules in New York – but the rest of the issue is basically filler as Sonja pouts, arches and contorts her way through the motions trying to get her bearings.
Honestly, after seeing Sonja being portrayed in Volume 3 as a truly inspirational figure with a sharp head on her shoulders and a complex moral compass, watching her being reduced to a confused, ditzy Victoria’s Secret model here is damn near heartbreaking. Exploitative artwork and a two or three-page story (at most) being dragged out to no less than eighteen pages makes this an utterly avoidable release, and while I’m a big fan of some of Chu’s previous work, based on this underwhelming opening I honestly don’t think I’ll be back to see how this particular ‘fish out of water’ tale pans out
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