Publisher: Dynamite Entertainment
Writer: Erik Burnham
Artist: Jonathan Lau
Colourist: Andrew Dalhouse
Letterer: Carlos M. Mangual
Release Date: 17th June 2020
Packing all twenty pages with plenty of pulse-pounding pugilism, Erik Burnham’s storyline for issue four of Red Sonja: Age of Chaos must surely have catered for all the varied tastes of this mini-series’ audience, whether they be fans of the titular character, Chastity Marks, Evil Ernie, or Purgatori. And despite this particular instalment of the Minnesota-born writer’s epic collaboration between Roy Thomas’ co-creation and some of the more supernatural inhabitants of the Chaos! Comics universe arguably starting off a little slowly, the sheer slug-fest which quickly follows Sonja’s meandering on the streets of Kor, does a first-rate job of incorporating all of this publication’s leading cast into the senseless slaughter.
Indeed, from the moment Red Sonja and her “punk rock fan turned vampire” companion startle the sorcerer Barent within his somewhat secluded place of business and unleash the ghost of the long-dead seer Xoret upon the tiny viewing room’s occupants, this book’s delightfully fast-paced action-sequences simply won’t let its readers off of the hook. This trend continues all the way until the excellently-penned cliff-hanger when the couple are depicted being hotly pursued by a horde of the ravenous undead across the narrowest of ravine crossings; “I can hold off a mob of vampires long enough for you to dump some blood on the thing. Wait? — How much blood?”
Easily this comic’s highlight however, is Evil Ernie’s utterly fantastic dust-up with Purgatori “hundreds of miles to the west”. This truly is a no-holds barred brutalisation as the ghoulish psychotic killer tries his absolute best to go toe-to-toe with Sakkara, and eventually discovers that even being armed with an enormous zombie dragon is not going to give him the edge needed to overcome Lucifer’s one-time winged consort. Crammed with some genuinely funny banter, as well as plenty of back-chat from Smiley the Psychotic Button, Fairchild’s fight delivers some savage edge-of-the-seat moments, and provides the Dynamite Entertainment resident artist, Jonathan Lau, with ample opportunity to pencil some stunningly dynamic panels, most notably that of Purgatori being swallowed whole by Ernie’s flying beast and then her tearing the putrefying creature asunder from the inside out in an attempt to be free of its unholy stomach.
[PREVIEW ARTWORK – CLICK TO ENLARGE]