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Review – Killing Red Sonja #1 (Dynamite Entertainment)

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7/10
7/10
  • Writing - 7/10
    7/10
  • Art - 7/10
    7/10
  • Overall - 7/10
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Killing Red Sonja #1

Writers: Mark Russell & Bryce Ingman
Illustrator: Craig Rousseau
Colorist: Dearbhla Kelly
Letterer: Hassan Otsmane-Elhaou
Publisher: Dynamite Entertainment
Maturity Rating: Teen
Release Date: March 25, 2020

Red Sonja has done a lot of killing throughout her life and plenty of people have tried to kill her, but one young emperor wants to fulfill his father’s last wish in Killing Red Sonja #1.

Revenge Is in High Order in Killing Red Sonja #1

Quick note: Killing Red Sonja #1 takes place right after Mark Russell’s Red Sonja series that ended with issue #12. So, this is a follow up to that series. Also, I did not read that series, nor have I ever read a Red Sonja series; so that should be taken into account for this review. But it is a brave new world, so why not just jump into this series? It is a #1 issue.

Basically, Red Sonja killed this king, and his very young son is out for revenge. It turns out that this young emperor is very incompetent and can’t do much right. He does have a talking warthog by his side. He gets a group together to kill Red Sonja, but how is such a dope going to slay the greatest warrior of the land?

Writing

Killing Red Sonja #1 (Dynamite Entertainment) cover A by Christian Ward
Killing Red Sonja #1 (Dynamite Entertainment) cover A by Christian Ward

The main reason for picking up Killing Red Sonja #1 was because I heard good things about Mark Russell‘s 12-issue Red Sonja series. I usually enjoy Russell’s work and wanted to see what he was doing at Dynamite. Bryce Ingman is co-writing this series with him as well. You can feel the co-writing in the series, as Russell has a very specific voice. It is toned down a bit in Killing Red Sonja #1, but it bleeds through a little bit, throughout.

I enjoyed the issue without really knowing much about the previous series besides word-of-mouth from other people. Which is a great compliment to the writing team. You can really enjoy this issue without knowing much about Red Sonja herself or the previous series. The synopsis is pretty well laid out at the start of the issue. 

The only thing that bugs me about Killing Red Sonja #1 is the tone. It feels like it is still searching for what it wants to be. It is a bit goofy and silly, and I don’t know for sure what I am supposed to take seriously or not. I think having Russell work with a co-writer is making the tone a bit mixed up. It is not bad, but I wish it were a bit more clear.

Art

Craig Rousseau illustrates and Dearbhla Kelly colors Killing Red Sonja #1. It has a bit of a “storybook” type feel to it. The art is playful and fun and enhances that more silly tone to the issue. Rousseau adds some nice design work to the series and makes the medieval fantasy land come to life with some great background and character design.

I do wish it was a bit more detailed; at times I had a little trouble discerning characters. And the backgrounds do get muddled a bit through the issue. The action could be a little more fluid, as well.

Kelly does a good job with a flat color design. Lots of browns and yellows set the mood for the issue. The art, again, with the tone, doesn’t really help nail down the tone of this series. It has that bit more of an animated feel to it—that is good—but I am not sure how it fits with the story.

Conclusion

Not ever reading a Red Sonja series or the series that came before this issue, I was surprised how easy it was just to jump into Killing Red Sonja #1. The team does a great job of setting everything up and letting you get right into this series. It also helps, I guess, that Red Sonja does not feature in this issue either. The only major hangup I have is the overall tone of the series. Mark Russell feels a bit toned down, which isn’t an overall bad thing, but it is just hard to figure exactly what this series is. The art is well done; it is nothing spectacular, but it serves the story well. I do wish it was a little more fluid and maybe “fit” a bit better with the story.


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About the author

Brent Jackson

Brent is happily married and an avid comic book consumer who loves nothing more than the smell of comics in the morning and diving through a long box of back issues. By day he is a nutritionist and has also been training in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu for over 10 years. He is probably not the coolest person you have ever met. Follow him on Twitter and Instagram @brentjackson30

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