REVIEW: Conan / Red Sonja: The Age of Death #4

STORY BY: Gail Simone, Jim Zub
ART BY: Randy Green, Rick Ketcham
PUBLISHER: Dark Horse Comics
RELEASE DATE: Apr 29th, 2015

Chapter four sees the end of the cross publisher mini series. Brought to you by writers Gail Simone and Jim Zub with pencils and inks by Randy Green and Rick Ketcham respectively, the story pretty much covers the bases you’d expect.

After last issue’s dictum to fight for their respective countries, Sonja and Conan face of to battle to the death. Yet they don’t. Not unlike Thoth-Amon, whose attempt to rid himself of either Sonja or Conan, Simone and Zub fail to follow through on their setup. Instead Sonja sees through the wizards sham and takes matters into her own hands. The issue pretty much delivers what you’d expect. Both heroes have to save face to protect their own franchises so any sort genuine danger is somewhat minimised. This can affect any comic book of course, but this where the writing needs to be top notch to get you to believe in a possible negative outcome. Unfortunately, that level of writing is not quite here; after advising how dangerous the blood root is, Conan’s solution gives no indication how he resolved the problem, other than “just did”.

Green and Ketcham do a serviceable job with the art. It seems that they enjoy drawing Sonja more than Conan. And that could ‘ve been prescribed by the script, which clearly shows Sonja as the leader of the pair. Still the art does flow, for the majority, though I am unsure from the panel’s, how Conan regained his sword. To be honest, I had to look more than twice to understand how Sonja got hers (it’s in the ground when they are transported to Stygia). Colours are supplied by Dave Stewart who seems to be playing down to the level of the rest of the creative staff, although the rain soaked pages after the battle are the best in the book.

So, overall I am unsure how to really score this book. In a week where I have seen some pretty standard books this, was like a breath of fresh air. But as part of a whole, I found the mini series a little too formulaic in both the approach and the execution.

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