While most people who don’t follow comics or fantasy closely know the name of Conan very few have ever heard of his counterpoint Red Sonja of Hyrkania. Both were created by the inestimable Robert Howard. (No relation unfortunately) Much like the Conan books, the Red Sonja books follow the nomadic wanderings of the swords woman and fantasy stalwart. Her adventures and exploits are every bit the equal of the more widely know Conan of Cimmeria and this issue (Red Sonja #22) is no exception.
As is often the case the book opens with Red Sonja traversing the open road. Pondering the nature of her existence she is confronted by a troll guarding the road and the bridge beyond. Terrified, Sonja’s horse throws her and bolts for parts unknown as Sonja prepares for a fight. Anyone who is a consumer of fantasy literature know that trolls and bridges are often intertwined and Sonja assumes the same. To her surprise the troll apologizes profusely and points her to the bridge and the town beyond. Further flummoxed Sonja asks if he expects a toll to which the troll declines stating that an earlier fight with Sonja had caused him to see the error of his ways. Accepting this strange reality Sonja makes her way across the bridge and into the town beyond. Upon entering the town she finds that the situation there is dire as a direct result of the troll’s actions. Curious as to what is going on she inquires with the proprietor of a local tavern and discovers what is ailing the town and her role in causing those problems. Determined to set things right Sonja returns to the troll. With staff and stone she engages the troll in a metaphysical discussion on the order of life and everything’s place in nature. Eventually a smile returns to the trolls face, the town is once again on solid footing and Sonja receives enough money to purchase a new horse. Satisfied that she has done her part for this little part of the world she returns to this road explaining that this is her nature as the book draws to a satisfying end.
Red Sonja #22 is an enjoyable self-contained adventure that provides classic fantasy action and a few cleverly concealed philosophical questions to ponder. The artwork and color succeed in bringing to life this particular adventure. The posing, framing and pacing of the story are excellently done balancing fantasy action and exposition. This was a very good issue that I would recommend to anyone who is a fond of the genre.
Art – 4 of 5 Stars
Writing – 4 of 5 Stars
Overall – 4 of 5 Stars
Writing – Amy Chu, Eric Burnham
Art – Johnathan Lau
Color – Omi Remalante
Letters – Taylor Esposito