Swords of Sorrow: Red Sonja & Jungle Girl #1 (of 3)

Swords of Sorrow: Jungle Girl / Red Sonja #1
Marguerite Bennett (w) 
Mirka Andolfo (a) 
Jay Anacleto (c)

Starting at the top, this is book one of the newest three part pairing of two of Dynamite Comics heroines. This is a tried and tested formula from Dynamite, with the results being a tad inconsistent. There has been some good examples, some examples that have started out ok and got better and some which you are just left scratching your head. This is definitely the latter. To make matters worse, it’s may not be the creators fault.

Red Sonja, whilst trying to find a portal back home, stumbles across one that leads, as luck would have it, straight to Jungle Girl’s neck of the woods. As you have no doubt seen in previous issues, its confusion and confrontation time, which is part and parcel for this sort of thing.

Written by Marguerite Bennett, who has worked with some of the “A” list female character in the past; the story has a sort of uneven feel to it. Even though Sonja is the interloper, Jana seems more lost in her own home, with Sonja’s experience of the portals giving her the edge of greater knowledge. I am not sure how fans of Jana will feel about that. The script is ok, although the in jokes about not knowing what that is, runs flat quickly. Still there is a pace about the issue which is good to see, maybe there is a lot of ground to cover in the three issues.

The art by Mirka Andolfo has the same quirky feel as the script. On one hand, its cheesecake, on the other it looks like the characters have been “Batgirl’d” and then there are some quality pages featuring headshots. Each of these styles shows talent, I just wish Andolfo would pick a style and stay with it. At times it feels like Andolfo is apologising for the fact that the two leading ladies are running around in bikini’s. At this point in proceedings, I would like to say, there is nothing wrong with liking cheesecake art!

The thing that disappoints me the most is nothing really aimed at the creators. My main problems are, firstly the timing. This story is just starting, yet the main Swords book is halfway through, so it seems a tad late in the day to produce a three issue that will end the same month as the main story. The other problem is have is Sonja or more correctly how Dynamite are treating her. Yes, I get she is a major character for Dynamite and yes there is a need to partner her up with a less popular character in order to boost sales, but enough already! Last week’s Red Sonja 1973 was a quality book, highlighting everything fans like about the character. To see her watered down, in some respects is a little disconcerting. If I had read this instead of 1973, I wouldn’t have been inspired to pick up another Sonja book.

Finally, as with all the major crossovers this summer, there is a series of repetition. As a fan, I feel am being sold a $3 dollar bill. Enough with the repeats, give us something new in our tie-in books!

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