Writers: Mirka Andolfo and Luca Blengino
Art: Giuseppe Cafaro, Salvatore Cuffari, Valentina Pinti, Francesco Paciaroni, Nathan Ramirez, Chiara Di Francia, Giovanna La Pietra, Fausto Michelotti, Nicolo Laporini, Gianluca Papi, Francesca Carotenuto, Hassan Otsmane-Elhaou
Publisher: Dynamite Comics
Release Date: January 5th, 2022
Last issue, Red Sonja and her party infiltrated Shezem’s fortress and got to Sitha, only to find her going totally supernova under the control of the demon Zondryk.
Red Sonja #5 immediately picks up from there.
Red Sonja is in an unusual dilemma here, one that she can’t just hack and slash her way out of. Over the course of this story arc, she’s also been put into a matronly role, having to travel with and protect a child. It’s a plot device that’s been used in hundreds of books and films, and even though Sonja has to change her tactics in places, there’s really nothing new added here.
If Sitha were older, there could be a great Xena/Gabrielle type partnership between the two, more of a peer relationship than a parent/child dynamic as Red Sonja and Sitha wandered the Hyborean landscape. But even with Sitha’s powers and the demon she’s wrestling with, neither she nor the story itself generates enough interest to make me want to continue this story arc.
The best Red Sonja stories involve her totally unfettered and battling powerful foes, but the villain Shezem, the main villain of the last couple of issues, has become more of a comic relief than a threat. I could practically hear a cartoonish trombone playing “wah wah wah wah…” in one page this issue as Shezem impotently rages at the thin air. A random banana peel on a sidewalk poses more of a threat than this guy. Thankfully, at the end of Red Sonja #5, a new villain (complete with an army) arrives and hopefully will generate more excitement than what we got in this issue.
An army of artists worked on Red Sonja #5, but you wouldn’t know it as you read the issue, because every page has the same art style. It’s not a bad style, some of the character features are drawn nicely, and there’s one splash page of a village sitting atop a snow-covered mountain that’s lovely, but with so many different artists, I was expecting a variation from section to section of the book. The design of the army at the end of the issue looks like it’s based on Spanish Conquistadors, which seems out of place in Red Sonja’s world.
Red Sonja #5 starts off interesting but soon fizzles out. There’s not enough in the issue, either with the characters or the plot, to encourage me to want to read the next issue.
This issue is for Red Sonja completists only.