Savage Red Sonja #1 Review


Writer: Dan Panosian

Artist: Alessio Petillo

Colorist: Francesco Segala

Letterer: Dave Sharpe

Cover Artists: Dan Panosian, Frank Cho, Arthur Adams & Cosplay

Publisher: Dynamite

Price: $3.99

Release Date: November 1, 2023

A fabled blood ruby tantalizes Red Sonja. Following clues, she reaches a tavern and purchases a map. The seller warns her of ghosts and other dangers. Red Sonja shrugs these off. How will she fare on her quest? Let’s ride into Savage Red Sonja #1 and find out!

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Red Sonja rides across a wasteland. The barren land reminds her of the vow she made long ago. Red Sonja has become a skilled warrior. But she is alone. Footsteps awaken her at night. A couple stand before her. The man warns Red Sonja to flee. Instead, she saves them from the attackers. Red Sonja learns he is Prince Lucian, heir to King Gresh’s castle, lands, and the blood ruby. Lucian’s companion is Celia, who he hopes to make his queen.

In Savage Red Sonja #1, Dan Panosian bares the she-devil’s soul. By probing the loneliness of her solitary life, he contemplates the despair that lurks behind her mask of invulnerability. Red Sonja’s willingness to help the travelers reveals a need to protect others from the fate that stripped her of conventional life and forged her into an extraordinary hero.


A horse stands tethered before an inn, bathed in the light of a full moon. Inside, the skull and tusks of an animal hang over the stone hearth. The roaring fire illuminates Red Sonja, her informant, and the map he sells her. His thrilling tale bores her. Yet when he leaves her to study the map, he grins as he peers back at her.

Alessio Petillo applies his pen sparingly, allowing readers to wonder at the details he presents. Whether it is Francesco Segala’s spartan coloring or Petillo’s angular drawing, characters occasionally look flat. Yet together, the artists convey the mystery and horrors haunting the wasteland. As with Dan Panosian, they reveal the travelers’ fragility. Celia’s appearance reminds us of the woman Red Sonja might have become. At the same time, Savage Red Sonja #1 evokes King Solomon’s Mines, the novel by H. Rider Haggard that birthed another legendary hero.

As Dave Sharpe hurls black uppercase letters into white dialogue balloons and yellow narrative boxes, the text looks small and fragile. Yet his sound effects are vivid and energetic in Savage Red Sonja #1. Swords thrust into bodies and slice off heads, and large letters bleed. Yet the attackers’ hissing makes one ponder the Blood Ruby’s dark power. My thanks to Dynamite Comics for providing a copy to review.

Final Thoughts

Fending off the claws of loneliness and despair, the She-Devil With A Sword battles inhuman beasts and aids a prince and his consort while seeking a legendary gemstone in Savage Red Sonja #1.


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