Red Sonja fights trolls and more in her annual comic.
This is an example of the cover art being less "pretty" than the interiors. The artist changes four pages into this issue from being not so great to absolutely fantastic. The pencils and colors go from being dull to detailed and vibrant and are really stunning. The story shifts with the setting, and the comic gets really interesting by the time you hit the middle. We follow Sonja as she battles mystical troll-like creatures and she eventually finds herself in a castle with the responsibility of having to defend and protect Lavinia and her sisters from their father. The story eventually becomes interesting and exciting and the dialogue reflects the powerful warrior that I have always envisioned Sonja's character to be.
If you have ever seen Conan: The Barbarian" the movie starring Arnold Schwarzenegger then you might have flashbacks of the bar scene from that film upon reading the first few pages of this issue. I love Red Sonja when she is written like a strong female character, a warrior; not when she's portrayed as a drunk. I never felt the two to be mutually exclusive. Her barbaric bar etiquette is not flattering and I was left unimpressed. The art in the first few pages is not very good. It looks sloppy and her expression is the same in every panel- emotionless. However, the artist changes and the interiors improve by the fifth page. The art is detailed and full of life in these pages, and essentially saved the issue. Unfortunately, by the end of the issue, the art reverts back to what it looked like in those first few pages. Generally when an artist changes mid-story it can feel jarring to the reader. Fortunately, the setting changes with the artist so that feeling is prevented.
The Verdict- 3/5
The story is okay. The beginning leaves much to be desired, but it does manage to pick up by the time we get to the middle of the issue. Sonja's characterization seems to shift with the art. If you have never read Sonja, I wouldn't recommend this book as your first look into her character. Rather, I would direct you to Queen Sonja (also published by Dynamite). I honestly expected more from an annual.