[*Mild Spoilers Ahead!]
Red Sonja nears a village when she encounters a troll named Zercat she and her associates met in a previous adventure. Zercat is friendly, having learned he can be more than what people expect of trolls. However, when Red Sonja reaches the village, she discovers that Zercat is letting too many people in, and the villagers don’t have enough food and water to feed them. They ask Sonja to teach the troll to be a fighter again.
Red Sonja #22 presents some…interesting philosophies to its readers, seemingly preferring that people stick to what they are “meant to be” as opposed to choosing their own identities, lives, and destiny.
From that premise, one might expect that the comic will show Sonja perhaps taking the side of the kindly troll, Zercat. Instead, Red Sonja abuses the troll and gets him to admit his “true nature” of taking tolls and keeping immigrants out of the village.
That’s kind of a crummy resolution. Zercat the kindly troll was great and likable, and Sonja abuses him until he becomes angry and abusive himself. I know that Red Sonja has always been somewhat morally ambiguous, but she has generally been out for the greater good and is very individualistic.
There’s no satisfaction or enjoyment to be taken out of watching Sonja beat on a creature which refuses to fight back to encourage him to extort immigrants to keep them from a specific village.
Without spoiling too much more, the comic seems to agree with this course of action.
There is an outside chance that this is an evil Red Sonja doppelganger. I suppose that would explain the ugliness of this issue. It’s not a certainty though, and, again, the comic seems to agree with the moral Sonja gives.
Jonathan Lau’s artwork is solid, and he does do justice to the action scenes in this comic. I like that Sonja is given poofy hair, and the overall style hearkens back to the better comic art of the late 1990’s and early 2000’s. Omi Relamante’s color work is well-balanced and appealing to the eye too.
Red Sonja #22 is a rather disappointing one-off story about sticking to the roles one is given, adhering to some kind of pseudo-Calvinistic idea of destiny based upon birth. The art is solid, but the story is very unsatisfying. I can’t recommend picking this one up.