[*Mild Spoilers Ahead!]
The Zamoran Empire is expanding at the behest of its ruler, Dragan the Magnificent. Dragan is ruthless, and, due to a prophecy, he believes should his empire ever stop expanding that he will die. He now turns his attentions towards Hyrkania, the homeland of Red Sonja. The She-Devil herself just returned to Hyrkania, pursued by killers after the death of her only mentor and friend. Shortly after crossing the border, Red Sonja is brought to the Council of Elders for a proposition.
Red Sonja #1 marks a new start for the She-Devil, with her having just returned to her homeland of Hyrkania after the death of Domo of Khitai.
It’s a more brutal turn than previous installments from Red Sonja Vol. 4. The violence is more intense, and the villains are more brutal. This is, in part, due to the art stylings of Mirko Colak, who makes Hykonia look even more threatening.
That said, there is still a lot of humor. Dragan the Magnificent balances his cruelty with cordiality and dry declarations of the punishments he metes out upon others. There is a lot of dry and sarcastic humor sprinkled throughout, and most of the jokes hit their marks.
Dragan is a good villain. His motivation is similar to an old villain of myth, and, again, he has a pretty good sense of humor.
Red Sonja herself is as bold, clever, and compelling as ever.
Mirko Colak’s artwork is gritty and appealing, and his talents serve Red Sonja very well. As already stated, he gives the world a dirty and dangerous vibe that permeates each panel. It looks damn good, and it’s aided well by the color work of Dearbhla Kelly.
Red Sonja #1 kicks off the series’ fifth volume with a bloody and brutal return to the Hyborian Age. People die, lands are conquered, and Red Sonja stands ready to face it all. This one definitely gets a recommendation. Feel free to give it a read.
Red Sonja #1 comes to us from writer Mark Russell, artist Mirko Colak, color artist Dearbhla Kelly, letterer Hassan Otsmane-Elhaou, cover artist Amanda Conner with Paul Mounts, and variant cover artists Joseph Michael Linsner, Christian Ward, Frank Cho with Sabine Rich, and Bob Q.