[*Mild Spoilers Ahead!]
Dragan and the Zamorans continue their incursion into Hyrkania, now with war elephants leading the charge. Red Sonja and her war council hope to plan a strategy that can save the Hykania they know, but Hannah, a foreign survivor from another of Zamora’s campaigns in a country called Koth, lets Sonja and the council know that there is no saving the Hyrkania they know. The country is forever changed, and all they can do is hope to keep Zamora from taking it. This makes Red Sonja’s decision easy: they must flee westward and burn everything they leave behind to keep Dragan from getting more resources.
Red Sonja #5 reminds the reader that, despite a number of strategic victories, Dragan and the Zamorans have far more power than Red Sonja and Hyrkania. The odds are still long and against Hyrkania, and, if Sonja is going to win, sacrifices will have to be made.
Sacrifice and unstoppable change are the twin themes of the issue. Hannah, the Koth survivor, makes it clear that, when an empire sets foot in a smaller country with the intent of domination, that smaller country will be changed by the experience no matter the outcome.
That certainly has some real-world analogs, and it gives the comic a bit more of weight. Even if Hyrkania survives the experience, it won’t be the same Hyrkania. Sonja will need to accept that if her people are to survive.
Mirko Colak’s artwork continues to be the right amount of gritty for Red Sonja. The detailing is fantastic, and the characters are allowed to be expressive and, as a result, even more evocative. Dearbha Kelly’s color art continues to be immensely atmospheric and visually appealing.
Red Sonja #5 is another compelling issue from the relaunched series, and the story of Hyrkania’s war with the Zamoran Empire looks like it still has plenty of gas left in it. This one gets a recommendation. Feel free to give it a read.
Red Sonja #5 comes to us from writer Mark Russell, artist Mirko Colak, color artist Dearbha Kelly, letterer Hassan Otsmane-Elhaou, cover artist Amanda Conner with Paul Mounts, and variant cover artists Joseph Michael Linsner, Christian Ward, and Jenn St-Onge.
Final Score: 8.5/10