Mild Spoilers Ahead
Emperor Draghan is dead. Long live Emperor Cyril. Before he left, Draghan told his son that, should he not return, Cyril needs to take vengeance on whoever killed Draghan. Cyril took this to heart and has already made a failed attempt to go kill Red Sonja and Minnas of Aquilonia. Now, a survivor of the war in Hyrkania has returned with information about the location of Sonja and Minnas and will give it to Cyril…for a price. Cyril won’t pay it and gets his finest warrior, Josef, to interrogate the man. After this, Cyril, Josef, Nicodemo (Cyril’s tutor) Kump (the talking boar), and nine soldiers set out to kill Sonja the Red.
Killing Red Sonja #1 follows up on the war between Zamoran and Hyrkania in the first 12 issues of Mark Russell, Mirko Colak, and Bob Q’s Red Sonja. Sonja and Hyrkania narrowly won the war against the Zamoran Empire with the help of Minnas’ betrayal of Draghan and the subsequent arrival of the Aquilonian army. Now Cyril wants both Sonja and Minnas dead at any cost.
I do like that one of the first things we see in this book is Kump the talking boar. He’s a pretty fantastic character and his crude and crass nature actually allows him to impart some wisdom upon Cyril.
Much of this comic is Cyril slowly learning what it means to be a leader, the kind of man Draghan was, and the nature of power. It’s not preachy or moralizing; it just leaves breadcrumb evidence of cruelty that Cyril slowly picks up. It makes for an interesting story and I’m left eager to see how this will shape Cyril going forward. He is still just a boy and could easily stray from the path of despot that Draghan walked.
Of course, a lot of this is also following Cyril’s hunt across the countryside and the kind of things he encounters. Josef is not a man of mercy and it shows at every turn. Kump is not innately good; he just found some kinship with Cyril–but Kump is still pretty fantastic.
Craig Rousseau is the artist on this venture and he brings a fairytale-like impressionist aesthetic that fits our child protagonist pretty well. That said, the detailing is very light in many panels, and something does feel lost in that. It doesn’t look bad, but it never awes me either. Dearbhla Kelly does provide a pretty solid color palette and that livens up the visuals a good bit.
Killing Red Sonja #1 picks up on Cyril’s quest to kill Sonja the Red for the death of Draghan the Magnificent. On the way, Cyril learns things about the nature of power and how cruel the world around him can be. It’s an engaging read and it easily earns a recommendation. Check it out.
Killing Red Sonja #1 comes to us from writers Mark Russell and Bryce Ingman, artist Craig Rousseau, color artist Dearbhla Kelly, letterer Hassan Otsmane-Elhaou, cover artist Christian Ward, and variant cover artist Juan Gedeon.
Final Score: 7.5/10