REVIEW: Red Sonja #0
WHO IN THE HYBORIAN AGE IS RED MALAK? Sonja the Devil returns from war at sea, only to find that the entire coastline has been living in fear of a beastly marauder named Red Malak…who claims to be Sonja’s HUSBAND! Don’t miss this special Dynamite anniversary comedy of terrors!
I’ve been wanting to review one of Gail Simone’s Red Sonja comics for some time now. I almost regret that this issue was the one. After Malak is introduced, he is immediately unlikable, and obviously lying, even to characters in the story. How he could possibly parlay the death of Red Sonja into his advantage is baffling, even with his intimidating physical presence and penchant for violence.
When Red Sonja returns from sea, she is furious at the reputation Malak has sowed for her in her absence and deals with it in predictable Sonja-like fashion. Gail Simone write’s Malak as dim-witted, but layered, and Sonja as a legend that walks. She does so in a manner that is hard to find fault with.
However the art, while good, has some problems. Malak sometimes does not look as imposing as he’s supposed to, and most egregiously falls into the trite problem of drawing women’s chests in clothing. Sonja’s chain mail is drawn as if it’s painted on, and several women have loose, flowing clothes that cling to their breasts like cling wrap. He also falls into using the worst cliche of comic book storytelling on the very first page, the extreme close-up of the eye. It is unnecessary and does not portray emotion better than pulling back a little to show more facial expression. The action is drawn believably for the most part, but the problems outshine the successes, but the successes are there.
I recommend this for fans of Red Sonja and for anyone that’s liked Gail Simone’s writing and not followed her outside of her work at DC. Gail Simone’s storytelling is great, and means that I’ll show up for a regular issue of Red Sonja to give this title a second chance.