REVIEW: Red Sonja: Holiday Special

Reading Time: 3 minutes

The Red Sonja: Holiday Special is a collection of festive one-shots of the classic character from Dynamite Comics. The book is written by Amy Chu and  Erik Burnham, with art by Ricardo Jaime, colored by Omi Remalante Jr., with letters by Taylor Esposito and cover by Leonardo Romero. The Holiday Special follows Red Sonja as she reminisces on her time in New York with Max after meeting a strange woman in need of aid.

Through her memories, we see a Sonja who looks out of place but walks around with her traditionally warrior swagger. In one panel, Sonja misunderstands the traditional Salvation Army Santa Claus as an old man laughing at her and insists she needs to teach him a lesson. Another panel shows her seeing a homeless man in front of a diner and despite not knowing the language she is able to understand because she “can recognize the mewling of a beggar.” Sonja and Max end up helping a “Santa Claus” from SantaCon who has been beaten up and lost his “Rudolph.”

I am not a huge fan of Christmas, but I am a fan of Red Sonja. I always appreciate when writers, particularly Amy Chu during her most recent run, understand that despite the bikini Sonja is not a sexual character in a modern sense. Instead, she is more similar to a barbarian warrior, like Conan. The Red Sonja: Holiday Special is no different. Chu and Burnham do a fantastic job of translating the character to a modern setting. As she drapes around New York in her signature chainmail bikini she is none the wiser to the odd stares she receives. Similar to how Conan or even He-Man wear loincloths, Red Sonja wears a chainmail bikini.

In regards to Christmas, this story has a lot of fun moments and I greatly appreciate the nod to SantaCon, an annual pub crawl where people dress in Santa Claus costumes in several cities around the world. The story also offers the reoccurring theme of religion. Max while in the diner with Sonja casually mentions other holidays in addition to Christmas. Sonja remarks retelling these stories are about New York and Christmas are honoring his gods. This is important not only because the winter season is filled with many holidays but because it simplifies things in terms Sonja will understand.

The art of this book isn’t my favorite but it also is not bad. Some of the faces can be a tad intense. Similarly, the shadowing on this book is a little too heavy-handed. Esposito’s lettering is great and easy to understand despite the fact Sonja and Max at many points are not speaking in English. Overall, Red Sonja: Holiday Special is a fun and festive story that captures the magic of the character with just a dash of Christmas spirit. Also included in the Holiday Special is the classic Roy Thomas and Frank Thorne Red Sonja tale “Wizards of the Black Sun” in color.

Red Sonja: Holiday Special is available now in comic book stores and online.

Red Sonja: Holiday Special
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TL;DR

Overall, Red Sonja: Holiday Special is a fun and festive story that captures the magic of the character with just a dash of Christmas spirit. Also included in the Holiday Special is the classic Roy Thomas and Frank Thorne Red Sonja tale “Wizards of the Black Sun” in color.