REVIEW: ‘Red Sonja,’ Issue #15

Reading Time: 3 minutes

Red Sonja 15 cover

Red Sonja #15 is published by Dynamite, written by Mark Russell, with artwork by Bob Quinn, colors by Dearbhla Kelly and letters from Hassan Otsmane-Elhaou. The creative team continues telling Red Sonja’s adventures in Volume Five of her ongoing series. Red Sonja finds herself having to make a difficult choice: abdicate her crown as Queen of Hyrkania and serve as master of war for King Jo’Khan of Khitai or remain, queen, as her people struggle to find food. She does not make the decision lightly, and it is honorable that being a queen means nothing to her if her people are starving. Unfortunately, King Jo’Khan is the man responsible for her mentor’s death.

A big reason I wanted to read and review Red Sonja #15 is due to Mark Russell’s writing in Killing Red Sonja #1. So far I have to say I am not disappointed with his writing in the regular series. I was looking for some of the similar humor I found in Killing Red Sonja, but I was surprised to also find a well-crafted story with political intrigue and worldbuilding. It’s a world where a decision can have a major effect somewhere else and might come back to haunt Sonja down the road.

For example, by stepping down as queen, Isolde becomes Queen of Hyrkania, and it seems she will be more ruthless as a ruler. This plot thread might later lead to confrontation between her and Red Sonja. Heck, Killing Red Sonja is about a kid seeking to avenge the death of his father at the hands of the “She-Devil with a Sword.” Russell’s strength seems to be inserting humor into his stories, but after reading this I can say he also makes the worldbuilding and political intrigue interesting and easy to read through. It reminds me a bit of the world in Game of Thrones.

Red Sonja 15 panel

Bob Quinn draws some great action sequences. I am specifically referring to the battle on a bridge in Khitai during a flashback scene. On panel 3 of page 3, Quinn shows a bird’s eye view of a bridge being held up by a statue of a Minotaur kneeling above a waterfall and surrounded by mountains. It is quite impressive.

Dearbhla’s colors are solid throughout the issue. The flashback scenes have a more opaque look which helps the reader transition from characters talking in the present, about the past. I like that Hassan Otsmane-Elhaou added emphasis to his word balloons and letters (on pages 18-19) as Red Sonja is being introduced as the new master of war. He does this by making the letters bold and larger than normal, while the word balloons look erratic in shape. This really gives you the sense that her introduction is being shouted so all the people in attendance can hear.

I am now looking forward to more of Red Sonja’s adventures from this creative team. It helps that they are inserting humor into the political drama and action. That and the fact that the main character’s decisions will have repercussions for her and possibly her supporting cast later.

Also a minor thing I would like to mention, but I think helps a lot is the fact that that issue has a page with a short recap before the story begins. It gives you the story up to that point, along with the characters and locations involved in the story you are about to read. This is very useful for people like me that are picking up an issue from the series for the very first time. Props to Dynamite for doing this.

Red Sonja #15 is available where comics are sold.

Red Sonja #15
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TL;DR

I am now looking forward to more of Red Sonja’s adventures from this creative team. It helps that they are inserting humor into the political drama and action. That and the fact that the main character’s decisions will have repercussions for her and possibly her supporting cast later.