Red Sonja: Age of Chaos #4 is published by Dynamite Comics, written by Erik Burnham, art by Jonathan Lau, colors by Andrew Dalhouse, and letters by Carlos M. Mangual. Chastity and Red Sonja are rushing to resurrect the evil Kulan Gath which isn’t an ideal situation, but the alternative is the world plunging into chaos and the end of humanity.
Sonja and Chastity seek out the help of a sorcerer to find a way to resurrect Gath without killing another human. But that’s not the only thing they have to worry about; Jade, Purgatori, and Evil Ernie are still at large seeking Gath’s amulet and his power for themselves. With Chastity being from the modern world there’s a lot of opportunities for her dialogue to mirror how the reader themselves might react to being in Red Sonja’s world. And Burnham really takes advantage of this to contrast her with Sonja.
While Sonja and Chastity’s dialogue feels natural, the same cannot be said for the dialogue of the villains. Evil Ernie is constantly speaking to his sidekick, a pin featuring a smiley face skull-and-crossbones, which sounds like it would be funny or at least entertaining, but ends up falling flat.
In Red Sonja: Age of Chaos #4, while Purgatori doesn’t speak nearly as much as Evil Ernie, her dialogue still feels over-the-top, as if she’s trying to prove to him that she’s more powerful solely based on her supervillain monologue skills.
In addition to Burnham’s lackluster villain dialogue, I didn’t care about the power struggle between Purgatori and Evil Ernie because they don’t feel like fully realized characters. They feel like they’re in the story solely to fill up pages without moving the plot forward at all.
Lau and Dalhouse’s art is the strongest part of this book. Lau’s lines are strong and clean, complemented by Dalhouse’s vibrant colors. And each character has their own look, which is especially a relief when it comes to Sonja and Chastity. Sure they’re both tall, powerful redheads that enjoy fighting, but they have their own designs to go along with their unique personalities.
However, Red Sonja Age of Chaos #4’s art isn’t perfect, and this is especially evident during action scenes when there are too many panels with too many words in each. I found this to be extremely distracting from the actual action happening as well as hard to follow. It’s a wonder that they used so much dialogue when the art was enough to show the reader what’s happening.
Mangual takes risks with the lettering to add to the story, including changing the style of the letters themselves as well as their colors. Unfortunately, not all of these risks pay off. For example, when Sonja and Chastity speak to a ghost, the letters are wavy and green. It certainly works for the supernatural vibe of the scene but it’s very difficult to read.
Similarly, Evil Ernie’s dialogue is set against a light green background while Purgatori’s is against a red background. While Mangual’s choices fit the color scheme of each character, they end up making the dialogue extremely hard to read. Ultimately, Red Sonja: Age of Chaos #4 suffers from too much happening in too little time as neither storyline is able to get off the ground.
Red Sonja: Age of Chaos #4 is available now where comic books are sold.
Red Sonja: Age of Chaos #4
Ultimately, Red Sonja Age of Chaos #4 suffers from too much happening in too little time as neither storyline is able to get off the ground.