Red Sonja: Vulture’s Circle #1 (Comics Review)

2015 is the tenth anniversary of Dynamite Entertainment publishing Red Sonja comics. It has been a long and successful ten years by all accounts, especially with 2013’s reboot of the line under Gail Simone and Walter Geovani, which has taken the character to new heights and made her even more popular than before. Of course, as anniversaries go, this is a pretty big one and so Dynamite is going to be celebrating it in as grand a way as possible, with some new mini-series and the like coming out this year. I love Gail and Walter’s ongoing and many of the mini-series and one-shots of the last 3 years have also been fairy good, so I’m always ready to check out more Red Sonja.

The first mini-series to be released is Red Sonja: Vulture’s Circle. The first issue of this came out this week, and in this we get a look at Sonja’s future. After all her years of fighting and looting and ruling and everything, Sonja has taken to a very peaceful life. She has built herself a school of arms for young women and has become a teacher. That’s the setting going into this first issue, which also brings back one of the main god-like villains of the setting, Set, in a really neat way. Nancy A. Collins, who also writes Vampirella for Dynamite, does a great job at depicting an older and wiser Sonja who still has some strong ties to her past with fellow writer Luke Lieberman, while the art by Fritz Casas and Adriano Lucas is also outstanding.

Red Sonja - Vulture's Circle 001

The writers kick off the story by showing us a glimpse of the main villain. Priests of the Serpent-God Set have brought forth his son Suthekh into the mortal world, to lead them to a glorious new age, and the opening scenes are very brutal and hard-hitting in that respect, requiring bloody virginal sacrifices of both men and women. This instantly sets the tone of the story and firmly places it in the old traditions of sword and sorcery tales, where such dark deeds were often the precursor to some big villains coming into their powers.

From there, we move on to “Teacher” as we see how this one fight finally led to her giving up her mercenary days and retiring, so to speak. The pacing slows down a little for these pages as the writers get you comfortable with the “new” Sonja, and it is also nice to see that after all she has done, Red Sonja is willing to give back more to the world than could be expected. She teaches young women from all walks of life how to fight with and without weapons, how to use their natural abilities to win against their opponents. And there’s even a delightful crack here about fighting without armour against someone with armour. I definitely enjoyed this easy look at Sonja, and her supporting cast also seems rather interesting, in kind of the same way as Gail did with two hangers-on in her first arc on Red Sonja, though minus some of the cheekiness.

Towards the end, we see how Sutekh plans to take over the world, and how his agents are preparing the way for him. This is what really kicks Sonja out of her retirement and it is delightful to see. She is clearly not the same warrior as before, but she is still better than most, and has an unmatched body of experience behind her.

It all just goes to show that Collins and Lieberman have a good understanding of their protagonist and that they are committed to giving you the best experience they can.

Fritz Casas is the artist on this, with Adriano Lucas on colours, Joshua Cozine on the letters, and that fantastic badass cover by Jay Anacleto and Ivan Nunes. The art in the first few pages is pretty grim and forbidding for the most part since the artists are working up on building the evil that is taking root in the Temple of Set, but once we hit the story with Sonja and her academy, things are much more… uplifting. We get some flashbacks to Sonja’s days as a mercenary and warrior of course, but the scenes in the “present” are very laid-back and easy. The artists do a right job of mixing everything together and the colours really help sell the art by Fritz Casas, which is great on its own.

The first of many more from this team, I hope!

Rating: 9.5/10

More Red Sonja: #0, #1, #2, #3, #4, #5, #6, #7, #8, #9, #10, #11, #12, #13; (Legends of Red Sonja) #1; Li’l Sonja #1; Berserker, Cub.

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Posted on January 9, 2015, in Comics Reviews, Review Central and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.

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