Know, O’ reader that in the time known as “The Dark Age of Comics,” the genre of fantasy fell out of favor and the heroes of old were forgotten. And for a time, there were no new tales of Conan or Red Sonja from The House of Ideas. Yet the barbarian and the amazon would rise again, albeit it under separate banners—the people who remembered their glory days together demanded that which had been put asunder, be drawn together once more.
Hither came two legends: Gail Simone, who had brought new glory to Red Sonja in her monthly adventures and Jim Zub, who had proven his worth telling the tales of The Skullkickers and The Pathfinders. Both renowned for their skills as storytellers of fantasy epics and for their twisted senses of humor, though it is I, their critic, who alone can tell you of this saga.
Let Me Tell You Of The Days Of High Adventure!
Conan Red Sonja is everything a crossover mini-series should be. The tale fits neatly into the continuities of the respective characters current series at Dark Horse Comics and Dynamite Entertainment respectively, yet requires no knowledge of those series. Indeed, this is one of the most accessible mini-series I’ve ever read based on previously existing characters. Those who are looking for a primer on the world of Robert E. Howard’s Hyboria would do well in choosing this as their first story.
The plot centers upon our heroes as they become involved in the machinations of a sinister wizard and Lovecraftian plants from another universe. Over the course of several years, Conan and Sonja meet several times, becoming trusted allies and eventually friends, as they continue to deal with the wicked star seeds. The story achieves a perfect balance of action, drama, horror, comedy, and romance, with Simone and Zub proving to be perfectly matched writing partners.
The artwork is equally praiseworthy. Dan Panosian and Randy Green are to be commended for their character designs for this series, if nothing else. Rather than the muscular oaf he is commonly depicted as, Conan is shown to be a lean but powerful figure—a panther or tiger—made man, fitting his description in the original Howard prose tales. And Sonja, despite being clad in her infamous scale-mail bikini throughout, is drawn as a female athlete, not a lingerie model.The action sequences are well choreographed and the action flows as freely as the blood of our heroes’ enemies.
On that note, this comic earns its 14+ rating. There’s nothing in this volume that would be inappropriate for most teen audiences—no excessive violence or nudity. But it is a low fantasy tale, so expect plenty of bloody battles and confirmation of Conan and Sonja’s active sex lives.
Conan Red Sonja
by Gail Simone, Jim Zub
Art by Dan Panosian, Randy Green, Rick Ketcham, Dave Stewart
Dark Horse Comics & Dynamite Productions, 2015
Publisher Age Rating: 14+