RED SONJA BLACK WHITE RED #3

“Dawn of a Crimson Day”

Writer: Gail Simone

Artists: Walter Geovani, Dearbhla Kelly and Hassan Otsmane-Elhaou

Red Sonja is born and as a young girl sees her village slaughtered. She learns how to fight and becomes a great warrior. She gets pregnant and the baby dies. She loses an eye and as an old woman visits the graves of her parents.

“Small Tales”

Writer: Dearbhla Kelly

Artists: Soo Lee & Hassan Otsmane-Elhaou

Sonja steps in a snare that was set by a young girl. This girl named Rua claims to be an orphan and her parents killed by bandits. Sonja agrees to take her to the next village. Sonja starts to bond with Rua going on about all the tall tales she heard about Sonja. At night they are attacked by wolves and Sonja gets her to safety. At the village Sonja finds out her parents are alive and worried. Rua ran away to find Sonja and become her apprentice. Sonja tells her to stay with her loving parents.

“SSSHHHHHH!”

Writer: Hassan Otsmane-Elhaou

Artists: Jonathan Lau & Dearbhla Kelly

Sonja comes to collect a bounty for killing a fire breathing dragon. She is shown a dark crevasse and is attacked by a flame. She discovers that it is a phony dragon, and it was a trap to get Sonja. The people behind it were after a bounty on Sonja. Sonja pretends to be their prisoner so she can gain access to this king that wants her.

The first and third story had no dialogue at all. The first was just a rehash of Sonja’s life but the third had a fun little story. The middle story was my favorite. I loved the little girl and nice to see Sonja get bested by a little girl in the beginning. The main draw for this issue is the artwork. All the stories had incredible artwork and that alone was worth the price.

DEJAH THORIS #9

“Untitled”

Writer: Dan Abnett

Artist: Sebastian Piriz

Dejah and her companions meet Matai Shang and the Therns at the estate of John Carter in New York. The Therns tell Dejah that the instability both on Barsoom and Earth is being caused by a race called the Longborn. This ancient race wants to cleanse life from all the planets of the solar system and repopulate them. The Therns show Dejah and friends this with a thought projection. It shows the future of Barsoom. A dead world with every race at war with one another. Dejah agrees to ally with the Therns and go back to Barsoom and stop the evil war plans of the Jeddak Kurz and his ally the Jeddara of Zodanga. They get transported back to Barsoom just as the US Army arrives to capture them.

This wasn’t a bad issue. We get to find out some stuff like why is Barsoom going to Hell and for that matter Earth. The Longborn are an intriguing opponent that have potential. The issue was a bit on the exposition side. I liked the inclusion of Edgar as a fun nod to the writer. I still don’t buy bringing back Matai Shang from the dead or making the Therns these all-powerful ancient beings. The writer is definitely using the Disney movie and not the original novels. Also, I didn’t care for the adventures on Earth. I had high hopes, but it all seemed pointless and unexciting. So, we shall see what happens when Dejah and friends go back to Barsoom.

RED SONJA BLACK WHITE RED #2

“Proelium Finalis”

Writer & Artist: Jonboy Meyers

Red Sonja is queen and leads her kingdom against the invading Lemurians. A race of goblin type creatures that come from underground. They are led by a wizard that uses his magic to kill Sonja. Only Sonja chops his head off. This demoralizes the army, and they retreat.

“Edible”

Writer: Jeff Parker

Artist: Natalie Nourigat

A hawk leads Sonja to a village. A nearby bog has taken many of the villagers and a couple beg for Sonja to rescue their young daughter. Naturally Sonja agrees and finds the daughter. Only they are trapped by a sentient form of mushroom. To escape Sonja and the daughter start to eat the mushrooms which causes the mushroom entity to let them go.

“Listen Close”

Writer: David F. Walker

Artists: Will Robson & Hassan Otsmane-Ellaou

Sonja is hired by a fat king to retrieve his kidnapped betrothed. Sonja goes to the castle and confronts a snakelike creature that can turn men into stone. Only this creature has been giving shelter to the women. They were being forced to marry. Sonja instead takes the snake creature back and has the fat king turned to stone. Now the freed women have a castle and treasure.

This was an interesting issue. All the stories were offbeat and had a unique style of artwork. I am liking the various styles and format of this anthology series.

DEJAH THORIS #8

“Untitled”

Writer: Dan Abnett

Artist: Sebastian Piriz

Dejah and her companions have stopped in Pineville, Pennsylvania. Dejah with Marohk go to the theater while Llana and Jefferson steal a car. Two FBI agents find them in the theater and a fight ensues with Dejah coming out on top. Only when they leave the theater it is surrounded by soldiers. Llana tosses a car and attacks, but Marohk uses his telepathic power to freeze the soldiers. They continue on to the Carter estate in Croton-On-Hudson. Edgar is there to greet them. He also reveals that he has other guests from Barsoom. Matai Shang and some Therns.

This was not a really good issue. I had high hopes for an adventure on Earth, but this is just a bust. Not a lot happens except some minor tussles. The abomination of Llana who dresses as a man (no surprise) and stomps around and shows off her superpowers. God her character becomes more and more insufferable as this series continues. A guest appearance by ERB does nothing for the story. Also, I thought that Matai Shang was killed in the book series. And what the hell are Therns doing on Earth. Burroughs basically portrayed them as just dumb tools that were used by the First Born. They didn’t have any special powers or technology. Abnett seems to be adapting the Disney movie version of the Therns. This series is really becoming a disappointment.

RED SONJA BLACK WHITE RED #1

“The Sorcerer of Shangara!”

Writer: Mark Russell

Artists: Bob Q & Hassan Otsmane-Elhaou

Sonja finds herself a prisoner in the dungeons of the sorcerer of Shangara. The two guys with her seem content to be hanging from the wall. In fact, they get angry when Sonja breaks the bars and knocks out the guard. They refuse to be rescued and she goes off to find the sorcerer. She comes on some women in stocks forced to peel potatoes. They call the guards and Sonja has to deal with more guards. A dwarf jester shows her a way out. He tells her that she shouldn’t bother with the sorcerer as he is too powerful. He convinces her to leave but Sonja figures out that the dwarf is the sorcerer. The dwarf tries to knife her, but Sonja stabs him. She finds out that the dwarf has been impersonating the sorcerer after he died and just using the fear of him to keep control. Sonja frees the prisoners who are nervous about their freedom.

“The Hunted”

Writer: Amanda Deibert

Artists: Cat Staggs & Hassan Otsmane-Elhaou

Sonja comes on two lovers and rescues them from a group of brigands. She gets the two to follow her to safety. After going through a freezing river, they build a fire. This attracts the brigands and Sonja manages to kill them and recover the treasure they took from the village. The two lovers realize that they were used as bait by Sonja.

“Seeing Red”

Writer: Kurt Busiek

Artists: Benjamin Dewey & Simon Bowland

Sonja is hired by a guy to recover a stolen ruby from a tomb. In the tomb, she has to fight an invisible demon. Sonja wins and finds out the guy who hired her was just using her. She was supposed to put the demon to sleep after it ate her so he could take hired mercenaries to grab the gem. Only Sonja comes back and shoves the gem down his throat.

A Red Sonja anthology series that is meant to only use black, white and red as colors. This was done successfully a few years back for a graphic novel and they decided to expand the idea. I personally love the look of this. Also, the stories were well done both story wise and artistically. They had humor in all the stories and a good share of adventure. This first issue starts off the series on a high note.

DEJAH THORIS #7

“Untitled”

Writer: Dan Abnett

Artist: Sebastian Piriz

Dejah finds herself in Arizona in 1945. The same place that most likely John Carter first left Earth. She comes on an army base and is taken prisoner. A general tries to interrogate her but they can’t understand each other. Suddenly they can understand each other. Llana comes busting in and knocks out the soldiers. She followed with Morokh the Kaldane. It was his abilities to open up a telepathic understanding. They also brought Jefferson along and they escape in a jeep. Dejah wants to go to New York because she has to meet someone.

They transported Dejah to Earth. I liked the idea of that. Her having adventures on Earth sounds promising. Unfortunately, the actual implementation leaves something to be desired. Most of the issue is just Dejah and the general and his aide trying to talk to each other. They wonder why they can’t understand each other. The whole purpose seemed to be to show how dumb, arrogant and racist the general is. They had to bring that abomination of a character Llana. Of course, even on the heavier gravity of Earth, she is super strong and perfect. Also, a bit confused on why she wants to go to New York. There was nothing in the story on why she would know someone there. Oh well, maybe it improves in the next issue.

DEJAH THORIS #6

“Untitled”

Writer: Dan Abnett

Artist: Vasco Georgiev

Dejah and company are attacked by one of the mysterious jeweled warriors. The warrior gets his helmet knocked off and they find that it is a man from Earth. With his helmet off, the Kaldane can immobilize him which gives Llana a chance to knock him out. They tie him up, but all this guy will give is his name, rank and serial number. The Kaldane manages to take over his mind and they find out all they need to know. The man named Jefferson was a Marine who was kidnapped from Earth by the Jeddara of Zodanga. That she has an alliance with the Jeddak of Helium and was responsible for assembling the Thern technology.

Meanwhile, Thuvia talks with Tars Tarkas and Sola. She finds out that the Tharks are going to war with Helium. She says that she couldn’t understand the Warhoon and thinks that Barsoom is dying. They are soon attacked by a Warhoon raiding party. Back at the ruins of Tel Hart, Dejah is examining some equipment and disappears.

This was a good issue. The story moved along where we got some answers to these mysterious jeweled warriors. An interesting development that they are from Earth and former military. The subplot with Thuvia moves along nicely. Even the atrocious character of Llana didn’t get too much on my nerves. Ends with the cliffhanger of Dejah disappearing. Of course, at the end they advertise where she is going which just piques my interest further.

THE BIONIC WOMAN SEASON FOUR #4

Season Four”

Writer: Brandon Jerwa

Artist: David T. Cabrera

Jaime finds out that North Eden is actually a space station in orbit. General Morales explains to her his vision of an America in decline and his plans to reverse it. How is unclear but he stole this prototype station and populated it with various robotic and bionic individuals. Jaime is taken to the holding pens with her rebel cohorts. There she makes her move and busts out her friends. A battle with the robot guards ensues and they escape to North Eden. Jaime has to battle a robot as the others go to the town hall to rally support. Jaime has to go and land the station herself. She manages to contact OSI and has Steve Austin talk her down. The station crashes in the Arctic Ocean. At the end Jaime gets a needed vacation as Oscar Goldman takes care of the Congressional committees.

The final issue in this season four of the Bionic Woman. A fun ending with Jaime managing the defeat the renegade Norad general and free the various robotic and cybernetic people. An interesting idea to have these various machine individuals. Never really explained how they came about but would make a great future story. A series that was respectful to the original TV series. It felt like something from the seventies. The characters were genuine and just a fun story. I give it high marks for any fan of the series or those who just like good comics.

DEJAH THORIS #5

“Untitled”

Writer: Dan Abnett

Artist: Vasco Georgiev

Dejah, Llana and Kantos are surrounded by spiderkin in the dead city of Golpas. Llana manages to kill the giant queen spider which just makes all the little ones angry. A voice speaks to them in their head offering to help. The spiderkin freeze and allow the group to escape. They find out their savior is a Kaldane named Morokh. He has left Bantoom becaues of the End Winter and is looking to save Barsoom. He convinces Dejah to abandon her quest for vengeance and instead help him save Barsoom.

Thuvia with her banth friends come on Sola and Tars Tarkas. Jeddara Sabal Than of Zodanga is the one in charge of the jeweled armored men. She sends one to kill Dejah. Dejah and company take the airship of Morokh to Tel Haht an old Thark hatchery. He senses that there may be some lost Thern technology that can help save Barsoom. Only the jeweled warrior knocks off the head of Morokh and attacks Dejah.

This is a fairly interesting story. We get introduced to a Kaldane a race that has telepathic powers and have heads with spider legs. They ride headless bodies and this one was fairly consistent with how Burroughs portrayed them. We also get introduced to another villain in the Jeddara of Zodanga. She is the one behind the mysterious jeweled warriors.

What I don’t like is Llana. She is really annoying me. She just has this personality that grates on me like fingernails on a chalkboard. Super perfect and can easily tear apart a giant spider. Oh, and she is a lesbian. Big surprise. We find this out when Kantos asks about Pan Dan Chee. Yep, another beautiful love story that Burroughs created sacrificed on the altar of intersectionality.

THE BIONIC WOMAN SEASON FOUR #3

“Season Four”

Writer: Brandon Jerwa

Artist: David T. Cabrera

Jaime meets a man that claims to be part of a resistance group. He leads her to their secret base in a maintenance tunnel. There Jaime meets the members of this resistance and finds out the people of North Eden are machines. At OSI Oscar Goldman and Rudy Wells continue their search for Jaime. They bring in Steve Austin to help. He has experience with the renegade Norad general that took Jaime.

Back in North Eden the group discusses stealing transport. Jaime refuses to leave unless everyone can be rescued. Only they don’t have time because General Morales has found them. He captures the rebels and takes Jaime to their HQ. Here he shows the punishment for Jaime running which is to blow up the block her house was on. He also shows her that they are not on Earth but a space station orbiting the planet.

This issue we get some surprise revelations. First everyone is a robot of some kind. Not really a big surprise since the cover gives it away. Someone has been busy building fembots, manbots and childbots. This is an iconic opponent from the series. A cool idea to have them be sentient and deciding they want to be free. The big reveal was that they are on a space station. That I didn’t see coming. Nice also that they bring Steve Austin as a guest star.

Next issue we get all the answers. What is the deal with North Eden? Why are there all these sentient robots, and how does Jaime get out of this?