Sonja confronts Valik the Merchant. He has a way of getting people to risk their lives for him. Sonja confronts him about this to avenge her friends. She has to kill some of his men under his control. Sonja manages to stab him, and it is later revealed that she put wax in her ears to resist his voice.
“Fifteen Men of the Sleeper Chest”
Writer: Vincenzo Federici
Artist: Jeff Eckleberry
Sonja leads a pirate ship to an island. A storm wrecks the ship, and they have to fight hordes of demons. They confront a giant eye that compels one of her crew to tear out his eyes. Sonja sets the island on fire and escapes to a lifeboat.
Writer: Anthony Marques
Artists: Emma Kubert and Jeff Eckleberry
Sonja finds a lost eleven-year-old in the snow. She finds out she is from a village where they fear a curse of a witch that comes back every ten years. Sonja tells how she killed that witch, but the village still feared a curse that never existed. So, they continue to sacrifice people and this young girl was a sacrifice. Sonja takes the girl to safety.
The final issue in this series gives us another three offbeat stories. Once again, they are a bit weird but interesting. Also, they have the black, white and red coloring in a wide variety of styles. I enjoyed this series. Anthologies are usually hit or miss but this one had a fairly consistent quality to it. Sure, there were some better than others but for the most part was an enjoyable read.
Artists: Mirko Colak, Kike J. Diaz, Jeff Eckleberry
Sonja is in Nordheim and being pursued by men. She slew a chieftain that tried to marry her and comes to a temple. The men find her, and a fight ensues. The beast man creature that lives in the temple intervenes and attacks the men. The leader pleads with Sonja to help but Sonja chops his head off. Sonja then thanks the beast for helping her.
Writer: Phil Hester
Artists: Heidi Blair and Jeff Eckleberry
Sonja is hired to bring a sister of a holy order back to the temple for her funeral. She has to be cremated before a certain time or her soul is doomed. Sonja is attacked by werewolves but manages to defeat them and cremate the body by remembering the chant from her childhood.
Writer: Amy Chu
Artists: Andres Labrada & Jeff Eckleberry
Sonja is playing a game of chess with a queen. Sonja finds herself part of the game. She manages to get her pawn to the end, and she turns into a queen and wins the game. Sonja wakes up and finds that the queen she is playing is the pawn from her dream.
Another bunch of fun stories drawn in black, white and red colors. These were a bit strange but interesting.
Artists: Jonathan Lau, Kiki J. Diaz & Jeff Eckleberry
Sonja is hired to rescue the kidnapped prince Maximillian from a group of brigands. She easily takes out the brigands but finds that the prince is a cat. This cat is not so easy to bring back.
“Morgona the Crimson”
Writer: Shannon Watters
Artists: Ro Stein, Ted Brandt & Jeff Eckleberry
Sonja rescues a young girl from a werewolf. She is very grateful and thinks she is Morgona the Crimson. She shows her a poster advertising how great she is and tries to give her a potato. Later Sonja finds that everyone thinks she is Morgona and start giving her stuff. Sonja finds out this Morgona has posters threatening people that don’t give. Sonja goes to her hut and forces Morgona to give back all her ill-gotten loot.
Writer: Bob Q
Artists: Hassan Otsmane-Elhaou
Sonja hears of a great treasure from a fortune teller. First, she has to fight her way past a giant. The giant is very huge and totally unimpressed with Sonja. He casually flicks her away. Sonja comes back with a whip that she wraps around the giant’s throat. She strangles the giant.
Another three stories that had very unique artwork and quite offbeat stories. The cat one was the funniest. Yet all of them had a fair amount of humor. This series is really turning out to be a fun read.
Baron Raaf hires a group of mercenaries to kill Sonja. We get to see why they are specialists, and the baron is confident of their victory. Only Sonja manages to kill each of them. At the end she deposits their severed heads in the throne room with a message saying, “You’re next”. She appears with an ax behind him.
“The Chill Touch of Sorcery!”
Writer: Oliver Gerlach
Artist: Alex Moore
Sonja is after a witch that she wounded. She has to climb a mountain in the snow. Then she has to defeat some werewolves. She finally catches up to the witch and finds she died of her wounds just in front of her castle. Sonja sets the castle on fire and thinks, “So much for sorcery”.
“Erik The Black, He-Demon with an Axe”
Writer: Frank Tieri
Artists: Lee Ferguson and Kike J. Diaz
Sonja is drunk in a tavern when Erik the Black, He-Demon with an Axe comes in. He goes to Sonja and tells how he has come to kill her. He proceeds to brag about all his accomplishments and kicks Sonja’s sword leaning on the wall away from her. He thinks he’s got her but Sonja stabs him with her knife. Seems that Sonja is a She-Devil with a sword and knife.
These were some really excellent stories. All of them were just such a fun read. I loved the last one the best. This braggard gets killed so easily. All of this in beautiful black, white and red colors.
Sonja collapses wounded and wakes up to a young girl caring for her wounds. She collapsed in front of a statue to a goddess in a peaceful valley. The woman named Oenila is a bit arrogant and puts down Sonja as a barbarian. Later Sonja finds that Oenila is going to marry some brigand to save her village. She tries to save her but she refuses and insists on marrying the brigand. Sonja threatens the brigand if he ever harms her.
“The Iron Queen”
Writer: Phillip Kennedy Johnson
Artists: Steve Beach & Hassan Otsmane-Elhaou
Turanian bandits are attacking the city. The inhabitants are leaderless as their queen is now too old to lead them. A young shieldmaid goes to the old woman and puts her sword in her hand. This brings back memories for the old queen. She remembers she is Sonja and manages to lead her kingdom to victory.
Writer: Chuck Brown
Artists: Drew Moss & Hassan Otsmane-Elhaou
Sonja saves some guy from gremlins and asks why this land is so cold. She finds out that the king has used magic to make this land cold. Only he can provide fire to warm the subjects. Sonja goes to him and kills him but not before the king touches Sonja’s face. Sonja dies but frees the kingdom.
Another strange and eclectic collection of stories. Once again beautiful artwork for each of them. The stories were also interesting and unique.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.