RED SONJA #17

“Hell or Hyrkania”
Writer: Amy Chu & Erik Burnham
Artist: Daniel Hdr

Sonja is winding down from her adventures with a friendly sparing workout with a troll. Adin the Unkillable was cursed to wake up each morning healed of his wounds. So he makes a great sparing partner for adventurers. During the fight Adin notices that Sonja’s blade is out of balance and recommends a local blacksmith. So Sonja goes to the blacksmith and fixes the blade. While there the blacksmith recognizes the sword as belonging to Skath. He was a great warrior who one day got into a fight with a visitor from Shem. Skath had a sacred skin of a Candle leopard on the wall. So the two have their followers battle and Skath is victorious. The Shemite reveals that he brought a fire-breathing dragon. Skath kills it by plunging his sword into it’s chest. The dragon mortally wounded flies off with his sword. At the end the blacksmith mentions a huge reward for the sword which gets Sonja thinking of visiting this Skath in Cimmeria.

A new storyline and artist for this series. It seems like its going into a good direction. The story of Skath was interesting and to the point. We now are getting back to the classic Red Sonja stories of her as a wanderer in the Hyborian age which I think is a good idea. Sort of getting back to the basics that made this character so popular. The time travel was interesting but starting to fizzle so looking forward to the new adventure.

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RED SONJA #16

“Hell or Hyrkania”
Writers: Amy Chu & Erik Burnham

So the gang is all together and confronting Kulan Gath. Gath incinerates professor Wallace. Then in his megalomaniacal way is about to kill all the inhabitants of Meru. Thus he will absorb incredible power. Only Wallace was not killed but a clone. He rallies the citizens of Meru and they fight Gath’s followers. Then the beast of Khuran and his mate comes and with their fire-breathing breath join the resistance. Gath is incinerated and the people of Meru are free. Sonja, Max and Wallace hitch a ride on the beast and go to the spot where Max entered Hyrkania. The old Wonder Wheel is there and Max uses his magic to open a portal that him and Wallace can return to the future. Sonja decides to stay. At the end a mysterious figure steals the cursed amulet of Gath.

The final issue in the Kulan Gath saga. It felt rushed as if the writers just wanted to get it over with and move on. In some ways that was probably a good idea. The story was dragging on and putting it out of its misery was a wise move. So now Sonja is back to being a wandering adventurer in the Hyborian age. Complete with her trademark chainmail bikini which I have to admit I was missing.

RED SONJA #15

“Hell or Hyrkania”
Writers: Amy Chu & Erik Burnham
Artist: Erik Burnham

Sonja and her companions are finding the going to Meru difficult. The followers of Gath are many and constantly attacking. So she gets the idea to find a wyvern and fly there. Later in the main city of Shamballah Sonja and Wallace come up with a plan. Wallace casts an illusion spell to look like one of Gath’s followers who has captured Sonja. Sonja breaks free and has to fight her doppelganger. The clone that Wallace created is still around and now infused with Gath’s magic. Sonja is the real deal and easily dispatches the clone. So Gath is going to destroy all of Meru and starts with Wallace who he immolates with fire.

So we are getting to the conclusion of the whole Gath storyline and its about time. An interesting issue. The writers keep it going quickly. They even just skip showing the find and fly a wyvern. Its just left to the readers imagination. Max is apparently serving Gath to minimize the deaths of his fellow Meruvians. He seems to be fully whipped and now has given so much power to Gath. Gath is not interested in keeping his end of the bargain. Sonja fights her clone and we end on a cliffhanger as Wallace seems to be toast. Interesting to see how its all resolved.

RED SONJA #14

“Hell or Hyrkania”
Writers: Amy Chu & Erik Burnham
Artist: Carlos Gomez

Sonja and Wallace get a ride on Charon’s boat across the river Styx. It actually goes to the Hyborian Styx and the two find themselves in Shem. After trading for some horses the two make their way to Meru. They stop for the night and are attacked by followers of Kulan Gath. They have magic which makes them hard to kill. Luckily two woman come riding in and shoot the followers with arrows right through their forehead tattoos. It is Taya and Lera the two women that were helping Max. They tell Sonja of how Gath has taken over Meru and is harnessing the magic to rule the world. Gath also has Max a prisoner and forcing him to help. Sonja is more determined than ever to get to Meru and confront Gath.

Well they finally bring Sonja back to her time. Not a lot really happens except Sonja and Wallace wonder about what has happened since they left and traveling on horseback which Wallace can’t handle well. At the end we find out that Max is helping because Gath has threatened the people of Meru and so he helps Gath to save lives. At the end Sonja arrives so there is a big confrontation in store for next issue. So good artwork but in general a weak story with little happening. Hopefully that changes in next issue.

RED SONJA #13

“Hell or Hyrkania”
Writers: Amy Chu & Erik Burnham
Artist: Carlos Gomez

So Sonja and Wallace are trapped in Hell. The hordes of the undead are closing in on the temple. While investigating if their is a way out Sonja discovers the true nature of the priests. They worship Set and have been sacrificing people. Now the sacrifices have returned for this is Hell and people are already dead. Sonja is disgusted and leaves the priests to their just fate. Only when she and Wallace try to escape they run into all the people Sonja sent to Hell and there are a lot of them. Fortunately the citizens of Meru are also there. Kulan Gath is still sending Meruvians to Hell and they help Sonja and Wallace escape. They want Sonja to kill Gath and she is more than happy to oblige them. They are led to the river Styx and the ferryman Charon.

So it looks like the adventure in Hell is winding down. Sonja mentions that she has been to Hell several times. I don’t remember those stories or never read them. She does get around. This was an OK issue. Not a lot happened except fighting some skeletons. There was a sad moment when Wallace thought he saw his family. Seems Gath has a lot of power if he can send innocent people to Hell. I have to say that I loved this cover. Had nothing to do with the story but it looks cool.

RED SONJA #12

“Backroads”
Writers: Amy Chu and Erik Burnham
Artist: Carlos Gomez

Sonja wakes up in a desolate wasteland. She finds Wallace and he believes they are back in time but has no idea where. So the two hike out and find a road. This road leads to a sinister village. At the inn Sonja orders some barely drinkable ale. A priest comes in looking for men to provide safe passage for him. He has plenty of gold and Sonja manages to make herself the leader of the volunteers. So while hiking across the desert they are attacked by skeletons that come from the ground. The survivors make their way to the priest’s ziggurat. It is there that Wallace figures out that they are in Hell. Meanwhile in Meru Kulan Gath is recreating his empire and has enslaved Max.

So it looks like a new writer is starting to transition into this series. Don’t know if it’s permanent but I like the way this story is going. So the fish out of water in our time seems to be coming to an end for now. Hell seems like a very depressing place so it should be interesting to see how they get out of this.

RED SONJA #11

“Backroads”
Writer: Amy Chu
Artist: Carlos Gomez

Professor Wallace takes Sonja, Spike and Holly on his private jet to Palo Alto. On the trip he explains that he was a magician in Meru. When Gath was destroying it he saw young Max casting an escape spell so he added the needed power to it. Thus he ended up in the future just like everybody else. So the plan is to infiltrate Livermore Labs and use the magnetic fusion generator with a magic spell. The four infiltrate the complex and open a portal to the past.

Meanwhile Gath and his followers are trying to get Max to send them to the future. The portal opens and Gath and his followers go through. Wallace splits himself and Sonja into two. Their doppelgangers manage to push Gath back.

This story just keeps getting more interesting. So Wallace seems to be an interesting character. A sort of middle aged overweight friendly looking guy who can split himself into several bodies at once. Max is still in the past and now confronted by Kulan Gath who has a new army of followers. It ends with what looks like Sonja being split in two. One going back to the past and the other stuck in our time. Sounds like an interesting story ahead for this title.

RED SONJA #10

“Backroads”
Writer: Amy Chu
Artist: Carlos Gomez

Red Sonja survived the explosion and his now fighting off vultures as she heads to Las Vegas. Holly and Spike think she is dead and are looking to make enough money to head back to New York. So they take their last $20 which Holly thinks she can turn into enough for two tickets back. Unfortunately they choose the casino that is run by the Aranhas gang. Sonja find her way to the casino and uses a direct approach. She beats up everybody and finds out where the boss is. The boss turns out to be an old woman. She offers Sonja a job but she isn’t interested. Just then the FBI raid the place. A mysterious agent uses magic to shield the three girls and lead them to safety. He turns out to be Professor Mallory the man they were looking for.

So Sonja finally gets her showdown with the head of the Spider Aranhas gang. Turns out the gang is run by a corporation that uses the casino and other shell corporation to launder the money.  Interesting development that I wasn’t expecting. Neither was I expecting the appearance of  Mallory who looks like a harmless old man but has some very powerful magic. I am very intrigued in finding out his story.

RED SONJA #9

“Backroads”
Writer: Amy Chu
Artist: Carlos Gomez

Sonja, Spike and Holly are heading to New Mexico in her stolen father’s $500,000 Lamborghini. Sonja wants to finish off the Las Aranhas gang. Along the way Holly swerves to avoid hitting an armadillo and crashes the car into a telephone pole. Luckily the hideout is within walking distance. Sonja takes the direct approach and attacks head on. She is joined by her two friends but are starting to lose due to the gangs numbers. Sonja goes out and hijacks a semi-truck which she proceeds to crash into the place. She blows the whole place up and it looks like she perished in the fire.

Meanwhile in some side stories Kulan Gath has his head back and is sacrificing some poor villagers to regain his power He really wants revenge on Sonja and Max. Max traveling with his two companions are attacked by a troll but Max is able to talk it out of attacking. They reach his old home of Meru and find it is one sorry place.

Well this was a fun fast paced issue. I love Sonja’s attitude. She just attacks which is how Robert Howard usually wrote his characters. Seems to be adopting well to the 21st century. Already knows how to drive a truck. Plus we find out that Kulan Gath is still alive and Max finds his home. Oh and the FBI are on their trail and a mysterious figure is watching with a crystal ball. I am looking forward to the next issue because Sonja hits Las Vegas which should be a treat.

RED SONJA #8

“Backroads”
Writer: Amy Chu
Artist: Carlos Gomez

So Sonja’s friends take some time out to teach Sonja how to shoot a gun. She prefers her sword but drug dealers do have guns. She instead favors the crossbow. The three continue on and stop at a cafe for dinner. While discussing their plans members of the Las Aranhas gang have found their car. They set it on fire to draw Sonja out which works. Works so well they flee with their tails between their legs. But the fire destroys Spike’s uncle’s car and the police arrest the girls.

So now in prison Sonja gets a lecture on the criminal system. Just in time Holly’s father arrives to bail them out. He is a rich judge and has bookoo clout. The three girls are guests of Holly’s parents. In the morning they take the family Lamborghini for their quest. Meanwhile Max in Hyrkania endures bad warm ale and a giant troll. The FBI is also tracking Sonja and her friends for the headless gang members in West Virginia and the incident in New York.

This was an ok issue in Sonja’s road trip. She learns a bit about firearms. We see what’s happening with Max. And we learn that Holly is from a very rich family. Not much else really happens except upgrading their ride. The confrontation with the gang was anti-climatic and it seems to have been forgotten at the end. Of course maybe its coming in New Mexico their next stop. A slow issue but I am still enjoying it and there is still plenty of possibilities ahead.