The Invincible Red Sonja #1. Writers: Jimmy Palmiotti and Amanda Conner, Artist/Colorist: Moritat, Letters: Dave Sharpe.
This week, Dynamite Comics released another reboot of Red Sonja with a new title called The Invincible Red Sonja.
Dynamite has had the Red Sonja license since 2005, and has killed her off, reincarnated her, and featured her in four series. So what makes this fifth Red Sonja effort different from the previous ones?
The same thick, red, wildly flowing hairstyle is there, along with the same (impractical) chainmail bikini Sonja has worn since her first comic appearance in 1973. New accessories include chainmail thigh bands, a waist sash, and an occasional leather bustier. She is still short-tempered, brutal, and intolerant of any sexual advances by men towards her or other women.
A new creative team is one big difference, with Jimmy Palmiotti and Amanda Conner, a husband & wife duo of longtime comic artists writing the series, with Conner also doing the main covers (Dynamite being Dynamite, there are TONS of cover variants). American artist Moritat (New Jersey native Justin Norman) handles the interior art. I’ve been a Moritat fan since his work on Elephantmen and his color work here is just as impressive as his art. While his linework is simple, rough, and stylized to the point of cartoonishness, his colors and texture effects add lots of sophistication to the look. He makes the effort to give just about everything a texture; he even gives Sonja tan lines! Moritat’s Sonja is the most muscular I have ever seen, a much more fitting physique for such a legendary warrior, who could give Conan a tough time, or beat the biggest pirate in arm-wrestling. I appreciated that he didn’t objectify Sonja by drawing her in overtly erotic poses as most artists cannot seem to resist doing, yet still included some scenes that titillate.
But the biggest difference is that the “Invincible” title isn’t just hype. We are teased in the first battle scene with the fact that Sonja is unkillable, “trapped in this seemingly indestructible shell created by a wizard.” But we do not discover any more about this in issue #1.
The period dialogue isn’t overdone and distracting as some previous efforts have been; it’s more conversational. Initially, we get to see what Sonja is thinking and it’s fascinating, but then we never see it again. I had hoped the narration would be a constant.
The story is fun, full of wizards, pirates, and mythological creatures. Conan and Sonja/Sonya creator Robert B. Howard would be proud. I haven’t enjoyed all of Dynamite’s efforts with Sonja, but I like this one.
The Invincible Red Sonja #1 from Dynamite Comics was released May 12, 2021.