Red Sonja (2021) #1 by Mirka Andolfo
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Red Sonja was created by Roy Thomas and Barry Windsor-Smith for Marvel Comics in 1973. However, she was based on the Robert E. Howard character Red Sonya, and so, I assume, Marvel lost the rights to her when they lost the rights to Conan. While they now have the rights to Conan back, the rights to Red Sonja had presumably already made their way to Dynamite, now separate from the Conan rights…which means that Marvel now no longer have the rights to a Conan character they actually created. Which explains why Thomas and Windsor-Smith are credited nowhere in this comic and it instead says “Based on the heroine created by Robert E. Howard.”
I’ll be honest, what really attracted me to this comic was the stunning cover art by Mirka Andolfo. As much as I like her writing, her art is what really shines, so while I definitely wanted this for the cover, I was less confident about buying a comic that she’s written but not drawn. However, I needn’t have worried.
Firstly, I have to congratulate everyone involved for finally giving Sonja a somewhat sensible costume, rather than the chainmail bikini she traditionally sports in all weathers. She still looks like an awesome and sexy warrior, just not an awesome and sexy warrior in danger of dying of hypothermia or a random sword slash in the middle of battle.
Fans of Andolfo’s Mercy might find the trope of small child who mistakenly thinks the main character is her mother a little familiar, but as that’s really the only thing this has in common with that book I can forgive it (but if Sonja turns out to be an alien plant woman then I’ll totally be calling foul).
This is a great first issue, and while I’d certainly prefer it if Andolfo was drawing the book as well as writing it, Cafaro’s definitely no slouch in the artistic department.
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