In the previous issue, Red Sonja and her new allies tried to figure out a way to remove a demonic monster from modern times before it tore apart New York City. Both Sonja and the monster are from Hyrkania, which seems to be based on ancient Eastern Europe. The fight led to a fair, where a young cop would try to use his hidden magical power to create a giant portal back to Hyrkania, with the aid of a ferris wheel.
This issue starts off kind of intense, with the monster entering the small theme park and going straight for the cabin holding Sonja and the cop. At first the fight moves like a normal Red Sonja comic, with the evil sorcerer commanding the beast eventually showing up to make things more difficult. As the comic goes on and the cop manages to open the portal, the beast just walks through it. As anti-climactic as it sounds, that’s not really how it feels. The sorcerer still proves himself a threat after the monster leaves.
I won’t spoil exactly how it ends, but it leaves Sonja in the modern world while someone used to living in the modern world is sent back to Hyrkania. It both concludes this story arc in a slightly tragic way and paves the way for a larger story going forward. It was probably the best way to end the action scene. Sonja’s narration helps emphasize the drama of the situation. She’s both trapped in this new world and lost a new friend, having no idea how to find said friend. The comic doesn’t leave too much room for the drama, but it’s effective. The ending teaser feels a bit rushed, even if it does give a clear direction for the next issue.
The art duties are shared by Marcio Fiortio and Carlos Gomez, and I have no idea where one artist ends and the other begins. The art is good though. There’s plenty of detail in the backgrounds, like the debris on the ground at the theme park, the cop cars flashing their lights on the streets and some old woman yelling at the monster in the foreground in the opening spread. The monster looks intimidating with his glowing eyes and his general dragon-like appearance. After Sonja stabs the monster, she’s covered in green monster blood for a couple pages. Facial expressions do a great job at conveying emotions, like the sorcerer’s frustration when the monster just leaves, the strained look in the cop’s eyes after he creates the portal. Sonja’s face and body language as she reaches out to the disappearing portal says everything you need to know about her sense of hopelessness, being trapped in a strange world while also losing the very person who helped her acclimatize. The colouring by Mohan is great. The fight is bright and colourful, with great use of colour shifting with the portal. There is one strange panel where the portal’s blue colour and the surrounding environment seems to reverse though. Not sure what that’s about.
This is a fun comic, from a series that I’ve been enjoying more than I thought I would. The story about barbarians or knightly warriors being trapped in the modern world, or vice versa, is cliché and was heavily overdone in the 80’s and 90’s. Chu’s writing somehow manages to make it feel fresh here. This series is an easy recommendation for Red Sonja fans, and if the concept sounds interesting to you, it’s worth checking out.