I came into this a little confused. What is this comic? Is it an anthology? An overall story arc? I just don’t get the concept. From what I can gather it is a narrative but told by many different authors. Is this the right way to tell a story? Is it good?
Legends of Red Sonja #1 (Dynamite Entertainment)
As regular readers of my reviews may know I have not had many good things to say about Gail Simone’s current run on Red Sonja. In fact, the very reason I signed up to review this comic was because I thought it was Simone-free; oops. The comic is constructed as such: there are a couple vignettes by various creative teams held together to form a cohesive tale. Sounds promising, right? It would be, if Gail Simone wasn’t at the head of the operation. The vast majority of this comic is by her and the whole comic is based off of her ideas. Bah.
Another turnoff for me was that it was the same feel aesthetically as the normal Red Sonja title. If I am to buy a whole other title, shouldn’t it at least be somewhat unlike the regular book?
One of the things that I don’t like about Gail Simone as an author: she doesn’t trust her readers. So the first couple of pages in this comic are just her laying out the story for you “cleverly” disguised as dialogue. This isn’t the way I want to read a comic. I think Grant Morrison did this really well in his run on Superman: he trusted the reader to figure out what he was trying to say, he didn’t make it blatantly obvious.
The story is much like the regular Sonja title as well in that the narrative flows in much the same way. Gail Simone clearly knows how to tell this story; it’s the same way in all her books. There are groups of people we meet at the beginning of the book and they all have different personalities. Then, we hear one of the characters recall the events in which our protagonist has either wronged them or done them a justice. In Sonja’s case, she’s pissed a guy off. We learn the injustice she’s dealt him by way of flashback. I don’t know if our trusting Ms. Simone understands something: just because there is a flashback in your comic, that alone doesn’t make it deep.
Furthermore, the dialogue in this comic doesn’t help the already bad story. The conversations are incredibly forced, and the action is polluted with pointless banter. I do believe that Gail Simone tried to make this comic good, I just think she doesn’t understand the character.
The art isn’t awful but there is many a time throughout the issue where a body part is disproportionate or a face is wonky. Could it be worse? Absolutely. But the art isn’t anything to be in awe about.
- Second vignette is much better
- Looks and feels the exact same as the main title
- Story is obvious and unexciting
- Doesn’t work as a concept
I did enjoy the effort put into the second creative team’s vignette. It seemed like they were trying as hard as they could to tear it away from the ridiculous tale Simone set in motion. Although this is a noble cause it doesn’t work; the vignette could be interesting on its own, but as a part of the overall arc, it doesn’t work at all. The art does improve, however.
Is It Good?
No, not really. If you want to read some good Sonja, this isn’t the way to go.