Two types of alternate superhero versions seem to be quite popular these days: The first is changing the sex from masculine to feminine (Spider-Man with boobs!). The second is the babyfication of the heroes, ala Baby Avengers and Itty Bitty Hellboy. The latest property to get in on the fun is Red Sonja with Li’l Sonja. But cute can only get you so far. Is it good?
Li’l Sonja (Dynamite Entertainment)
There’s got to be an audience for baby-fied hero books out there, but I’ve never counted myself as one of them. They aren’t part of canon, they’re usually a little too kid friendly for my tastes and the stories are too simplistic. The story needs to be easy enough to understand so it doesn’t go over anyone’s head no matter the age, which tends to make the reads a little boring. Not so here though, as there’s plenty of cutesy humor and a clever story that still manages to delve into cute territory. That’s right, this book is cute and lovable.
Let’s start with the art, done here by Joel Carroll in an anime-eye style that’s thick on its lines and just about simplistic enough to be your average kids book. Carroll nails the Sonja look by constantly making her strong and triumphant in her expressions. She’s always got her chin out and ready to fight. At the same time she’s not portrayed as violent and certainly not sexualized. He also provides some exceptionally entertaining pages; one shown above with Sonja looking for what’s the matter, and another later on that’s a double page kids board game. You must follow her on her quest to find the culprit who is stealing all things red from the town! It’s a delectably fun double pager that shouldn’t go unnoticed.
Jim Zubkavich writes what is basically a fun kid adventure with a clever yet incredibly cute twist ending. Plus, dragons! It’s the flourishes in layout and fun that make this book sing and I’m sure Zub had a hand in them. The dialogue is also clever and quick, which helps set a rapid and witty script.
She doesn’t look scared.
Is It Good?
I opened this book expecting boring kids stuff and was pleasantly surprised. If cute could kill, this book might just be the most dangerous book on the stands.