When it comes to one shots, you know you’re usually in for a tantalizing story that’ll end with at the very least a semi satisfying conclusion. They tend to have unique premises that can’t sustain a story arc but are interesting enough for the page length. Red Sonja gets her own this week and we give it a spit shined review; is it good?
Red Sonja: Berserker (One Shot) (Dynamite Entertainment)
Essentially what we have here is a touching tale of beast meeting beast, which in this case is Sonja befriending a baby snow bear. That’s right animal lovers, Sonja befriends what ends up becoming a giant ferocious bear that she will end up riding into battle. You can probably stop reading right there and go buy the bloody thing now. Hell, the issue even ends with a villain who cages and starves wild animals to be used in the arena. The fact that he attempts to kill Sonja only reinforces her quest for justice and actually gives some sense to the teamup between Sonja and snow bear.
The script is written by Nancy A. Collins, which contributes plenty of one liners, interesting dialogue and general Red Sonja badassery. It’s interesting to note that Collins has characters refer to Sonja as a whore a couple of times and they even draw attention to her…whorish clothes. This is in a way a commentary on the state of female characters in comics, but doing it in a way that pisses off Sonja and gives reason to her cutting the arms off seemingly innocent folks. It goes a long way in showing her personality and temper. The befriending of the bear makes sense too and Collins never falls into the trap of Sonja as mother. She could care less if the bear dies and only lets it stick around to help her hunt.
“Hand me the bill.” That’s genius! Get this girl a brick wall and a microphone!
The only weakness I can see in this one-shot is the Disney-like ending when Sonja teams up with the bear. Once this aspect kicks in you can pretty much guess how the story will unfold.
The art by Fritz Casas is pretty darn special, with a great level of detail. He’s particularly good with backgrounds as they all are rendered realistically and clearly. From a snow covered forest to an interior tavern, it all looks vivid and real. I particularly like his inking, which is heavy at times, but helps deepen the panels. He uses it particularly well in Sonja’s hair which, if you stop to give it extra attention, is always increasing the sense of movement and life to the character.
Doesn’t look like she’s doing much talking there, bub.
Is It Good?
This is a exceptionally good looking comic with a nice story and good Red Sonja character tinges. You’ll see the end coming, but as a whole it’s an enjoyable read. Now at $4.99 I’m not sure it’s worth the coin, but it’s definitely worth a peek to see if it’d tickle your fancy.