Red Sonja and Conan are on their second adventure in a year now since Dark Horse hosted the last crossover. Dynamite did a pretty good job with their first offering. Issue #2 is here this week: is it good?
Red Sonja / Conan #2 (Dynamite Entertainment)
Last issue Red Sonja and Conan became the captains of an army sharing duties as the army marched to take out a wizard. This wizard, unfortunately for them, has bloodroot and is using it to bring monsters upon them. Last issue ended with Conan and Red Sonja cutting a tryst short in order to fight off some green monster men in the night and from there rushing into battle. This issue opens on said battle.
This issue has an unconventional organization as it opens after the battle took place. Many are dead and Conan is nowhere to be seen. Red Sonja rises from a heap of bodies to find a few remaining soldiers scouring for valuables. From here we cut back to the opening of the battle as Red Sonja can’t remember what happened. This plot device works okay, but it takes all the anticipation out of the story. Writer Victor Gischler has a surprise monster on hand, but due to us knowing how the battle will play out it makes the battle boring. Small victories like Red Sonja figuring out how to take out one of the monsters is almost pointless since we know all monsters will be vanquished and all the soldiers will lose. Conan takes a bit of a back seat in this issue too as he has little to say or do.
I don’t think the battle went well.
Scenes with the wizard are also rendered meaningless since he follows a clichéd sort of path. “Let me create these monsters and surely I’ll win,” when we know full well he’ll eventually lose. The lack of suspense due to knowing how it plays out kills whatever stakes this mad wizard creates.
The action scenes are well laid out and easy to follow due to some nicely detailed work from Roberto Castro. Castro must have some kind of fetish when it comes to hands being lopped off but a bit of bone sticking out too. It happens way too much! Get more inventive with the gore please! The monsters are outrageous enough to be interesting although they do look a bit too much like two ideas mashed together. Castro nails Conan’s final panel though as it’s epic in nature and sets a tone for the next issue. Red Sonja continues to look a bit too over sexualized with her impossible hips to bust ratio and I’m still not digging how frail she looks. I’ll take her with more muscles and a heroic figure over a frail supermodel body any day.
She’s so skinny!
Is It Good?
What happens in the issue is exciting, but it’s told all wrong with the story giving it all away in the first pages and then flashing back. The stakes could have been raised but the structure, or telling, lack the oomph it needs to make this an exciting and necessary read.