Review: The Conclusion of Legenderry Red Sonja
Marc Andreyko (scripter), Aneke (illustrator), Impacto Studios (colors), & Dave Lanphear (letters)
June 24, 2015
Steampunk Red Sonja returns in the conclusion to Legenderry Red Sonja. Thus far, she has encountered multiple monstrous creations of Dr. Frankenstein. What will be the final encounter in this pirate-influenced tale?
(Note: This review contains spoilers and is based on an advanced review copy from Dynamite.)
When I started out reading Legenderry Red Sonja, I was skeptical. I wasn’t too keen on Steampunk Red Sonja, but she grew on me by the second issue. By issue #3, I was really starting to enjoy Legenderry, and by issue #4, my curiosity was piqued enough to consider eventually taking a gander at Legenderry Vampirella. The Red Sonja series concludes on a fun note, but the limitations of the series, mentioned in my earlier reviews, still hold true and result in an ending that is a little disappointing.
But before we get into that, let’s discuss the cover and the thrilling work of Sergio Davila. Originally, Davila was a variant cover artist, but by the second issue, he transitioned to the main cover, which I applaud Dynamite for. From the beginning, Davila’s covers were more dynamic and full-on pulp badass. Based on my limited knowledge of steampunk, there’s space for ladies rocking the corsets and ruffles, but also the ladies who swagger in pants and sensible boots. Red Sonja clearly falls in the latter camp despite her costume history. Additionally, Davila’s artistic interpretation is more in keeping with Andreyko’s Steampunk Red Sonja who is a pirate mercenary in the Legenderry verse.
This final cover doesn’t disappoint. Her expression is all challenge and intimidation. Her pose all attitude. It captures the hedonistic pirate that Andreyko has written her as. Then there’s the spilled wine which if anything Gail Simone’s run on Red Sonja has taught me about the character is that Red Sonja enjoys her red, red wine; it goes with her hair. However, the serpentine laces confuse me—they look like the sandworms from Beetlejuice. And while Red Sonja’s abs are defined, her arms could use some more buffness. She needs all the muscle for lifting that comically sized battle ax, after all. But these are minor quibbles, because I would display all of Davila’s covers from this series in my home.
The story is exactly what you would expect of a story centered on Dr. Frankenstein. There are undead monstrous creations, this time stitched together from multiple species of animals. Dr. Frankenstein is arrogant, acting like a god. Those willing to stand up to him are like, “uh, no, dude, you’re just a mad scientist.” It ultimately doesn’t really do much to further or challenge the themes that are integral to the Frankenstein story, which is why the ending felt a little disappointing for me. It was expected. Interesting work could be done clashing together characters from different genres, but that really wasn’t done here. Ultimately, Legenderry Red Sonja is just a rollicking good time, which is never a bad thing. Sonja’s drawn with respect and a delightful streak of spunkiness that is a lighthearted deviation from her usual characterization. There’s also female camaraderie between Red Sonja and Elizabeth (one of “Vic’s” creations), and ladies teaming up against oppression (in this case, “Vic’s” oppression of Elizabeth and his other creations) is always a good choice. If you want something fun that varies from, but still remains true to, the Red-Headed She-Devil, then this comic stands on it’s own. But that’s all it is.
Putting Red Sonja in the Legenderry ‘verse succeeded in what was probably its main goal: I want to read more steampunk comics, because I have the time and money for that. (So not true.)