Marguerite Bennett (words), Mirka Andolfo (lines), Vincenzo Salvo (colors), Erica Schultz (letters), Jay Anacleto (cover lines) & Ivan Nunes (cover colors)
August 26, 2015
In the second issue of Red Sonja & Jungle Girl, Red Sonja and Jana must get down to business fighting off Mistress Hel and her baddies.
(Note: This review contains spoilers and is based on an advanced review copy from Dynamite)
Laura H: So, the art is once again gorgeous, but I’m confused by how Jungle Girl is planning to fight that big gray hellbeast behind her, when she’s busy either stretching or posing. Both she and Sonja seem to have been taken off guard, but at least Sonja’s caught on to what’s happening: Jungle Girl still seems to be mid-photoshoot. I’m not sure who this guy in the middle is: maybe he’s the native they rescued last time?
Ginnis: That would appear to be the case. I love the movement and expression in Red Sonja, but Jungle Girl does look, as you point out, pose-y. But, I think Ivan Nunes really nailed the colors on this cover.
Laura H: We’ve switched tacks from the first issue’s set-up and exposition overload to action, action, action! The stakes raise from the lives of our two heroines to the lives of the island beasts to the lives of the villagers Jana brings a wounded Bel’lok to mid-issue.
Again, it felt like too much was trying to be put into one issue. Or, maybe, that the structure felt off? The fight between Hel, Sonja, and Jana was a bit confusing to parse and involved a fair amount of Sonja trying to get Jana to curse, which seemed a bit like a waste of energy and concentration in the middle of a fight. After Hel gets what she wanted, she peaces out, and Bel’lok collapses while Jana wonders about his appearance here, which leads Sonja to tease her about having a crush on him, which, maybe? I don’t know, it seemed a bit out of place. (As did the Jon Snow joke later on.)
Gin: I did get a little confused in parts, as well, but seriously I find Mirka Andolfo’s artwork just so fucking delightful, I can pretty much excuse anything. And while the moments at attempted humor felt a bit clumsy, I continue enjoy that this comic is a break from the more serious tone of most of the other Swords of Sorrow comics. Also, the animals, like I so get Jungle Girl’s feelings about the animals. She is quickly becoming a character I want to see more of, I enjoy her naivety, but I also don’t know if I even want to bother reading her outside of the context of Swords of Sorrow. I feel like that is just asking to invoke my feminist ire.
Laura H: We’re left again in the midst of battle, as Sonja and Jana are attacked by male doppelgangers, who were created by Hel. My guess is the girls will win: what do you think?
Gin: Well, I mean, obviously.
Laura H: I had a better appreciation for Jana this time around. Her naivete still strikes me as overly simplified, but I did like her dedication to protecting the beasts of her island and the children of her village. Red Sonja still seems a bit off, but that may simply be because I’m really only familiar with Gail Simone’s Sonja. She’s certainly come around from wanting to kill Jana to calling her “dear” quickly, though.
Gin: Like I said, Jana is really growing on me. As for Red Sonja, it makes sense to me for her to be protective of this younger warrior woman, but also want to “corrupt” her. I think it continues what Simone has been doing with Red Sonja, but it is distinguishable enough to be Bennett’s take on the She-devil. I also am in major speculation mode since Simone has said she has “hand-picked” her successor to Red Sonja, and I am just trying for any clues I can find!
Laura H: The art still feels cartoony, but I liked its motion this time around. There was a lot of action in this issue, and a fair amount of Jana making puzzled/innocently bemused faces, and the slightly cartoonish style works well for both elements. Sonja looks a little younger than I would have expected, but I think the style really works for Jana.
Gin: Yes, it definitely works for Jana, but I think it is hard to picture Red Sonja in such a style as Andolfo’s. Geovani and Davila draw her so strong and fierce, and now she is the She-Devil with a Sword looking super adorable. But like I really love Andolfo’s art, love, love, love.
Laura H: Overall, while this issue felt a little busy and at times hard to follow — which is partially the fault of the layout of the pdf — it was a fun read. I’m looking forward to the conclusion!
Gin: Yeah, it was a real bummer that we couldn’t see this as a two-page layout. I think it’ll look really good in paper format, but that definitely inhibited my reading experience. I like when an artist uses panels in different and unique ways which was just not captured in the advanced review copy.
I am looking forward to it, as well, and also MOAR Andolfo art! Have I mentioned how much I like her art?