Review: Red Sonja, The Black Tower #2

Red Sonja: The Black Tower #2Cover: Red Sonja, The Black Tower #2, Frank Tieri & Cesar Rezark, cover Amanda Connor, Dynamite, 2014

Frank Tieri (w)

Cezar Razek (a)

Amanda Connor (covers)


October 15, 2014

Issue 2 of Frank Tieri’s Red Sonja mini-series, The Black Tower, just arrived in stores. Let’s check in and see how our ample-bosomed, red-headed heroine is faring? If you need a refresher, you can read the review for issue 1 here.

Amanda Connor is still on cover duty. We see a ferocious Red Sonja wielding her sword as many spears, swords, and other phallus-shaped weapons attempt to penetrate the fair skin of our scantily-clad She-Devil. It’s so over the top that Connor’s cartoonish style kind of works, but like I said in my first review, it’s just not how I prefer Red Sonja to be drawn. Too much emphasis on sexiness, not enough emphasis on badassery. Also, the smokey eyeshadow is just plain stupid looking.

The ole’ town of Lur has quickly devolved into darkness via sex, drugs, and rock n’ roll or as the issue puts it: “whore dens, opiate houses, gladiatorial arenas.”

We then see a series of panels of scantily-clad women with erect nipples and surprisingly hair-free vulvas. I assume the local spas in Lur offer Brazilian bikini waxes?

The strange black tower continues to loom darkly and wield it’s strange dark influence on the people of Lur with one exception: the sisterhood of the black tower. Originally, these ladies were evil and in allegiance with Bilas Mar. Do you remember Bilas Mar? Don’t worry, you don’t need to. She’s “dealt with,” and the sisterhood changes their ways.

The Black Tower is attracting all the surrounding barbarians and their tribes. They barbarize the people of Lur and one another in a fight for control of the tower. But of these barbarians, only Fengar Tolt manages to survive. Yes, Fengar is back and appears to have his finger intact despite this happening in the first issue:

Red Sonja, Black Tower, #1, Tieri and Rezak, Fengar looses a finger, Dynamite 2014

Anyway, despite regrowing his missing index finger, he has not managed to regrow his genitals because he is mocked (behind his back, obvi) for being “swordless.” And Fengar is pretty pissy about the whole incident. Geez, Fengar, don’t go poking barbarian women in their boobs then.

So Red Sonja is somehow captured. I say somehow because it’s not shown. She just shows up on the page in chains in Fengar’s gladiatorial arena. Methinks, the She-devil with a Sword would be a little harder to capture than this, but whatever.

Fengar tries to off Red Sonja in multiple ways because he’s too much of a wuss to take her on again. The first attempt are two executioners, a man and a woman, with weapons in place of their right hands. Apparently, the three have met previously because Red Sonja lopped their hands off in battle so their hands were replaced with weapons. We also learn why Red Sonja is wearing an eyepatch – apparently they took her eye. I say apparently because this is all revealed through dialogue.

Being that the female executioner is as ample-bosomed as Red Sonja, I assume the Lur spas not only offer Brazilians, but double-sided tape as well because like Red Sonja, the female executioner never risks a nip-slip despite all the action and movement. She aims for Red Sonja with her crossbow/right hand, and then things get a little confusing:

  • Panel 1: The arrow hits the chain linking Red Sonja’s cuffed hands and apparently breaks.
  • Panel 2: Red Sonja unchained and uncuffed uses the arrow to puncture the face of the male executioner.
  • Panel 3: Red Sonja uses the chain to strangle the female executioner as the male executioner approaches her from behind with his sword/right hand.
  • Panel 4: The sword/right hand breaks the chain linking Red Sonja’s cuffed hands…again.

I am sure there is a logical explanation for how this happened. Here’s what I think: another executioner with a welder for a right hand rejoined the chains in an off-panel occurrence.

Anyway, Red Sonja slits the throat of the male executioner then Fengar unleashes his version of a hellhound on her. Fengar’s hellhound is a sort of triceratops-like creature with the mane of a lion and octopus tentacles coming out of the sides of its frothy, canine-lined mouth.

Red Sonja is all like “dafuq, is that?” Triceratops/lion/octopus, let’s call it Fluffy, roars and rambles at Red Sonja. She slides under and somehow manages to eviscerate Fluffy. (So Red Sonja can defeat a triceratops/lion/octopus and two executioners with weapons for hands yet she gets caught by Fengar’s barbarians despite being “one of the few swords worthy to cross with” in all of Hyrkania? Let’s just assume she was outnumbered. Really, really outnumbered.)

Fengar tries to call on something else, but Red Sonja is over it. She attempts to kill Fengar, but his men quickly step in. While Red Sonja is battling them, the mysterious tower opens, and an army of men dressed in black with skull-like faces and glowing swords (think Skeletor with lightsabers) step in.

Anyway, the lightsaber-wielding Skeletor wanna-bes take down everyone but Red Sonja. Then one of them turns on her. She bashes it in the face with the hilt of her sword and, Tarim’s blood, discovers an electronic face beneath!

Tieri and Rezak’s Red Sonja is the traditional sword and sandal fantasy – heavy on action, but light on plot and character so certain expectations just go out the window. However, the plot holes in this issue were distracting to the point of excessive:

  1. What happened to Bilas Mar? She was a part of Fengar’s gang in issue one, but apparently parts ways to run Lur only to then be “dealt with”?
  2. Why did the Sisterhood suddenly become good after “dealing with” Bilas Mar when no one else in Lur can resist the influence of the tower?
  3. How did Fengar Tolt regenerate his finger? Is he Wolverine? Is this going to be another mash-up like Red Sonja and Spiderman?!
  4. How did some measly peons capture the She-Devil with a Sword?
  5. Did an executioner with a welder for a right hand weld Red Sonja’s chains back together after they were split by the female executioner’s arrow?

2 out of 5, and that is only because I like when robots get thrown into sword and sandal fantasy.

Ginnis Tonik

Ginnis Tonik

Smashing the patriarchy with glitter, pink lipstick, and cowboy boots. You can follow her on Instagram @ginnistonik