KILLING RED SONJA #2, available now from Dynamite, finds Prince Cyril’s vengeance quest interrupted by hungry giants and foiled by bad intel. Writers Mark Russell and Bryce Ingman work with artist Craig Rousseau to continue the the young prince’s naive adventure and introduces an unexpected enemy.
How did we get here?
Prince Cyril’s adventure picks up immediately where issue #1 left off. (You can read our review of issue #1 here.) The group is overrun by man-eating giants, and the lack of confidence in the Prince’s leadership turns into a subtle mutiny. Meanwhile, a new enemy appears headed for a collision with the Prince’s return path home.
Christian Ward’s cover portrays the red-haired warrior in all her glory, looking down on you as though you were her latest victim of battle. It’s a unique perspective angle that doesn’t come across as distorted in any way. Ward’s color schemes matches perfectly with the interiors, and Red Sonja’s pose is both cavalier and formidable.
Russell and Ingman’s story continues the story of a boy-emperor who’s set out on an adventure that’s well over his head. The difference in this second issue of the arc is a little of the naivete from Prince Cyril has melted away. Not quite to the point of becoming an adult, but certainly waking him up to the fact that this mission is very dangerous. Death comes unexpectedly in this issue, and Prince Cyril is forced to confront reality very quickly.
Russell and Ingman infuse the characters, including Prince Cyril, with a lot of sincerity about their motivations and objectives. That sincerity gives each character a unique voice that strongly plays up the believability of the group.
Craig Rousseau’s art is a little more defined here than last issue. Faces are clear and expressive when needed. Rousseau’s movement and action panels are deceptively realistic, and the character anatomy, especially for the giants, is surprisingly believable. The storybook simplicity of the art style works, again, to give the entire issue a vague semblance to a children’s book, and I suspect the increase in detail is partly intended to match the progression of Prince Cyril’s maturity. If not, it’s a happy accident to the issue’s benefit.
Dearbhla Kelly’s coloring is given a little more to work with in this issue. There are a few sub-plot scenery changes where Kelly makes good use of filtering to denote the scene change. Also, the appearance of the the Bird Overlord and her many birds gives Kelly some more room to play with a wide arrange of plumage colors that stand out against the semi-barren landscapes. Great work here by Kelly.
Hassan Otsmane-Elhaou stands out with his choice of tail designs. A typical word balloon has a simple triangular shaped tail directed at the speaker so you know which character said what. Here, Otsmane-Elhaou wisely uses rough, crayon-like strokes for a tail, further enhancing the storybook aesthetic of the issue. It’s a strong example of lettering that elevates the art rather than simply having words strategically slapped on the page.
KILLING RED SONJA #2 is a well-constructed chapter in the series that shows the characters evolving along with the quality of the art. It may seem odd to have a Red Sonja series without Red Sonja, but it’s keeping my attention…for now. Give it a try.