After making-off with Emperor Dragan’s treasure and supplies, Sonja plans her next move in Red Sonja #3.
This chapter sees the titular barbarian plotting how to defend her people and the treasure captured in issue two. At the same time, she must weigh how to handle a band of mercenaries interested in the same score.
Mark Russell continues to excel as the writer behind Red Sonja #3. The book is well-paced and thoroughly engaging, with very little narrative flab.
Issue three offers less humor than the previous chapter. However, there is more emphasis on character development, specifically with Sonja herself. She displays immense competence as a leader, but her skills don’t come from nowhere. We see flashbacks to a younger Sonja under the tutelage of her master, Domo of Khitai. This provides insight on how Sonja developed from a hot-headed raider into a wise warrior.
Loyalty is a dominant theme in Red Sonja #3; specifically, how loyalty stands up against the prospects of wealth. We see the lessons learned in flashbacks play out in the present-day narrative, and how they relate to broader themes within the book. As Domo explains, “Nothing is more dangerous than a man with no loyalty.” Sometimes, you can do much better with a small band dedicated cadre than with an undisciplined army.
While not as action-packed as the last issue, the artwork in Red Sonja #3 is still stunning. Characters possess a kinetic sense of energy, with bold and expressive designs. Readers get a true sense of emotional tone through characters’ gestures and faces.
Mirko Colak pays meticulous attention to detail; his eye for backgrounds and architectural designs helps bring the world of the book to life. Of course, the bold colors, especially as the action heats up in the book’s second half, make the visuals pop off the page.
Red Sonja #3 continues this latest, excellent run with the character. Skilled storytelling and excellent artwork elevate this run above the standard for the sword-and-sorcery genre, making it a must-read series.