"Life and Death"
Writer: Michael Avon Oeming and Mike Carey
Artists: Mel Rubi, Caesar Rodriquez, Richard Isanove and Imaginary Friends Studios(c)
Well, color me impressed. Michaels Avon Oeming and Carey do not back away from the certain death we saw portrayed in the previous issue of Red Sonja. I assumed magic would be used to bring Sonja back to life, and while magic is used, Oeming and Carey add a special catch that provides the impetus for the story.
Oeming and Carey play much with the dialogue in Red Sonja. They set things up and then take off in another direction without betraying the words spoken. This keeps the reader off-balance and makes Red Sonja above and beyond the typical sword and sorcery book.
The authors wisely discard the idea of a ticking clock. We know Sonja is not going to die. We're just curious how she won't die. They instead time a special twist, which feeds into the main plot of the story: some alien nutcake posing as a god to perform all sorts of mischief, torture and dread.
Mel Rubi, Rodriquez and Isanove easily render the beauty of Sonja. They add natural and tastefully veiled nudity that belongs in the story and capture the textures of scenery. All creates a very warm look punctuated by the gleam of weapons and armor. Rubi imbues a multitude of expression to Sonja, and almost all of them are subtle nuances, which suit her character. If there is one difference between this Sonja and the previous incarnation from Marvel comics its in the way she carries herself. This Sonja is not an emoter.
The issue is quieter than others. The action explodes only in a few scenes, but that frequency heightens the impact. Sonja acts quickly, effectively and without remorse or warning, and the villain of the piece displays exactly why he deserves to see Sonja's flashing sword.
An almost fairplay resolution to last issues cliffhanger sets off another worthy Red Sonja tale that's smartly written and gorgeously illustrated.
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