Red Sonja #12
Know then, O Prince, that after two months of chasing Sonja The Red through the Hyrkanian steppes, Dragan and Sonja at last met in pitched battle. They fought, not for a bridge, as the great histories say, but for the future of the Hyborian Age. For what is a bridge, O Prince, but the choice of one realm over another?
After a year-long war full of intricate decision making and treacherous strategy, Sonja the Red’s war against the Zamoran forces finally comes to an end. After all is said and done…
Well, that’s that.
It took eleven quite complex issues to get us to this point, with Red Sonja and the Zamoran army going at each other back and forth until it seemed as though Sonja was out of options. The penultimate issue in the arc started to pivot towards an explosive finale but it was really up to this final issue to pull off a spectacular finish. It’s unfortunate that isn’t what we received.
Sonja the Red herself is actually found very little in the last chapter of this arc. Instead, the male characters leading various other groups seem to take the center stage. Dragan has plenty of typically humorous dialogue, but Sonja is rather limited until final few pages with uneventful lines such as “FIRE” and “NOW! COUNTER-ATTACK!”. Even the one moment that a violent and blood-filled series such as this has been building up to ends with a whimper. Sonja the Red finally raises her sword above Dragan to take the blow and we cut to a random panel of the newest star to take the reins, Dragan’s son, ending with a panel where we are left to assume Sonja did the deed. There are a handful of moments with her and Domo, but considering the nature of the issue, they come off as an afterthought.
There is a major issue that becomes quite prominent in Red Sonja #12 and that is the decentralization of Sonja as the main character in an effort to explore the male-led dynasty of the Zamoran empire. The Lord of Fools spinoff was an example of this and so is the upcoming Killing Red Sonja spinoff. Using Red Sonja as a background character to explore this masculine dynasty just feels…bleh. I was hoping for a bloody spectacle with Sonja the Red finishing off the Zamoran forces once and for all, but instead we find her sidelined even more.
Underlying problems in the script aside, the visuals from the creative team are actually quite good in Red Sonja #12. The war finally opens up, allowing for quite a few opportunities to shine artistically from the war elephants to the beserkers, the war itself is really enjoyable. If only Red Sonja had actually been more prominent throughout the issue.
While Red Sonja #12 ends with a disappointment, there is always hope for something great just around the corner with a new arc. Hopefully Dragan’s son getting his own series will allow Red Sonja to once again take the center stage in her own series!
Red Sonja #12 concludes the epic year-long arc with a whimper, focusing on Sonja the Red less and less in order to firmly establish a narrative surrounding the masculine-driven dynasty of the Hyrkanian empire.
Red Sonja #12: Let Us Bring This War to an End
- Writing - 3/103/10
- Storyline - 5/105/10
- Art - 8/108/10
- Color - 8/108/10
- Cover Art - 7/107/10