Published on January 17th, 2015 | by Steven Roman
Review: Red Sonja: The Black Tower #1–4
If you’re a longtime fan of author Robert E. Howard’s legendary adventurers, Conan the Barbarian and Red Sonja, She-Devil With a Sword, you know the scenario by now: one or the other rides into a town, walks straight into a shitstorm, gets harassed to the point where they kick major ass, and ride out. So it is with the now-concluded miniseries Red Sonja: The Black Tower, published by Dynamite Entertainment, written by Frank Tieri (Wolverine, Invincible Iron Man), and illustrated by Cezar Razek (Vampirella: Nublood, Witchblade/Red Sonja). But there’s a difference, here, because this tale takes decades to tell.
So, in issue 1, Sonja rides into the town of Lur, “a place between places,” where a mysterious black tower has literally sprouted overnight. That doesn’t concern her as much as the thugs she spots attempting to rape a woman from the tower. A few decapitations and a sword-delivered loss of manhood later, Sonja rides out, as one would expect—except this adventure is far from over.
Issues 2–4 all begin with the same caption—“Time passed.”—as Sonja keeps finding herself back in Lur in the decades that follow, either because she has business to take care of, or she’s been forced back against her will. She gets older, gets grayer, gets cyclopean (apparently she’s fated to lose an eye somewhere along the way in her non–Black Tower adventures). And each time she arrives, the town has changed, because the Black Tower eventually opened its doors to disgorge a race of high-tech humans and their laser-sword-wielding robot warriors—from the future! Red Sonja battling a sci-fi invasion—well, that’s certainly different! The one hitch in Tieri’s story is that, based on the cliffhanger ending of issue 3, you can pretty much predict how this miniseries is going to turn out. But that doesn’t detract from the overall fun.
For readers of Comics for Sinners, the real…er, draw of the miniseries will be Razek’s art. Sonja is as sexy and dangerous as she was during the height of Frank Thorne’s 1970s run at Marvel Comics, but Razek is equally adept at illustrating men of different faces and body types, as well as Hyborean Age architecture and fast-paced fight sequences (a necessity in such an action series). Bad-girl art fans should be pleased with the results. And Razek’s work inside the comics is aided by the eye-catching covers of Amanda Conner (Power Girl, Harley Quinn).
Bottom line? A fun story and great art make this a winning combination for bad girl enthusiasts in general, and Red Sonja fans in particular. If you’re not into digital comics and can’t track down the three previous issues of this miniseries in print, don’t worry: Dynamite probably already has a trade paperback collection in the works. Seek it out when it arrives.
Red Sonja: The Black Tower #1–4
Written by Frank Tieri
Art by Cezar Razek
Covers by Amanda Conner
Publisher: Dynamite Entertainment
32 pages • full-color
$3.99 U.S. each
Issue 4 on sale January 21, 2015