Saturday, December 17, 2016
We're Not In Hyrkania Anymore, Toto
Dynamite Entertainment reportedly solicited nearly 100,000 copies of it and you, the reader, are the ones who benefit at a quarter cover price. Yup, a mere quarter! I was barely old enough to read comic books the last time they cost that much on average. The pricey manufacturing of standard publishing these days, wow...only Free Comic Book Day and Halloween Comic Fest are ballsier marketing ploys.
For the fourth time, Dynamite is relaunching Red Sonja and this time, there's a catch.
Jason Voorhees...the freaking Muppets...now the She-Devil with a Sword...
The Village is in for it...Soho...well, she's gotten more enlightened (not to mention hornier than the AVN expo) under the pen of Gail Simone, so you never know. Manhattan is where Red Sonja dwells in 2017 and given this preview of Issue Number Zero which dropped this past Wednesday, it's either going to be the romp of the year or a distant anecdote Sonja fans are going to mumble amidst themselves within reach of ibuprofen bottles, "Remember when they slung her into New York? Oy."
Now this barbarian fish out of water trope has been played before, which no doubt gave writer Amy Chu (also writing Dynamite's Kiss book along with having done Poison Ivy stories for DC) the idea of violating Red Sonja in ways not even King Kull cosplays have dreamed up. Twice Conan was hoisted out of his Hyperborea domain and dropped into the big metropolis via Marvel's What If series. Let's not forget Red Sonja herself swung her broadsword side-by-side with Spider-man in Marvel Team-Up # 79. Those were weird, implausible but hellafun stories that defied convention and made the genre more fun. Spidey and John Belushi, anyone?
Today's audiences have read it all and they know the canons. Expectations to go where their favorite characters have never gone before is now a mandate, but with a fine line drawn. That makes it rough on contemporary writers. Chu has her entire reputation staked on this project and I'm going to avoid a full review this time because I am willing to see where this wacky, if borrowed concept goes.
I'll confess that Red Sonja and Batgirl are my geek boy fantasy women. I had no qualms with the direction Dynamite took with Marguerite Bennett's brief run but it was brief and we know why. The imprint reacted to complaints from a large volume of female readers voicing out against the scantily-clad presentations of their flagship characters, Red Sonja, Vampirella, Sheena and Dejah Thoris. The appeasement Dynamite granted was noble, if ultimately fruitless as readers slowly shied away. Call men shallow, we deserve it. We want we want, and a looksee past the chain mail is ever-present on our minds while rooting on Sonja's nearly-unbeatable sword prowess.
Carlos Gomez gets back to the basics in this reboot of Sonja, which means geek boys (and girls who may apply) are served the goodies again. I still say Sonja has never been depicted sexier than Dynamite's Red Sonja vs. Thulsa Doom miniseries, but the new run is designed to titillate once again. This while rudely shoving our redheaded savage into modern times via a vengeful spell cast upon her by recent era PITA sorcerer, Kulan Gath. It would seem not even Sonja's goddess, Scathach, can help her navigate through this mess.
I eagerly await Sonja's confrontation with the Garment District. If she doesn't drop into McSorley's for a pint and a good old-fashioned Irish pub scrap, Chu and Dynamite will have missed out on a golden opportunity. If Sonja finds a floating hockey mask in the sewers, however, I'm out.