Red Sonja/Claw: The Devil's Hands
by John Layman, Andy Smith (Dynamite/WildStorm, 2007)

When your heroine is a muscular, well-endowed woman in a tiny chainmail bikini, you need a good, solid plot to pull off a story that isn't just, well, cheesecake. Ditto the beefcake, when the hero is a brawny guy in a loincloth. Unfortunately, bringing WildStorm's Claw and Dynamite's Red Sonja together does not equal more than the sum of its parts.

Red Sonja, first written by Conan creator Robert E. Howard, is now a comic-book heroine who scowls, jiggles and slashes her way across a barbaric medieval landscape. Valcan, a.k.a. Claw, is a Conan lookalike with a big sword and a demonic hand that attempts to control him and feeds off violence.

The book begins with Claw beheading Sonja on a bloody field of battle. To prevent the book from being really, really short, the reader is quickly told it was only a dream -- even though Sonja and Claw have never met. So, upon meeting (just in time to prevent Claw from attempting suicide), the two travel together to a city Sonja once helped liberate, only to find that circumstances there have changed significantly since she left. Of course, you know even before opening the book that at some point Sonja and Claw will fight each other with all kinds of sword-flashing mayhem.

I don't know what else WildStorm has on the market for Claw fans, but I know Dynamite's new incarnation of Red Sonja has seen better days. This book is simply not very exciting.

review by
Tom Knapp

28 April 2007

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