Red Sonja
vs. Thulsa Doom

by Peter David, Luke
Lieberman, Will Conrad
(Dynamite, 2006)

My second foray into the realm of the new Red Sonja was not as satisfying as the first.

The tale, written by Peter David and Luke Lieberman, returns Sonja to her homeland of Hyrkania. The once-proud land has suffered without a king for some years, the last having been killed by Sonja for his unwanted attentions, and the latest being hidden from rule by his untrustworthy viceroy. Meanwhile, Thulsa Doom has invaded the kingdom with both might and magic at his beck and call.

Sonja's sense of national pride is reignited by the plight of her former countryfolk, and she charges full-on into the battle. However, this story of attack, secret identity, betrayal and murder feels rushed, as if crammed into too few issues, while at the same time plodding along as if the writers weren't exactly sure what to do along the way. I mean, the viceroy's argument with a woman we can't even identify takes most of two pages that would have been better served showing the battle raging outside. Sonja's bath in the river and brawl with an intruder takes a full nine pages -- probably because artist Will Conrad had a good time almost showing off Sonja's best side. And yet Sonja's climactic battle with the archvillain takes less than six pages. Somehow, readers are left wanting more.

I'm glad to see Robert E. Howard's heroine Red Sonja getting the attention she deserves; today's comic-book interpretation of her is far superior to past efforts. And yet, I think they can do better still.

by Tom Knapp
27 January 2007

Buy it from