by Gail Simone, Jim Zub, Dan Panosian and Dave Stewart
Act two of this four part mini-series crossover from Dark Horse and Dynamite smashes together Red Sonja and Conan during the original Robert E. Howard tale The Queen of the Black Coast. Considering the Dark Horse Conan the Barbarian series from Brian Wood just, or recently anyway, finished up an extended version of this tale, hopefully it’s still fresh in your minds (and if it’s not, go check it out).
Gail Simone and Jim Zub have seamlessly blended these two characters together into, arguably, one of REH’s greatest Conan adventures and you can’t help but give them a round of applause for a job well done. Sure, these two characters were born into the same world, one from the mind of REH and one adapted and greatly changed by Roy Thomas, but the way Simone and Zub write it, you’d think they’d been seeing each other within this world the entire time and maybe we just missed out on it. The chemistry between these two is great as well; not necessarily a sexual chemistry as you might think, though don’t write that off just yet, but more of a warrior bond that’s deeper than words can describe.
Artist Dan Panosian’s first issue of Conan Red Sonja had an off-looking depiction of Conan that long time fans might not have fully approved of, mostly based on his hair cut, but all is forgiven and forgotten for this issue as Panosian draws the Cimmerian in a much more familiar fashion. None of that, of course, means that Panosian’s art isn’t good; it just felt off, so to speak. Regardless, this time around Panosian hits all the right notes in a swashbuckling tale any Conan fan could be proud of. His Red Sonja continues to look as we’ve come to expect from the Dynamite series old and new and even his Bêlit looked great. Considering the monumental impact Bêlit has on Conan for the rest of his life, it’s good to see she wasn’t just drawn, or used by Simone and Zub, as a background character.
Even if you’re tired of hearing it, once again let’s just say that Dave Stewart is the man, by Crom! His colors are, of course, spot-on and really help to maintain a certain look and feel from the last series that we’ve gotten use to. Frankly, any time you see Stewart’s name on a book you can expect color perfection ,so none of this should be surprising or new to you.
One of the best things about Conan Red Sonja, aside from the fact that is has both Conan and Red Sonja together in one book, is that it’s fun. There are so many dark and “gritty” books out there that sometimes it feels like the fun aspect of comics is thrown out the window in favor of seriousness or some other misconstrued ideal. Simone’s Red Sonja from Dynamite is fun, no doubt, and it’s great to see that pulled into this series and Zub is a great writer capable of many things (maybe a future Conan run, Dark Horse?), plus Panosian and Stewart deliver in a big way on art, so if you’re tired of the same old dark and grit you should do yourself a favor and check out Conan Red Sonja. You won’t regret it.