Review: CONAN/RED SONJA #1

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CONAN/RED SONJA #1
Written by Gail Simone and Jim Zub
Art by Dan Panosian
Published by Dark Horse Comics
Release Date: January 14, 2014

Conan and Red Sonja: two iconic warriors, reunited once more! The two masters of the steel are brought together by super scribe duo Gail Simone and Jim Zub for an issue where the dialogue is as sharp as the steel these warriors wield.

Simone and Zub don’t hold any of their personalities back in this one, giving each of the icons more personality than I’ve ever read. Conan is typically a character I tire of very quickly, but Zub and Simone keep the Cimmerian lighter than usual, less reflective and simply more entertaining. As is to be expected of Red Sonja, considering Gail Simone’s run at Dynamite, she is as tough as nails.

Sonja isn’t putting up with any B.S. and when you put that attitude with together with this interpretation of Conan, there is much fun to be had. Simone and Zub can definitely be heard in the voices of these characters, and as I read the comic I imagine the pair bantering over Skype and then simply transcribing it. That’s how natural this dialogue flows, and if the final product is any indication, these co-writers had some fun writing this one.

While the dialogue is razor sharp, the tale itself doesn’t have a lot to it. This story is designed to put these two together and plant the seeds for something in the future, but that’s about it. That’s not to say it is boring, the dialogue keeps the issue from falling to boredom, but the events of the comic are not shocking by any means. First issues have to build the foundation for the rest of the series to be built upon, but other than a bit of eeriness in the final pages, the heavy lifting to keep this comic entertaining falls completely on the dialogue.

Dan Panosian’s artwork suits this tale well, though there are times his work appears to be rushed and almost unfinished. His style has a somewhat cartoon-ish feel to it, which adds to the light hearted banter and, for the most part, he does not put Sonja and her ridiculous costume in overly exploitive situations. Her appearance next to Conan’s armored self had me shaking my head at points, but I do understand that the nature of Sonja’s attire does not fall on Panosian.

His facial work is stronger with Sonja at the beginning of the issue, but as it progresses he adds an aspect of Conan’s charming self to the brute’s face. Conan becomes more likable due to Panosian’s touches, and there are moments that he captures Sonja’s utter contempt for the situations she is in very well. While this isn’t the sharpest work you’ll see in store shelves this month, it isn’t the worst either and Panosian captures the tone of this story.

Conan/Red Sonja #1 gives readers some solid back and forth from Simone and Zub, and Conan and Red Sonja fans will most likely enjoy seeing the icons meet their match. For readers contemplating picking the issue up based on the strength of the creative team, I’d recommend taking a look at the previews or taking a quick peek at the issue. The dialogue is snapping from the start, but hopefully subsequent issues will feature some extra depth in the story for the banter to sit upon.

The Verdict: 6.0/10

 

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