Publisher: Dynamite Entertainment
Writer: Amy Chu
Artist: Carlos Gomez & Marcio Fiorito (#5)
Letters: Simon Bowland & Tom Napolitano (#4)
Review by PeteR
In 1979, Marvel Comics published What If #13: Conan the Barbarian Walked the Earth Today, written by Roy Thomas with art by John Buscema and Ernie Chan. The plot was Conan falls into a well of time and arrives in New York City in the midst of the July 13-14, 1977 power outage. Then in 1984 Marvel published What If #43: What If Conan the Barbarian Were Stranded in the 20th Century? where Conan gets transported again into the future, joins a street gang and meets Captain America. In 1990, volume two, #16 of What If brought us What If Wolverine Battled Conan the Barbarian. This time it was Wolverine doing the time traveling, but you get the point. Tossing Cimmerians through time is not exactly a new idea.
In Red Sonja: Worlds Away: Vol. 1 our chain mail bikini wearing heroine, while battling the evil wizard (and reoccurring foe) Kulan Gath, is magically whisked to 2017 Manhattan. After dodging a speeding subway car, Red Sonja runs afoul the NYPD who can’t wait to tackle a half-naked, auburn haired woman with a sword. The She-Devil then escapes from a mental hospital where she learns that Kulan Gath has survived into the 21st century.
Red Sonja: Worlds Away: Vol. 1 writer, Amy Chu, scribe of comics X-O Man of War and Sensation Comics: Wonder Woman, is adapt at tales of strong women and barbarians. Having her write a combination of the two genres makes perfect sense. As noted above, chronologically challenged barbarians is not a new idea. Ms. Chu is able to mix a compelling plot, dialogue, action and some humor while making it feel original. I particularly enjoyed the reference to the 1977 New York power failure (see What If #13).
Carlos Gomez, who did the art for Red Sonja: Worlds Away: Vol. 1 issues #0 to 4 and #6, proficiently draws sword fights, bar fights and good girl, cheesecake (look it up) art. I am always amused at the angles artists employ when drawing mostly naked women fighting. It’s enough to be titillating but comes up just short of resembling something off Milo Manara’s drawing board. There is, of course, the obligatory bath tub scene. That’s not to say Red Sonja: Worlds Away: Vol. 1 is a soft core porn comic, it isn’t, but there is always a certain amount of skin displayed in many comics about women. There are also a couple of different scenes of her kissing her sword, like something right out of the Frederick Wertham playbook.
The colorist of Red Sonja: Worlds Away: Vol. 1 is Kim Mohan, who has done a great deal of work previously for Dynamite and does an admirable job on the series, as do letterers Simon Bowland & Tom Napolitano.
Why you should buy this book? Red Sonja: Worlds Away: Vol. 1 contains issues #0 through 6 of the Worlds Away series. It also has the 28 different variant covers the series was printed with as well as artist sketches and various works from fan artists. If you are a fan of thrilling action tales or artwork of beautiful women, this trade paperback has lots of goodies for you. Also, if you are a teacher of ancient languages, Red Sonja: Worlds Away: Vol. 1 is a must read. You can use it as a tool to remind your students to do their homework because they never know when they might run into a time-traveling barbarian.
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