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Swords of Sorrow: Red Sonja & Jungle Girl #1 Review

review postRyan ClarkComment
Swords of Sorrow: Red Sonja & Jungle Girl #1 cover by Jay Anacleto

Swords of Sorrow: Red Sonja & Jungle Girl #1 cover by Jay Anacleto

I was quite unsure of what to expect from this series, in no small part, because it is the first Red Sonja story that I have read in quite a while that didn’t feature Gail Simone’s writing (granted, I did read the “Red Sonja #1973” special, but that still had a Gail story in it, so I don’t count it). It was also relatively uncharted territory for me, because I hadn’t read any real Jungle Girl Stories- I doubt anyone will count my one random “Sheena, Queen of the Jungle” comic towards that, since they’re nothing alike, really. But I still have been riding high on this series, so I wasn’t about to drop off the map because there were (still more than before) characters and creators involved that I don’t know.

I was pleasantly surprised when I saw the cover art for this issue, the very grandiose and old-school style was really interesting, and I love how all these titles showcase these strong, badass ladies with their newly acquired Sorrow swords (I don’t know if I cant call them that or not, I just do). The opening of the book, with the narrative being set in Sonja’s perspective really set the tone strongly for me- I love how bawdy and foul-mouthed Sonja can be, and this book doesn’t shy away from that in the slightest. I like Marguerite Bennett’s humor, and this book- while having lots of tense and punchfight-y moments, still has lots of good, fast humor throughout. I really thought that Jungle Girl was going to fall flat for me- how could TWO scantily clad smokin’ hot babes come together and actually make a meaningful story? Wont they just end up kissing under a waterfall made of beer and chicken wings, while a twenty-minute Van Halen guitar solo plays in the background? I was (and still am) pleasantly surprised by the decided LACK of overtly sexiness in the way these characters carry themselves. Maybe it is owed to the fact that this title and the event itself are written and overseen by women, or maybe, just maybe- all the people involved are just taking this book seriously and giving all the characters a decent chance to be well-developed and human for a change? Who knows…

The artwork on this book was really solid- I was a bit thrown with the painted style of the cover and the bit more cartoon-y feel of the interiors so at odds with one another, but I quickly reconciled myself. I liked how Sonja was portrayed, and I thought that Jungle Girl looked pretty awesome wielding that double-ended spear-thing she has. The scene with the weird ice region was beautifully crafted, and the shattering of the frozen flowers against the tree was a great punctuation mark for the moment.

The end of the book had quite a few fast-paced twists and turns, and I really enjoyed the big, splashy last page reveal. From that moment, it would seem that Red Sonja and Jungle Girl have quite an uphill battle ahead of them. I thought that the humor that was threaded throughout the book was really interesting, seeing how Sonja sort of embraced JG’s (I call her “JG” for short, because we’re such good pals…) innocence and took her under her wing to teach her all about sarcasm and how to toss out quips and one-liners as you murder people. The thing that stuck out to me was the quickness that Sonja decided to team up with JG- it felt a bit rushed. Maybe that is just me, nitpicking at little threads instead of just enjoying the story as a whole, but that’s part of talking about these things- to point out the good along with the bad. Maybe it would have worked better if there was a bit of a lapse in time (and maybe there was, and I just missed it…) or if Sonja had to travel for days to get to the land of Jungle Girl- before she jumps straight out of the trees and waves around a big pointy spear, then thirty seconds later they are BFFs and Sonja is teaching JG all about not being “murdered horribly” and JG is cooking “Scaleback” (whatever that is) for Sonja as a peace offering.

Overall, this was a very fun book, and it shows (at least to myself, personally…) that other people can handle Red Sonja- and well enough that when Gail finally leaves the title, I will continue to give the book a chance to grow on me, because that stinky, redhead devil has really grown on me too!

This book is definitely a good place for anyone in the Swords of Sorrow readership to jump in and see some new characters that maybe they haven’t read about before- or to get a bit of a fresh perspective on characters they already knew- either way, this book is worth reading, and you will most certainly have fun doing it. The end of this issue will leave you wanting more, and youll have to wait another thirty days to get it- but, I have a feeling, it will be worth the wait…