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Comic Review: Witchblade/Red Sonja #1
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Witchblade/Red Sonja #1Witchblade/Red Sonja #1
Written by Doug Wagner
Art by Cezar Razek
Colors by Marlon Ilagan
Letters by Troy Peteri
Covers by Ale Garza
Dynamite Entertainment | Top Cow
Release Date: February 22, 2011
Cover Price: $3.99

The new series Witchblade/Red Sonja combines two of the comic book world’s most famous female warriors and puts them together for a major crossover event between Top Cow and Dynamite Entertainment. In Witchblade/Red Sonja #1 we learn that a quest for vengeance has led Red Sonja, the She-Devil with a Sword, into uncharted lands far from her native Hyboria. Her tale takes place in the past “in an age undreamed of” where she’s hunting down a beast who’s been taking female virgins for sacrifice. Meanwhile, in modern-day New York City, police detective Sara Pezzini, the bearer of the ancient mythical Witchblade artifact, gets called in to investigate the gruesome death of a Catholic priest.

This first issue switches back and forth between Sonja’s battle with a replicating beast and Sara at the crime scene, which turns out to be no ordinary homicide investigation. Before long, the Witchblade kicks into action and Sara is fighting a beast of her own.

At this point in the series, Sonja and Sara have not met and their worlds have not collided. Sonja’s storyline takes place in the past, where she actually meets another bearer of the Witchblade, Nissa, as there have been many who’ve wielded the powerful weapon throughout time. In the present, Sara, although a new mom to her baby daughter Hope, is still a detective, as well as the current bearer of the Witchblade. We see her at home with her work partner Patrick Gleason (who I believe is also now her love interest) playing with her daughter. Writer Doug Wagner chooses to introduce us to the “maternal” Sara before showing us the other sides to her life, so I’m wondering if that’s because baby Hope will come into play later on in the series. (As with all things Witchblade, Sara’s pregnancy was anything but simple and Hope’s conception and purpose was another major storyline in the regular Top Cow series).

If you’re not familiar with either properties, you might be a bit confused as to what motivates these characters, but that won’t stop you from enjoying the story. It seems to me that with each issue, we’ll learn more about each character’s background and it will make more sense as to why they are even sharing a title.

I never know what to expect in comic book crossover titles, especially those where the characters are from two separate publishing houses, as they are here (Sara and the Witchblade are from Top Cow; Red Sonja, who’s based on the Robert E. Howard character, is from Dynamite Entertainment). I often worry that the characters will be thrown together with no rhyme or reason, and that even if they do meet, why would they even team up? The last thing I want to read is that Sara broke a nail wielding the Witchblade and Red Sonja needs a pedicure after all that walking through the tundra, so after bumping into each other at the local nail salon, the two decide to go off together on an adventure and whacky hijinx ensue. I know, crazy, right? I’d like to say it’s preposterous to even fathom such a storyline, but we’re talking about a series that focuses on two female characters who are so buxomly drawn that they’re always nearly popping out of their attire (but miraculously never do). Here’s where I should probably mention that if, like me, you dig comics with well-endowed, scantily clad women with both brains and the brawn to kick ass in a fight, then this will be a great series for you.

Anyhow, thankfully, there’s not a broken nail in sight in Witchblade/Red Sonja #1 (watch now in issue #2, the mythical Emery Board will make its first appearance), though there’s plenty of cleavage and ample bosoms, oh, and abs of steel. By the way, I found it amusing that in Sara’s first scene and on the cover, the new mom is depicted with not only a flat stomach, but six-pack abs!

And speaking of the cover by Ale Garza, it’s a beauty, that’s for sure. Both characters look great set against their respective backgrounds — Sonja with her sword, Sara with her gun, with just a touch of the Witchblade off to the side to tease what’s to come. On the cover, both characters look stunning with Sara drawn as a doe-eyed beauty and Sonja as a gorgeous exotic-looking warrior.

While I really liked the cover, it’s not a true representation of the interior art style by artist Cezar Razek and colorist Marlon Ilagan, which I also enjoyed a lot. Inside the book, Sonja, Sara, and Nissa, the Witchblade bearer in Sonja’s world, are not so softly drawn. Instead, they look more fierce, with squared jaws and piercing eyes. While the cover is meant to entice, the interior art is more in line with how these characters, who are fighting with ancient weapons, would look, especially Sonja, who just traipsed through a frozen wasteland (albeit in a fur-cloaked metal bikini, but I guess I shouldn’t get started on that again) wielding a sword and battle axe.

Witchblade/Red Sonja #1 hooked me right from the beginning. You show me a lone warrior traversing a barren, hostile environment, and I’m in. Throw in some awesomely drawn skulls and some stalactites, and you really got me, but it’s the combination of fantastic writing and gorgeous artwork that will keep me reading this series.

Rating: 4 out of 5

Pre-order is now available for the Witchblade/Red Sonja trade paperback, which collects issues #1-5 and will be released in May 2013.

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