Since there was a lot to this, I did it in MS Word, and am copying it in. Willl do it in a couple of insatallments to cut down on post size.
With 3 July rapidly coming down upon us another (and unnecessary) period of transition and uncertainty draws to a close. I say unnecessary because if Dynamite had simply held to a simple story telling principle, one that Marvel held on to from 1973 to 1995, life for Sonja fans would be a lot simpler and calmer but no less exciting. That principle is simply to tell the biography of 1 person living at 1 particular time in detail, starting with a logical beginning and taking it to an equally logical end, which does not necessarily mean the death of the character. Sonja in her first run had a career of over 40 years, starting when she was “of less than twenty years” (“The Day of the Sword” in Kull and the Barbarians #3) to somewhere in her 60’s. (“Call of the Wild” in Conan the King # 28) That is a lot of territory to cover, and the printed stories did not come even close. In a much shorter span of time we have been treated to at least 6 Sonjas, with # 7 on the way.
On the plus side, the stories are consistently well written, the art (with 1 exception) varying degrees of excellent, and many of the old gems have been reprinted.
Red Sonja # 1: Red Sonja issues 0-34. The one I thought was going to start filling in those gaps, so bought en masse once I learned they were out there. She looked and acted like Sonja, had the same talent for getting into (and out of) dire difficulties, but some-thing was not quite right, like a photo of an old friend that’s out of focus. It did not feel like Hyboria, there were too many errors in her back-story, out of character behaviors - one very horrendous, she had (per the chronology) kicked K.G.’s butt royally way back when, and who the H--- is Scathach. The sad conclusion was that DE had invented an alternate universe, given us a different Sonja, and had not been up front about it.
Red Sonja #2: The Sonja of the one-shots and mini-series. Apart from a few clearly indicated exceptions, this Sonja could fit into the story line of any of the others at the reader’s choosing. Many of the stories are neutral enough regarding DE universe flags that they could even be credited to the original character.
Red Sonja #3: Red Sonja issues 35-49. Mr. Reed, beginning with the last portion of issue 34, does what is really the only logical thing – the understandable unhappiness of many of the Sonja community notwithstanding. Since DE gave us a Sonja quite unlike the original and then chose to kill her off, the only viable way to deal with it (other than someone admitting that DE seriously messed up) was to introduce the concept of Red being an ongoing force that indwells a host in time of need, rather than being 1 specific person living at 1 specific time. That in one shot handles the variance and provides the rationale for continuing the series. This Sonja is engaging, very human, someone that anyone who is struggling with life’s challenges can identify with, and has a lot of potential. The story line is promising. Where do we go from here as we follow her to further exploits? But, it is abruptly cut in favor of starting a wholly new title and ending this one. The promised great place for new readers ended for yet another promised great place for new readers. A great loss, for the original word was this was to be at least a 2 year run, and there was reportedly enough projected material to go longer than that..
"Aim at heaven, and you get earth thrown in; aim at earth, and you get neither." C.S. Lewis