Category: Comics & Books


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After a year including Sonjaversal and The Invincible Red Sonja and Red Sonja: Black and White and the announcement of Hannah John-Kamen (Star Wars, The Dark Crystal, Marvel, Game of Thrones, Tomb Raider) cast as the next live-action movie Sonja, the busy year of Red Sonja continues.  With her 50th anniversary arriving in 2023, now we have a new anthology series from Dynamite Entertainment beginning this week.  Red Sonja adds a new twist to the re-imagined story of Robert E. Howard’s famous “she-devil with a sword,” as she comes onto a destroyed encampment to find the only survivor a young girl named Sitha.  What is the secret behind the strange symbols on her skin?

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STL192026  Red Sonja 2 BWR A Parrillo

Review by C.J. Bunce

After Sonjaversal and The Invincible Red Sonja and the announcement of Hannah John-Kamen (Star Wars, The Dark Crystal, Marvel, Game of Thrones, Tomb Raider) cast as the next live-action movie Sonja, the big year of Red Sonja continues.  With her 50th anniversary arriving in 2023, now we have a new anthology series from Dynamite Entertainment beginning next week.  Red Sonja: Black White Red combines three pairs of well-known writers and artists with a final book published in classic black and white with a touch of red–sometimes for Sonja’s flaming red hair, and just as often for the blood of her enemies.

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RedSonja

Review by C.J. Bunce

Is this the year of Red Sonja?  Her 50th anniversary arrives in 2023, but we’re already off to a great start.  We thought we had something big with January’s launch of Sonjaversal from Dynamite Comics.  Just as Hannah John-Kamen (who we love, love, love, love, love)–star of hit franchise films including Star Wars, The Dark Crystal, Marvel, Game of Thrones, and Tomb Raider–has now been tapped to take on the role of the She-Devil with a Sword in a Red Sonja reboot movie, comic shops will get you another big Red Sonja fix this week with the premiere of The Invincible Red Sonja.  The series reunites All Star Western‘s Jimmy Palmiotti, co-writing the series with wife/partner Amanda Conner, and artist Moritat.  The variant cover options are worthy of this big series debut, including artwork by Frank Cho and several others.  It’s wall to wall action, with pirates, mermaids, princesses, and intrigue.

Check out a preview for borg readers, courtesy of Dynamite Comics, of the first issue of The Invincible Red Sonja below, along with 48 cover options.

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Legendary artist Frank Cho is back this month with a new way to get your hands on an exclusive run of a variant comic book cover design he created for Dynamite Entertainment’s ongoing Red Sonja series.  Initially part of an earlier crowdfunding campaign, Dynamite has just opened up the opportunity for anyone to get their hands on one of four styles of Cho’s beautiful rendition of the famous “She-Devil with a Sword,” with color work supplied by frequent Cho collaborator Sabine Rich.  According to Cho, “When Dynamite asked me to draw the Red Sonja cover, I jumped at the chance.  Who doesn’t love a redhead with a sword?  The cover will show Red Sonja at her best – power and beauty.  My goal is to make her look strong, classic, timeless and iconic.”  This limited time opportunity also provides the opportunity to purchase other collectibles featuring this definitive image of Red Sonja.

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Review by C.J. Bunce

A cyborg Red Sonja?  Red Sonja with a gun?  A Sonja multiverse?  “Purple Sonja?”

One Sonja to rule them all–into the Sonjaverse.  What Dynamite Comics bills as “the most important comic book to ever come out in the history of the world” is at a minimum likely to become the publisher’s biggest book of the year.  Some ideas are “money” and that is true for a story of Red Sonja in her own multiverse.  It’s coming the first Wednesday in February with the arrival of the first issue of Sonjaversal, a new, awesome, action book full of all kinds of fun.  An evil force is punishing parallel world versions of Sonja by forcing each Sonja to kill the other.  Who will stop the madness before there is only one Sonja left standing?

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You know her as the red-haired she-devil with the sword.  And they are the green-skinned invaders from the Topps trading cards.   And Mars.  Those vile little nasties of Mars Attacks are returning to Earth, but this time they have no chance against one of the fiercest heroines in the planet’s history, Red Sonja.  Or do they?  Sci-fi meets fantasy as Robert E. Howard’s savage barbarian queen pulls out all the stops to protect her world against the superior technology of science fiction’s most loathsome helmeted ghouls in Mars Attacks Red Sonja, coming this month from Dynamite.  Get ready to pull out your wallet for a stack of variant covers.

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IDW Publishing, Dynamite, DC Comics, and Marvel Comics are getting into the holiday spirit this week for Valentine’s Day this Friday.

IDW Publishing has three books featuring the subject of love: Star Trek: Year Five, Transformers, and Napoleon Dynamite each with a romance tale.  DC Comics has its annual giant-sized issue for February, too.  This time it’s DC’s Crimes of Passion #1.  The 80-pager features ten stories by some good teams of writers and artists, including a Bat-story by writer Steve Orlando with fantastic artwork by Greg Smallwood.  And there’s even a Green Arrow and Black Canary team-up.  The Star Trek cover arrives in two variants, one (above) matching last year’s wraparound kids Valentine format that featured Kirk.

You need to think a bit to see what’s happening with Dynamite’s special Valentine’s Day covers, except maybe for the cover to Death to Army of Darkness #1 by Sebastian Piriz with its big red heart front and center.  Dynamite is presenting an odd assemblage of homages to Marvel Comics’ The Amazing Spider-Man covers of the past featuring Mary Jane Watson, which by themselves don’t scream chocolates and roses.  But if you collect homage covers, check out Piriz’s homage to the cover of The Amazing Spider-Man Annual #21, Lynne Yoshii’s Vampirella/Red Sonja #6 (matching The Amazing Spider-Man #59), and Sanya Anwar’s covers to Dejah Thoris #3 (matching The Amazing Spider-Man #601) and Red Sonja #13 (an homage to The Amazing Spider-Man #42’s final panel).  So along with Dynamite, Marvel Comics gets its own piece of Valentine’s Day attention (whether they wanted to or not).  Note: These are just variant covers for the holiday, not Valentine’s Day stories inside.

 

Check out more of the covers for this week’s books below. and a preview of DC’s Crimes of Passion:

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Review by C.J. Bunce

What do a submarine, a space shuttle, dinosaurs, sea creatures from 20,000 leagues, flying saucers, and a female Tarzan have in common?  They’re all part of Frank Cho’s Jungle Girl.

Frank Cho is one of our favorite artists and he’s also a great guy, always eager to chat at the next comic convention.  He’s a double threat–his artwork is second to none, but many don’t know how humorous his writing can be, as illustrated in his University² series of comic strips and his Liberty Meadows series.  He’s also a great all-around writer, and so it’s no surprise that he combined his trademark jungle women art with his love of dinosaurs and spun them into a series that he plotted and handed over to other writers and artists to execute.  That 15-issue comic book series coming your way this month in the Jungle Girl Complete Omnibus, a giant 392-page trade paperback edition from Dynamite Entertainment.  With stunning visuals and a female Tarzan named Jana born into Earth’s distant past, the only things that would make the book even better would be if Cho wrote and illustrated more than the cover art for it.

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Our borg Best of 2021 list continues today with the Best Books of 2021.  If you missed them, check out our reviews of the Kick-Ass Heroines of 2021 here, the Best Movies of 2021 here, and the Best in TV 2021 here.  And we wrap-up the year with our additions to the borg Hall of Fame tomorrow.  We reviewed more than 100 books that we recommended to our readers this year, and some even made it onto our favorites shelf.  We don’t publish reviews of books that we read and don’t recommend, so this shortlist reflects only this year’s cream of the crop.  So let’s get going!  

   

Best Sci-Fi, Best Tie-In Novel – Moments Asunder by Dayton Ward (Gallery Books).  An engaging read and fun-filled start to a new trilogy, full of great throwbacks to all the Star Trek series, with several surprise characters and incorporated events, and a great update to Wesley Crusher.  Runner-up: Star Trek: Picard–Rogue Elements (Gallery Books), by John Jackson Miller, provided a great story for a newer character, pulling into the mix the future of some familiar characters including the classic villain Kivas Fajo.    

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Review by C.J. Bunce

Six have been chosen by their clans.  New dangers have arisen, and they must work together and learn to fight for each other to achieve their mission, ridding the land of new threats.  Unfortunately none of these chosen warriors trust each other.  We meet the cast of characters in the first chapter of Rising Sun, a new comic book series from IDW Publishing set in 12th century Japan, based on the 2017 CMON Limited tabletop board game Rising Sun, where clans must use politics, strength, and honor to rule the land.  The story was created by Skylanders writers Ron Marz and David Rodriguez.

Readers follow Chiyoku of the Koi Clan as she confronts a dragon who fells a fellow warrior.  The introductory issue paints Chiyoku like a cross between the DC Comics character Katana, Disney’s Mulan, or China’s Lotus Rong on a journey Red Sonja might take–It’s drawn in the style we’ve seen of Red Sonja on her bloody adventures with similar sweeping action.  Artist Martin Coccolo (Star Trek: Year Five) renders characters that are lifelike and recognizable from panel to panel.  The costumes and vibrant color work by Katrina Mae Hao bring along a realistic, historical vibe to the world of the game (check out the core Rising Sun game and expansion packs here at Amazon).

 

Readers encounter a similar pantheon of color-styled clans as we met in the movie The Great Wall, this time the red Koi clan, the orange Fox clan, the purple Lotus clan, the gold Bonsai clan, the blue Dragonfly clan, and the green Turtle clan.  As a bonus for gamers, the first issue includes an appendix with suggested game modifications.

It has vivid action and beautiful characters, presenting a good beginning for the series.  Here is a preview of the first issue of Rising Sun, plus some cover art (above) for the first three issues, courtesy of IDW Publishing:

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