Conan Red Sonja: The Age of Innocence #1 (of 4)

by Sean Tonelli on January 13, 2015

Conan Red Sonja: The Age of Innocence #1 (of 4)

Spaghetti and meatballs, ham and cheese, lamb and tuna fish, Conan and Red Sonja. Somethings just go together. For decades Robert E. Howard’s Conan and Roy Thomas and Barry Windsor-Smith’s Red Sonja have been intertwined so much that one wonders if there is any stories left to tell. Always up for a challenge, indie darling publishers Dark Horse and Dynamite joined their creative forces. Looking to add another coupling to historys favourite duos, Gail Simone (Batgirl, Red Zonja) and Jim Zub (Skullkickers, Wayward), mine literary gold with the successful pairing of these two classic characters.

When a bratty prince comes into possession of a jewel with tremendous worth, the prince receives more than he bargains for. With any number of thieves looking to take the piece, two formidable warriors come out of the woodwork to claim their stake. When both Red Sonja and Conan happen to decide to rob the prince the same night, the two decide to partner up and split the profits. However nothing is as it seems as the two must learn to trust each other when they realize there are darker forces at work.

If Conan and Red Sonja are the spaghetti and meatballs then Gail SImone and Jim Zub are certainly the ham and cheese. The two have a biting writing style that effortlessly blends fantasy and humour. What it really boils down to is this; there are no two people better suited to tackle this team-up than this duo. The two writer’s styles mix so well that its hard to tell just who is influencing whom. However the book is not perfect and the plot is breifly dragged down by the typical team-up troupes. While the clash between Red Sonja and Conan creates an energetic splash page, readers can’t help but feel let down. Surely these two superstar writers can come up with something a little more original than this? Luckily this is only a minor gripe, as Simone and Zub’s natural wit and command of these character far overshadows these shortcomings.

Artist Dan Panosian, no stranger to the genre as he has previously worked on Savage Sword of Conan, feels right at home here. As mentioned earlier, the two page splash of Red Sonja and Conan clashing is a wonderful showcase for Panosian’s talent. Conan, looking like a true barbarian and Sonja like a warrior goddess, come to larger-than-life throughout the book. His pencils and inks capture the tone perfectly with a wonderful juxtaposition of rippling bodies and expressive faces.

Panosian also has the blessing of working with one of the industries greatest colourists, 8 time Eisner winner Dave Stewart (Hellboy, The Umbrella Academy). Stewart combines a style reminiscent of the golden age of comics with the new digital aesthetic that has since become the industry standard. The subtle use of Ben-Day dots mixed with cut and grad colouring gives the book a unique tone, one that’s respectful of the sources roots, yet welcomes the two legendary characters to the modern age.

So what happens when you mix Simone and Zub’s wit with Panosian and Stewart’s Homeric art? You get Conan Red Sonja: The Age of Innocence #1 (of 4) a fantastic collaboration on all fronts. One where publishers, creatives and characters all meet on even playing field and gift all readers in the process. 

Conan Red Sonja: The Age of Innocence #1 (of 4)
Writer(s): Gail Simone & Jim Zub

Art: Dan Panosian
Colours: Dave Stewart
Letters: Richard Starkings & Comicraft
Publisher: Dark Horse & Dynamite

Our Score:


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