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Red Sonja and Cub; Good Action, Not Much Else

Red Sonja and Cub; Good Action, Not Much Else

redsonjacubRed Sonja and Cub
Art: Jonathan Lau
Colours: Stefani Renee
Letters: Simon Bowland
Cover: Jeffrey “Chamba” Cruz
Publisher: Dynamite

Who wants a free history lesson? No one? Too bad, you’re getting one anyway! Originally published in 1970, Kazuo Koike and artist Goseki Kojima’s manga entitled Lone Wolf and Cub is one of the most seminal works in the comic medium. It’s timeless tale, Ogami Ittō and his infant son wander Japan seeking revenge on the clans that wronged him. The saga has been adapted, translated and re-told for decades. From Samurai Jack to Road to Perdition, its influence has spread well beyond the bindings of its pages.

Looking to pay homage, writer Jim Zub tacks his own version onto the Lone Wolf and Cub mythos translating the story to the pages of Dynamite’s hottest property: Red Sonja. Zub’s version finds a young girl who is taken under Sonja’s wing after a brutal confrontation with assassins. Unlike the Koike saga, Zub’s is a one-shot tale and a rather action-packed one at that, albeit a tad generic.

The story is straightforward and offers some excellent and bloody visuals. However, Zub’s story never manages to tug the heart strings and misses the opportunity to showcase Red Sonja’s maternal side. Yes, she’s the same wisecracking, badass we all know and love, but the readers could have had more. Such is not the case.

Johnathan Lau’s excellent art however is hampered by sub-par colouring courtesy of Stefani Renee. If you were following the book’s production, you may have noticed how enticing Lau’s pencils and ink work had been. Unfortunately, the final product is an over-produced, digital mess that detracts from the story. While the trend of digital colouring is the way of the future and capable of producing some outstanding results, this book is a great example of the negatives of the technique.

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At the end of the day Red Sonja and Cub is a well drawn action story hampered by poor colouring and a lack of heart.