RED SONJA: LORD OF FOOLS & MORE! [Mini-Reviews]

Conan The Barbarian #8 CoverCONAN THE BARBARIAN #8/ Script by JASON AARON/ Art by GERARDO ZAFFINO & GARRY BROWN/ Colors by MATTHEW WILSON/ Letters by VC’S TRAVIS LANHAM/ Published by MARVEL COMICS

Review by MATT MORRISON

Conan has returned to his home village in Cimmeria, but an old enemy is determined to make his homecoming brief and painful. Can Conan fight his own people without slaying them or will he fall to the swords and axes of his own clan thanks to the dark magic of Thoth-Amon?

I’ve yet to read any story that involved Conan returning to Cimmeria that was worth the effort of reading. While Aaron’s script has a certain degree of wit (at least, I enjoyed this issue more than Brain Wood’s tale of Conan taking Belit to meet his mother back in the Dark Horse Conan series.) the whole thing is rather predictable. The artwork by Gerardo Zaffino and Garry Brown is fantastic, however, and makes the comic visually interesting, as Matthew Wilson’s colors create the perfect tone for the frozen wastes of Cimmeria. This is a serviceable issue of Conan The Barbarian, but not a great one.

3-5

 

Ice Cream Man #13 CoverICE CREAM MAN #13/ Script by W. MAXWELL PRINCE/ Art by MARTIN MORAZZO/ Colors by CHRIS O’HALLORAN/ Letters by GOOD OLD NEON / Published by IMAGE COMICS

Review by ROY BUCKINGHAM

It is no secret that I think The Ice Cream Man is one of the best comic books out there currently. Each time a new issue comes out, it amazes me how the storytelling and artwork seem to only get stronger.

This time, the readers will be seriously knocked for a loop, as we are presented with a Palindrome. I believe my editor Matt Morrison can confirm this for me, but I think this is something not done before. At least, not that I have seen. (Me either. As far as I can tell, this is a first – Ed.) The story of this comic can be read forwards or backwards. Either path you take, it all comes to the same conclusion. The script and the artwork are both fantastic, working in perfect unison to convey the twisted story.

The Ice Cream Man has definitely evolved into The Twilight Zone of comics, and makes me wonder if the ghost of Rod Sterling is guiding the hands of the team behind this comic. Quite possibly the most emotionally unsettling yet fascinating issue of this title to date, I cannot wait to see what is down the line.

5-5

 

Justice League Dark Annual #1 CoverJUSTICE LEAGUE DARK ANNUAL #1/ Script by JAMES TYNION IV & RAM V/ Art by GUILLEM MARCH/ Colors by ARIF PRIANTO/ Letters by ROB LEIGH/ Published by DC COMICS

Review by MATT MORRISON

The Parliament Of Trees is dead and a new Parliament of Flowers has grown to appoint a new champion of The Green. Swamp Thing intends to offer his guidance to this new King of Petals. Unfortunately, Jason Woodrue reached the new champion first and is already twisting him towards his own devious ends…

More of a Swamp Thing story than a Justice League Dark one, James Tynion IV and Ram V still spin an engaging tale. The artwork by Gullem March mostly suits the story, but the inks are awfully thin and the color palette used by Arif Prianto is far too bright. Granted, the story does center around a man made of flowers, but the finished art lacks definition and the near-neon coloration is at odds with the story. Fans of Swamp Thing would do well to check this one out, despite the issues with the art.

4-5

 

Red Sonja Lord Of Fools CoverRED SONJA: LORD OF FOOLS ONE-SHOT/ Script by MARK RUSSELL/ Art by BOB Q & KATIE O’MEARA/ Colors by DEARBHLA KELLY/ Letters by HASSAN OTSMANE-ELHAOU/ Published by DYNAMITE COMICS

Review by MATT MORRISON

Composed of scenes set before, during and after Red Sonja #6, Lord of Fools gives some insight into the supporting cast of the current Red Sonja series and offers plenty of laughs in the process. Light on action, this issue is sure to be held up as exhibit A by those who disparage Mark Russell’s run on the regular series.

Admittedly, there’s very little of Sonja herself to be found and the middle section of this issue describing the god known as the Lord of Fools reads more like a comedic take on H.P. Lovecraft than Robert E. Howard. It’s funny, thought-provoking stuff, but it’s not what we usually see in a Red Sonja story. Make of that what you will.

The artwork, at least, is sure to satisfy regular readers and the designs of the various deities in the fable section are memorable, if nothing else. The colors are a bit muted, bit this suits the stories. Overall, fans of the current Red Sonja series will like it, but it’s unlikely to win over any new fans.

3-5

About Matt Morrison

Matt "Starman" Morrison is The Grand Exalted High Macha of Raspur - a non-existent but real-sounding country. He has been writing about comics since before the word "blogging" was coined. He enjoys acting, role-playing, movie-riffing and sarcasm. You can follow his adventures on Twitter, @GeekyGeekyWays.

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