All across the multiverse, a war is brewing. On one side stands a cruel despot, whose will is ripping the cosmos asunder, opening portals willy-nilly between various worlds. On the other side is a being, whose servant – manifesting as a bald man appropriately dressed to wherever he must travel – is distributing the magical Swords of Sorrow to various women of skill and courage. They are to be the soldiers and generals in the war against the tyrant.
Sonja of Hyrkania knows little about the battle into which she has been drafted and the sword that has been entrusted to her. All she knows is that she is ready to face this dark lord and force-feed him some honest steel. That and, having been accidentally transported to the arid world of Barsoom by one of the tyrant’s portals, she is ready to go home.
Alas, Sonja’s journeys through time and space are not yet done. For the portal she originally came through does not return her to Hyboria. Instead it transports her to another hot realm, more humid than the dry deserts of Mars or Sonja’s homeworld. And before can check her chainmail for rust, Sonja runs afoul of the guardian of this savage world – Jana, The Jungle Girl!
Jana is another warrior, like Sonja, who has been delivered one of the strange swords. But Jana knows nothing of the war or the tyrant, being more concerned with another threat – an otherworldly curse that threatens to sicken her people and transform their tropical home into an icy wasteland!
The artwork for this issue is wonderful. Mirka Andolfo boasts a unique style that defies conventional description. There seem to be some shojo manga influences, with our heroines having big eyes and small mouths. Yet there is a fluidity to the action and a sprightliness to the character designs that is reminiscent of Bruce Timm. However you describe it, it looks amazing!
Andolfo’s artwork is well-matched by Marguerite Bennett’s script. Bennett does a masterful job of introducing our heroines and establishing the setting of the greater Swords of Sorrow storyline without going overly heavy on the exposition. Sonja is quickly established as a foul-mouthed worldly smart-ass and Jana as a fierce, yet relatively innocent, warrior. One particularly novel touch is that little time is wasted pitting Sonja and Jana against one another, the two heroines quickly realizing they are allies rather than adversaries after a brief fight that lasts all of a single two-page spread.
Miraculously – for a tie-in book – no previous experience with Swords of Sorrow, Red Sonja or Jungle Girl is needed to understand or enjoy this issue. New readers can easily dig into this book without worrying of the backstory involved. And those who are already fortunate enough to be enjoying Swords of Sorrow shall enjoy this mini-series as well.