England. 1922. For the sake of his oldest friend, Lord Greystroke has consented to meet with Eson Duul. Duul is acclaimed by the nobility of England for his skills as a big game hunter and trophy collector but Lord Greystroke finds him to be distasteful even before he is introduced to the horrific menagerie that Duul maintains upon his English estate. For Lord Greystoke is known by another name among the animals of Africa, where he was raised among the great apes of the jungle… Tarzan!
Hyrkania. A Time Before Time. Sonja The She-Devil has grown used to having to defend herself from random bravos who seek to make a name for themselves. It is the price one pays for being a legend – a warrior woman as beautiful as she is deadly. When one such duel is ended by treachery and Sonja is humbled with her horse slain and sword stolen, she sets out to claim vengeance on the one responsible – a man named Eson Duul.
Two hunters separated by time and distance. Two warriors with a common enemy whose existence defies all reason. Two heroes destined to join forces, though one seeks revenge and the other seeks to save all they hold dear!
Sword and Sorcery crossover events seem to have become something of a trend in recent years and no publisher has been more responsible for that than Dynamite Entertainment. Two years ago, they published the Swords of Sorrow event that saw multiple pulp heroines join forces across a number of specials, written by an all-star team of comics’ greatest female writers. Last year, they published Worldscape – an event promoted with game company Paizo Publishing – which saw the heroes of Paizo’s Pathfinder line teaming with the likes of Red Sonja, John Carter and Tarzan. And while they had nothing to do with last year’s Wonder Woman/Conan mini-series. that book was written by the author who had the greatest role in spinning the story of Swords of Sorrow – Gail Simone.
Simone is on familiar territory here, having written a critically acclaimed run on Red Sonja that neatly modernized the character’s mythology while remaining true to her savage roots. Simone’s script for this issue does a fantastic job of introducing our protagonists and setting up the circumstances that bring them together. Ignoring the difficulty in pairing Sonja with Tarzan (a feat accomplished with a nod to the mythology of Swords of Sorrow), the teaming of both characters makes a lot of sense in terms of personalities. Both are hunters and warriors renowned for their savage natures. They are contrasted, however, in that Tarzan later became capable of traversing the urban jungles with equal skill and acting with some measure of decorum. Sonja, on the other hand, would be a practitioner of gunboat diplomacy if she lived in an era with gunboats.
The artwork by Walter Geovani is unsurprisingly excellent. This is a given considering Geovani’s long experience in drawing Red Sonja, which he collaborated on with Simone. Geovani sports a unique style which is streamlined yet detail driven and he depicts an English manor with equal skill to how he draws a squalid Hyborian city. Paired with the vivid colors of Adriano Augusto and the excellent lettering by Simon Bowland, this is one comic that will appeal to new readers as well as pulp aficionados.