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Killing Red Sonja: Boy emperor takes on Sonja the Red

Killing Red Sonja #2 has wowed me with this lighthearted story about a boy emperor's quest to kill Sonja the Red. Image credit: Dynamite Entertainment
Image credit: Dynamite Entertainment

Killing Red Sonja #2
Writers: Mark Russell, Bryce Ingman
Artist: Craig Rousseau
Cover: Christian Ward
FC | 32 pages | Action/Adventure | $3.99 | Teen+

I’m getting used to Red Sonja comic books being funny. After enjoying the humor in Red Sonja: Age of Chaos #4, now Dynamite Entertainment‘s Killing Red Sonja #2 has wowed me with this lighthearted story about a boy emperor’s quest to kill Sonja the Red.

Spoilers ahead.

Prince Cyril vs the giants

Of course, since this is a Red Sonja comic, lighthearted means witty dialogue and funny situations interspersed with maiming and killing. Mark Russell and Bryce Ingman have come up with a very enjoyable issue in this mini-series that spins out from the Red Sonja title written by Russell. With Craig Rousseau’s beautiful, fairy tale-like art perfectly complementing the writing.

It’s indirectly a tale about Sonja the Red — the young and untamed orphan who will one day be known as Red Sonja. But it’s really the story of the young Prince Cyril, now Emperor of Zamora, who is out to avenge his father Dragan the Magnificent, who was killed by Sonja the Red.

Unfortunately for the new emperor of Zamora, his quest encounters stumbling blocks. Giant stumbling blocks, in fact, in the form of actual giants.

It’s actually poignant that this issue starts with a chapter from Kristopher’s Quest, a storybook that Prince Cyril obviously has loved since childhood. Chapter 16, “The War Wolves of Koth”, sees the dying Phillipp urging the boy prince Kristopher to continue his quest.

“Ever onward,” Phillipp urges Kristopher, and it is clear this is a lesson that Prince Cyril has taken to heart. He sees the world through the eyes of his hero Kristopher. And it is through this innocent and child-like perspective that we see the events in Killing Red Sonja #2, whose narrator and central character is the boy emperor.

The son also rises

It’s easy to sympathize with poor Prince Cyril. He wants to avenge his father’s death, and he wants to become a hero like the storybook Kristopher.

He bravely embarked on this quest to find Sonja the Red and kill her. As he tells us in the first page after the chapter from Kristopher’s Quest:

“My father, Dragan the Magnificent, was murdered by Sonja the Red. Which made me the Emperor of Zamora.

“My men and I are on a mission to avenge my father’s death.

“It’s not going well.”

Which is definitely an understatement, as giants have killed some of his men, and one of them is about to snack on him.

Mother knows best

What’s worse, however, is that Prince Cyril finds out this isn’t a true quest. Instead, it turns out his mother, Empress Phatmos, had sent him on a glorified sightseeing tour.

She had requested Josef to assemble his finest men to accompany Prince Cyril on what he thinks is a mission to avenge his father, when actually it’s just a ruse.

Prince Cyril is shocked to find out that they have lost four men for nothing. That his followers have been risking their lives on a fool’s errand.

Crushed, he tells his men that they will go back home. To his mother. To safety.

Unfortunately, he doesn’t know that trouble is heading their way.

I can’t wait for Killing Red Sonja #3!

(Editor’s note: This review is based on an advanced review copy provided by Diamond Entertainment. Killing Red Sonja #2 will come out on July 1.)


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