ALTERED STATES: RED SONJA

PrintE-mail Written by Dominic Cuthbert

COMIC BOOK REVIEW: ALTERED STATES: RED SONJA / AUTHOR: BRANDON JERWA / ARTIST: JUANAN RAMIREZ / PUBLISHER: DYNAMITE / RELEASE DATE: MARCH 11TH

Riding the wave of success of DC’s cunning Elseworlds and Marvel’s oft-tantalising What If! series, Dynamite is flogging their own one-shot shake-ups of some of its most popular titles with Altered States. They might prove interesting, if superfluous, additions to core fans’ collections but it’s all a bit underwhelming.

Red Sonja, like her hunky male counterpart, continues to fascinate audiences who crave a dose of high fantasy, but Altered States doesn’t nearly give the character enough room to do her thing. Penned by Brandon Jerwa, known mostly for his work on Battlestar Galactica and Highlander, who spins a tale initially conjuring up the spirit of Robert E. Howard. It begins with ole Red knee deep in battle with the dark sorcerer Kulan Garth and his nasties, before she’s magicked away leaving only her iconic sword.

Jumping forward to present day Siberia, the sword is dug up by intrepid archaeologists before winding up on a New York museum which also houses the mummified remains of one Kulan Garth. Both are presided over by special exhibits curator Sonja - funnily enough she sports a shock of red hair and a similar physique. Inevitably Kulan Gath gets resurrected and, with Sonja grabbing for the sword, The Big Apple transforms into fantasy land.

Altered States: Red Sonja is illustrated by Juanan Ramirez, whose art does conjure all the marvel expected of the character, but everything is resolved without much in the way of consequence, so it’s all rather inane. With more than a whiff of a certain vampire slayer, but none of the sass of Gail Simone’s run, Altered States leaves Sonja limp and unengaging.

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