Red Sonja: A Death in Scarlet
[Cross Plains Comics $2.95 US]
Written by Roy Thomas & Steven Lightle / Illustrated by Steve Lightle
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Red Sonja: A Death in ScarletI probably wouldn’t have picked this one-shot up but I noticed Steve Lightle was the artist and I couldn’t pass on that. Lightle has been doing covers for the Flash recently but I haven’t seen him illustrate a comic story in ages. He’s been one of my favorite artists since his Legion of Super-Heroes days and it’s nice to see him back in the game.

A little known fact about Red Sonja is she was developed by Roy Thomas for the Marvel Conan the Barbarian series. She’s based on a Robert E. Howard character, Red Sonya of Rogatine, from the story "Shadow of the Vulture." The thief/swordswoman/adventurer of the Conan comic became so popular she was even given her own short-lived Marvel series.

This story takes place a few months after Red Sonja’s family are killed by thieves. She and her companion, T’Shika, are in lively Khorusun looking for wealthy men to fleece and to find the killers of Sonja’s parents. They get more than they bargained for when they rob a wealthy and powerful fence, Quianlang.

Thomas and Lightle worked together on this story and their obvious love and respect for the character shows in the end result. The fantasy sword and sorcery genre hasn’t been this well represented in quite some time. The hot young artists of today could do their readers a favor by studying Lightle’s attention to detail in every panel and his mastery of the comics storytelling form. And as a bonus to fans of good girl art his rendering of Sonja could give Frank Thorne a run for his money.

If you want to give this title and other REH adaptations a try write: Cross Plains Comics, 2472 Broadway Suite 106, New York, NY 10025 USA. You can visit their web site at www.crossplainscomics.com [Alas, another dead one.]