Editors Note: Red Sonja has nothing to do with Red Sonja: Age of Chaos; in this article it was mentioned that Dragan’s death and curse was tied to the upcoming Age of Chaos series, but the two series have no connection. Dragan’s death has nothing to do with the other series.
After twelve issues, Red Sonja finally concludes the war against Dragan, with the death of the King.
While this finale has been building for awhile, the ending felt lackluster, as if the author was waiting to get onto the Red Sonja: Age of Chaos series.
At first, we see Sonja backed into a corner, with a bridge separating her units from Dragan. As Dragan advances, her soldiers loose arrows, so Dragan attempts to cross a different way over the blockade, only to have spearmen below who kill his men. As Dragan attempts to use his horses to cross the bridge, Sonja drops the bridge to limit travel to the trenches. Then Dragan resorts to Berserkers and Elephants, only to have Sonja’s men get onto the elephants and kill the men. With Dragan at a loss, he threatens his guards, resulting in getting stabbed in the heat of the moment and thrown to the wolves. Sonja then approaches the crippled Dragan and kills him to end the curse, only to unleash Chaos.
While a lot of combat tactics and action happens in this issue, it feels very quick and weak structurally. We had Dragan built up as a villain for 12 issues, only to have a final fight that is the result of one page showcasing each different moment, and then Dragan dies like a dog. This felt underwhelming compared to other finales. I was expecting more sword fighting for Sonja or more pages with different strategic moments that were more in depth. Instead we just had an escalating battle get resolved in a few pages, when it felt like it was trying to be more like a Lord of the Rings movie. This rushed ending only leads me to believe that the series was trying to just wrap the arc up quickly so they could start the Age of Chaos comic towards the end of the month.
As an issue, I felt robbed overall. I enjoyed when Sonja was still trying to recruit others to her side and then got betrayed ultimately. Those moments felt like they were building to a larger narrative. Instead, we just had multiple chapters of Sonja running away to figure out a strategy, only to kill her enemy like a dog and resolve the issue in a quick few pages, rather than build more upon the setting and war tactics.
While story wise the majority of this issue felt rushed, the art and emotional range at moments was good. Seeing soldiers reactions as they are stabbed below, or civilians sneaking around made for some enjoyable panels.
Overall, this issue felt rushed so that the author could push the next Sonja series and another spin off that’s coming out. Since this issue felt rushed and more like a set-up to get to the next arc, we instead got a weak ending that made me feel robbed of a larger narrative that could’ve been expanded upon.