In the latest issue from Mark Russel, we see multiple important developments as Hyrkania’s queen seeks to find a solution to her people’s suffering.
At first, we see her allies in Hyrkania attempt to resolve the food shortage, an issue created by the war with Zamora; Wherein Sonja burned the land to hinder her enemies.
Next, Sonja encounters the new King of Khitai, who happens to have killed off his generals and is in need of a new leader to train his soldiers.
Afterwards, we see multiple developments take place: the tragedy of hunger and implementing a ration system in Hyrkania, the contemplation of working for Khitai to feed her people, and the outcome that all of Sonja’s actions will result in continued wars of give and take.
With no clear solutions, Russel delivers on multiple story aspects and the philosophical aspect of attempting world peace when warring nations vie for survival and the betterment of their people. We saw Zamora and Khitai as nations who wanted only power. We’re also seeing the repercussions of Sonja’s actions and the talk of a curse take place, as fighting until the whole land is conquered appears as her only option.
When the story unfolds further, it’s clear that Russel is portraying a grey area that he hopes to accomplish solving by the end. Since wars aren’t black and white issues, and they’re fought for different reasons, we are seeing a conflicted Sonja focus more on how she can better her people without causing harm for neighboring cities and nations that are working to get by.
Whatever the outcome is, this new storyline should prove to have different stakes, since instead of a tale of surviving an army through tactical retreats and allies, we’re seeing a tale of what went wrong an how to avoid the worst outcome. Sonja loos to stop history from repeating itself, and yet all she’s done is trade a tyrant for another. If she is to save her people, one of her best options might be to become Khitai’s new general and then stage a coup. She’ll then achieve her mantle of being a king killer, and we’ll see her maintain ownership of the whole land. This outcome would result in her having a better handle over the people compared to the tyrants.
Besides speculating on the outcome of future issues, this weeks installment delivered multiple plot elements, enhanced the current story arcs presented in the previous issues, and did so without feeling too cluttered with narration.
While the series has become less tactical and combative, we’re seeing a turning point in the character arc of Sonja, and finding her character tested in new ways, that look to become expanded on in the upcoming Killing Red Sonja series. this addition should enhance the overall story elements and add to the other plot devices that Mark Russel is looking to touch on in his run.
Compared to previous installments, this issue wasn’t the strongest due to the nature of setting up more plot devices, rather than acting upon previous issues, but the payoff that is being setup, should make the next issues stronger, along with the spinoff series that ties into this one.