Red Sonja: Vacant Shell by Rick Remender (writer), Paul Renaud (art), Chris Chuckry and Paul Renaud (colours), Simon Bowland (letters) and Luke Lieberman (editor), Dynamite Entertainment, May 2007, 32 pages of strip, US$4.99
Good news: This is a straightfoward story of the classic pulp sword and sorcery model. Sonja runs across something nasty, and deals with it. There is pleasing clunky dialogue, and a distinct lack of epic, potentous overtones.
Bad news: This is a one-shot. Rick Remender is not writing the regular series.
Good news: There is no sign of the regular Red Sonja rape fantasy, in which our heroine will gladly give herself sexually to any man who can beat her in a fight.
Bad news: She’s going to be forcibly married to a demon. That rarely happens to Conan.
Good news: Paul Renaud’s art has an easy, fluid naturalism, whether dealing with figures in motion, horses, woods and buildings or zombies.
Bad news: The chainmail bikini looks silly, no matter who how well it is drawn.
Bad news: I am being drummed out of the Pedants’ Union for failing to mention that “chainmail” is not a genuine medieval term, and, anyway, the bikini is scale armour, not mail. (“Bikini” is, of course, a medieval Flemish term meaning “impractical fetish gear”, and unrelated to the modern English “bikini” meaning “two-piece swimsuit”.)
Good news: No more Pedants’ Union dues.