Erik Burnham’s Writer’s Commentary on Red Sonja #22, published recently from Dynamite Entertainment.
Red Sonja #22 already? Where does the time go?
Erik Burnham here. Hello! Sonja 22, like so many over the last year, was written by myself and Amy Chu.
The art this time out is handled by Jonathan Lau with colors by Omi Remalante, and some fine lettering by our pal Taylor Esposito.
We got some covers! Cover E is our cosplay variant. Cover D is by Reilly Brown and Mohan, Cover C by Tom Mandrake and Sian Mandrake, Cover B by Tom Grummett (one of my favorite Superman artists, but that’s neither here nor there) with colors by Mohan. Dave Bullock handled cover A.
I did the covers in reverse order this month! I wanted you all to be surprised. Were you surprised? Good. Yes, I’m just going to imagine every answer in the positive. It’s the power I have writing these things, and I’m drunk on it.
On to Sonja 22!
Sonja! Reflecting on the end of the Blade of Skath arc, and the fate of Clone-ja. Just something for Sonja to lose herself in thought over while she rides through the woods. We needed her attention elsewhere to more easily tee up page 2…
Surprise! It’s a troll!
This story was one of Amy’s brainchildren — she really wanted to check back in on Zercat the troll, and how he might have changed since meeting Max earlier in her run.
Either way, he’s still gonna spook a horse, and Sonja wasn’t ready to hang on, lost in thought as she was. See? PLOTTING.
Jonathan did some subtle redesigning of Sonja for this book. You’ll see it more closely over the next few pages. Her hair is a little wild, I’ll be honest, that takes some getting used to. But the costuming — it’s still recognizably Red Sonja, but it’s not just a steel bikini. I like it and wonder if it’ll grab any cosplayers in the future.
Anyway, just thinking out loud while Sonja’s holding Giant Dobby at swords-length.
And here’s how Zercat changed. One interaction can reroute a life. I actually do believe that, though you don’t see those kinds of interactions as much for the positive as I would like (in fiction or reality.)
And now, the bustling town. A behind the scenes: the grumpy citizens are an easter egg, based on two folks Amy decided to shout out to! One of which is Mighty Mike Negin, master of the artist alley. I like to think he’d say huzzah.
And now we find out the meat of it. Zercat being a nice troll lets too many people into the town.
That’s bad for the town.
I swear, my own residence in a tourist area did not color my approach to this scene much.
In either case, Sonja promises to try and knock some sense into Zercat, which should be fun in the next scene.
Here she comes with a quarterstaff…
I really like the layout here, the framing of Zercat in the arcs of the staff.
After the beating continues on Page 10, Zercat decides he’s had enough, and makes his argument against a fight.
Sonja counter-argues. This was the thing that Amy wanted to get across — we have our roles, we have our natures. Sometimes change, even for what seems better, has unintended negative consequences.
That’s right, it’s a think piece.
Amy gets deep like that!
Zercat has now had enough, and yes, I specifically called out a Hulk-like ground smash. Turned out great, really shows Zercat’s frustration.
Here’s a nice front view of the Sonja costume tweak — love the lions on the knee armor, the corset and loincloth — she’s not wearing much more, but it seems more warriorlike all the same. Hat tip to Jonathan Lau!
Lesson learned. Zercat almost gets the wrong moral to the story, but hey, Sonja sets him straight.
Everything is now as it should be; Max’s unintended mistake has been put right.
And now the end. All is right, and Sonja gets paid.
The last panel, Sonja looking over her shoulder — I love that expression. It’s the perfect complement to her last line.
Next issue is about a gryphon, I think! So get ready for that.