(Dynamite Entertainment, 2014)
Written by Jim Zub
Art by Jonathan Lau
Colors by Stefani Renee
Letters by Simon Bowland
Cover by Jeffery “Chamba” Cruz
Like most stand alone issues, “Red Sonja and Cub” offered a nice break from the main comic along with an interesting story to read. The focus of this story isn’t so much our heroine, but the “cub,” and teaches us that there are many different kinds of warriors.
The story starts with Kazuko, a young girl, her mother, and their traveling guide rushing through the mountains during a winter storm. While they are traveling, the group is attacked and everyone but Kazuko is killed. Just before the attackers can kill her, Red Sonja saves her and destroys the attackers. It is then that we learn that Kazuko is on her way to be married to a member of a rival clan so that their clans will stop fighting. However, there are those who do not wish for the marriage to happen and are trying to stop it – hence she was attacked. Red Sonja is unhappy to hear this and responds with “You’re a political pawn…some kind of chattel.” Kazuko replies back with, “Perhaps, but my family’s future is more important than my unwedded life.” This is the first hint we see of this new kind of warrior. I, much like Red Sonja, see being a warrior as someone who is strong, independent, and a fighter. Hearing this young girl say she is to give her childhood up and be married to someone she doesn’t know, is rather upsetting. Not only that, but to see she is doing this without a fight would usually seem weak, however, Kazuko says this with her head held high. She even goes a step further and asks Red Sonja to bring her to her fiancé unharmed – of course she will be rewarded for this. Red Sonja doesn’t want to do this; she just wants to take the girl home. But Kazuko refuses, saying if her clan finds out her mother is dead, a war between the two clans will come, and she does not wish for this. Kazuko only wishes for peace and Red Sonja reluctantly agrees. While they are traveling, they of course come across more attackers, and it is here that we get to see what kind of warrior Red Sonja is. While Kazuko wants to run and hide, Red Sonja stands and fights. Their journey continues, during which the two begin to bond a little, and Red Sonja even teaches Kazuko how to use a knife.
Once they arrive, the clan would like Red Sonja to leave, however, it is Kazuko who stands up for her, saying that Red Sonja will be staying for the wedding – once again showing us that the strength of a warrior doesn’t always have to be in battle. Red Sonja has also started to acknowledge this; she no longer tries to stop Kazuko from getting married. In fact, during the ceremony, Kazuko’s grandfather tries to stop the wedding and declare war for the death of his daughter, and it is Red Sonja who stands in his way, saying that this is what Kazuko is trying to stop. However, her grandfather would have none of it, so Kazuko decides to finish the ceremony – binding the two clans – before total bloodshed happens. Once peace is finally met, Red Sonja goes to leave, but not before asking Kazuko to come with her, to be a warrior. Kazuko responses with, “ I will honorably serve my family…but that doesn’t mean my spirit is tamed.” In other words, there are many different kinds of warriors, not just the kind that fight with weapons. At this, Red Sonja takes her leave for a new adventure.
“Red Sonja and Cub” really was a good lesson to learn/or be reminded of. As I’ve said before, I shared Red Sonja’s belief that to be a warrior you must show bravery in battle, and you must be as independent as possible, but that isn’t necessarily true. As Kazuko shows, there are many ways to be a warrior. Sacrificing your wants and desires for family and peace is noble, and standing up for the ones you care for is a bravery of its own. Red Sonja came away from this experience changed, and she wasn’t the only one. I have now found myself looking at people and traditions in a whole new light, and that is a very good thing. So, reader, what are you waiting for… Go get this comic! But do be advised there is quite a bit of bloodshed and beheading – it wouldn’t be a Red Sonja comic if there wasn’t.
Ali is a creative writer with an emphasis on Sci-Fi/Fantasy and Comic Books. She first fell in love with superheroes when they were used to teach her to read. When not practicing at her dojo or out seeing the latest superhero movie with her friends, Ali can be found curled up on the couch with her dog and a good book.