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Dynamite Entertainment has hoisted the sword for creators Roy Thomas and Barry Windsor-Smith's alluring assassin, Red Sonja, for some 15 years now, showcasing an all-star lineup of creators to help spread the gospel of her astounding adventures in Robert E. Howard's Hyborian Age and beyond.
Now a rowdy new She-Devil With a Sword miniseries titled Red Sonja: Age of Chaos arrives on Jan. 22, written by Erik Burnham (Red Sonja, Ghostbusters: Year One) and featuring provocative pencils by artist Jonathan Lau (Green Hornet, The Bionic Man). It's destined to please hardcore fantasy fans with a combustible crossover injected with heart and heroism — and SYFY WIRE has a special advance preview to share with her army of acolytes.
Uniting the unruly characters of Chaos! Comics with Red Sonja is an enticing cocktail that brings together the lethal lady warrior with a posse of evil entities like Mistress Hel, Purgatori, Evil Ernie, Chastity, Lady Demon, and more demonic tricksters. Here the plotline finds past connecting to the present with the future of her homeworld at stake as the ferocious Red Sonja has a plan to keep newly slain wizard Kulan Gath from resurrecting himself again.
But when the plan backfires, it allows a whole new flavor of Chaos! to infect the Hyborian Age. Will these new nefarious beings be any easier to deal with than Kulan Gath, or has Sonja summoned an even darker element into her land? Witness the first chapter of a fresh She-Devil quest, one that might prove to be her most difficult yet as she clashes with the cruel characters of Chaos!
"It's a blast to return to Red Sonja -- when Amy Chu invited me to co-write the back half of volume 4, I didn't expect to have as much fun as I wound up having, and when it was all over, I wound up missing ol' Sonja," Burnham tells SYFY WIRE. "Pulp adventure really grabs me as a genre, and Sonja's worldview (and her lack of patience) is so enjoyable for me to write; it's a different set of muscles from the more humor-centric stuff I usually work on, so I was glad to get invited back to this sandbox by editor Matt Idelson. I was especially glad to hear I was going to get to have a supernatural element to the works!
"Chaos Comics and I didn't meet for a long while. I was absolutely aware of the characters during their '90s heyday, but I didn't live anywhere near a comic shop, so I didn't have the option to check the books out. I was still familiar enough, through things like Wizard magazine, with some of the nuts and bolts. Jumping into some research after being asked to do this series, I found that I dug the Midnite Movie vibe that allowed for silliness along with the horror."
Burnham's main storytelling challenge was that Sonja, while exceptional, is still a human -- and the insane Chaos characters are far beyond that.
"Part of the plotting between Matt and I was how to even the odds a bit. We started with just three characters; Chastity, Evil Ernie, and Purgatori ... but were soon joined by Jade, Lady Demon, Mistress Hel, and Bad Kitty," he explains. "The balancing act became tricky -- because Kulan Gath is in there as well, and the element of bringing the monsters back to the Hyborian Age.
"The best part of all this has been the magic Jonathan Lau is weaving. His designs are amazing, and some of the images he conjures ... they're straight up wowing. I wish I had twice as much space to tell the same story, if only so I could add in a few more splashes and spreads to take advantage of how epic his art is. The guy was born for fantasy stories, and he's delivering on every level."
"Now sharpen your steel and lunge into our exclusive expanded look at Dynamite's Red Sonja: Age of Chaos #1 in the gallery below, with covers by Lucio Parrillo, Alan Quah, Cian Tormey, Ale Garza, and Shannon Kingston Cosplay, in the full gallery below. Then let us hear your war cry and tell us if you'll leap into the fray when the debut issue lands on Jan. 22!