Conan and Red Sonja have thrilled the imaginations of sword and sorcery fans for decades. Both characters exist in Robert E. Howard's fictional age of Hyboria, but being owned by two separate publishers (Dark Horse Comics and Dynamite Entertainment) the two rarely share cross over adventures. Every once in a while though, a deal is struck and the two get to meet. Over the years the tales of their co-marauding end up the stuff of legend. Will it once again?
What's Happening: Both Conan and Red Sonja are on the trail of a prized jewel housed in the castle of a local king, the kingdom's prince's bedchamber to be exact. Both Sonja and Conan have their own ways of getting to the goods, but when they cross paths, will their famous tempers bring and end to their first meeting or lead to a beautiful friendship?
The Writing: Gail Simone and Jim Zub share the writing duties on Conan and Red Sonja, and, honestly, between the two I really expected a better opening salvo in what should be a legendary tale. Instead we get a rather basic and sadly familiar tale of barbarian meets bikini clad barbarian-ness. The pair do a good job showcasing the unique strengths and approaches to the thievery game that each character relies on, but once they get away together the story quickly turns into a petty sword fight that leads to a grudging mutual respect, which in turn leads to a short team up. The entire plot is driven by Simone and Zub's MacGuffin (a rare jewel that both are trying to possess), that turns out to be something entirely different. What this MacGuffin turns out to be rescues the otherwise bland plot.
The Artwork: Dan Panosian's artwork suits the feel of the Hyborian Age, Rough hewn and jagged, everything in this semi-Ancient Roman/Medieval looking world benefits from Panosian's style visually . One can almost taste the grit and smell the dankness of the this world's roads and dungeons through the artwork. He also dresses Conan interestingly. Neither completely topless and exposed nor fully covered, Conan's attire fits his roguish and well traveled character. Sonja ends up dressed as Sonja always is, but thankfully Panosian doesn't resort to weird body contortions to stoke the libido's of the adolescent readers of Conan and Red Sonja.
The Verdict: Definitely worth checking out issue 2, but the plot has to get better soon. Simone's obvious wit does shine through though, and that makes Conan and Red Sonja worth a look all on its own.