Altered States: Red Sonja (One-Shot) Review


Can Dynamite continue to impress with their Altered States line? Or will the concept fall flat on the second hurdle? Read on to find out.

The official description from Dynamite:

Welcome to Altered States… Dynamite Entertainment’s parallel reality in the vein of DC’s Elseworlds and Marvel’s What If! Sonja Majeure is a young woman with a great job, procuring reliquary items for the Metropolitan Museum in New York City. Her latest exhibit features the sword of a long-lost warrior, a spell book, and the preserved remains of a sorcerer purported to be one of the most sinister beings to ever walk the Earth. When the ancient evil is awakened, Sonja will find that New York City has changed into a Hyborian wasteland… and Sonja herself will inherit the mantle of her namesake, the She-Devil with a Sword!

AlteredRedSonjaCovBIncen10TThe What If? concept is one that has always intrigued me, as though the changes can be a little too wild, the idea of exploring a familiar character/story in a unique and unusual way always seems to entice. That is no different with Dynamite‘s take on the concept, as though it’s by no means perfect, Altered States has proven to be just as intriguing as it’s Marvel/DC counterparts. Taking Red Sonja out of her usual setting, and placing her in the modern world, this latest entry has a somewhat He-Man like feel about it, with a normal museum worker turning into the legendary warrior after picking up a sword.

Brandon Jerwa handles the script for this tale, giving a wonderful look into this alternative version of Red Sonja. Having an energetic tone, and intriguing premise, the writer quickly captures the attention of this fanboy, with the excitement and action befitting the She-Devil with a Sword. The issue is however let down by pacing issues, as like most one-shot tales that are normal length, it progresses a little too quickly, meaning that certain elements don’t get the depth they deserve.

Juanan Ramirez handles the artwork on this one-shot, with the Six Million Dollar Man: Season Six artist bringing an exciting flair to proceedings. The way that he manages to capture the beauty and power of Sonja, whilst also giving a slick, modern look to the world she’s transported to really impressed, with the detail being captivating throughout. The scenery also adds great depth to this tale, and along with the intense action, and emotional facial expressions it more than captures the eye. The colours of Rohvel Yumul also manage to enhance these great visuals, with the vivid palette, and immersive texture adding great tone.

Altered States has certainly proven to be a wonderful new concept from Dynamite, as though both tales so far have had their problems, the overall idea (though not original) certainly intrigues. The unique look into these characters also makes it the perfect way for new fans to try them, as though this doesn’t give a clear picture, it’s a way that leaves little commitment.

  • + Wonderful concept.
  • + Magnificent art.
  • + Exciting action from the She-Devil with a Sword!
  • - Could have done with an extra issue to flesh out the plot.

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