The Dynamite Report #3: Red Sonja Meets Superpowers
Welcome back to The Dynamite Report! Last time, we took a closer look at an upcoming crossover that unites Vampirella with The Project. But as it turns out, Vampi isn’t the only one who’s about to embark on an adventure with this band of Golden Age superheroes. Dynamite is also preparing to launch a sister series where these characters team up with the She-Devil with a Sword herself, Red Sonja.
Debuting early next year, Red Sonja: The Superpowers kicks off with the Hyrkanian warrior in pursuit of Skarab Nor, a fiendish sorcerer who uses dark energies to turn his victims into “mindless thralls.” Through a twist of intergalactic fate, her hunt puts her in the path of Captain Future and his team. And because The Project’s science-based abilities stand in such stark contrast to anything found on Sonja’s world, this should be a meeting to remember.
Writer Dan Abnett, who’s currently gearing up for the launch of Vampirella: The Dark Powers, is also writing Sonja’s own encounter with The Project. But this time, he’s partnering with artist Jonathan Lau. Previously, Lau has handled the artwork for some of Dynamite’s earlier Red Sonja and Project Superpowers titles. So working on this new series probably felt like a walk in the (Hyborian) park.
Once again, we caught up with Abnett to learn how Sonja’s new crusade will be different from Vampirella’s. Check out what he had to say below!
Did the idea for Red Sonja: The Superpowers come around at the same time as the idea for Vampirella: The Dark Powers?
Abnett: Yes, absolutely. Sonja and Vampirella were both baked into the concept from the very start. Though the announcement of the two series was staggered, my editor Nate Cosby had originally come to me and asked me to devise a way to incorporate both of them into the high-tech, superheroic world of the Project. And I think that’s where things came together: neither of them – in very different ways – are a sensible or logical fit with the superhero genre. So I could explore that counterintuitive clash in two different ways…and that’s where the core of the story came from.
Will Red Sonja be a better team player than Vampirella?
In some respects, yes. It’s not just a culture clash like Vampirella (“I’m not a superhero”). For Sonja, everything is a culture clash. She has no concept of superheroes, or high technology, or anything. It’s as though she comes from an entirely alien mindset. She dismisses it all as magic, then is quite impressed – almost shocked – by it. So that makes her slightly more pliant. But she’s also much more suspicious. Where Vampirella grudgingly rejects and scorns the superheroic ideals, Sonja “joins in,” but entirely in her own way, true to herself.
It sounds like The Project is coming to Sonja’s world. Will she be going to their world as well?
Oh my word yes. We open with some great Hyborian-set action and adventure, but she is going on the journey of her lifetime.
What is it about The Project that makes them a good fit for this crossover?
One of the things we wanted to do with this was develop The Project, build their characters and raise their profile. Really establish a context for them and hopefully make them more popular with the readers. Vampirella and Sonja are the “big stars” who will draw the audience in, and this epic is very much centered on them, but that provides us with a great platform to showcase the Project members. They are not also-rans, or supporting characters. Some will really shine. I think we’ve worked them up into a really interesting place.
What can you tell us about how Sonja’s new enemy, Skarab Nor? Will he factor into Sonja’s team-up with The Project?
Yes, he will. In many ways, he’s a classic Red Sonja villain, a massively powerful sorcerer who derives his power from daemonic energies. But he’s very smart, a genius thinker, and he appreciates the high technology of The Project more than Sonja. He can see the potential…
Tell us about your collaboration with Jonathan Lau. How has he brought your vision to life?
Jonathan’s work is amazing, and he’s the perfect choice for this. I’ve admired his stuff for a long time. The storytelling’s great, the detail, the character work. And the action is dynamic, kinetic, and beautifully choreographed.
Jonathan has also worked on Dynamite’s primary Red Sonja series. What has he brought to the table on this new story?
His previous experience with Sonja, and his grasp of the Hyborian “look” are amazing assets.
The Dark Powers is giving Vampirella a new superhero costume. Does this mean Red Sonja will get a new costume too?
Well, she might…The Project does like to ‘polish up’ the look of their recruits.
You’ve teased another meeting between Vampirella and Red Sonja coming out of this. Does it take into account their previous meetings at all?
I think it’s fair to say there will be a reunion. These epic stories connect, and they have their own strong continuity.
Are you saving their reunion for this story or a bigger event down the line?
I’m not going to spoil how it will happen, but we’d be crazy not to let it take place, wouldn’t we? Trust me, it’ll be big and you won’t be disappointed.
Will other Dynamite heroes encounter The Project in the near future?
Too early to say, really, but there’s huge potential here. There are ways we could make all sorts of characters work in this. For instance, it would be cool to see Dejah Thoris. I’m writing her book for Dynamite at the moment, and loving every minute, and she’d make a really interesting recruit…
Hey everyone and welcome to Faust’s Corner. Which I’m informed is hosted by me, Vincent Faust. Which is not an alias, I promise. Though I may or may not have sold my soul for comic books. You can catch me behind the curtain on Dynamite’s social media and most of the other spots where you hear from us. I’ve got some great updates for the Dynamite diehards out there.
I hope everyone picked up our two big books out this week. In DIE!namite #2 the galaxy-wide infection storyline ramps up and more characters are brought together. My favorite moment from the issue is a fun panel where Peter Cannon says that “Masks are cool” – which you can take as both a woot woot superheroes moment. But it also has some relevancy in today’s crazy world with real life pandemics. Senior citizen Miss Fury is also a lot of fun, and artist Vincenzo Carratu has teased on social media that he’d love to do a series just about her. Hey fans, let us know what you’d think about that.
Meanwhile Death of Nancy Drew #6 wraps up this mystery tale and reveals all. Spoilers… Nancy doesn’t die. Or does she? You’ll have to pick up the last issue or catch up on the series to find out! For those even more interested in the behind the scenes of comic book publishing, this issue might be worth it just to read writer Anthony Del Col interview the designer of the series and its logo, Cathy Heard.
Fans who keep up with the week in and week out happenings of the biz and their favorite retailers are probably familiar with FOC, or Final Order Cutoff. If you’re not, it’s basically exactly what it sounds like. The very last chance for your Local Comic Shop to lock in their orders for all your favorite titles. Which means you can bug them to sneak in any preorders that you want set aside for you.
This weekend we have just two titles on the deadline, but they’re biggies. Vampirella: The Dark Powers #1 is the first volley of a super-saga by Dan Abnett that will continue and interweave with Red Sonja: The Superpowers, and maybe lead to something else too. What if Vampirella tried to fit in with some old school superhero types? Would they accept her and could she keep her dark nature in check? You’ll have to read to find out.
And on the other hand is Red Sonja: The Price of Blood. Fan-favorite artist Walter Geovani, from Gail Simone’s run, returns for a limited series set early in the adventurer’s life. Think of it like “Red Sonja: Year Two.” At Dynamite we like to sneak in a surprise ourselves at FOC, with new variant covers that are exclusive to that window for retailers to order for fans. Sometimes they feature completely new artwork, or are rare versions with alternate designs, removed logos, pencils, etc. Check with your LCS about what’s available to preorder!
Red Sonja: The Superpowers #1 hits comic shops on January 6. You can view six pages of interior artwork and four covers for the first issue in the gallery below. Are you excited to check out the series next year? Give us your thoughts in the comment section!
Recommended Reading: Red Sonja 1: She-Devil With a Sword (Red Sonja Omnibus)