The war between Zamora and Hyrkania connected Red Sonja and Dragan the Magnificent as fierce rivals. But their story is one of many tales that interconnected. Red Sonja: Lord of Fools is a two-story collection of characters from both sides of the Zamora and Hyrkania forces. Set in before, during and after the events of 2019’s Red Sonja #6, these stories are a give a different perspective of characters that support Sonja and Dragan the Magnificent. Their history and actions will eventually play a bigger role in the war between the fueling kingdoms.
Lord of Fools follows Dragan’s family, prince Cyril and his queen mother, the Empress Phatmos. While Dragon has gone Hyrkania, Cyril and his mother take guidance from Ocarcon, a prophet for the Lord of Fools. It is revealed that Ocarcon foresaw Dragan’s curse and told him to rule as many lands as possible. Dragan’s absence with his family causes an eager Cyril to quick join his father but does not understand the consequences of his father’s ambition.
Bread and Cerkuses follow the origin of the argumentative Cerkus, Sonja’s wartime advisor for Hyrkania. The aftermath of a mourning Sonja, Cerkus tells her the story of how he came to be known as the Speaker of Truths, a title is earned by having a sharp and honest tongue. Cerkus gift for straightforward words was something that was first thought to be a curse which has placed in him in many troubling situations. Regardless, Cerkus speaks only from his honest opinion and never backs down from the truth.
Mark Russell deliveries two fun stories help round out the characters involved in the regular Red Sonja storyline in this one-shot issue. Dragan’s relationship torn relation with his queen had been mentioned in the past but never explored in much detail. Cyril is an innocent young boy, unaware of his father’s brutality. The second story gives Cerkus the spotlight and reveals his life’s journey from a being a mute slave boy to a bolstering critic of everything. Like his work on the Red Sonja series, Russel mixes in drama and comedy together for a blend of melodrama and jokes. Russell’s sets up great humor in the dialogues, playing up into bitter exchanges Dragan and Empress Phatmos and throwing Cerkus into one crazy situation after another.
Bob Q and Katie O’Meare artwork in the respective tales each have a fun take on the characters and present different tones. There are parts with fairy tale elements where Bob Q designs have a mix of Middle Eastern accents while Katie O’Meare has more Mediterranean inspired. These artists give the stories their own flavor without feeling so much copy and pasting art assets.
Red Sonja: Lord of Fools is a great companion chapter that gives readers more insights to characters that are not heavy focuses on in the main canon. Red Sonja isn’t heavily featured in this one-shot, but this explores more of her world and situation that ever before. It adds more depth to the story and how certain characters came across to either Dragan and Sonja. It will be interesting to see how these separate tales will play a bigger role in the future of the series.