Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Red Sonja #1 - A Review

That Red Sonja #1 should be as excellent as it is should surprise no one. How could it be anything but with the talent behind it? Gail Simone - the most fearsome and dangerous redhead in the real world of comics - weaves a tale worthy of The Nemedian Chronicles and Walter Geovani - no stranger to depicting the adventures of the She-Devil With A Sword - proves equally epic in his pencils and inks. 

Praise must also be paid to the tremendous team of artists, whose work graces the covers of this issue.  Thank goodness the digital edition gives you all of their work!  With a line-up including Nicola Scott, Amanda Conner, Colleen Doran, Jenny Frison, Fiona Staples and Stephanie Buscema, I'll be hard pressed to pick which cover to buy in the store.

After an unexpected opening which I dare not spoil, we open on familiar territory.  Bandits with more desperation than sense attempt to rob a heroically hungover Sonja - an act Sonja is willing to tolerate provided they don't do anything stupid and leave her to sleep it off.  After the inevitable conclusion is played out, Sonja answers the summons of the only king she holds any respect for and the tale begins in earnest.

Those familiar with Simone's previous work will find much to enjoy here.  The action scenes are well-paced  and Simone injects plenty of her wicked humor into the dialogue.  This may stun those fans of Red Sonja who are used to more serious tales but Simone knows - like Robert E. Howard said of Conan - that Sonja's life is one of gigantic melancholies AND gigantic mirth.  Yet there is drama as well and we see that Sonja is not the blood-thirsty man-hater so many characterize her as in her treatment of one of the bandits -a plague-stricken soldier forced into thievery to survive.   

I've praised Walter Geovani's depiction of Red Sonja in the past and I suspect I will continue to do so for many issues yet to come.  His Sonja is beautiful yet looks every inch the warrior rather than a Sports Illustrated cover girl who just happens to be carrying a sword.  More importantly, Geovani is an amazing visual storyteller and the action of the issue flows naturally from panel to panel without any confusion whatsoever.

If you've never read a Red Sonja comic before, now is the time to rectify that mistake.  With this issue, Simone and Geovani have crafted the perfect starting point.  A world of adventure is waiting. Will you heed its' call?

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