Sunday, September 15, 2013

Red Sonja #3 - A Review

Gail Simone's Red Sonja run has proven revolutionary after two issues if for no other reason than she has given us a Sonja who has faced multiple failures and not bounced back from them.  She has been defeated.  She has been enslaved.  And now, following the revelation that she's a plague carrier, she is an exile.  Denied help.  Denied shelter.  Denied even her own name!  The woman once called Red Sonja has been sentenced to wander into the frozen wastes as a nameless victim to die alone - her life against the lives of the city she swore to protect.

Sonja The Red of Hyrkania is capable of most things and more capable than most.  Yet there is one thing Sonja has never been able to do or do well - admit defeat.  Even in the face of a dual death-sentence and denied her name, Sonja cannot find it in herself not to fight for life, though madness and visions of her family's violent deaths plague her as surely as the disease that saps her strength.   

I'll admit to some worry as I first began reading Red Sonja #3.  Perhaps I've been made over-wary of any story set in a dream-vision after Brain Wood spent several months giving us Conan The Barbarian stoned off his ass on lotus fumes, seeing a future that we know will never happen.  Thankfully, Simone keeps this story firmly rooted in reality. 

More, Simone finds another way to revolutionize the character of Red Sonja by instituting some major changes to her background.  I shall not spoil the surprises here, for there are two of them for long-time Red Sonja fans.  Suffice it to say I think Simone has given by taking away and the action at the heart of this issue proves a fitting beginning for a new origin of the She-Devil with a Sword.

Walter Geovani is a marvel of an artist.  I could write for paragraphs about his wonderful character designs, his skill as a visual choreographer, his use of shadow and all manner of other positive traits.  In the end, I think the scans above do far more justice to Geovani's craft than my words could.

Red Sonja has always been one of my favorite series but Simone and Geovani have transformed it into one of the best.  Great art.  Great story.  This should be on everyone's pull list, even if they are not typically a fan of the sword-and-sorcery genre.  Trust me - there's nothing typical about this sword-and-sorcery!

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