By Gail Simone, Walter Geovani and Adriano Lucas
From the very moment Gail Simone (Batgirl) was announced as the writer for this new volume of Red Sonja, people were excited. The possibilities were endless and someone like Gail writing someone like Red Sonja felt like a match made in heaven. Ten issues in, and Gail has yet to disappoint, adding interesting layers and presenting interesting problems for the She-Devil with a Sword.
Simone really lets it fly here, particularly in one hilarious sequence that involves Sonja trying to figure out why the “Untouched” Swordmaster (phrasing?) would vow to not sleep with anybody unless he was beaten in battle. It was just a hilarious set of panels, expertly rendered by Geovani, and one can’t help but wonder if Gail sent over some photo reference facial expressions just to get her point across. Admittedly, the reason for Red Sonja’s adventure in this arc seems a little weak—she has to get six artisans for a dying King or he will bury, alive, one thousand slaves in his tomb when he goes—but Gail has enough humor and fun with Sonja that, as a reader, you tend to let that slide and just enjoy the ride and the characters. Could there be more action? Probably, but knowing Simone the best is yet to come.
As mentioned, artist Walter Geovani really shines this issue, particularly with facial expressions and his overall sync with what Simone has written for the characters. He most certainly understands Red Sonja and this Robert E. Howard-built world—he created Conan and the world that Red Sonja, created by Roy Thomas, lives in. Just so you’re up to speed—and he manages to almost flawlessly put it all on the page. Colorist Adriano Lucas shines equally bright with his portion of the artwork. The muted tones of the flash back, though it doesn’t flash back too far, really stands out and sets that sequence apart from the stuff happening “now”. He really adds just the perfect layer of subtle colors to a, generally speaking, drab and dark world.
Arguably, there might not be another writer better suited to handle Red Sonja than Gail Simone. She’s got a complete range of humor from witty and clever all the way down, while still writing a compelling character. Add to that the fantastic skills of Walter Geovani, who might be one of the best to ever draw Sonja, and you’ve got nothing short of a winning combination. All potential shortcomings aside, Red Sonja is definitely something any Sword and Sorcery fan should be checking out, particularly ones who enjoy a strong, witty female lead who’s deadly with a sword and most certainly one who could drink you under the table.