“By all the Gods above and below, did that preening peacock…Attempt to spank the She Devil’s ass?” With that line right there, I think I can say with 100% certainty, that Gail Simone has just made the character of Red Sonja her own. Sure, she has been blowing up the whole title for a year now, breathing much-needed life into a character that is way old in the annuls of literature. Simone has written the She Devil with grace, style, and dare I say, perfection. But with this issue #10 in her second story arc, Simone has outdone even her own incredible talent level. Red Sonja has now become a must read for me and I am loving all the things being done here by both Simone and artist Walter Geovani. His’ depictions of Sonja are one of craft and skill worthy of the character. It’s all awesome.
As each issue churns out, I think they truly get better and better. This one is the best of the new arc, as the last one was the best before that. These issues are just keep building on one another and working to culminate into what promises to be a spectacular finale down the road. Issue #10 takes on some age-old “Sonja Legendary” back story and throws it out on its ear only adding to the fact that she is now Simone’s character.
We have followed Sonja on her quest to secure the world’s six greatest artisans to appease a dying pharaoh that plans to have an end of life party that the world has never seen before. Adding spice to the quest, the pharaoh as attached the lives of 1000 slaves to Sonja’s success (or failure). Sonja has been successful so far in securing the world’s greatest chef, animal trainer, and courtesan. This issue focuses on the quest to secure the world’s greatest swordsman and we something here that you don’t see a lot of in a Red Sonja story…Sonja getting her ass beat (and spanked) by this highly skilled man of steel. It is yet another element in Simone’s writing that shows she is not afraid to take chances with the character.
Add to that a discussion of the swordsman’s “vow” of sleeping with only the one who can beat him in combat (I think that we have heard that one before in Sonja lore). Sonja / Simone’s response to this news…”That without question is the stupidest thing I have ever heard”. Yet another way in which Simone totally makes this her character. And it is in that making which is good for the whole title as new ground is being broken and relevance is being added to the stories being written. Other points of the issue we see are the intentions of the pharaoh, Sonja’s initial defeat, and ultimately, Sonja’s working through of that defeat to work to scratch out a victory. It’s all hella good.
Walter Geovani has found a spectacular groove with this character drawing her with an intensity in the eyes that makes for a ferocity unmatched in previous renderings of the She Devil. He even draws the aforementioned “ass slap” adding to the seriousness of the offense. His art blends positively perfectly with Simone’s writing muses, making for as about as entertaining a comic read as I have read in a while.
Thanks to these two, I believe that Red Sonja is here to stay for a while. Her age may be many years since her creation by Robert E. Howard, but her evolution has been ensured from Simone, Geovani, and company.
Writer: Gail Simone Artist: Walter Geovani Publisher: Dynamite Entertainment Price: $3.99 Release Date: 6/18/14 Format: Ongoing, Print/Digital