“…You should run because this camp belongs to the devil.”
And this title of Red Sonja, it belongs to writer Gail Simone and artist Walter Geovani. These two masters of word and drawing respectively have made this title their own. And they have cranked out winner after winner after winner for a full 11 issues now, making this run arguably some of the best ever from the She Devil with a Sword. Dynamite did it right with this duo and I am here to tell you that the current story arc is hitting areas of emotion that one would never expect to feel in reading such a comic as this in the past. But times have changed and for the better I must say.
Simone has depicted Sonja as an impressive ass kicker to be sure. But she has likewise introduced the reader to a much more vulnerable side. Simone’s Sonja is a character that has needs, wants, likes, dislikes, and fears. I finish with fears as the focus on Issue #11 is on fear. We get to view Sonja here in an element that she is uncomfortable in. One where she admittedly fears as she enters into a large monastic fortress to meet with a Rector who holds a world-renowned “stargazer” that is on the list of artisans that are being assembled for a funeral party for a powerful pharaoh type king. Sonja in her reflections to herself admits to her fears of the holy man and in the powerful forces of religion when she compares it to her own more humble and “wild” upbringing as a child. It is an impressive insight that only solidifies this character in ways that have never been done before.
There is an opening sequence as well regarding some bandits and their attempts to instill their little brand of fear which only enhances the real fear that occurs later while at the monastery. The nice element at work is that in the midst of all of this fear, the reader is given witness to a man of courage who will not succumb to the fear being instilled on everyone. The “stargazer” is a man of conscience and resolve and through his interactions with Sonja, she is given the courage she needs and is able to not only address the fear she has, but deal with it appropriately.
To say that I was impressed with the “deepness” and sincerity of this issue would be a huge understatement. #11 has been the best of the arc so far in an arc of really well done issues. The more comedic aspects that began the arc are slowly being replaced by more serious and heavy issues that are slowly but surely working to gel up in the finale. It is an impressive read and some of the best writing I have seen from Mrs. Simone who writes some seriously good comics. Issue #11 is a gem in her crown here and really demonstrates her ability to adjust to light and heavy within a story.
Adding to this mixture has been the awesomely perfect art of Walter Geovani. He, like Simone, has found a grove of light and heavy that really makes the entire series pop with a resounding cannon blast of beauty. The tell of all the renderings lie in the facial expressions that incur so much emotion when necessary. From the powerful emotions of the fear mentioned earlier to the rather comedic emotions of the artisan chef who loses his soup during a scrap. The man is upset and it shows in the art.
In the past, I had thought that I was a fan of Red Sonja. I liked the mythology around her and was always interested in reading her comics when released. Since Simone and Geovani’s run however, I can truly say that I love Red Sonja to the level where she is one of my favorite monthly titles. Things show no sign of slipping up. And after reading #11, I think that there is far more fire in Sonja than has been previously shown.
Writer: Gail Simone Artist: Walter Geovani Publisher: Dynamite Entertainment Price: $3.99 Release Date: 8/13/14 Format: Ongoing; Print/Digital