Review: Red Sonja #13

Ok, I have read through exactly two 6 issue story arcs regarding this title and I have been thoroughly impressed.  Issues #1-6 dazzled me with an exceptional reintroduction to the character of Red Sonja, setting an aggressive pace and delivering in spades. Issues #7-12 looked to tone down some from the first arc by adding a little bit more comedy to the mix and working to generate what felt like six independent one shots that finished with a whole creation demonstrating a sound mastery to pace and precision.   It rocked like the first arc hitting the marks when they needed to be hit making once again for a thoroughly entertaining read. And now, we have reached the beginning of a new arc, the third of this title, Issue #13.  Could this be the one that finally drops the bar and enters into a realm of mediocrity? Could this be the one where writer Gail Simone runs out of fresh ideas and pulls something tired and worn up to the front in hopes that it might just be ok?  Or, could this be the one where I finally grow tired of artist Walter Geovani and his depictions of the She Devil making her not look as she has in the previous two arcs and twelve issues?  These were all very real concerns for me as I have had countless times in my life where I flow with a series and get built up built up and built up, only to have the bottom fall out of me making me frustrated and dare I say, angry with the character and its creative team. I was worried.

RSv2-13-Cov-FrisonBut then I opened the first page of Issue #13.  I turned it slowly…Page one…then two where the story begins.  I read it through, front to back, and I discovered something. All my worry was for nothing.  Simone and Geovani are still bringing it.  Red Sonja isn’t showing any signs of slowing and I believe that Issue #13 has started what looks to be yet another winner(exhales slowly).

We start in the rain.  Something that is beginning to be a common theme with Sonja as she makes her trek across the landscape.  She is different though than in her past travails.  She is actually in good spirits even as she approaches the entrance to a murderous wizard named Kalas-Ra that she means to destroy.  Of course, her mood changes rapidly as she confronts the wizard.  From there the story pushes strongly forward.  Without giving things away, I will just say that things happen with Sonja and her encounter with Kalas-Ra that may just have a very lasting and adverse effect on the very essence of who Sonja is as a person and in much of her future actions. Looks like things are going to be a little bumpy for the next little while.  At least Sonja does apparently smell much better than she did during the last arc.

With Gail Simone and her writing, I had always been hit or miss in the past.  Sometimes, she has dazzled me. While at other times, not so much.  But what I have seen from her during the last couple of years, I can find very little negative and a whole lot of positive.  The lady has been on fire and Red Sonja has been one of those lesser known titles for her where she has really excelled.  I put her She Devil up with the best.  I think Robert E. Howard himself would be pleased with how far Simone has evolved this character that fit a very structured stereotype for years.  That stereotype is now long gone, thanks to Simone’s writing.  There is very little….Hell, there is really nothing bad I can say about it. I remain impressed and pleased as Red Sonja has been one of my favorite titles for the past year.  And this issue does not stop that streak.

But good writing alone has not been the reason that the title has been so successful.  Walter Geovani’s art has really captured something amazing to go well with Simone’s writing.  Many female characters have a fine line in their artistic presentation between sexy and bad assery.  It seems like the two rarely meet and lady heroes are just one or the other with a lot of artists.  This is not the case with Geovani’s Sonja.  She is an impressive mixture of both strength and delicacy that blends in well with Simone’s writing of a lady who can be both lady and warrior with no problem at anytime.  Sonja pops under Geovani’s pencils and inks and I have really equally liked the pleasant coloring of browns, greens, and of course, reds rendered by Adriano Lucas that has made the title a harmonious affair to be enjoyed on several levels. Well done people, well done.

I am very glad to see that Issue #13 does not suck.  It gives me yet another reason to love this title and to recommend it to all.  If you desire good action, solid story, and impressive art, then you should hop on aboard and pick up Issue #13.  A new arc begins and is ready to continue in making the magic that has been occurring with this title.

Score: 5/5

Writer: Gail Simone Artist: Walter Geovani Publisher: Dynamite Entertainment Price: $3.99 Release Date: 11/12/14 Format: Ongoing; Print/Digital