Review: Red Sonja #16

What a way to finish an arc!  I mean it!  What a way to finish an arc!  After a month of anxiously awaiting for this one to release, I feel 100% confident in saying that the wait was well worth it.  Writer Gail Simone and artist Walter Geovani’s incredible run on this title has gone full circle as the best elements of past and present within the current series come back in ways that I would have never expected.  The finale to the “Forgiving of Monsters” arc is upon us.  And after the end of this one, I think that Red Sonja will never be the same again. The turn is epic of an already epic run. Within this arc, we have seen elements of Sonja’s character that have never before been addressed.  Sonja, due to a curse given to her by a dying wizard, was made to not be able to show mercy for others.  No matter the offense, whether large or small, Sonja treats them all the same way with merciless vengeance. The curse has had a severely negative effect on her in more ways than one.  Making matters worse, Sonja has been searching for a man that she knows to be the one who murdered her family.  Yes, the one. The one who created the She Devil in a way. She encountered him and has been on the lookout.  And with her current state, the guy would be lucky to have two pieces of him to put together once she is done with him.

Red Sonja #16Ultimately, unable to deal with the person that she has become, Sonja takes matters into her own hands and we find ourselves beginning this issue with her lost within a realm between life and death, fighting for her life, against Death who bears a resemblance to our warrior lady.  The plot flows between Sonja’s inner battle and the outer situation that is occurring between the villagers of whom she had saved from the brother of the dead wizard.  Sonja inspired these folks and a few others as well along the way during the last sixteen issues.  The word is out that the She Devil is dying and those many folks want to pay their respects, as well as maybe provide some aid.  These moments are touching and are woven nicely between the action sequences of Sonja and her death battle.  I am not going to give any spoilers away, but Sonja in her death throes has been presented to the source of her strength these many years.  Needless to say, the source desires Sonja to stay whether she wants to or not.   The action is intense and flows precisely up until the eventual outcome.

Now these moments would have been solid by themselves, but Simone and Geovani drop a little epilogue of sorts in the end that involves Sonja meeting the man responsible for her family and village’s demise. What will she do? Just read it dear viewers.  Just read it. After all that has been experienced by Sonja (and the readers), this piece of artistry wraps a nice bow to an amazing gift for all to read to enjoy.

Gail Simone writes a whole lot of comics.  Many, she writes quite well.  I don’t know if it is just my love for the She Devil or what.  But I fully believe that the work Simone has done on Red Sonja has been nothing short of amazing. Never have I remembered a comic run that has tugged on my heart strings like this one has.  Sure, there has been action, comedy, drama, etc. But the largest quantity dosed out within this series has been the oozing of emotion.  Red Sonja has emotion, lots of emotion.  And as readers of this comic, we get to reap the full benefit of said emotion. Simone has managed and maintained that emotion in such a way that I put her work here up against any title from the big dog companies.  Dynamite scored a huge win here by getting the best from one of the best scribes in the business.

As for Walter Geovani, much like Simone, he has generated a level of emotion in Red Sonja that has made it an immense pleasure to read.  Firstly, he draws Sonja in a subtle way.  Yes, she has her metallic bikini. But the depictions have never been overtly sexualized or negatively portrayed.  Secondly, he renders facial expressions that do wonders on conveying the mood at hand.  He’s been doing it through the whole series.  Finally, the background images add layers to that emotion.  Geovani’s attention to detail makes him such a strong choice in making the art work so well for the series.  I love the guy as he has given me issue after issue after issue of superb depth and quality.

Now I cannot wrap up the awesomeness of this issue without giving some comment to the color.  Adriano Lucas, Alex Guimaraes, and Marco Lesko have really brought an impressive array of coloring that has made this “Forgiveness of Monsters” arc the best of the series.  These three with Simone and Geovani have been cogs of an awesome machine working together to generate an issue that is altogether appealing, impressive, and revealing.  Bravo all! Bravo!

If you can get through the epilogue without a little tear coming to your eye, then you might not be a human being.  I don’t think that there could have been a more perfect way to end such a perfect issue.  I don’t know where things can go from here.  But I do know that there will be much work ahead to see if future stories can be matched to this one.

I really hate to be so gushy on a review.  But I can’t help myself here.  After reading this one, I can tell that it will resonate with me for some time to come.  It truly was a pleasure to read.  In fact, it made my night after I read it, instantly putting me in a great mood.  I can’t utter a better compliment than that.

Score: 5/5

Red Sonja #16 Writer: Gail Simone Artist: Walter Geovani Colorists: Adriano Lucas, Alex Guimaraes, and Marco Lesko Publisher: Dynamite Entertainment Price: $3.99 Release Date: 5/27/15 Format: Ongoing; Print/Digital