It has been a couple of months since our She Devil last graced the perfect pages of writer Gail Simone and artist Walter Geovani’s most magnificent run. Hey, she needed a break after fighting Death and all and living to tell the tale. During that absence, Miss Sonja has apparently engaged in all kinds of debauchery. But once again, I think she deserved it as she wrapped up her big battle with Death and lived to tell the tale. But like all warrior hero types, fun and games can only last for so long before someone comes knocking needing a champion for their cause, muscle for their endeavor, or approval for their fight. Red Sonja is no exception. And as Issue #17 begins, that is exactly where we find the She Devil. She is laid out and reveling in the glories of her recent victory as a group of callers come for her right in the aftermath of a very wild evening.
But with these callers for a champion, Sonja is a little bit out of her realm of expertise. Who are her caller(s)?
I will tell you…
And what, pray tell are they asking Red Sonja to defend?
I will tell you…
Now for most people who would read this description, it would appear that this story arc following such a smack down slam bang previous arc might be a bit tame in comparison. But to the expert and skillful hands of Simone and Geovani, a simple story of Red Sonja defending some nuns at a tower, protecting thousands upon thousands of books is nothing more than another opportunity to create something original and unique to a title that has been filled with original and unique stories. Nothing is lost with this new arc and the possibilities are limitless, again.
What makes the story unique, which concerns a certain evil empress by the name of Dowager who intends to “dumb down” society and especially the women it would seem, are in the workings of Red Sonja’s own emotions. Needless to say, she is not too fond of nuns or especially books, as apparently reading and writing is one of those trade skills that the She Devil not only didn’t master. She kind of stunk at it.
But even against her own differences however, Sonja does take up the cause of the nuns and their in Sonja’s own words, “moldy pages of memory”. This whole issue is ripe with Sonja doubting herself and in her chastising herself in becoming “too soft” in taking up this cause. All the while as she is decapitating and disemboweling soldiers working to burn down the library. It is a particularly nice writing touch that places the reader in a whole new area of story, especially after the intensity and amazing wrap from the previous arc.
Gail Simone has dealt up some personal cards with this new arc, addressing issues that are close to her heart and have been part of the drive that has made this entire series run excellent. Sonja is helping people, even against her own dislikes. She sees oppression and is taking it head on, without any concern of how it may play out. And from the look at our evil empress, the potential to play out pretty badly is definitely there. I can’t wait to see what bombs will be dropped as this story moves forward.
One of the spicy elements of all of the Red Sonja issues of this series has been Simone’s placement of those things that have a negative impact on the She Devil. Whether it be disease, stink, losing empathy, or now, reading and writing. Simone allows Sonja to engage, battle, and slowly work to overcome the obstacle placed before her. The formula has been solid and continues to be.
And with Walter Geovani’s art??? I have been reading this series from its beginning. I have read Red Sonja for as long as I can remember. I have wolfed up story upon story upon story. And I have seen a whole lot of artists tackle the She Devil. After seeing and viewing all of this history, I truly believe that Walter Geovani’s Red Sonja is the Red Sonja that I now visualize when I think of the comic. Geovani’s detail and facial emphasis conveys emotion previously unrecognized. Case and point with this issue. As Sonja is describing the three nuns who came to fetch her. Geovani draws these three ladies each with their own facial look that matches Simone’s words in describing them and their own personalities. It is an incredible touch. But something that has been there since the very beginning.
The only difference that I can find in this issue, is that the coloring duties have been taken over by Vinicius Andrade. This change does not hinder anything. The color is as powerful and strong as it has been all the way back at Issue #1.
If you thought there was nowhere else to go after the last arc, forget it. There are other places to go. And those places have nuns and books, and evil empresses, and soldiers getting slaughtered. Yes the She Devil answers the bell one more time and looks to entertain the reader once again.