If there are any of you out there that feel Gail Simone and Walter Geovani’s Red Sonja Queen of the Plagues run was lightning in a bottle… Well, you would be right. It was six issues of pure rock’em sock’em entertainment that was as good of an arc as I read last year. It kicked. It kicked hard. Now, if there are any of you out there who may feel that the Queen of the Plagues run was just too good and there is no way that Simone, Geovani, and company can produce another story even remotely close to the previous six issues… well, all I have to say is that you are gravely mistaken. You underestimate the talent at work here and you underestimate the character of Red Sonja herself. With the proper creative team that is in place right now, I don’t see any slowing in the sagas of the She Devil with a Sword. Everything is still there and the new issue and new story arc looks to be promising, intriguing, and yes, as entertaining as the first story arc. It still kicks.
Our new story begins about three weeks after the Queen of the Plagues arc and we find our heroine knee deep in muck and slime. She is looking for an artisan chef, the best artisan chef as part of a deal she has made with a pharaoh type emperor who wishes to throw the greatest party anyone has ever or will ever see to celebrate his death, which is coming soon. He has enlisted Red Sonja to find the six greatest artisans in several fields with a chef being primary. To make it interesting, the pharaoh has put a little wager down with his 1000 slaves that are to be given freedom either by emancipation or death. It is all up to Red Sonja to determine which by her success or failure (Talk about pressure). Red Sonja takes up the offer and that why she is in the muck, looking for the great Grimaldi, a resident chef to a bunch of cannibalistic, culinary snobs and sexual deviants who inhabit this particular stinky stretch of godforsaken bog. What ensues can only be described as a little bit of action, a little bit of comedy, and a little bit of suspense, all wrapped up in one nice and neat first issue of the story arc. We even get some mutant croc people in the mix as well.
Gail Simone is one of my favorite writers within the world of comics today and in reading this issue, I know why. She renders a perfect blending of many elements to create a tale that is pleasing both in the reading and in the afterthought. She slices and dices in a perfect combination of violent action, witty story development, and appropriate humor, all paced in a perfect timing element that is never rushed or overdone. Like Grimaldi himself, Simone is an artisan too. This story is like a well-made dish that is to be savored.
I have likewise been very taken with Walter Geovani’s artwork. For the first six issues, he captured Red Sonja in her best looks of beauty and beast. She is breathtaking and absolutely deadly. He leaves the steppes and forests of the Queen of the Plagues arc for this issue and enters into the lush green nastiness of the swamp. The thing is, even with such a dramatic change of scenery Geovani doesn’t miss a beat. The dark earth tones are there and Red Sonja is still the same stone cold stunning killer that has been put into even higher regard, I feel with each passing issue. It is superior art of a wonderfully delicious character that makes you just want more, more, MORE!
What I noticed in this particular issue is how Simone and Geovani are really beginning to gel as a creative team. We have panels here where Geovani does all the talking through the drawn page. And then we have the pages where the dialogue and thoughts of Red Sonja are brought to the front by Simone. This give and take style works perfectly and makes for an excellent issue. It’s just superb. So to anyone who did think the well might be tapped on Red Sonja, I simply present Issue #7 for your approval. Red Sonja is still rolling and shows no sign of slowing anytime soon.
Writer: Gail Simone Artist: Walter Geovani Publisher: Dynamite Entertainment Price $3.99 Release Date: 2/19/14