I’ve made no secret that, while I loved Brandon Jerwa’s stint on Red Sonja, I have been on a Gail Simone countdown. Easily one of my favorite writers in comic books, I love the way she writes, and I love the way she writes women characters in particular. There’s no shortage of snark (and that’s a good thing), her characters are strong, complex, and believe in delivering a good ass-kicking. Matching her with the She-Devil with a Sword? GOLD.
Cover by Nicola Scott
I am thrilled to say that my waiting was not in vain. Gail Simone’s Red Sonja is exciting, fast-paced, and yes, loaded with snark. There’s great dialogue and a solid plot. We get a peek at Sonja’s origin – just enough to whet our interests, and the rest of the story builds on that tease.
We also get another layer to Sonja – compassion. She’s always had a sense of honor, but this time, we see a desire not to merely pay a debt, to repay a kindness; we also see a real compassion come through. Don’t think for a second, though, that this dilutes her battle lust – just the opposite. She’s quick with her sword and has no time for your foolishness.
Let’s talk about the art. Walter Geovani’s artwork brings Simone’s writing to life in the biggest and best of fashions. There are big action and battle sequences that he handles as skillfully as he does close-up facial expressions that convey anger, grief, or complete irritation. He has wonderful perspective, adding a lot of visual interest to panels by making it look like Sonja towers over us, or canting a panel’s viewpoint slightly to keep us off-balance, further illustrating the instability of a situation.
All in all, this is a perfect issue. It’s the best jumping-on point for new readers – you don’t need to know anything about Sonja, Gail will get you there – and it’s a brand new beginning with brand new adventures for Sonja’s (and Simone’s) existing fans. Get this one on your pull list if you haven’t already – it’s going to disappear from shelves before you can say, “bag and board”.
There’s been much talk about the variants covers for this issue, all done by female artists. Check them out. I’m hoping that Dynamite considers releasing prints of them all; they’re all gorgeous and I’d love to hang them in my “fangirl cave”.
RED SONJA #1
Writer: Gail Simone
Artist: Walter Geovani
Cover Artists: Nicola Scott; Jenny Frison; Stephanie Buscema; Amanda Conner; Colleen Doran; Fiona Staples
Publishing Date: July 17, 2013
Diamond ID: MAY130986