My girl Red Sonja has not been having an easy time of it. The king that showed her kindness and freed her from a dungeon has been slain, the woman who shared her imprisonment with her took over the kingdom and tries to call herself Red Annisia, and Sonja almost died of plague. Does this even slow her down? Pfft.
Red Sonja’s two “bodyguards” are back, having found Sonja on the verge of death, and they make their way back to the city of Patra. She tells the only member of the watch allowed to survive to tell Annisia that “Sonja has returned, still smelling of the dirt from her own, cold grave”. At this point, I don’t know whether I want to hug Gail Simone or high five her – maybe both – for writing such an incredible line.
After a bit more skillfully placed origin story that sheds more light on the heart of the conflict between Sonja and Annisia, we get to it – the big showdown between the two former sisters-in-battle. But WAIT – they discover they have an audience, and thus the issue leaves a massive cliffhanger that left me jumping on my couch at the thought of the 4-week wait for the next issue.
This issue is one of the best issues of Red Sonja yet, with an incredible buildup to a well-paced, well-rounded story. The best part of Gail Simone’s Red Sonja reboot? Five issues in, we’ve gotten an origin story without wasting any time. The story is woven tightly into the current story time and place, and I never feel like your time, as a reader, is wasted. Simone’s trademark fast-paced dialogue, loaded with snark, is perfect for the She-Devil with a sword, but she can deftly switch it up and provide a deep look into a complex character with the flick of a panel.
Walter Geovani’s art is still strong and full of interest. I love someone who can make a heroine who wears a metal bikini (most of the time) look like a sword and sorcery heroine, full of strength and charisma, rather than a cheesecake pinup. And I love Jenny Frison’s covers, which manage to convey a softer, yet no less powerful, Red Sonja.
Another great issue, with a leadup that I will be checking my pull list for, week after week, until it’s in my hands. Thank goodness I have Legends of Red Sonja to look forward to, or I’d go into withdrawal.
RED SONJA #5
Writer: Gail Simone
Artist: Walter Geovani
Cover Artist: Jenny Frison
Pub Date: November 20, 2013
Diamond ID: SEP131073