Gail Simone (Writer), Walter Geovani (Artist) Adriano Lucas (Colorist)
The Story: Sonja remembers some more of her personal history as she battles some foes sent from Dark Annisia.
The Review: Many people who are really into comics are looking for the next big thing. Be it the next event that delivers on its promises, the big breakout writer or artist who made it big or the next Saga. It’s normal to be anxious to be able to read something exceptional, yet a lot of the time some comics merely pass through, some that don’t quite fit the bill when it comes to superb or unique, but still delivers a certain amount of quality in a consistent manner. Those aren’t the book that will impress readers with impossibly amazing and expansive ideas or cool concepts, yet they are pleasant with but their solidly executed ideas nonetheless.
Red Sonja by Gail Simone is one of the latter, as although it doesn’t really break any new ground, it mostly delivers on things that are promised, notably action and strong female characters. There is some fantasy, a lot of brutality and some potent sword and sorcery tropes to be found in this book, which should please those that enjoy the genre in the first place.
What is enjoyable first and foremost, though, is the characterization that Simone write Sonja with, giving her plenty of different sides. She can be a violent and drunken barbarian as well as rather caring and introspective without really jumping the shark. Showing the readers a bit of the character’s past along with her current predicament allow for a three-dimensional approach to the character as well as a deeper understanding about why she is like this in the first place. Those who merely think of Red Sonja as the objects of countless fetishes could learn a whole lot more about her in this title a Simone treats the character with the respect she deserves.
Another enjoyable thing is the world in itself, displaying weird creatures and a coldness and brutality that serves the setting and the tone well. The world in which the protagonist live in is not a pleasant place and Simone never miss an opportunity to show it, either with several elements of the plot or with the violence of the action. It is not overwhelmingly so as there is humor to be found here and there, yet the tone never strays far from the harsh reality of the world that is presented first and foremost.
Where the book is merely competent, yet in an unexceptional way is in its plot, as events seem to follow each other quite well, yet there aren’t any twist, reveals or big ideas being thrown to spice things up. There are introspection and flashbacks that allow the characters to breathe and become more defined in the process, yet it never really propel the story forward in a way that succeeds beyond expectations. The fault could be attributed to the fact that this issue suffers from what some would call ”middle-issue syndrome”, with elements needing to be put in their proper place before the resolution of the story is attained. Still, there are enjoyable things happening nonetheless in this issue.
What’s a bit more enjoyable, though is the art of Walter Geovani. Bringing the brutality of the script to the page, Geovani does so with panache as he never shy away from the violence and portray it without letting it overwhelm the story or the more personal moments. His characters are rather expressive and his action filled with energy as the brutality is kinetic on the page. The backgrounds are also quite lovely, with just enough elements to fill the panels and help the setting without hurting it with too much details. Where he fails a bit, though, is with the more monstrous characters which are displayed with a mix of comedy and horror, which makes them a bit uncertain in term of designs. It is unclear if they are to be weird in a fun-looking way or if they are simply horrific abominations. It’s a bit of a shame as the rest is pretty strong-looking.
Adriano Lucas is also pretty enjoyable on its own thanks to his colorization. He helps the setting of sword and sorcery thanks to his heavy use of duller colors like brown and grey, showing the coldness of the world as it clashes with the minor additions of brighter colors like red and green. It is however not so dull-looking as to lack in diversity, as the panels are never overwhelming with a particular colors in order to create redundancy. It is efficient colorization to help the artist and the script, which is what Lucas does.
The Conclusion: While it is only competent in some aspects, this title shine in characterization and in the depiction of its setting. It doesn’t pale in the art as well, thanks to Geovani and Lucas. All in all, a nice issue.
Hugo Robberts Larivière