Red Sonja #1
Writer: Gail Simone
Art: Walter Geovani
Colours: Adriano Lucas
Letters: Simon Bowland
Main Cover: Nicola Scott
Variants: Amanda Connor, Fiona Staples, Jenny Frison, Colleen Doran
Publisher: Dynamite Comics
When people first start reading comics, they tend to gravitate towards certain characters with which they share a familiarity with. You’ve heard of Spider-Man, so why not read a Spider-Man comic and so on. Yet the deeper a reader delves within the comic world, one tends to leave the comfy confines of character and ventures out into the world of the creator. Creators are those unique individuals who’ve done wonders with the characters you know, that you have no choice but to see what they are going to cook up next.
Gail Simone is one of those creators. Not only is she one of the most unique and outspoken writers in the industry, she has also helped paved the way for female writers in mainstream comics. On top of that, her web presence is astounding. Ask her a question on any one of her social media outlets and she will respond. It’s because of things like that, that her fans are rabid and completely devoted.
After a whirlwind 2012, Simone met 2013 when a number of creative challenges, none more brow-raising than her decision to helm Red Sonja for Dynamite Comics. Red Sonja, created by Roy Thomas in 1973, is a no-nonsense heroine meant to be able to go shot-for-shot with the sword and sandal heavy weights like Kull and Conan. Sonja is a character that many people would probably never give the time of day, and a character that even fewer have heard of, yet the pre-orders are a smashing success based solely on Simone’s namesake. So just how is Simone’s take on a classic throw-back(away?) character? For fans of her snarky dialogue and the genre’s epic sword battles, it’s pretty great. And for everyone else? Well, it’s hard to imagine anyone else having a problem with this refreshing reboot.
Simone manages to escape most of the debut issue tropes by throwing the reader right into the thick of things. This is no origin story. Red Sonja is a fully developed warrior with a bit of a drinking problem. She also has one heck of an introduction. While Sonja may wish to be left alone with her bottle, it isn’t long before she is tracked down by a king she respects and asked to help defend his kingdom against marauders.
Though the plot may seem basic, as many debuts are, it’s the way in which Simone has crafted the book that helps elevate the material. The dialect is heavy on the ‘Old English’ but not so much that it seems forced or hackneyed. The language flows like poetry and each character is blessed with an individual voice. As stated, Simone’s characteristic wit sparkles through Sonja; she’s clever, sexy and a bad-ass all in one. In short, Red Sonja is the perfect character for Simone to write.
While a lot of the focus has been on Simone, Walter Geovani is no slouch in the art department. He captures the spirit of the character and the barbaric world she inhabits perfectly. Sonja is drawn with a sultry ferocity that is matched only by the battles in which she partakes. Geovani also utilizes some unique panelling to help add to the chaos of battle and it pays off in spades.
Red Sonja #1 is the perfect kind of reboot. One that will introduce the world to a character they may have passed over, and one that will be talked about for years. Well done team, well done.