Review: Gail Simone’s Red Sonja #3
Completely isolated and near the brink of death, Red Sonja reflects on her lifetime of blood and pain, where she questions even her right to survive. But even in these last moments of life, enemies from her past return to make sure her death is not a peaceful one!
Gail Simone’s Red Sonja rolls on this month with the release of issue #3. Simone is joined by Walter Geovani on art, Adriano Lucas on colors, and Simon Bowland on lettering. Only two issues in and Simone’s Red Sonja has been nothing short of spectacular. Is the third time still a charm, or was it just a really strong opening?
Sonja had lost the battle and to add insult to injury, she had contracted the plague that nearly wiped out the kingdom she was trying her best to protect. Now forced to wander the wilderness alone until she dies, the She-Devil with a sword is close to death. It has been two fortnights (28 days) since she was forced into exile. With nothing but her horse keeping her will to live going, Sonja realizes that death is really and truly coming for her. When she sees a white stage approach, she has to decide if she will end its life to prolong hers for a few more days or if she will finally resign herself to her fate. When things look to be the absolute worst they can be, Sonja is visited by a vision of her father. In her severe fever dreams Sonja remembers her days as a child and the fateful hunt that changed her life forever. Sonja is known by many names for her fierce and deadly ways, but how did she start out? Is Sonja remembering the past because she has no future? Is this the end of Red Sonja?
Simone writes an absolutely stellar issue. This is a perfect character piece giving us a look at Red Sonja. We see her at her absolute worst. We see the events that shaped her life and made her the deadly warrior we know and love. This isn’t a sappy flashback origin story by any stretch of the imagination. This is the fierce, no-holds-barred story you’d expect for Red Sonja. It’s a moving and touching story, but there’s plenty of sword swinging action to balance things out. Simone outdoes herself with this issue. It also serves as a great place to jump on or introduce someone to the character. Geovani’s art is spectacular. He gets to play around with a lot of different things this issue. We get some character-centered emotional action as well as a full-blown battle with plenty of fatalities. Geovani gets to stretch a lot of muscles. The character work really stands out. We see Sonja go from a little girl into a fierce warrior, and it shows on the page. Lucas’ art elevates things even higher with his handling of the flashbacks. He gives those scenes a bit of a filter to differentiate them from the present and Sonja’s fevered visions.
Bottom Line: Gail Simone has written two really good stories, but this one is great. Simone presents a fantastic character study on Sonja and gives us a backstory that really frames who Sonja is and why she does what she does. This would be a great one-shot, but it being part of Simone’s larger story makes it even better. 5/5