Red Sonja #7 sees the beginning of a new arc: A dying emperor orders Red Sonja to collect the six best artisans in different fields. If she does, the emperor will free one thousand slaves. If she does not, he will kill them. In this issue, she is hunting a world-class cook who is serving a tribe of cannibals deep in the swamplands.
This issue is a good one for seeing more of Sonja’s new/revised character: She hates slavery. She is no longer the woman who will only sleep with a man who can defeat her. She is still a hard-drinking, hard-fighting woman with a temper.
She also apparently has it in her contract that someone must call her “harlot” and/or “slattern” at least once an issue. In this issue, no one is lusting after her, but they still toss around these strongly sexual terms.
That gripe aside, there’s some good humor in Sonja’s wry observation that, “I am used to men drooling while ogling my flesh, but not so much as to how it might lay on a dinner platter.” Her voice is emerging as strong and distinct as she trudges grumpily through the swamp. The lizard men are funny and grotesque, and Sonja’s motivation and time limit are strong, setting things up for a tale that will both read well as an arc and permit new readers to enter at any point.
Geovani portrays a woman at the end of her rope quite well. The unwashed and unhappy vibe comes through strongly. Oh, and for the swamp trek, at least, she has traded her trademark metal bikini in for more practical swamp-garb, something with sleeves and longer pants that might keep off some of those mosquito bites she complains about and boots suitable for dealing with an area that is certainly full of poisonous snakes. Kudos to both Geovani and Simone for this choice, as she looks like an explorer who has consciously and carefully chosen her gear. Geovani also draws a mean swamp, infested with lizard people, bizarre cannibals, and strange vegetation.
Red Sonja #7 is a good entry in the ongoing series and recommended for people interested in the barbarian swordswoman’s new direction.