Red Sonja #1, the One Dollar issue, is a chance to get a look at author Gail Simone and artist Walter Geovani’s re-invention of the red-haired heroine at a bargain cost. It contains the beginning of the Queen of Plagues storyline and Red Sonja’s updated origin story. Here is where we see Red Sonja held as a slave and a prisoner by the Zamoran. It also introduces the unpleasant Tiath, a man obsessed with his alchemical research and the honorable King Dimath, the one man who can summon Sonja because she trusts and admires him—admires him enough to take on a certainly hopeless task training his people for a war coming inside a week. And it introduces the ruthless, feared general, Dark Annisia.
There’s a lot in this story: An entire introductory backstory, a new war, a host of new characters, and Simone and Geovani handle it well, using flashbacks and “time passes” scenes to convey the information without overloading the reader, keeping it fast-paced and flowing. Sonja’s character, both her rough, barbarian side and her unexpected moments of softness and respect are well-conveyed: She is never not going to be a wild barbarian, never going to learn to use the right spoon or wear the right clothes, but she has her own code of honor.
Geovani’s art is a high point here: Pay special attention to Sonja teaching the new recruits and to the moment when Dark Annisia is first spotted. The tension there is palpable, and Annisia’s entrance amazing. This one dollar issue is a great way for people who have not yet read the Queen of Plagues storyline and been introduced to Simone and Geovani’s work on the heroine to start their adventure.