Legends of Red Sonja #3 (of 5) continues with the series of short stories by multiple authors. The tales are told to and sometimes by a group of twelve hunters searching for Red Sonja to kill her and range from tales of gratitude by people Red Sonja has aided to those of anger by those she has injured. The series continues to be an enjoyable mix told by expert tellers, and serves as an excellent introduction to the character to those unfamiliar with her as well as a good series for those who already enjoy Red Sonja. As a bonus, it is a great way to discover authors one might not otherwise have thought to read.
“The Palace of the Necromancer,” written by Leah Moore with art by Tula Lotay is the story of one of the hunters, Horthak, who once sought to kill an ancient lich with Red Sonja’s aid—but then made the sadly common mistake of thinking she was an easily-ordered lackey. It is a lovely bit of pulp with a sorcerer king and a traitorous ally, plus a good glimpse of Red Sonja’s harsher side; she does not suffer fools gladly. Lotay’s art emphasizes the grotesque; the green and rotting atmosphere of the tomb and the decaying body of its inhabiting lich work well with the dark tale.
“Gertrelle’s Lament” written by Nicola Scott with art by Doug Holgate is the story of a witch whose path Red Sonja accidentally crossed. It’s clear that Gertrelle remembers the event far better than Sonja herself. This is the tale that shows that she was, from the very beginning, fierce and unruly. Holgate’s art points to the contrast between the witch’s sharpness and scheming and the quick, thoughtlessness of the young Sonja. The witch is all angles, Sonja small and slippery. Neither one is free of bloodshed.
“Gerd’s Story: What Lies Beneath” written by Rhianna Pratchett with art by Naniiebim tells the tale of how Red Sonja came to switch costumes, moving from the mail shirt of her first appearance to the metal bikini she now wears. It is the lightest tale of the three, gently laughing at the costume choice while it justifies it. In keeping with the tale’s tone, Naniiebim keeps the art loose and almost cartoon in character.
The whole is masterminded and overseen by Gail Simone who also provides the conversational links between the hunters. The art in these is by Jack Jadson. It seems like it might be an awkward mix, but the whole flows well, and the different ways Red Sonja is viewed provide varied and lively insights into her character.